TOWN OF WALPOLE
SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry
Also Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department), Michael Rau (Highway Department), Paul Colburn (Recycling Center), Sandra Smith (Town Clerk / Tax Collector), Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute)
Call to Order: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Staff meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. She advised this meeting is being recorded. Justine Fafara and Justin Cassarino were not present.
Mrs. Pschirrer thanked Mrs. Downing for organizing the picnic for employees, volunteers and their families. It was terrific. She thanked everybody for the desserts and thanked those who stayed to help clean-up.
Mrs. Pschirrer thanked the Department Heads for turning in their budgets. The Selectboard will contact the Department Heads to arrange a date and time for them to meet. The Department Heads received a reminder that no matter how small or insignificant an injury is it must be reported immediately otherwise the Town could get a fine for late reporting. Even if the injury never goes anywhere report it to Mrs. Downing so she can give the State first notice. If something develops later on we made the report. It is a safety issue.
Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned any time they are filling out a time sheet; make sure the employee initials any corrections. The Town also had a fine for that. Mr. Dalessio said to be sure to put AM or PM on the time shifts. This is very important. Mrs. Pschirrer said when any of the above issues leads to fines, the Selectboard brings it to the Department Head’s attention.
Town Clerk/Tax Collector: Mrs. Smith reported they collected $76,659.37 in property taxes. They received lots of calls regarding the reassessment and referred some to Mrs. Downing.
Mrs. Smith attended the annual Town and City Clerks Association meeting held in North Conway. They always learn something new and net working with the other clerks is always interesting.
The Motor Vehicle department will be closed October 6th and plan to be up and running on Wednesday, October 11th. They will be installing a new version of their software called VISION. During this period no one in the State will be able to register their vehicles. The Town Clerk/Town Collector’s office will be open normal hours as they can collect taxes and process vital records and answer questions. They will also be working on their files.
They collected $65,376.50 in town clerk receipts. Of this amount, dogs accounted for $240.50. Meghan is still sending letters and telephoning and bringing in results!
They will go to the One check system on October 2nd. Customers will write one check instead of two checks. In a few weeks they should be able to accept credit cards. The customer will be paying the convenience fee of 2.95% if they use their credit card. There will be no cost to the Town. Mr. Kreissle and she have spent hours working on this project.
They collected $445.00 in Marriage license fees—of this amount the Town gets to keep $84.00. This takes lots of time with little income.
Highway Department: Mr. Rau advised that eleven (11) miles of roads were paved. They still have some money left over so he hopes to do some shimming on the roads to help get them through the winter. They tried to do some work on low shoulders/dips alongside the roads. Chesterfield and Alstead helped them with paving. It is good to work with other towns. Mrs. Pschirrer said the cooperation is good. They just have a few more roads to do and they will have been around the entire town once doing roadside mowing. The department has also done the following:
- Cold patching;
- Serviced the trucks and equipment;
- Took care of trash cans;
- Road sweeping
- Picked up ash at the Recycling Center;
- Helped with trucking for Chesterfield, paving;
- Helped Alstead with trucking, gravel;
- The pool cover is on the pool;
- Trees in the roads;
- Truck inspections;
- Fixed Truck #4 – Hydraulic hose;
- Fixed mower – hydraulic hose and brackets;
- Set up and took away tables and chairs for the cookout;
- Put up school bus signs.
Mr. Rau mentioned the department is moving along. It was a busy summer. They got the majority of projects done. Mrs. Pschirrer said the fall season is arriving quickly. Mr. Rau said they will be ready by October 15th.
Hooper Institute: Ms. Rebecca Whippie reported they got off to a great start with the new school year. It was a rainy summer; the gardens are growing well.
Mrs. Eloise Clark is working with:
Fifth Grade – Insects;
Sixth Grade – Botany and planting.
Ms. Rebecca Whippie is working with:
Pre-K – Getting to know the young students; they should be ready to go outside next week.
Kindergarten to the Fourth Grade – Working in the garden and doing outside observations;
Water and tasks in the garden;
First Grade – Planting seeds, saving seeds and doing apple exploration;
Second Grade – Soils;
Third Grade – Photosynthesis – Trees;
Fourth Grade – Conservation programs for protected wildflowers, squash plants and drawing w/labels; Kale seed saving and apples. The students keep eating the kale.
