TOWN OF WALPOLE
JULY 20, 2017
Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry
Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration), Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance), Michael Rau (Road Agent), Sgt. Justin Sanctuary (Police Department), Paul Colburn (Recycling Center), Justine Rogers (Librarian); Justin Cassarino (Director-Recreation Department; Eloise Clark (Hooper Institute)
Call to Order: Mrs. Pschirrer called the Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. She advised this meeting is being recorded. Police Chief Michael Paquette and Sandra Smith were unable to attend this meeting.
Mrs. Pschirrer welcomed Mrs. Lindsey Guyette who is the Administrative Assistant working for the Highway Department. She will be assisting Mr. Rau, answering the phone, handling invoices, catching up on reports, and will also be a flagger, when needed.
Finance Department: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that no later than September 1st the Selectboard would like to have the first draft of the proposed 2018 budget from all Department Heads. They would also like to have proposed Warrant Articles so they will have an idea of what is being contemplated. Mr. Kreissle is pretty much on target. The Department Heads received their budgets. The only 2017 Warrant Article still open is the one for maintenance of Town buildings and the Library. Mrs. Justine Rogers said they got their air conditioning system but Houghton put them on a schedule for the other two items. Mr. Mark Houghton will be contacted as the Town needs to have their invoice for the Library. Mr. Rau noted the garage roof is finished.
Mrs. Pschirrer advised that we are essentially a little more than six months into the year; 54% of the budget has been spent but we are doing well. Paving will begin the first part of August and that will take a good part of the budget. Mr. Dalessio is pleased at this point. He is concerned with the building maintenance warranty because some work has not yet been done. We do not want to over-run that Warrant.
Recreation Department: Mr. Justin Cassarino, Director, submitted the following report as of July 18, 2017:
- The pool has been very busy with a lot of new swimmers. The Bellows Falls pool was shut down for maintenance, so their daily swimmers came to us. There were a lot of birthday parties this year.
- The new swimming instructor is doing a great job and the kids are really enjoying his upbeat personality during each lesson. He is getting feedback from the parents about what they would like to see to help improve our levels. All of the Session Two classes have participants and some signed up for Session Three as well.
- They had their safety training with the Walpole Fire Department on July 6th. Everyone was very impressed with how the staff handled the situations and said that this was a very good crew. Jane Skantze and Kate McNally, who work for Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities, will be doing a staff training on August 1st on how to deal with patrons that are smoking/vaping on the park and will not leave.
- Season is going very well and game nights are always a busy day at the park.
- They have been having an easier time finding people to referee the games this season.
- Sam Jacobs has given them permission to use the Walpole Elementary School Gym on days that it is raining so they do not have to reschedule the games.
- They are meeting on July 29th with the league to discuss the upcoming season.
- Candy Bar BINGO (August 2nd or 4th). They are leaning toward August 4th as there is a family event in the Town Hall.
- Bubble Soccer (August 19th) but they are still exploring this.
Walpole Library: Mrs. Fafara submitted a report dated July 20, 2017. At the top of her report are the Stats as follows:
June 2016 Stats: June 2017 Stats:
26 Days Open 26 Days Open
1638 People 1665 People
2207 Circ. 2228 Circ.
43 Programs 36 Programs
216 Kids 184 Kids
28 Teens 40 Teens
257 Adults 161 Adults
June 2016 Avg. 63 ppl & 85 circ per day June 2017 Avg. 64 ppl & 86 circ per day
12 people per program 11 people per program
Jan-June 2016 Avg: 60 ppl & 86 circ Jan-June 2017 Avg. 62 ppl & 91 circ
11 people per program 12 people per program
614 distinct active users (15% of pop.) 703 distinct active users (18% of pop.)
There are 100 more active users than last year. Things are growing. This summer a lot of people got new Library cards. Their air conditioners arrived just in time as it was quite warm. The lighting project and disassembling the old air conditioning system are the other two pieces they are waiting to have done. She was told they are on the Houghton list. Summer reading is going well. Sixty-five kids registered for the summer reading program. Their biggest program of the summer was last Thursday, Wildlife Encounters brings some zoo animals for the kids to learn about and hold. Thirty-two kids and 16 adults attended. They had a program today and made Super Hero caps. Next month they will have an individual talk about butterflies and they will make t-shirts with butterfly stencils, etc.
Mr. Dalessio asked Mrs. Rogers to share information on the expansion of the building at Staff Meetings. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned the Library Board is talking to Mr. Dan Scully, architect from Keene, using the property that is available to them. They have to talk to their neighbors about using some space when a truck needs to come in, for a dumpster, etc. Mrs. Rogers has no office; the children’s programs are growing significantly, and there is a need to re-organize the space they have. They will also have a community room. The biggest challenge is the roof line; the problem is water coming off the roof. Mrs. Pschirrer confirmed they would bring drawings, etc. to the Staff Meeting as their plans move forward. They need to raise their own money to do this so there will be a fundraiser in the future.
Highway Department: Mr. Mike Rau submitted a report for the period of June 15 to July 19, 2017. Mr. Rau reported the flooding took about two weeks of repairs and cleaning-up. They are still finding a few areas that need repairs. Two culverts needed to be replaced this week.
- Did Cold Patching;
- Serviced trucks and equipment;
- Met with CLD Engineering for flooding; they looked at five of the major sites. A proposal was received. The Selectboard will look at it during their regular meeting tonight.
- Replaced catch basin in North Walpole;
- Dug out culvert ends;
- Cleaned off catch basins;
- Fixed washouts from 6/19/17 flooding;
- Cleaned out catch basins with vacuum truck; it was time as some had not been done in about eight years;
- Put out and took care of trash cans for Old Home Days; Mr. Rau would like earlier communication with the committee for the next Old Home Days event. Dalessio recommended he send a note to Ms. Kelly Hicks so it will be on their list of things to do.
- Fixed Valley Road for paving;
- Put up street signs;
- Did road side mowing; the tractor is working great. They will stop doing this during the paving work but then will finish doing it.
- Replaced culvert on County Road and North Road.
Mr. Dalessio would like to have a trash can put on the Drewsville Common. It has been requested that two more cans be put on the Town Common during the band concerts. There are two cans but four cans are needed. Mr.Rau said the North Walpole Park people have been coming in regularly asking for items. Mr. Rau has been giving them stone, grass seed and a few other items to help out. They are looking to get a bench. They will do their own bike racks. One will be at the Library and the second one at the Park. Mrs. Pschirrer advised the flooding led to a lot of over-time for the Highway Department. Mr. Rau and Mrs. Pschirrer are meeting with representatives from the USDA and will walk an “unknown name” stream that flooded Ford Avenue.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn would still like to have the ash removed. Mr. Rau will take care of that. Mr. Colburn mentioned making some changes in his hand-outs and they are not finished yet. They are cutting the information back to 3 years instead of 5 years. Mr. Colburn explained the “5 Year Comparison to Recyclables” and the “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison” worksheets. He noted that Hubbard’s rotates their bulbs so they got a big shipment of bulbs in 2016. The Year Forecast was $30,000; to-date the figure is $24,745. The weather also affects the Recycling Center; people choose not to come in if it is raining or snowing. Mr. Dalessio mentioned that Mr. Kreissle provides a monthly report on the Recycling Revenues. As of July 19, 2017 the Budget figure was $166,350.00; the Actual is $93,815.66. The Annual Forecast for Recyclables was 374.00/ton; the Annual Estimate is 411.84/ton or a 9.6% increase.
Green Mountain Railroad came to the Recycling Center and gave them several items. TransCanada has done a similar thing. Other commercial entities have brought in various items including office paper and cardboard. They started a trailer program with the Fall Mountain Regional School District. They bring in trailer loads of recyclables to the Center. School teachers have come in for various items for classroom projects. They also will take back any extras that were taken and not used. They have three young Hooper students working this summer. The FMRSD gave the Center about 45 lockers. If anyone would like some let him know because they will eventually be crushed. Mr. Colburn has had several 18 and under-age people willing to volunteer but he does not have a way of doing that. Mrs. Pschirrer said it could be done but would take some time to put together a program similar to what the Hooper Institute uses. Let’s talk about developing something for the future.
Mr. Colburn reported they lost power for a few hours so took the opportunity to hold a class on operating the Center. They had a truck in the Old Home Days parade, there were problems but they made it.
Hooper Institute: Mrs. Eloise Clark reported they had more than 100 kids involved in the summer programs. One group is for the 1st through 4th grades; another group is 5th grade through the 8th grade and the High School programs continue through the summer. The mentors where the kids are working are great. Mr. Dalessio encouraged everyone to attend Hooper Institute meeting when the students report on their scholarships and accomplishments in college. The trust money is well worth the investment in these young adults.
Police Department: The Police Department submitted a report for the period of June 15, 2017 through July 15, 2017. Sgt. Justin Sanctuary distributed and explained the reports. The total number of calls for service was 455.
- Public Safety Calls -169:
Emergency Calls – 54 Administrative – 41 Citizen Assists – 74
- Motor Vehicle Calls – 174:
Accidents – 6 MV Stops – 140 Traffic Safety – 18
- Criminal Investigations – 112:
Drugs/Alcohol – 50 Crimes Against A Person– 42 Crimes Against Property -20
Sgt. Sanctuary reported that Drugs and Alcohol are up. They are still doing the extra patrols through the Safety Grant. The department had a lot of vacation time in July and will have more in August. They will pick up their new cruiser tomorrow. Houghton will be there the week of August 7th to do some building maintenance. They finished Narcon training. There were two robberies; one in Walpole and one in North Walpole. There were four deaths in the last month that they continue to work on. It takes a lot of time. The towers on Fall Mountain have had more activity so more alarms have been going on. They are looking for creative ways to get up there. Mrs. Pschirrer said New England Power is concerned about the poles; they are supposed to notify the Selectboard Office when they start to work up there.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing submitted a report dated July 20, 2017.
Water and Sewer:
- Water and Sewer bills were posted on 6/14/17. Payment processing and customer service requests have been very high for the past month. Over 130 users came to the Selectboard Office to hand-deliver their payments.
- Reminder Notices, Demand of Payment Notices and Final Notices Before Lien/Disconnect will be posted to overdue accounts by the end of the week (7/21/2017).
- A Water and Sewer Invoice Payment Policy from the Selectboard and Water and Sewer Invoice Collections Procedure have been created and are being reviewed before final acceptance.
- In late August, a letter will be sent to property owners with a link to a draft tax card which can be reviewed online and be downloaded to print. Owners can also query the system to view comparable properties. We are encouraging all property owners to review their draft cards.
- If there are questions with how assessments were arrived at or if you believe your property tax card contains inaccurate physical data, residents should call to arrange for an informal hearing with one of the Avitar Assessors. The hearings will be held at the Town Hall following the phone call process.
- The fall tax bill will reflect updated property values.
Town Hall Facilities:
- The top of the Town Hall foundation is receiving a new coating of sealant. Landscaping clean-up and spot painting of problem exterior spots is also occurring.
Appreciation Gathering for Town Employees and Volunteers:
- A date and type of get together is needed so that planning can move forward with reserving a space and hiring a caterer. Feedback from the Selectboard and Department Managers is being sought.
A decision was made to have a similar BBQ as last year. Mrs. Downing will work on a date so arrangements can be made for a space and caterer. More information to follow.
Town Clerk – Tax Collector: Mrs. Sandy Smith was unable to attend but submitted the following report for the period of June 15 to July 19, 2017: This has been a very busy month as the due date for property taxes was July 3rd. It is amazing how many people love to come in the last day! Then they have the property owners that put the check in the mail and then call to see if they have received it. They collected $6,517,527.77 in taxes and interest as of July 19th. Of that they collected $3,985,147.44 just since the last staff meeting! Their uncollected is $410,133.49 for the spring bills and just $728,200.00 total uncollected.
They are now busy answering questions from realtors regarding “closings”, people checking to make certain that their mortgage companies have paid their tax.
The Clerk Department has collected $5,507.50. $5,327.00 for motor vehicle registrations; approx. 500 registrations each month. They receive lots of calls requesting estimates for auto registrations. The caller does not have all the information that they need so it can be time consuming.
They have only collected $55.00 in dog licenses. Meghan has been telephoning delinquent dog owners and it is bringing in a few payments. Some just forget and with a reminder they are happy to come in and then we have the others with NO intention to pay! They don’t feel this is a tax they should pay as their dog never leaves their yard. They explain that this is mandated by the State of New Hampshire and they still say they will not pay. They say the dog died, but you drive by and the dog is there. They also say that the dog that you see in their yard is NOT their dog! Most towns and cities have these same problems with dogs. At least we don’t have very many dog complaints. Much easier to collect taxes than dog fees!
Adjournment: Mrs. Pschirrer closed this Staff Meeting at 6:08 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary