TOWN OF WALPOLE
FEBRUARY 16, 2017
Selectboard Present: Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Executive-Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Executive-Manager of Finance); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Michael Paquette (Police Chief); Sgt. Justin Sanctuary (Police Department); Paul Colburn (Recycling Center); Justine Rogers (Librarian); 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.
Personnel Policy Handbook: Mrs. Downing distributed copies of the Personnel Policy Handbook, Revised 2017. The Department Managers were asked to distribute copies to the employees in their department. After they have read the document there is an Employee Acknowledgement sheet on the back that all employees need to sign and have it returned to the Selectboard office. Mr. Dalessio advised employees should read the document but it does not mean they have to agree with it. If employees would like to have Mrs. Pschirrer attend a department meeting to answer questions she will be happy to do so.
Highway Department: Mr. Rau submitted a report for the period of January 19, 2017 to February 15, 2017. They have been doing the following work:
- Cold patching;
- Servicing trucks and equipment;
- Fixed Truck-5 plow, tarp arms and starter;
- Fixed Truck-8 Wing and Spinner light;
- Truck-3 had electrical problems;
- Replaced the hydraulic hose on the loader;
- Fixed Truck-3 Oil Pan;
- New air lines in shop;
- Pressure washed all equipment;
- Fixed ABIE Hdy Lift Cylinder;
- Mixed Winter Sand;
- Picked up snow in the Walpole Village as the intersections were getting dangerous;
- Brought signs to the Town Hall for the Boy Scouts;
- Sanded the Recycling Center;
- Crushed dumpsters at the Recycling Center;
- Put up signs at the Police Department;
- Winter Weather call-outs on: 01/22-01/23; 01/24-01/25; 02/01; 02/13-02/14; 02/15.
The department has been short-handed. They are now plowing and sanding at the Hooper Property and around the Mansion; this had not been a part of their plowing in the past. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned the Highway Department had not been asked to nor had they plowed at the Hooper property until she recently asked them to do so. Mr. Rau has been checking on mail boxes to make sure they are the right height and distance from the roadway in accordance with the Ordinance. If the boxes do comply but the trucks hit them they will be repaired. The wings are supposed to be able to go underneath them. Mrs. Pschirrer said this should be put in the Clarion. Relative to the Town parking lot, Mr. Rau advised there are too many cars in there day and night. When there are too many vehicles they leave it and take care of it when they can. Mr. Dalessio mentioned the plowing looks good. Mr. Rau noted the guys have been doing a great job with very little sleep. Ms. Rogers asked if the guys could do the back stairs to the Library when they are doing other clean-up as it is their emergency exit. Mr. Rau said they would do that.
Police Department: Police Chief Michael Paquette distributed copies of their report for the period of January 16, 2017 through February 15, 2017. The number of calls for service was 405.
- Police Safety Calls:
Emergency Calls – 30 Administrative – 59 Citizen Assists – 52
- Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 24 MV Stops – 105 Traffic Safety – 40
- Criminal Investigations:
Crimes Against a Person – 39 Crimes Against Property – 40 Drugs/Alcohol – 16
He thanked Mr. Rau for cleaning out the back area; everything looks great. This past month has been up-and-down. Drug cases were down slightly but there is a new “cocktail” out there therefore they expect more activity. They already came close to losing someone. They had a few drug arrests this past week. The cases consume a lot of their time with investigations and paperwork. Mr. Dalessio pointed out they have one of the highest conviction rates. The department is losing an officer as he has taken a position in another town, Dean Wright, but they acquired Roger Landry who has been working part-time and now has accepted the full-time position. Mr. Dalessio mentioned other towns are now recruiting our officers. With the holiday week-end the State is requiring them to do more radar patrols; cell phone violations, etc. They continue to be busy as usual. Sgt. Sanctuary spoke about the increase in burglaries; most of them are due to needing money. Last night Officer Landry prevented a male from jumping off the bridge. Mr. Dalessio noted the Selectboard will sign a letter of commendation.
Mr. Dalessio pointed out that the Town is still arguing with Liberty Utilities about the lights on the bridge. The bridge, lights and sidewalk clearly belong to the State. It is a safety issue. He will contact Representative Lucy Weber to see if she will intervene. Mr. Dalessio is concerned that someone will slip or fall off the walkway onto the road. Chief Paquette noted there are two crosswalks in that area. There was discussion pertaining to extending the sidewalk up around the bend/corner.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing provided the following report dated February 16, 2017.
- Electronic file sent to the printer on Tuesday, 2/14/17. Reports to be shipping on or before March 1st.
- Copies of the Town Report will be available at the Town Hall and other locations such as Jake’s Market, Drewsville Store, Walpole Library, Town Hall plus there is a list of other locations.
- Warrant has been posted for Tuesday, March 14th – ballot voting day for Articles 1 and 2. Polls open at 8am and close at 7pm. Town Meeting begins at 1pm on March 18th.
- A slide show of department photos shall be occurring before and after the meeting.
- Cake will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.
- On January 25th, the Selectboard met with the Town’s Department of Revenue (DRA) district supervisor and a representative from Avitar to review the Property Revaluation process.
- In January, Avitar completed measures of properties in Walpole.
- A review of sales information and new building/property improvements is now occurring. The review includes site visits. This is the second phase of the project.
- Phase 3 will be the mailing of a “notice of Preliminary Assessment Values” to property owners. This notice will be sent in the summer.
- There will be several dates that property owners will be able to schedule an appointment to discuss updated property assessments with an Avitar assessor.
- The revaluation will be finalized in the fall. Changes to valuation will be reflected in the fall tax bill.
Town Hall Facilities:
- The display case for the Boston Post Cane will be mounted within the next few weeks. A plaque is to be ordered with recipient names and other info inscribed.
- Sorting of materials in the vault in the basement has begun. Recycling of non-essential paperwork will happen. The vault space lacks air circulation which has caused papers and books to be coated with white mold. Colburn and a number of other people were there to assist.
Water and Sewer:
- B has become the Administrator for Water and Sewer payments and billing. Linda continues to be the coordinator for cemetery lot sales and info.
- Linda will be in the office on Tuesdays and Fridays with increased office hours during high demand periods, i.e. when billings are sent and received.
- The Town received a $500 check from HealthTrust to be used to offset expenses related to a Wellness Program.
- A Wellness Program Interest Survey will be handed out at the Staff Meeting. If managers could distribute the survey to benefitted employees and return to the Selectboard Office, it would be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Kreissle is working on the 1095s. Employees should have received their W2s. Mr. Dalessio advised that direct deposits will now be going in on Fridays (which is the regular pay date) rather than Wednesdays.
Library: Ms. Justine Rogers submitted the following report dated February 16, 2017.
- Open 22 days;
- Served 1350 people;
- Circulated 2097 materials;
- Offered 21 programs which served 298 people.
Their average people served for the month of January is the same as last year, but the average circulation is up from 87 per day to 95 per day.
Their Circulation in January was displayed with a colored chart as follows;
- Adult Fiction 33%
- Videos 30%
- Kids Fiction 16%
- Adult Non Fiction 8%
- Kids Non Fiction 4%
- Audio Books 4%
- Magazines 4%
They had a lot of people donate movies this year. People are appreciative of them. Relative to a statement from Mr. Dalessio about expanding in North Walpole; Ms. Rogers replied that North Walpole does not have a video collection at all. That is an option. Both Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer expressed an interest in seeing North Walpole Library open more hours and to expand with computers, etc.
Next Tuesday, February 21st they are showing Trolls, a new kids’ movie at 11am (since its winter break).
March 14th they have a screening of the documentary Alice’s Ordinary People at 6:30pm. The film is about Alice Tregay who was a “heroine of the Civil Rights Movement.” The Director will also be here to talk about the film. Mr. Dalessio suggested Ms. Rogers contact Mr. Jack Pratt to let him know about this documentary as he was active during the Civil Rights Movement and might be interest in seeing it.
Mr. Dalessio and Mr. Colburn have talked about putting up a bulletin board at the Recycling Center so Town events/activities can be posted. He would like to move that along for this spring. They could even post Town reports.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn provided the following report: It was a slower-than-usual month. Weather has played a role in this. People are not coming in with products they charge for. They are on par for the projections for the year and basically are holding their own on recyclables. He distributed and explained copies of the “Daily Weight Report and 5 Year to Date Comparison”. Looking at the Annual Forecast and Annual Estimate they are both pretty close.
