TOWN OF WALPOLE
MEETING OF THE SELECTBOARD
JULY 13, 2017
Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry
CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. She advised that this meeting is being recorded and asked anyone wishing to speak to identify themselves for the record. There were four members of the public in attendance.
SOUTHWEST REGION PLANNING COMMISSION (SWRPC): Mr. J. B. Mack and Mr. Henry Underwood from the SWRPC were present. They handed out copies of the NH Department of Environmental Services Wetlands Bureau Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund Program (ARM) and to provide an explanation. Mr. Mack advised they have taken an interest in this program as they are involved with a lot of stream crossings around the region. They want to be sure this region understands this resource and they have resources to help. DES has presented this as a grants program.
During the 2006 legislative session, the General Court enacted Senate Bill 140, known as Aquatic Resource Compensatory Mitigation. The law became effective on August 18, 2016 and the DES adopted rules for operation of an aquatic resource mitigation fund on June 20, 2007.
This program has been created as an additional compensatory mitigation option available to applicants for impacts to wetlands and other aquatic resources. This mitigation option is available for use after avoidance and minimization of impacts to these aquatic resources has been achieved. The department is authorized to collect mitigation funds in lieu of other forms of wetland mitigation as part of a wetlands application. DES holds and manages funds to be offered as grants for potential projects that will accomplish long-term environmental results. These projects must consider the service area goals and replace and/or protect wetland and other aquatic resource functions and values that were impacted by development projects in the service area.
ARM Fund payments are collected according to nine service areas in the State. The Town of Walpole is in area “6”. A map showing the NH ARM Fund Boundaries was distributed. The key to success is the long-term protection of those wetland functions that are restored or enhanced.
The SWRPC is still trying to get additional information from the director of this program. The function of values might change. The State has one idea of how to use these funds; adding onto the Fall Mountain Region conservation land. The DES is anxious to hear from the Town of Walpole and Town of Charlestown on their priorities. Mr. Dalessio advised the Town of Walpole has a priority and it is the Reservoir Dam. Mrs. Pschirrer said it is in terrible shape therefore needs to be repaired or removed; both are very expensive. Mr. Peska felt the DES’s own letters noting the deficiencies indicate the urgency to do something. It is about a 2-1/2 acre reservoir area that was used primarily as surface water storage for the Village but has not been used since 1910. It is an earthen dam. There is a great recreational interest in maintaining this area. The Conservation Commission is involved with its maintenance that includes the trails and parking area. It was last drained about 20 years ago. Nothing but brush clearing has been done since then. The Reservoir dam could benefit from these funds.
It was mentioned there is concern from property owners about their wells in connection with the Route 12 Project along the Connecticut River. Mr. Mack is aware of bank erosion concerns along the river. There was discussion of the DOT informational meetings on the Route 12 Project. Great River Hydro is in the process of repairing their Pier 4; the structural integrity of the dam is a safety concern. Mr. Mack noted the dam presents a second Issue, as it is not connected with the Reservoir Dam.
Mr. Dalessio mentioned another project the Town would like to address is the Vilas Bridge. The Town’s sewer line runs underneath it to the Waste Water Treatment Facility in Bellows Falls, VT. The bridge is deteriorating. Therefore, if something breaks that line it would be catastrophic. Mr. Mack is aware of this bridge problem.
Mrs. Pschirrer has a concern with the recent heavy rains and streams that have washed away berms, etc. DES does not even allow them to remove trees that have fallen into the streams without their permission. The Town needs help taking care of this. It involves entire neighborhoods. Mr. Mack said stream restoration is also one of the priorities. There are five different project areas; 1) Land/Wetland Acquisition/Legal Protection; 2) Wetland Restoration/ Creation; 3) Stream Restoration; 4) Culverts/Dams; and 5) Invasive Species Management.
Mr. Underwood advised they are talking about funding that does not have a formal grant application round. The ARM program is an annual round; information distributed was from the last round. In 2017 there was no grant application round. The next formal announcement will be for 2018. There will be a two page proposal due at the end of April. Ms. Laurie Sommer is the coordinator. As a part of the application process, they will be looking for the NH Wildlife Action Plan. Mr. Underwood distributed copies of the “2015 Highest Ranked Wildlife Habitat by Ecological Condition” plan. This is a piece of evidence relevant to certain projects. Areas have various habitat assessments. It shows areas held under conservation. This is a resource for purchase of easements, etc. Mr. Underwood also distributed copies of a “Restoration Plan for Aquatic Connectivity to High Quality Waters of the Ashuelot River Watershed.” This is an existing study about the quality of the length of streams that could be improved. It is part of a larger effort of the DES and NH Ecological Surveys to assess stream crossings wherever they are. He asked if the Town of Walpole has a Conservation Plan that might be a reference for a source of ideas. Mr. Peska replied the Conservation Commission has an antiquated one and are in the process of doing a new plan. A new Town Forester was just hired. They will be conducting reviews of all forests and recreational areas. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned they will include all the conservation land the Town owns as well; they are working on some now that will expand this acreage. Overall the Town will have a great deal of land in conservation. Mr. Peska said one member is working on a corridor from the Merriam Farm area to the Connecticut River; it will go across the southern section of Walpole. Mr. Underwood said there might be money available to put more land into easements. Mr. Mack noted they just want the Town to be aware of these resources.
Mr. Underwood suggested they come up with three or four project ideas that will be presented to the DES, DOT and/or Ms. Lauri Sommer to get an idea of what they will support. The Selectboard and Mr. Peska proposed the Reservoir Dam as the number one priority. Mr. Mack pointed out the SWRPC will assist. Mr. Underwood referenced the Town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan as well.
Ms. Rebecca Brown was representing the residents on Ford Avenue. The Selectboard agreed this would be another project. Taking care of the stream would save Ford Avenue from being flooded. There is an abundance of wildlife in that area.
Ms. Mayberry moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel, (c) Reputations and (e) Pending Claims or Litigation. Mr. Dalessio seconded the motion and, on a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:20 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:48 PM.
Ms. Mayberry moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 13, 2017, be sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Accounts Payable check register in the amount of $40,516.38 for checks dated July 14, 2017. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Payroll Register for the week ending July 08, 2017 in the amount of $29,949.41 for checks dated July 14, 2017. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Employer Taxes for Withholding, MEDI and FICA taxes in the amount of $6,616.81 for the week ending July 08, 2017. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MEETING – July 6, 2017: Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Minutes of the regular Selectboard meeting of July 6, 2017, as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved. Ms. Mayberry abstained as she was not present at this meeting.
The Selectboard received and reviewed Minutes of the following meeting:
- Walpole Conservation Commission – June 5, 2017.
MAP and LOT # 028-124-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant the Sewer Abatement in the amount of $216.10 for Map and Lot #028-124-000. This sewer user was charged twice in October 2016 and it had not been corrected. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
GRIFFIN and ANDREA VICKERS-SIVRET, 56 Old Keene Road, Map and Lot #018-018-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to approve Building Permit # 2017-19 for Griffin and Andrea Vickers-Sivret to “Construct a 24’ x 24’, 1 Story Garage” at Map and Lot #018-018-000. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund Program (Continued): Mrs. Pschirrer felt they need to meet with the Conservation Commission about this program. There was discussion about submitting four preliminary projects: 1) Reservoir Dam, 2) Stream on the Old Keene Road / Ford Avenue; 3) Connecticut River Bank Erosion in North Walpole; and 4) Mill Pond. They will then wait to see if there will be support for any of these projects.
Hooper Institute Youth Workers Personnel Forms: Ms. Mayberry moved to approve and sign two Hooper Institute Youth Workers Personnel forms. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
TrueNorth Scope of Work Agreement: Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Scope of Work agreement with TrueNorth for two Dell lap top computers for the amount of $2,556.72. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Tax Collector Report: Mrs. Sandy Smith, Tax Collector, submitted the following report: The new Property Tax balance due is $422,747.02 for the 2017 spring bills. The total uncollected for all accounts including the above is $756,303.96. Mrs. Smith said this is spectacular compared to other towns.
Water and Sewer:
- Income Report: Ms. Daigle provided the following Water/Sewer Receipts to-date 7/13/2017: Total Receipts $241,254.79 and the Total left to Collect $84,046.87. This represents 74% paid and 26% still outstanding.
- New Policy and Procedure: This will be an Agenda item for the next meeting.
- Quarterly Billing Plan: This will be an Agenda item for the next meeting.
New England Power Co./National Grid – Map and Lot #026-010-000: Mrs. Pschirrer and Mrs. Downing met with Mr. Bob Watjen regarding National Grid’s request to regain ownership of Map and Lot #026-010-000. Mrs. Pschirrer worked with Attorney Hockensmith to discuss the research and history of this parcel. In 2010 the North Walpole Tax Collector took land she believed was owned by Boston and Main Railroad who had not been paying taxes on these two parcels. New England Power Co./National Grid is now selling this off to another corporation. They discovered there is this parcel of land in their records that they believe they own and found a Deed but in the Cheshire County Land Records the Town owns it. A part of the confusion is the State of NH did not tax the railroad land at that time. In summary: Mrs. Pschirrer explained the land belonged to the New England Power Company/National Grid. They now need to do work on that land. She requested that Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry authorize the transfer of #026-010-000 from the Town of Walpole to New England Power Co./National Grid. The Town will then calculate what they would have received for a tax bill for the spring 2017.
Mr. Dalessio moved to approve the return of the land, Map and Lot #026-010-000, back to the New England Power Co./National Grid. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Mrs. Pschirrer will have Attorney Hockensmith process all the documents for this transfer.
Letter from Bennett Daviss: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a letter from Mr. Bennett Davis. Recently, a group of Walpole residents came before the Selectboard to introduce the idea of building a community solar energy array on the town’s closed dump site. The solar array would provide electricity to the grid that would be credited against the town’s electric bills, thus benefiting the residents of all three villages. Mr. Daviss is requesting two figures from its most recently completed operating year: the total number of kilowatt-hours of electricity the town consumed and the total amount of money the town paid for that electric power. These figures will enable consultants to give them realistic estimates of the size and cost of the array that state regulations would permit them to building. The Selectboard approved this request.
Thank You note from Fall Mountain Cross Country Ski Team: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a Thank You note from the Fall Mountain Cross Country Ski Team for their help during Old Home Days.
Thank You Note from Old Home Days Committee: A Thank You note was received from the Old Home Days Committee who expressed their appreciation for the Selectboard’s help during the Old Home Days celebration.
RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:
Ms. Mayberry moved to recess this Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 8:28 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:40 PM.
Ms. Mayberry moved to adjourn this meeting. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 8:42 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary