TOWN OF WALPOLE
DECEMBER 15, 2016
Selectboard Present: Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Executive-Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Sergeant Justin Sanctuary (Police Department); Paul Colburn (Recycling Center); Justine Rogers (Librarian); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute)
Call To Order: Mr. Dalessio called this Staff meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. He advised that this meeting is being recorded.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing made the following report:
- Assessors from Avitar Associates continue visiting properties in Walpole to measure buildings and other taxable features. They are now downtown. They do not work in very cold weather so will be back on Monday.
- For those not at home during the initial visit by the assessors, a letter with Avitar Associates’ contact information will be sent to arrange appointments to view building interiors. They say it is going well and most people are allowing them to go into their homes.
- If property owners have questions or concerns, please call Selectboard Office for assistance.
- Walpole’s Equalization Ratio has been set at 104.5%. Dalessio explained the Equalization Ratio is the different between what properties are assessed for and what they are selling for. Walpole properties are now selling 4-1/2% below the assessed value.
- The Selectboard Office is accepting Property Abatement, Veteran Tax Credit and Elderly Exemption forms now that the fall tax bills have been posted.
Water and Sewer Billing:
- Water and sewer payment processing was busy through the end of November into early December.
- Research work continues to provide documentation for the financial auditors.
Department of Revenue Administration:
- The NH Department of Revenue (DRA) auditors will be returning on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 to finalize the audit of the Town’s Veterans Tax Credit files.
- “Current Use Criteria and Rules” workshop was held on Tuesday, Nov. 29th in the Town Hall.
Town Hall Facilities:
The following repairs are in process:
- Dishwasher being installed in kitchen and hot water heater in the basement.
- Reorganizing and addition of new and existing plaques and framed notices in stairwell and hallway area outside the Selectboard office.
Town Hall Rentals and Reservations:
- For those wishing to hold yearly events, it is best to place these reservations a year in advance. The Selectboard Office will not hold dates without verbal notice and follow-up applications shortly thereafter.
Town Report of 2016:
- Department reports are due on or by Friday, Dec. 30th.
- Written reports to be submitted as MS Word documents so they can be edited for grammar, spelling and other formatting corrections.
- We will accept pictures, however we cannot guarantee all photo submissions will be accepted.
- Excel and pdf files of charts are also expected from some departments, boards and commissions. Dalessio added they would like to keep the reports down to one or two pages. Whenever possible show progress. They need everybody’s cooperation to get reports in on a timely manner.
Town Clerk-Tax Collector: Mrs. Sandra Smith submitted her Report for December 15th, 2016.
They have had a very busy month. They mailed property tax bills, November 17th, with the help of Terry Jo Terrell and Meghan, everything went pretty smooth.
Some bills were returned due to incorrect addresses. The Post Office is pretty precise in what they consider an address. This takes time to resend, etc.
They collected $70,005.91 for the Town Clerk Department – $68,558.41 was collected in auto registrations. The balances are fees, vital records, dog licenses, a boat registration, and a bad check fee. She does not believe they have any bad checks outstanding.
The Tax Department as usual, brings in the most of the Town’s income. They have collected three million, three hundred eighty-eight thousand, one hundred twenty-three dollars and sixty-two cents! This is not counting what they are posting today.
Their “Fall” Warrant was for five million, seven hundred seventy thousand, and four hundred eighty-seven dollars. They have collected more than half of that. Their balance as of today is approximately Two million, three hundred eighty-two thousand. Their total uncollected as of Wednesday was Two million, eight hundred twenty nine thousand, five hundred ninety-two dollars and eight cents!
Mr. Dalessio explained that the Fall Mountain Regional School District takes $533,000+/month; every six months that is three million+/-. It does not include money that will be going to the County of $1,144,000. Mrs. Pschirrer advised that the State is continuing to push more and more expenses onto the towns in terms of education, highways, etc.
Mrs. Smith continued: Taxpayers are complaining about the increase in taxes.
They have been working on checks not written correctly and processing refunds for over payments. This is very time consuming.
Mrs. Smith will be glad when this year is behind us!
Highway Department: Mr. Mike Rau provided the following report on work they have done. Many of the items on the list they fixed themselves therefore very little work had to be sent out.
- Cold patching;
- Serviced trucks and equipment;
- Dug out culverts with backhoe to clean them before winter;
- Poured concrete around the water shut-off in North Walpole;
- Fixed Truck-1 – Water pump belt;
- Fixed Truck-3 and Truck-5 – Inner dump cylinders;
- Fixed Truck-5 – Spreader chain;
- Fixed Truck-4 – Air leak;
- Fixed Truck-3 – Plow Hydraulics;
- Viking fixed Truck-7 hydraulic valve body;
- Truck-2 went to Leon’s Auto Center to get front end work done;
- Truck-9 – Replaced the rear brake pads;
- Truck-8 – Fixed spinner late and replaced clutch for hydraulic pump;
- Truck-3 – Changed cutting-edge on plow;
- Put on spots on trucks;
- Winterized rollers and stored them;
- Installed chains on Kubota;
- Installed wheels and chains on ABEI;
- Prep work was done at the shop for the new shed;
- Moved the shed at the Police Department that will help with the plowing;
- New doors were installed at the shop and Old Town Shop;
- Rice Tree Services cut trees on Wentworth Road and in the park on Main St.;
- Graded Old Drewsville Road and Carpenter Hill Road;
- Ditched Green Road with the backhoe;
- Covered up graffiti at the Old Town Shop; it needs expensive paint to go over concrete;
- Worked on slide in sander;
- Put out winter sand out for residents; a pile is at Christian Hollow, Wentworth Road, the Old Town Shop, at the Shop, in North Walpole and at the Recycling Center.
- Sanded dirt roads on November 29;
- Salt and sanded roads on December 5;
- Plowed, salted and sanded during snow storm on December 12;
- Crushed dumpsters for the Recycling Center;
- Discussed loader and roadside mower pricing with Mr. Tom Goins who talked to sales people.
Mr. Rau will be tracking the storm for Saturday and possibly a mix on Sunday.
Library: Ms. Justine Rogers provided the following report:
Nov 2015: 23 Days open, 1195 people, 1581 circ., 33 programs, 295 people for programs
2015 Jan-Nov Average 47 people & 75 circ. Per day.
Nov 2016: 21 Days open, 1430 people, 2264 circ., 32 programs, 316 people for programs, 312 website visitors
2016 Jan-Nov Average 64 people and 92 circ. Per day.
New Barcodes: The State library required them to change over to 14 digit patron barcodes (new library cards) when they migrated to their system this past spring. Somehow it was not communicated that we also have to change over to 14 digit material barcodes. Thankfully they had the money left in our technology budget and she ordered 30,000 barcodes. This is not a difficult task, but certainly a time consuming one. The staff is willing to spend a weekend getting the majority of the collection done if there’s pizza and music involved!
New 2017 Programs: They have been hearing from patrons that they would like to see some new programs next year. They are working on a lunch time program where patrons can bring their lunch and they will stream an episode of The Crown on Netflix each week. They are also looking at an evening fiction book club and a passive puzzle program where they will have a puzzle set up on the table in the front room for people to work on for 2 minutes or 2 hours.
They also have a Story Time series with the Grafton Museum lined up for 2017. They had some grant money from the summer left over so they’ll be doing monthly themed programs for a few libraries in the area. They will be here the last Wednesday of each month January through May at our regularly scheduled story time at 10am.
The North Walpole Library is getting their floors done today and tomorrow. They will also be getting some new furniture that was donated.
Mr. Dalessio acknowledged receipt of and read a letter from Mrs. Peg Dion to the Selectboard. “It is the time of year to express gratitude for a good job well done and faithful service. Since participating in the Walpole Leadership Academy her appreciation has grown for the service you all render to our town. She wanted to commend Paul Colburn and his crew at the Recycling Center for their hard work in keeping costs down while assisting us in all our recycling efforts. Thank you to the Town officials and all the departments and a very Happy Holiday Season.”
Mr. Dalessio reported that all the students at the Walpole Leadership Academy were impressed with what the departments and boards were accomplishing. Congratulations to all.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn presented the following report:
He referenced and explained the “Daily Weight Report and 5 Year to Date Comparison”. The Annual Forecast for this year was 374/tons but the Annual Estimate as of the end of last month was 403/tons (about 28/tons more than forecast). The figures show that they are doing pretty well compared to the prior five years. They have not done tubes since 2011/2012 as the markets had dropped. As of November they increased over the two previous years on what they took in. They are getting banana boxes back; two trailer loads were received on Tuesday. Mr. Colburn mentioned it is strenuous on them being short one full time person but they have been doing what needs to be done.
Mr. Colburn referenced and explained the “Five Year Comparison on Recyclables”. This report indicates they have been going up-and-down. In November the returnables were $603.73 which is the lowest of the five years. They are not slowing down on returnables but rather he has been unable to deliver them to the vendor and hopes to make a trip tomorrow. He is paid on delivery.
They continue to be busy. They are still getting young people in. This is a service to get them back into society. It has worked out well. They had three deliveries of wood and there were three pick-ups. The Walpole Recycling Center is now on Facebook. There was an issue with the oil furnace; adjustments were made by a service person. Avitar Associates was there this afternoon. The Salvation Army took out their containers as they did not have enough volume but another company is putting in a container next week. Everything will go over-seas. A tire on the truck had to be repaired. Mr. Colburn had a call from a company that wanted to know if they would take care of boxes of used office paper. To-date about one-and-a-half ton was received; this is about one-quarter of the total; more will be coming. Mr. Colburn has been doing his own plowing. Everything else has been going smooth. They do have volunteers.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Rebecca Whippie advised they have closed-up and winterized the Hooper Institute. They do not plan on opening up until the spring. She provided the following report.
Mrs. Eloise Clark is finishing up the soils unit and working on Conifers and Evergreens.
After the last meeting Ms. Whippie did a small program before Thanksgiving on the reintroduction of Eastern Turkeys to the State. They were reintroduced here in Walpole, NH. The students were excited about this.
1st Grade: Mashed potatoes;
4th Grade: They had a squash feast; they made pumpkin pancakes, squash muffins, pumpkin butter, maple butternut squash, spaghetti squash and fried zucchini squash. There is adult monitoring but the students do everything themselves.
Evergreens and Conifers: They played matching games; detectives with clues, searches outside for different evergreens, matching cones to conifer branches. Ms. Whippie usually does all the cutting but the children did cut white pine on one sunny afternoon.
1st Grade: Foraged for cones.
3rd Grade: Foraged for white pine cuttings;
Projects = Ornaments using nature found items.
Pre-K and K – Balsam fir sachet
1st Grade – Evergreen arrangement
2nd Grade – Printed note cards
3rd Grade – Evergreen centerpieces in tuna cans
4th Grade – Swags of balsam fir.
Mr. Dalessio pointed out they are doing all good things with the students.
Police Department: Sergeant Sanctuary submitted the following report. Number of calls for service for the period of November 16, 2016 to December 13, 2016 was 306.
- Public Safety Calls:
Emergency Calls – 29 Administrative – 45 Citizen Assists – 54
- Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 11 MV Stops – 65 Traffic Safety – 17
- Criminal Investigations:
Drugs/Alcohol – 26 Crimes Against a Person – 34 Crimes Against Property – 25
Sgt. Sanctuary advised their accidents were down. During these last storms they had no calls resulting from accidents. He reported on the number of recent drug related incidents. They are getting Mrs. Clough more involved with criminal related activities. She will be doing follow-ups and referring people to counseling, etc. There are people coming in looking for help; she is pointing them in the right direction. All this is very time consuming. He met with Mr. Tom Goins to talk about budget related issues. Mr. Kreissle has also been a big help to them on budgeting. Mr. Dalessio feels it is good to have everybody working together and using their expertise as they move along. It is support for the department heads. Two officers are finishing up their annual training on mental health.
Adjournment: Mr. Dalessio wished everyone a safe Holiday Season. This Staff Meeting was adjourned at 5:52 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary