Town of Walpole Staff Meeting -1/19/17

TOWN OF WALPOLE

STAFF MEETING

JANUARY 19, 2017

 

Selectboard Present:     Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich

Staff Present:               Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Linda Edkins (Assistant Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Michael Paquette (Police Chief); Sgt. 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 this meeting is being recorded.

Mr. Dalessio wished everyone a Happy New Year.  He asked the Staff present to think about one thing they would like to accomplish in their group that will happen this coming year.  Mrs. Smith said “credit cards” in the coming year.

 

Hooper Institute Ms. Whippie distributed copies of the “Hooper Institute Journal of Lessons by Rebecca Whippie from August 2016 through December 2016”.  The report is from Pre-Kindergarten through Fourth Grade.  Also distributed was the “Director’s Report: Autumn 2016 – Fifth and Sixth Grades”.  Copies of these reports are available in the Selectboard office. Ms. Whippie reported they transitioned from every green and tree to mammals.  Mr. Dalessio asked if they thought about doing adult activities especially on education.  Ms. Whippie replied they did at one time do one-or-two week adult courses.  It is something they will think about.  They harvested rhubarb that she put into a cake.  The teachers said “Wow” that was good cake.  It was well received.  Someone commented that her child liked the Hooper part of the school day best.  The kindergarten class went out today to see if they could find tracks in the snow; dog, fox, squirrel, etc.  They did find and identify some.  Mr. Dalessio pointed out that their programs are going in the right direction.

 

January Report of Town Clerk-Tax Collector:  Mrs. Smith has been very busy closing out 2016 and starting 2017.  Her books were all in balance.  She printed the MS-61 report for the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) and this is also her Tax Collector’s report for the Annual Town Report.  Mr. Kreissle put it into the Portal for DRA.  He is always very helpful.  We are very lucky to have him.  They used to mail these reports but the State changed the procedure.

Mrs. Smith gave Mrs. Downing her copy of the MS-61, her Town Clerk income report, and a short report for the Town’s Annual Town Report.  Mrs. Downing has been great to work with and they appreciate her calm manner.

Mrs. Downing was out this week and Mrs. Edkins understood that she could not make the staff report deadline, as she was working on the Tax Delinquency Notices.  She was great about letting Mrs. Smith in the office to make coffee to keep her going!

Wednesday, January 18th, she printed 141 Delinquent letters also known as the Barrington Notices.  This is a nice low number, in the past they have mailed over 200 letters!  This is a State mandated notice to keep the property owners informed.  It provides the unpaid balance for the various warrants, liens, and interest due.  These letters generate a lot of phone calls.  Some people become very upset because it mentions Tax Deeding.  The notice explains that this only pertains to 2014 Liens but people do not seem to notice that.  Meghan and her stuffed the envelopes and she took them to the post office, this is off her “to do” list.  This usually brings in some payments as well as complaints.  They only have 20 parcels on the 2014 lien list.  She believes that most will pay in full before the Deeding date in May.

Intent to Lien Notices will be next month!  These notices have to be sent Certified Mail, return receipt requested, so that will be very time consuming.

Their uncollected property taxes are only $823,026.51 as of today.  They deposited $1,564,578.94 since the last Staff meeting.  They have collected $88,836.61 in January; they also collected $1,114.15 in interest due to late payments of taxes.

The Town Clerk Department has collected $50,239.00 since their last meeting.  Their dog tags should arrive any day.  Some dog owners like a low number and come in right after the New Year to purchase the tag.

The filing period for Town Officers begins Wednesday, January 25th and ends on Friday, February 3rd at 5 p.m.  Town Clerks have to be open 3-5 p.m. on the last day of filing.  She ran the ad in the Keene Sentinel on Saturday, January 14th and it will run again today.  Monday January 30th, she starts trying to contact board members to remind them the deadline is Friday.  She tries very hard to make certain that they do not have any “blanks” on our ballot as “write-ins” have to be hand counted and can really slow down the process.  She mailed the Memory Cards to LHS and as soon as the filing period is over, she will send them a copy of the upcoming ballot info so they print our ballots and send everything back in time for the March election.

This is a very busy time of year.  She will be glad when Town Meeting is over.   Mrs. Smith advised that she sends out the delinquent in different colors to identify them in different categories.  They have not foreclosed on any properties for a few years.