Different classes have tasted: blueberries, mint, chives, green beans, kale, rhubarb cake, orange-cherry tomatoes. There are more things to harvest but things are still growing.
Community Gardens – produce has regularly been delivered to the local food shelf and/or Keene Community Kitchen.
Manager of Finance: Mr. Kreissle is still working on the budget. He will start training Mrs. Jodi Daigle on payroll work next week. Mrs. Pschirrer talked to Mr. Kreissle about the fact that not much was spent out of Warrant Article for municipal buildings. It seems like a lot of it is for the Library. Chief Paquette will be using about $4,000 to finish some work. Mrs. Pschirrer hopes the Department Heads will think of future repairs so they can put together another Warrant Article for repairs to their buildings. Mr. Dalessio mentioned the Selectboard might consider encumbering some money left over; it might be $20,000.
Walpole Library: Mrs. Justine Fafara was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following report dated September 20th:
August 2016 Stats: August 2017 Stats:
25 Days Open 25 Days Open
1789 People 1614 People
2420 Circ 2248 Circ
34 Programs 26 Programs
186 Kids 129 Kids
2 Teens 11 Teens
159 Adults 132 Adults
April 2016 Avg: 72 ppl & 97 circ per day April 2017 Avg: 65 ppl & 90 circ per day
10 People per program 10 people per program
The new lighting is in and looks great! That was the last of their warrant article projects.
Michael from Quality Computer Services in Alstead came and did some re-wiring and troubleshooting for them. Everything is working wonderfully now and all the wires and routers are organized in a cabinet under her desk.
- Fafara went to the Children’s Book Preview at the State Library on the 11th.
- She is going to New England Library Association Conference on October 22nd-24th.
- Friends are collecting books for the book sale until October 12th. The sale is the 27th-29th.
- The Stuffed Animal Slumber Party is this weekend, the 22nd and 23rd. The children bring in their favorite stuffed animals and leave them overnight. Pictures are taken. The children come back the next day to pick up their animals.
North Walpole Stats:
July 2016 July 2017
194 circ 273 circ
3 computer use 7 computer use
62 patrons 84 patrons
29 hours 31 hours
August 2016 August 2017
198 circ 250 circ
3 computer use 7 computer use
64 patrons 62 patrons
32 hours open 32 hours open.
Recycling Center: Mr. Paul Colburn explained the figures in his “3 Year Comparison to Recyclables” and “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison” reports. The Recycling Center is right on track with Revenues; the markets are up at this point. There was a good showing on recyclables for August; 122-123 tons over the year than forecast. The big items are cardboard and mixed paper. C and D is unpredictable month-to-month. Their budgeted figure for the year is $166,350.00 and as of September 20th the actual figure is $126,263.75. Two loads of wood were brought in. Fall Mountain Region School District came in with four loads of paper and other miscellaneous items. They are changing over for the season. A new volunteer, Mr. Paul Happ, is helping out with the web-site and volunteer program. The wood program is going well. Last Wednesday Mr. Colburn spoke to the Walpole Seniors and they gave him a check for $25.00 that will be in next month’s receipts. He enjoyed visiting with them.
Police Department: Police Chief Michael Paquette provided the following report from August 16, 2017 through September 15, 2017. The total number of calls for service was 354.
- Public Safety Calls:
Emergency Calls -37 Administration – 52 Citizen Assists – 63
- Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 17 MV Stops – 75 Traffic Safety – 19
- Criminal Investigations:
Drugs/Alcohol – 25 Crimes Against a Person – 49 Crimes Against Property -22
The Motor Vehicle grants will be up at the end of this month for DUI, Distracted Driver and radar enforcement. They are working to finish these up. They hope to get more grants. He will know in November if the department received a 50-50 match for equipment. Detective Bromley and Officer Gosetti went to a training class for acquiring evidence at the scene. He has some employment ads in the Upper Valley News, Keene Sentinel and on-line. They anticipate having a test at the end of October. In October the Child Advocacy Center, through the State, is having a fundraiser. Law enforcement officers will grow beards and put in $30-to-$40 to bring awareness of the Center. Sgt. Justin Sanctuary was promoted to Lieutenant in September. He is very qualified and well deserving of this. The Police Department purchased 200 Halloween bags with some treats and wrist bands that glow in the dark for the children. These bags will be given out on Drug Take Back day, October 28th at both the Police Department and Fire Department. The bags not given out on Drug Take Back Day will be brought to the Village to be given out to the children. Drug Take Back Day has been advertised in the Clarion and put on their Facebook page. There were car break-ins in North Walpole; some property was recovered. This is the time of the year the officers have to finish up their training as mandated by the State. Chief Paquette does not yet know if a Halloween Pumpkin Fest event will occur in Keene. Most Walpole officers were trained in riot control.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Downing submitted the following report dated September 21, 2017.
- Notice of Preliminary Assessment letters were mailed to property owners by Avitar Associates on August 28, 2017. The letters included an online address to view and download draft property cards. The Selectboard Office printed cards for those property owners who had difficulties accessing property card information.
- Included in the notice was a phone number and a date range for making an appointment to meet with the Avitar assessors. These meetings were held at the Town Hall on Sept. 13th and 14th. Avitar had multiple assessors present. There was high interest from property owners to meet with or submit written letters to Avitar regarding their property assessments. Most land values went up.
- Department of Revenue (DRA) appraisers were present on Sept. 14th to conduct exit interviews after property owners met with an Avitar assessor. DRA appraisers have been also involved in field work involving recent property sales and random sample appraisals to compare their findings with assessments completed by Avitar.
- The MS-1 report which sets the total valuation for the Town of Walpole will be submitted on or before Sept. 29th. The Selectboard will sign this report next week.
Water and Sewer:
- Demand of Payment Notices for accounts that are over 90 days overdue were mailed on 8/14/17.
- Increased collections have been occurring due to consistent and frequent communication with users. Continual follow-up is planned so that delinquent accounts will become current.
- Prep for October meter reads is occurring. Meter reading are planned to start during the first week of October. Billing is to follow for the middle to latter portion of October with bills being due before the end of November.
- The October dated water and sewer invoice will cover a 4-month interval (June, July, August and September). The next billing will be for a 3-month and will be the first quarterly bill for 2018. The hope is because the quarterly bill will be a smaller bill that people will pay quicker.
Town Hall Facilities and Technology Updates:
- The Town Hall entrance steps continue to be cleaned, spot repaired and sealed.
- Exterior signs are to be installed next week. This will be helpful for upcoming October weddings. Visitors may not know where the Town Hall is located.
- The cleaning out of basement continues with several no-longer-needed items being moved out over the past month. The first shipment of paper documents to the commercial shredding company will start next week. More sorting and cleaning out of documents is planned for several storage areas in the basement.
- New laptops for the Selectboard Recording Secretary and the Highway department have been purchased. A new laptop for the Recycling Department is being ordered. A new desktop for Selectboard Office has been delivered and installed. All new machines will be using Office365 which will maintain the most current version of the software and to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.
Save the Dates:
- Friday, October 20th will be a Health Trust Benefits presentation from 1-2pm to all full-time Town employees. Mandatory attendance is required for this employee group.
- Friday, November 3rd from 1-2pm is the annual Harassment Awareness Training for all Town of Walpole employees. Attendance is mandatory. If an employee cannot attend this training a certificate of attendance for an online course or training with another group can be submitted.
Recreation Department: Mr. Justin Cassarino was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following report dated September 21, 2017.
- Highway Department will be putting the cover on (Thanks Mike);
- Trash was picked up (Thank you Paul).
- 115 participants;
- Purchased all new equipment for the program;
- Games started this week;
- Entering four teams into the Walpole Elementary School tournament on September 30th.
- Their Smoke Free signs still need to be put up at the pool house, Stone Church field, and North Walpole Park.
- Informed the North Walpole Park committee that their request is on-hold and Cheryl Mayberry will meet with them.
Adjournment: Mrs. Pschirrer closed this Staff Meeting at 6:00 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary