Town of Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 12/21/17

TOWN OF WALPOLE

STAFF MEETING

DECEMBER 21, 2017

 

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

Staff Present:               Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Michael Rau (Highway Department); Paul Colburn (Recycling Center), Sandra Smith (Town Clerk / Tax Collector); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute); Justine Fafara (Director of Walpole Library); Kevin Pinsonault (Recycling Center)

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.  Police Chief Michael Paquette and Justin Cassarino were unable to attend this meeting.

 

Healthy LunchMrs. Pschirrer advised that Mrs. Downing has been planning a Healthy Lunch for all employees at noon tomorrow.  However, Mr. Kreissle reported that 5-to-7 inches of snow is predicted. Therefore, a decision was made to postpone this lunch until Tuesday, December 26th at noon.  Mr. Kreissle will be working from his home on Friday.  The Selectboard office will be open in the morning but will close at noon.  Freezing rain is forecast for Saturday.  Mrs. Fafara will close the Library on Friday and Saturday.

 

Recycling CenterMr. Paul Colburn introduced Mr. Kevin Pinsonault an employee at the Recycling Center.  Mr. Colburn provided documents for the month ending November 30, 2017.  He began with the “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison”.  They are close to the Annual Forecast estimate of 357.00/tons as the current number is 348.79/ton.  Mixed paper was up this year.  On the “3 Year Comparison to Recyclables” the Year Forecast is $30,000 and the Estimated Year To-Date is $27,553.00.  On the Recycling Revenues Monthly Report the Budget total was estimated at $166,350.00 and they are now at $176,083.20.  More revenue will be coming in before the end of the year.  Break-down figures were reviewed.  The markets for cardboard were very good in early 2017.

Mr. Pinsonault went to Concord last Thursday to be certified to be an operator at the Center.  Mr. Colburn went to a first aid class a few Saturdays ago.  He thanked the Highway Department for the sand and for packing up the boxes.  Several commercial businesses donate a substantial amount of cardboard on a regular basis.

 

Recreation DepartmentMrs. Pschirrer advised the Selectboard met with Mr. Cassarino last week on his proposed budget.  He has an active program.  Mr. Cassarino talked about basketball and referees which he needs. The Rec Dept. is looking for parents who could help.  Following is his report.

Basketball:

  • Season is going well and teams are enjoying themselves;
  • A lot of coaches have been able to find referees but they are still looking for a larger pool to choose from;
  • Teams will be entering the Westminster Tournament on January 19th & 20th;
  • Clinics will be put on at the High School by both Varsity teams

Going to really push their participants to do this;

Great way to improve on skills and meet the players.

Spring Clinic:

  • A lot of ideas have been presented for a spring activity for kids that don’t play baseball or softball;

Some ideas are soccer, basketball, and flat football;

  • Will need a lot of parent volunteers, which some have said they are already willing to help.

 

Highway DepartmentMr. Mike Rau presented the following report for the period of November 16, 2017 to December 21, 2017:

  • Serviced trucks and equipment;
  • Backed up North Road bank;
  • Set granite blocks in the North Walpole Park;
  • Stored summer equipment for the winter;
  • Ditched dirt roads;
  • Ditched River Road;
  • Fixed Truck-4 Inner Dump Cylinder;
  • Fixed Truck-5 hydraulic hose and wing cable;
  • Fixed sidewalk snow blower;
  • Fixed Truck-2 Wheel Studs;
  • Fixed Truck-3 hydraulic hose.
  • Winter Weather Callouts were: December 9, December 10, December 12, December 13, December 18 and December 19.

The new Bobcat sidewalk machine arrived today so they are anxious to see how it works.  They are trying to keep up with projects as they know snow will arrive soon.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned this is the second time someone put a large rock/concrete block on the sidewalk under the snow causing the sidewalk plow to break. It occurs between Brady and Russell Streets in North Walpole.  Residents were urged to watch out for this type of vandalism and not to hesitate to report it.

 

Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office:  Mrs. Sandy Smith submitted the following report dated December 21, 2017.  This is a very busy time of year.

They have collected $5,035,275.36 of their Fall Warrant.  The Warrant was for $5,647,660.11.  Their uncollected on this billing is only $611,615.75 and money is still coming in but very slowly – as most have paid their taxes.  The tax money came in pretty good last year but, this year seems smoother, less problems.

They received a Sewer Warrant in the amount of $47,721.84 and have received a check in the amount of $250.00 for a very partial payment.  If people do not pay, they send a delinquent notice in January and then they send Intent to Lien notices which starts the process.

They also received a Water Warrant in the amount of $4,037.55; they haven’t received any payments on that yet but they will.  The lien process also applies to the Water Warrant.

They have had to request some refunds when people over pay their taxes.  They have also called and sent notices to those who wrote their checks incorrectly.  They answered lots of questions, regarding the reassessment and sent everyone to Sarah.  She does not have time to list everything that they do.

The Town Clerk’s Department has collected $75,287.50 since their last Staff meeting.  These are the Town fees; Rich transferred $19,448.39 to the State of NH-DMV Department.

Customers love being able to just write one check, which combines Town and State fees.

Their credit card option is appreciated and will be used more as people realize that they have it.  Thanks to Rich, the State Transfer is going great-No Problems.

This has been a “Good” year, thanks to the cooperation from the Staff in the Selectmen’s Office.  Rich, Sarah and Jodi are great to work with and she tries to thank them often.  Also, they have a great Selectboard.  It is nice to feel appreciated.  Looking forward to 2018!

 

Selectboard OfficeMrs. Sarah Downing submitted the following Staff Meeting Report dated December 20, 2017.

Assessing Update:

  • Property tax abatement forms are being accepted. The last day to submit abatement applications is March 1st per RSA.
  • Veterans’ Tax Credit, Elderly and Blind Exemption application forms will be accepted up through April 15th.
  • The Selectboard Office has experienced higher than normal assessing questions due to the revaluation process.

Water and Sewer:

  • Jodi Daigle has been sending reminder notices for overdue invoices which has helped to lower the overall balance due for each billing cycle.
  • Water and/or sewer users with significant amounts due over 90 days were warranted for tax lien. Payments for liens will be processed through the Tax Collector’s Office.  Note that the amount of interest applied on outstanding balances increases from 12 to 18 percent with the transfer of debt.
  • The next billing will be for the 3-month period of Oct., Nov. and Dec. of 2017. Meter readings will occur in the middle of January 2018.  Bills will be posted before the end of January.

Town Hall Facilities:

  • Sensor switches for overhead lights were added to the restrooms and south end of Town Hall basement. This will aid in reducing municipal electricity expense.
  • The kitchen had a touch up cleaning.
  • Thank you to:
  • Ray Boas and Tara Sad for decorating the windows on the second floor of the Town Hall.
  • Adam Terrell for putting up the gazebo garland, lights and bows.
  • The Cub Scouts who put up and decorated the Christmas Tree on the gazebo.
  • Women of Walpole for the donation of lovely wreaths that were hung on the Town Hall doors.
  • Kevin Healy for fixing reoccurring Christmas light issues on the Common and in the Town Hall.

Human Resources:

  • Healthy Lunch for Town employees is being hosted on Friday, Dec. 22nd. Warm soups along with bread and tossed salad will be the main course.  A homemade, higher caloric dessert made by Peggy Pschirrer will finish off the meal in honor of the holiday season.  This lunch was made possible through wellness initiative funding from HealthTrust.

 

Hooper InstituteMs. Becky Whippie provided the following report:  It has been a busy couple of months.

Pre-K: Identified pumpkin parts and planted daffodil bulbs.  They looked for signs of spring and tasted pumpkin bread.  Drew a wild turkey and went on a coon hunt.  They gathered evergreen leaves to make into paint brushes.  Made red pine cone wreaths.  Made white pine cone bird feeders from items they collected.

Kindergarten: Did some pumpkin science; they weighed, measured, counted the ribs and estimated if it floats.  Recycling was introduced at the Walpole Primary School.  They took the students to the Recycling Center and showed them the process.  Each classroom is recycling their own materials.  They did some gardening as the growing season just kept going into October.  They demonstrated and safely showed the students how to use a hand trimmer, pruned some old stocks in the garden.  The kids were real careful with the hand pruners.  The gardens were then put to bed with organic mulch.  Balsam fir was put on a burlap pocket that was filled with balsam fir and made sachets.  They made cranberry sauce after exploring cranberries,

First Grade:  They talked about earthworms one rainy day.  They excavated through the potato beds.  Gathered dahlia bulbs.  Pruned some garden stalks, filled the wheel barrows and got to wheel them.  They had a loaded smashed potato from the potatoes they had harvested; toppings of their choice.  Planted winter rye seeds.  Gathered dried fern pods and bitternuts for a future project.  They also played an evergreen matching game.

Second Grade:  They drew popcorn life cycles.  Put organic matter back into the popcorn bed.  Introduced microbes as they are everywhere.  Harvested the remaining potatoes and ate carrots.  They made soil by rubbing rocks together, added soil amendments to the garden beds.  They went out to the woods and dug a hole to see the soil horizons – made conifer note cards.

Third Grade:  They were the carrot harvesters; some were grated for carrot cake.  On a rainy day they did some finger wool spun bracelets.  They walked the trails, talked and looked around to see what they could find.  Close to Thanksgiving they made some Nasamp which is a North American food.  Added more organic material to the garden beds.  In December they cut some white pine for evergreen centerpieces.

Fourth Grade:  They had a late harvest.  Tasted a rhubarb cake from an earlier rhubarb harvest.  Made observations of agricultural places in Walpole since school started and made a list.  What kind of farming is being done and what general questions could they ask.  They visited the Walpole Valley Farm and Brookfield Farm.  They had a squash feast with spaghetti squash, fried zucchini, pumpkin butter, butternut squash with maple syrup and pumpkin pudding.  They did some plant propagation.

Mrs. Eloise Clark has completed her soils unit.  She is working on forestry and conifer units.

Since Ms. Whippie attended the last meeting both she and Mrs. Clark were awarded the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts Educators of the Year awards. Mrs. Pschirrer said the Selectboard is grateful they both won the awards.  It was well deserved.

 

Walpole LibraryMrs. Justine Fafara provided the following December 2017 Report.

November 2016 Stats:                                     November 2017 Stats:

21 Days Open                                                  21 Days Open

1430 People                                                     1350 People

2264 Circ                                                         1918 Circ

32 Programs                                                     33 Programs

144 Kids                                                          74 Kids

38 Teens                                                          49 Teens

98 Adults                                                         162 Adults

312 Website visitors                                        522 Website visitors

November 2016 Avg: 68 ppl & 108 circ/day   November 2017 Avg: 64 ppl & 91 circ/day

12 people per program                         8 people per program

Numbers are down a little this year, but November is always a slow month, so she did not think it is anything to worry about.  December numbers will probably be down as well because of the snow storm.

NHUPAC-State Inter Library Loan System is down and has been for over two weeks now.  The server (physical hardware) had to be replaced and then software is being installed. They are hoping to have it up and running by the new year.  This will affect circulation numbers.

They have some author visits lined up for the new year and she is working with the Walpole Village School and Walpole Primary School to collaborate on some new programs for younger school aged kids.

Their big fundraising mailing with pledge cards will go in the mail January 8th.  If anyone needs a pledge card before the end of the year they are available at the library.

Jan Kobeski made an amazing 3D model of the architect’s drawings of the library with the new expanded space.  They have gotten lots of great feedback now that people can really see how the library will be configured.  It is on display at the front desk in the library if anyone would like to see it.

The Library Board of Trustees approved a new policy for overdue library materials.  Starting in January they will no longer charge daily late fines.  They will have a jar for donations, and they will still charge people for missing materials.  Once a material is 4 weeks overdue, the cost of the material is added to the patron’s library account and they are required to pay the replacement cost if they cannot return the material.  This was a big topic at the New England Library Association conference and the other libraries who have done away with daily fines and now accept donations have seen the amount of money taken in double or even triple.  They are hoping this new policy will not only increase money flow for new materials, but will also make everyone’s experiences at the library more positive and enjoyable.

 

Police DepartmentChief Mike Paquette was unable to attend.  Mrs. Pschirrer reported the Police Department is short-handed. Therefore they excused Lt. Justin Sanctuary from attending.  Mr. Dalessio reviewed the written report the Police Department submitted for the period of November 16, 2017 through December 15, 2017. The total number of calls for service was 280.

  • Public Safety Calls:

Emergency Calls -32                Administration -48                   Citizen Assists -60

  • Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents -13                          MV Stops -42                          Traffic Safety -10

  • Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol-23        Crimes Against a Person -39    Crimes Against Property -13

Mr. Dalessio advised drug issues are increasing again.  The department has one part-time applicant who is coming on the first of the year.  Officer Roger Landry will be back on a limited basis.  The department has been extremely busy with various problems throughout the Town.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned the Selectboard appreciate all the work they do.

Mr. Dalessio would like the Safety Committee to address the evacuation plan for each building.  Everybody should have one.

 

 

Finance OfficeMr. Rich Kreissle noted that January 1st, 2018, is right around the corner.  He has to produce W-2s for all employees.  Other annual reports are also due.  Every year the taxes change.  Once the new tax law gets signed, he will have to update the software with those new tax tables.  He will also need to update employee’s health insurance deductions.  January is a “pressure cooker” time of the year for him.  Mr. Dalessio noted this is a good time to update addresses, phone numbers, etc.  Mr. Kreissle also wants to compare what the employees have left for vacation, personal and sick time against his records. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned all records should be accurate.  Mr. Dalessio said employees should be free to contact Mr. Kreissle if they have questions on anything finance related.

 

Adjournment:  Mrs. Pschirrer wished everyone a safe, healthy holiday. She closed this Staff Meeting at 6:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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