 

Library Report – January 2017:  Ms. Rogers, Librarian, reported that things are going along well.  They got new phones and now have a message machine.  They continue to work on barcoding.  North Walpole Library had the floors cleaned, furniture rearranged and some new furniture will be coming in (new table, desk and reading chairs).  There will be a new laptop for patrons to use.  The New Hampshire State Library report is due the end of February.

Walpole 2015 stats: Open 296 days, 14056 people, 22022 circ., 2627 people for programs.  AVG: 47 people, 74 circ per day.

Walpole 2016 stats:  Open 288 days, 18378 people, 26597 circ., 4715 people for programs, 2356 website visitors July-December.  AVG: 64 people, 92 circ per day.

Ms. Rogers noted that the Walpole Library has much more resources than the North Walpole Library therefore a lot of people come to the Walpole Library.  Mr. Dalessio acknowledged that she certainly is reaching out to people.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned there are no children’s programs in North Walpole.

 

Police Department:  The Walpole Police Department submitted the following report for the period of

December 15, 2016 through January 15, 2017.  The number of calls for service was 460.

  • Police Safety Calls:

Emergency Calls – 31              Administrative – 69                 Citizen Assists – 63

  • Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 18                         MV Stops – 192                       Traffic Safety – 26

  • Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol – 21     Crimes Against a Person – 24  Crimes Against Property – 16

Chief Paquette reported that just before they came into the meeting a stolen utility truck was found; he has some officers working on that.  They are busy doing end of the year work and getting ready for a busy new year.  Mr. Dalessio would like to have a month-by-month report on what the trend is for different categories.  Is it worth continuing a program or discontinuing it?  It tells them something about the community.  Chief Paquette noted that through the grant they acquired from the State, they have to work the roads.  They started to ticket the people through “clip it or ticket” program.  They are enforcing the laws and are averaging one-to-two arrests on each detail.  Drugs are an on-going problem.  Some arrests require many hours of their time.

 

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/ton; the Annual Estimate is 429.01/ton.  He also referenced and explained the “Five Year Comparison to Recyclables”.  The Year Forecast is $30,000; Estimate for the Year is $38,412.  These numbers might be off a little on the average and forecast.  Cardboard is a big item right now. At the beginning of the year it was close to $80/ton but now is $110/ton.  Mr. Dalessio will meet with Mr. Colburn about changing the format of these reports.  He feels they only need to go back 3 years rather than 5 years.

Mr. Dalessio mentioned it would be nice to know what amount of revenue they expect in 2017.  Mr. Colburn does not yet have a goal.  He is in the process of changing the paperwork over from 2016 to 2017 and has been training the other employees on how to do the paperwork.  He expects it will take 4-to-6 weeks for the change-over.  The Highway Department has been coming in and sanding.  The new employee is doing well.  Mr. Colburn would like to have a lunch on Friday so everyone can stop and meet him.  The new company brought in their container to replace the one the Salvation Army took out.  The Center is busy and doing well.

 

Walpole Highway DepartmentMr. Mike Rau, Road Agent, advised the department employees put in more over-time in December than February through April last year.  He gets calls from people inquiring why a certain road was not plowed.  He listens to them and apologizes but they do their best. The crew has seven different routes and they go up to 12 miles.  Each route takes 3-1/2 to 4 hours to do and then the driver turns around and, during a regular storm, the driver goes over it again.  Pre-treating the roads takes about 2-1/2 hours. It is usually 3-1/2 to 5 hours for clean-up because they also do the intersections.  It takes longer to do the back roads.  Hopefully, the equipment does not break down.  If it does they have to split up that route.  Often they are driving 15-to-20 MPH or slower.  Since January 1st they have been down one man.  Until someone else is hired Mr. Rau has been doing that route.  The Snow Plowing Policy was in the Clarion.  There have been some over-night vehicle parking offenders but the Police Department was notified and they assisted with contacting the owners.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned people are very pleased with the sidewalk plowing.   Chief Paquette pointed out they are doing a great job on the roads. Mr. Rau submitted the following report for the period of December 16, 2016 through January 18, 2016:

  • Cold patching;
  • Serviced trucks and equipment
  • Fixed Truck #5 Spinner Solenoid and Starter;
  • Fixed Truck #3 Plow Controls;
  • Fixed Truck #4 Fuel Tank and Hooked-up the Trail Hitch;
  • Scraped Old Drewsville Road with Grader; an average 300 vehicles go over this road every day;
  • Winter Weather Call Outs – 17 days.

 

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Edkins was representing the Selectboard Office in the absence of Mrs. Downing who provided the following report:

Wellness Initiatives:

  • A five hundred dollar ($500) check was received by the Manager of Administration from Health Trust at the January 9th Wellness Coordinators’ Training to initiate a wellness program.
  • Survey to determine focus of program will be distributed in January at Personnel Meeting on Tuesday, January 31st.

2016 Town Report:

  • Thank you to those who have sent committee, board, department and civic organization reports, photos and charts.
  • Second reminder pending to those who have yet to send materials with firm cut-off date.

Veterans’ Tax Credit Audit:

  • NH Department of Revenue (DRA) auditors visited the Selectboard Office on January 12th. The audit for tax credits and exceptions was completed with no corrections required.
  • Current Use files were reviewed by the DRA during the January 12th Current Use files will require updates and corrections in regards to maps, recreation use credits and deed recording.  This will be a long-term project for the Selectboard Office.
  • For those that claim a managed timber exemption under current use, an updated forestry plan will need to be submitted in order to receive the higher discount exemption credit.
  • A request from the Selectboard to the DRA to move up the assessment audit to 2017 from 2021 in order to synchronize the tax credit and exemption audit year with the revaluation year has been requested. If granted, all corrections to property values would be completed in the same calendar year.

Assessing Update:

  • Several new Veterans’ Tax Credit applications have been processed for 2017.
  • The first round of Property Tax Abatement and Current Use applications have been received and are being processed by Avitar Associates on New England.
  • The measurement and listing of properties continues after the holiday week break by Avitar assessors.

Public Hearings:

  • January 26th. First hearing for the Westberg Estate property, Westminster Street proposed donation to the Town at 6pm in the Selectboard Office.
  • February 9th. Second hearing for the Westberg Estate property donation to Town at 6pm in the Selectboard Office.
  • February 16th. Budget Hearing at 6pm in main room of Town Hall.

 

Finance Office:  Mr. Rich Kreissle has been working on all the end of the year documents.  In the next week or so he will print out the last Payroll Register for 2016.  Employees will be receiving their W2s.  If an employee feels something is wrong come in to see him.  1095s will be done.  He has to do a lot especially at this time of year to meet all the deadlines.

 

Recreation DepartmentMr. Justin Cassarino was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following report:

Basketball:

  1. Games are going well and every team has been competitive and enjoying themselves.
  2. The Recreation Committee and he met with grade 3-4 parents before a game to discuss sportsmanship and being positive role models for the kids. There was an issue with a few parents criticizing our volunteer referees who were 12 and 13 years old.
  3. They have entered three teams into the Westminster tournament.
  4. Found a local screen printing company that has very good pricing that will work with us, so we do not have to purchase these items with the credit card. The company is Grizzly Graphix in Sheldon, VT.  We will be doing our staff apparel, soccer uniforms and basketball uniforms from this company.

 

Personnel Policy Handbooks Mrs. Pschirrer distributed copies of the revised Personnel Policy handbooks.  She requested the Department Heads read them.  The Committee will meet again on January 31st at 8:30 AM.  After that meeting the handbooks will be given to the employees who will be asked to sign the page to acknowledge receipt.

 

2017 Department Goals:

Police DepartmentChief Paquette would like the Town to go on their web-site to up-date and provide more information; he explained some of his recommendations.  He is thankful for the money received last year for roof repairs, cameras, impound area, etc. Mr. Rau helped a lot and Mr. Colburn took a lot of unused items away.  He appreciates all their help.  There is still more to do at the Police Station.  Sgt. Sanctuary would like mobile data terminals in the cruisers.  It will give them more detail.

 

Highway DepartmentMr. Rau would like to do more ditching.  Water is one of their biggest issues.

 

LibraryMs. Rogers would like to see them acquire the land behind the Library.  The Library Trustees are working on it.

 

Finance OfficeMr. Kreissle would like some new software.  Work more with Mr. Goins.

 

Hooper Institute: Ms. Whippie would like to have more teaching materials.  Hooper has land therefore she would like to see the trail expanded.

 

Town Clerk – Tax CollectorMrs. Smith would like to have a credit card machine.

 

Water and SewerMrs. Edkins reported there are still problems with processing the water and sewer bills but it went better this time.  The system is old and should be up-graded.  Mr. Kreissle will talk to Mr. Mark Houghton about the Revenues and Expenditures.

 

SelectboardMr. Dalessio advised that the Selectboard is there to support them.  Everything seems to be moving forward in the right direction.  It is all good!

 

Adjournment:  Mr. Dalessio adjourned this Staff Meeting at 6:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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