With reference to the “5 Year Comparison to Recyclables” they are having an average year. They now get paid when they take recyclables in as opposed to a few years ago when they would take in recyclables and have to wait for the check. Mr. Dalessio mentioned at the last budget meeting they talked about budgeted revenue. Maybe before the next Staff Meeting they can meet with Mr. Kreissle to have something to look at in terms of revenue and the budget. It helps for the forecast.
Mr. Colburn mentioned they had so much snow they had to shovel off the storage trailers. He will be taking a class on February 28th on fluids, maintenance, repairs. Plowing has been an issue at the Center. He came in for about five hours on Monday to do it. Overall things are going well. They are appreciative of all the Volunteers.
Town Clerk-Tax Collector: Mrs. Sandy Smith provided the following report. At the last meeting Mrs. Pschirrer asked what “LHS” stood for – Lynn Haas was the original owner and he did municipal billing, etc. Now LHS sells and maintains ballot counting machines! LHS = Lynn Haas Systems.
The Town Clerk has been busy this month. Feb. 3rd was the last day for filing for Town office. Then they had to send the info to the printer. They are now waiting for the ballots.
From the last Staff Meeting they collected $86,950.00 for the Town Clerk’s Department. During that same period they collected $214,091.04 in property taxes. They now have an uncollected of only $620,280.98. This is a very small amount. Our warrants totaled over eleven million dollars. She just sent out a supplemental bill to TransCanada for the dam. She did not include that amount in these figures.
Monday, Feb 20th she will be open 7 A.M. to 10 A.M. for property taxes only! When she mailed delinquent notices she failed to realize that the 20th is a holiday! 10 A.M. is the deadline to avoid the lien process. The intent to lien procedure adds additional fees to the tax amounts. The tax liens will be executed in late April if not paid in full by that time.
The State of NH Dept of Motor Vehicles is installing a new computer program “Vision” so motor vehicle processing will be “down” State wide from Friday 17 to Wed Feb 22nd.
Mr. Dalessio explained the supplemental bill to TransCanada for the dam. Avitar Associates noticed a fairly large disparity in the TransCanada assessment as compared to the DRA assessment. As per Avitar’s recommendation this supplemental bill was issued as the Towns can go back one year. TransCanada lawyers are already requesting additional information.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Becky Whippie provided the following report: There have been a lot of snow days. Mrs. Clark is working on the same inside activities as her last report. Ms. Whippie has continued to work with the snow that has included mammals in winter with the 3rd Grade. The 4th Grade visited the Northcotts Woodturning shop to study forest related products. They also talked about sugaring conditions; cold days and warm nights. One sugaring house was making maple syrup in January because the conditions were right. The 2nd Grade talked about the various types of farming and domestic animals. Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st Grade talked about snow; the temperatures, season, how snow crystals form, hexagon, six branches. Karen Galloway is on the Hooper Committee and is doing a “Saving Our Songbirds” presentation on April 21st at 7:00 PM to benefit the Hooper Institute students. Tickets are $15/each. Tickets will be available at Galloway Real Estate and other locations in the Village. Mr. Dalessio will check with Brenda at the Drewsville Store to see if she is willing to sell the tickets. Checks are to be made out to Friends of the Hooper Institute. Mr. Dalessio is glad they are doing well.
Recreation Department: Mr. Justine Cassarino was unable to attend but provided the following report:
- Finishing up this week;
- Entered three teams into a tournament in January. Two finished in 1st place and one finished in 3rd. Great sportsmanship and effort from all players, coaches, and fans.
- Purchased new uniforms for next season.
- Old uniforms are going to be donated to the Walpole Elementary School. Toni McDougle (PE Teacher) is going to use them for practice uniforms and for kids that don’t have clothes to change into for class.
- Discussing some new ideas for next season to get kids started at an earlier age. Possibly doing a camp/league for K-2nd
- Send an email out to staff to see who will be returning.
- Will be meeting with the Recreation Committee at the end of the month to discuss wages for WSI instructors. Needs to be higher to get people interested in teaching lessons. Lessons are very popular to the public, but staff is not willing to pay the cost to become certified and not get much in return.
- Speaking with Jane Skantze about signage about tobacco free areas for our recreation park.
- Skating rink has been very busy with a lot of happy community members.
Adjournment: Mr. Dalessio adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:45 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary These are unapproved Minutes.