Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 10/19/17

TOWN OF WALPOLE

STAFF MEETING

OCTOBER 19, 2017

 

Selectboard Present:     Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio, Cheryl Mayberry

Also Present:                Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department), Michael Rau (Highway Department), Paul Colburn (Recycling Center), 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.  Rich Kreissle (Department of Finance), Justine Fafara (Library), Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector) and Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department) were not present.

 

Hooper Institute:  Ms. Becky Whippie provided the following report for the Hooper Institute dated October 19, 2017:

Mrs. Eloise Clark and Ms. Whippie worked in the Community Gardens on the food shelf sections yesterday.  Mrs. Eloise Clark has been harvesting the gardens with students at the Walpole Elementary School and the produce is sent to the kitchen.  On October 28th the Community Garden is having a soil amendment day, general clean-up day and Garlic Planting Workshop by Fritze Till from 10:00am to Noon.  Things are still in the garden like kale.

Ms. Whippie has been working with Pre-K, Kindergarten and Third Grade about tree identification, photosynthesis, the color of chlorophyll, leaf marking, rubbing with labels, etc.  In the Fourth Grade they have been talking about apples, apple orchards, the life cycle, taste comparisons, press cider, draw and label apple varieties (6); a neighbor had a beautiful crab apple tree and she was very kind to allow each student to pick an apple off her tree.  They could see the apple parts connections to the apple unit from the life cycle.  They did an apple exploration with the Pre-K and First Grade.  In the Second Grade Ms. Whippie has been working with soils, making loam, microbes.  They pulled up some of the bean plants and found little nitrogen nodules on them.  Then they harvested bigger nodules on potatoes.  With all the students she talked about frost and the freezing point of water.  With Kindergarten, First and Fourth Grades they did seed saving with calendula, garlic, chives and kale.

Mrs. Clark does the Fifth and Sixth Grades and enhances the Seventh and Eighth Grades curriculum.   Sometimes they do canning but not in the schools; they harvest and Ms. Whippie takes it home to can.  In Kindergarten they harvested mint and she made mint jelly for the students to taste.  Second Grade is the green bean producers and they enjoy Dilly Beans.

In the garden in the last two weeks they harvested pumpkins (best crop they ever had), butternut squash, strawberry popcorn, rhubarb, green beans, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, kale and garlic chives.  The students quite often ask Ms. Whippie if they can have kale today; it brightens her day.  She never says “no” to that.  They also do some conservation by managing the garden produce.

Mrs. Pschirrer understands that Mrs. Clark and Ms. Whippie were given a new award from the NH Association of Conservation Districts.  The award is for the “NH State Educators of the Year”Ms. Whippie explained that each year the county submits their award winner to the State.  The presentation will be on November 2nd at the NH Conservation District’s Annual Banquet.  Each year this is held in the county where the award is being presented.  The Selectboard stated they are very proud of both of them.  It is quite an honor.

  

Recycling Center:  Mr. Paul Colburn provided a monthly report as of October 18, 2017.  The budget for 2017 is $166,350.00 and the actual, as of this date, is $138,915.28.  They do not plan on shipping out more plastic this year because it takes a lot to get the weight.  Over-all they are on course.  Mr. Colburn reviewed the numbers on his “Three Year Comparison to Recyclables”.  A lot of the flow up-and-down is commercial.  He explained the “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison”. This remains pretty consistent.  The schools do a lot of recycling. There have been increases this month with cardboard.

Mr. Colburn reported the Boy Scouts set up on September 23rd from 9:00 am to Noon and sold $355.00 of popcorn, $69.00 of Beef Jerky and had donations of $152.00.  The cement blocks were deteriorating so they repaired those in-house.  Some items were removed from the Town Hall.  On Fridays when the Highway Department is not working they have been able to use their backhoe to pack down boxes.  They gave the Police Department two file cabinets.  Walpole School’s Running of the Chickens raffle was held on Saturday from 9:00 am to Noon.  The Re-use hut will be closing at the end of the month.  Last month commercial businesses in the Town and the schools gave them substantial amounts of cardboard, boxes, mixed paper, 1 trailer, 4 loads of wood and recyclables.  Next year the Recycling Center will be 35 years old.  Some people expressed an interest in doing something like an event.  There will be a Safety Committee meeting on Friday, November 3rd at 2:15 pm.  Mrs. Pschirrer is pleased the departments are helping each other.

 

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Downing provided the following report dated October 19, 2017:

Assessing Update:

  • The MS-1 report which sets the total valuation for the Town of Walpole was submitted to the state on Sept. 29th.
  • DRA assessors were in Town within the last two weeks auditing 36 properties that were measured and listed by Avitar assessors during the revaluation process.
  • Property owners that feel that their property tax assessment was incorrect can submit an abatement request form. Providing the rational as to why the property assessment is not correct will be the responsibility of the property owner.  Abatement forms are available in the Town Hall in the hallway near the tax maps and card area.  Forms will be accepted by the Selectboard Office starting on January 2, 2018.  The last day to submit abatement requests is March 1st per RSA.

Water and Sewer:

  • Meter readings began on Wednesday, October 4th through Friday, October 6th with manual and credit meter readings being completed by October 17, 2017. Daigle is checking all the data.
  • Meter readings have been downloaded. Invoicing is to occur the week of October 23rd.
  • 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.

Town Hall Facilities and Technology Updates:

  • The corner Town Hall sign has been installed. The wall sign for the Southeast area of the building is currently in production.
  • Cement fixes were completed for walkways and entrances.
  • Energy Efficient LED light bulbs have been installed in the current outdoor light fixtures. New outside fixtures for the north and east side entrances will be installed in 2018.
  • The ants in the kitchen have been dealt a blow and have retreated from the sink area. Pschirrer mentioned the ants are back.  The battle continues.
  • Another load of documents to be shredded has been gathered by the Town Clerk and Tax Collector’s Office.
  • A laptop has been ordered for the Recycling Department. It will be here tomorrow.

Save the Dates:

  • Friday, October 20th will be a Health Trust Benefits presentation from 1-2 pm to all full-time Town employees. Mandatory attendance is required for this employee group.
  • Friday, November 3rd from 1-2 pm 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.

 

Highway DepartmentMr. Mike Rau presented the following report for the period of September 20, 2017 to October 18, 2017.  They finished roadside mowing today.  Following are other projects that were completed:

  • Cold patch;
  • Serviced trucks and equipment;
  • Trash Cans;
  • Installed 2 culverts on Hayes Road;
  • Replaced culvert on Maple Grove Road;
  • Replaced culvert on Meetinghouse Road and ditched; it looks a lot better;
  • Fixed minor washouts not previously worked on; Ramsey Hill, Old Keene Road,
  • Dug out School Street culvert – Mr. Rau is talking to Mr. Mark Houghton on how to proceed with drainage work this area;
  • Truck inspections;
  • Cleaned up the shop yard; they screened quite a bit of sand to level the area to make it more efficient.
  • They screened sand so now have more winter sand.

Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned how nice it is to have good, smooth roads in Town; some were done by the State and some by the Town Highway Department.  She would like to write a letter to the Department of Transportation thanking them for the paving done in Walpole.  Those roads are now passable.

 

Police Department:  Police Chief Mike Paquette submitted a report from September 16, 2017 through October 15, 2017.  The total number of calls for service was 393.

  • Public Safety Calls:

Emergency Calls – 34              Administration – 60                 Citizen Assists – 46

  • Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 7                           MV Stops – 137                       Traffic Safety – 18

  • Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol – 34        Crimes Against A Person – 38              Crimes Against Property-19

They are trying to get as many grants as they can.  The State is allowing them to participate in next year’s program for radar, DUI stops, etc.  They have had some good arrests and stops so the grant programs were beneficial.  They are down a little on Public Safety Calls but that is always changing month-to-month and down a little bit from last month on Criminal Investigations.  They closed their application process for the new potential hire.  They have four-to-five applicants which is good.  They will go through the complete program for them anticipating there will be one for the January Police Academy.  There are stringent requirements to get hired today.  They want to get the best candidate they can.  Physical tests will start in about a week-and-a-half.  Area police departments are down and looking for officers.  It is hard to find people to work in these jobs.  Officer Gosetti was promoted to Corporal.  He is also the part-time Chief of Langdon.  The Running of the Chickens is this Saturday therefore Chief Paquette will be spending about three hours getting everything organized in the Village.  Chief Paquette met with the Head Start group in Drewsville and dispersed Halloween bags to them.  They will also be dispersing them on “Take Back Drug Day” and on Halloween night.  The Police and Principal Sam Jacobs of the Walpole Middle School had a lock-in training with the teachers and students.  A few officers will be heading to the AG Conference in the White Mountains; it will focus on up-grades for domestic matters and protocols on juvenile cases.  After the officers come back they will talk to the other officers that could not attend.  The new door is in on the back of the building.  He thanked Mr. Colburn for the pallets and the filing cabinets were put to good use.

Chief Paquette reported they had twelve false alarms at Tractor Supply since January.  The officers make sure the building is secure.  The neighbors have not complained.  When the officers get called out they get paid for three hours so they are good about checking other areas rather than just going home.  Tractor Supply has not reported any thefts or anyone actually getting into the building.  He will send a letter to the Tractor Supply headquarters to advise when another false alarm comes in they will be billed for the service.  Mr. Dalessio felt they should start enforcing the policy for every business in Town.

There were two young men in Town who found a wallet that was stolen in Bellows Falls and returned it to the Walpole Police Department.  Chief Paquette would like to draft a nice letter to thank them for what they did and give them a gift card.  He wants to recognize them.

They had to use After Math to clean one of the cruisers of the bio-hazards.  They responded within two hours and did a really good job.

 

Town Clerk / Tax CollectorMrs. Smith was unable to attend but submitted the following report dated October 19, 2017.

She took a couple of vacation days.  They need to take them now, as TAXES will be coming soon and then no time off until the money is in!  She will be back on Friday to attend the HealthTrust presentation.

They have accomplished quite a bit this month.

On October 2nd they changed to the “ONE CHECK SYSTEM”.  The customer only writes one check payable to the Town of Walpole.  Previously they needed to write two checks, one for the Town and one for the State of NH.  They now deposit all monies into a Town Account and Rich sends the State money to the State electronically.  Rich and she have spent hours preparing for this change.  Tom Goins also was very involved with this change; he worked very closely with Savings Bank of Walpole.

State of NH Department of Motor Vehicles successfully installed their new software program “VISION”.  This mandated that all town clerks and motor vehicle sub stations must be closed October 6th until October 11th.  There were a few small issues but except for running a little slow everything seems to be working.

October 26th they should receive their Credit Card Machines!  Customers have been asking for them.  They will be able to process Debit and Credit cards, scan them or use the chip.  This will just be for the Town Clerk’s department.  Property taxes may come at a later date.

They also have shipped boxes of old records to be shredded; they are cleaning out their store room.  Sarah found a great company and soon they will have this project completed.

October has been a very exciting month.  Tax Collection is slow; they collected $75,008.04 for the period of 09-21-17 to 10-13-17.  The Town Clerk’s department collected $39,521.70 town income and $13,510.29 for the State MV Department.

 

Library:  Mrs. Justine Fafara was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following report for the Walpole Town Library, dated October 19th, 2017:

September 2016 Stats:                                     September 2017 Stats:

23 Days Open                                                  23 Days Open

1588 People                                                     1450 Prople

2187 Circ                                                         2146 Circ

33 Programs                                                     34 Programs

181 Kids                                                          91 Kids

25 Teens                                                          53 Teens

142 Adults                                                       152 Adults

September 2016 Avg: 69 ppl & 95 circ/day     September 2017 Avg: 63 ppl & 93 circ/day

11 people per program                                     9 people per program

 

North Walpole Stats:

September 2016                                                           September 2017

196 circ                                                                       223 circ

69 people                                                         85 people

16 computer                                                    3 computer

6 video circ

 

We will notice a large decline in the number of kids who attended programs this September compared to last September.  Part of this is that some of the patrons we categorized as “kids” last year are now “teens” and we will notice that number increased.  The other reason for the decrease is the number of kids participating in soccer, and soccer practice for middle school kids is every day after school, as opposed to once a week for the younger kids.  They expect these numbers to be back up once soccer is over.

Mrs. Fafara will be in Burlington, VT for a New England Library Association Conference next week, the 22nd to 24th.

They met with Barry Bellows, their builder, and Dan Scully, their architect, about the library expansion project and the budget for the project yesterday, the 18th.  Hopefully she will have fabulous drawings to show the Selectboard soon.

Their volunteer appreciation dinner is scheduled for November 7th at 6:00 pm in the Town Hall.

They have some great programs coming up at the library including a workshop on buying and selling houses this Saturday and family movie night next Thursday.  All their programs are advertised on their Facebook page and their website.

The Friends of the Library Book Sale is next weekend.  Friday is a preview night with a $20 charge.  This is meant mostly for book sellers and dealers.  Saturday and Sunday are free and open to the public.  Cash and checks are accepted.

 

Walpole RecreationMr. Cassarino was unable to attend but submitted a report dated October 19, 2017.

Soccer:

  1. Very busy season this year
  2. Kids are enjoying themselves and learning a lot;
  3. Coaches are doing a great job of holding practices and making sure the kids are learning the skills necessary.
  4. Have had a few parents ask to set up a Soccer Committee;
  5. He told them that he did not want to have a separate committee from the Recreation Committee;
  6. Encouraged them to attend the next Recreation Committee meeting in November to share their ideas;
  7. Spoke with two parents and they have some great ideas to help continue to improve the program
  8. Asked for their help in developing a soccer camp/clinic during the spring.

 

Basketball:

  1. Have started getting everything together for the season.
  2. Trying to see if it is possible to do a clinic for the younger kids on the weekends (still working on this).

 

Other Business:

Mrs. Pschirrer advised that on November 16th the three Selectboard members and Mr. Rich Kreissle will be attending the NH Municipal Association meeting.  There will be no Department Manager’s meeting in November but monthly reports can still be submitted.

 

Adjournment:  Mrs. Pschirrer closed this Staff Meeting at 6:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

 

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