TOWN OF WALPOLE
MARCH 16, 2017
Selectboard Present: Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Sgt. Justin Sanctuary (Police Department); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk-Tax Collector); Paul Colburn (Recycling Center); Tom Burt (Recycling Center); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute); Justin Cassarino (Director-Recreation Department)
Guest: Cheryl Mayberry
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. Justine Rogers, Police Chief Michael Paquette and Mr. Rich Kreissle were unable to attend this meeting.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn introduced Mr. Tom Burt, the new Operations Foreman.
Mr. Colburn reported there are three charts. A new chart as of March 10, 2017 is the “2017 Recycling Revenues – Detail”. It shows the various Categories, Budgeted amount and Actual amount to-date. They sell bags to about 11 different stores who make $.02/bag. The 2017 Budget is $166,350; Actual to-date is $35,235. Mr. Dalessio recommended Mr. Colburn meet with Mr. Kreissle as he has been working on revisions to the charts. For clarification they will go back 3 years rather than 5 years on the charts.
Mr. Colburn explained the “5 Year Comparison to Recyclables”. The years are up-and-down. The weather has not been favorable this year; there was one day when they did not take in anything.
Mr. Colburn explained the “Daily Weight Report and 5 Year to Date Comparison”. Year-to-date they are actually up slightly from 2016.
Mr. Colburn and Mr. Burt attended a NRRA meeting. It was to give Mr. Burt a better picture of what happens to the materials they dispose of. He needs to meet people from other states and towns. They took 5,000/lbs of batteries, copper, brass, etc. and made a stop at Schnitzer Steel which was on the way to the meeting. Cardboard is at $200/ton which is twice what it was last year. They were going to stop taking apart electronics but now the market turned around so they will continue to do so. A lot of the work is done by volunteers and students from the schools.
The Annual Facility Report that goes to the State is due by the end of the month; that is being worked on. Yesterday while plowing the yard to get it ready for today he thought about the fact that this Town facility is only one of two that does not get plowed out by the Town. The Highway Department helps with sanding. Thursday is a busy day as North Walpole brings their bags in. He was short one employee and had only one volunteer.
Town Clerk – Tax Collector: Mrs. Sandra Smith submitted the following report for March. They have been very busy preparing for the Town election and Town Meeting. Town elections and meetings always create phone calls and this year is no exception. All the preparation work has been coming along great.
They collected $447,647.36 in property taxes. The Town Clerk department collected $55,333.64 since their last staff meeting.
The timber tax bill was printed and mailed.
Mrs. Smith mailed 20 Intent to Deed certified notices, return receipt requested to the property owners that still have outstanding 2014 taxes. It went along quicker as they used the postage machine in the Selectboard Office rather than stamping the envelopes individually. These liens were placed in May 2015. She sent 2014 lien amounts to Total Notice. They research the Registry of Deeds and notify the Lien Holders that these properties will be deeded on May 17th if taxes are not paid in full by that date. All costs of the search and certified notices were added into the amount that these delinquent tax payers have to pay to redeem their properties. They have also been charged eighteen percent interest since the lien was placed in 2015.
Certified mail with Intent to Lien notices have been sent to approximately 87 tax payers with unpaid 2016 taxes. These liens will be executed April 19th for any unpaid 2016 taxes. At that time the interest changes from 12 percent to 18 percent. She then sent the information to Total Notice and they do a search of mortgagees and send the mortgage companies notifications within 45 days of the lien being placed. These procedures and interest amounts are mandated by State law and are very time consuming. They receive numerous phone calls when they send these notices.
It is important to have all these completed before we begin the new tax billing cycle in May. Tax bills and envelopes have been ordered so they will be ready for their Warrant. Their uncollected is very low at $591,194.31. This figure includes $52,648.71 interest payable to the Town.
Recreation Department: Mr. Cassarino made the following report.
- New uniforms for next season are in.
- Old uniforms will be donated to the Walpole Schools.
- The Rec. Dept. will be meeting with Justin Parrott to come up with a code of conduct for players and parents to sign for all recreation sports.
- They have heard from most of the staff that they are coming back.
- He met with the Recreation Committee and they discussed getting rid of the desk help position and making it required to have a lifeguard certification. This will help when there are a lot of swimmers and we can add another guard on deck without calling anyone in.
- Raising the starting rate to $9.50 to compete with local businesses to attract and hold onto workers. This will also help bring their staff together as a team.
- They are looking to do small weekly activities with the community over the summer. Some examples: kickball, wiffle ball, floor hockey, bike rides, etc.
- Community has expressed interest in a pickle ball court. He will get in touch with Wilson and Lawrence to see if they can paint the lines. They are also looking to add horseshoe pits again.
- They are trying to find people that are interested in refereeing.
- Hoping to add another team this year, since the league has grown each year.
Highway Department: Everyone present gave Mr. Rau and his crew a round of applause for the amazing job they did during the blizzard. Mr. Rau made the following report for the period of February 16 to March 15, 2017. He thanked his crew for working up to 28 hours straight during the recent blizzard. He also thanked Mr. Ryan Melendez from Catamount HD Parts for getting them parts to fix a truck during the storm; that was a big help. The store was closed but he went in to get them the parts needed to get the truck repaired. He always treats the Highway Department very well. Mike, Jim and Mr. Rau have done storms like this one before. Everyone stepped up-to-the-plate to help out.
When trees come down on wires they do not touch them but do notify Liberty Utilities. They then clean-up the brush. They plowed out the boat landing on Route 12 for the Fire Department to do some training but then the power company opened-up the dam so they were unable to do it.
They have also done the following:
- Cold patching;
- Service trucks and equipment;
- Fixed Truck-5 radiator hose and tightened spreader chain;
- Fixed Truck-8 spinner controls, wing, front brakes and chloride tank;
- Fixed Truck-3 spreader chain;
- Fixed AEB1 fuel leak;
- Truck-4 to Reed’s to fix rear springs and air leak;
- Wing snow banks back with grader;
- Cleaned-up the shop yard; flattened out the yard;
- Wind storm of 3/9; they cleared trees from the roads and chipped brush and tree debris;
- Winter weather calls outs: 2/24, 3/3, 3/9, 3/10, 3/14 and 3/15.
Mr. Rau has been getting prices for hot-top for 11 miles but the prices are going up. Mrs. Pschirrer said even with the increased prices they will try to do at least 10 miles. Mr. Rau plans to work on Colonial Drive and Cold River Road (by Aubuchon’s Store) this summer. Cold River Road is less than a mile; it has old pug-mix on it and has big holes. Mrs. Pschirrer pointed out it is a heavily travelled road. Mr. Rau had plans to start to look at culverts but then the storm came.
Mr. Dalessio mentioned responsibility for the lights on the Arch Bridge is still pending. Mr. Rau has an on-site meeting on Monday. The power company is having a tech turn-off the power so they can determine who is responsible for the lights; the State, DES or Town. The Highway Department plowed-out the Hooper today. Mr. Jim Terrell brought in some pizzas for the crew during the storm; it was very much appreciated.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing made the following report:
- Town Meeting will resume at 1pm on Saturday, March 18th.
- A slide show of department photos shall be occurring before and after the meeting on the new LCD projector. This will include photos that did not make it into the Annual Report and other extra pictures.
- Cake and decaf coffee will be served at the conclusion of the meeting.
- Property owners that were not available when Avitar assessors visited will be sent a letter in May. This will allow property owners to schedule a time for an Avitar assessor to visit and view the inside areas of their property.
- 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 was mounted to the wall near the map table. A recognition plaque has been ordered.
- Sorting of materials in the vault in the basement is almost complete. The Historical Society may be able to incorporate several antique ledgers and books into their collection. They will be seeking grant money to recondition the paper based items.
Water and Sewer:
- Mrs. Linda Edkins made a decision to retire therefore the Water and Sewer Department is being reorganized. Preparation has begun for the next round of water and sewer billing. The target spring water and sewer billing date is May 1st per Mr. Mark Houghton.
- Life, Short-Term and Long-Term Disability benefited summary sheet will be distributed to all full-time employees by department managers for review and reference.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Becky Whippie advised there are not many things going on in the schools this time of the year by both she and Mrs. Clark. They have been meeting in the High Tunnel.
Mrs. Clark and the 6th graders are still working in the High Tunnel and recently harvested spinach. Some things are planted in the fall, they go dormant but when it warms up they continue to grow. The High Tunnel is a remarkable structure and in a perfect spot. They planted pea sprouts; the sprouts can be snipped off and can be put in their salads.
Ms. Whippie mentioned it is maple sugaring season and she has been talking about this with the Pre-K, Kindergarten, 3rd and 4th grade students. On Tuesday the 4th graders will be going to see Ken McGill’s Sugar House. To wrap-up their winter mammal unit on how they survive, the 1st grade students have also been tracking these mammals on maps they created. In the 2nd grade they have been talking about big and small farms and chickens. This week she started working on birds, migration is happening again. It is all a fun unit.
The Songbird Presentation is coming up in April. Posters are up and tickets are for sale. Tickets will be for sale at the Town Meeting. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned this is a fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of the Hooper. Mr. Chris Remer is the speaker. He is a world class birder. This presentation is on how to protect our song-birds.
Ms. Whippie and Mrs. Clark are fine for now but will probably open up the Hooper Institute in April. There will be an organizational meeting for the Community Gardens in mid-April.
Police Department distributed copies of their report for the period of February 16, 2017 through March 15, 2017. The number of calls for service was 334.
- Police Safety Calls:
Emergency Calls – 42 Administrative – 43 Citizen Assists – 51
- Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 20 MV Stops – 62 Traffic Safety – 18
- Criminal Investigations:
Drugs/Alcohol – 15 Crimes Against a Person – 55 Crimes Against Property – 28
Sgt. Sanctuary reported that this is the time of year when calls for service volume are down. This is Officer Landry’s second week. They are talking to the Sheriff’s Department about grants for drug work. During the Blizzard they had a few slide-offs that were primarily on State roads. The new law takes some burden off them for Pistol Permits.
New Selectboard Member: Mr. Dalessio advised that Ms. Cheryl Mayberry is present and will be the next Selectboard member replacing Mr. Whitney Aldrich. She will be excellent as a member of the Selectboard.
Adjournment: Mr. Dalessio adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:50 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary