Town of Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 1/18/18

TOWN OF WALPOLE

STAFF MEETING

JANUARY 18, 2018

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

Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department); Michael Rau (Highway Department); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department); Eloise Clark (Hooper Institute); Paul Colburn (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.  Justine Fafara, Walpole Library, was not present.

Highway Department:  Mr. Mike Rau, Highway Superintendent, provided the following report for the period of December 22, 2017 to January 17, 2918.  Most of their work has been weather related; normal wear-and-tear problems.

• Serviced trucks and equipment;

• Snow removal in Walpole on January 10, 2018;

• Snow removal in North Walpole on January 16, 2018;

• Fixed sidewalk snow blower;

• Fixed diesel pumps;

• For two days prepared for heavy rain fall on January 12, 2018;

• There were no wash-outs but they are looking at a few areas where people had water running

down their driveways; water was not going into the ditches.

• Fixed loader wing;

• Fixed truck #7 wing cable;

• Sand mixing;

• Winter weather callouts on:

December 22 December 23

December 24 December 25

January 4 January 5

January 17

• Did snow removal on corners for better visibility.

Ms. Mayberry had some compliments on how well the roads were plowed and taken care of.  The roads were better than some surrounding towns.

Recycling Center:  Mr. Paul Colburn, Recycling Center Supervisor, made the following report for the month of December 2017.  He explained the figures on the “3 Year Comparison to Recyclables”.  In past years they did not get paid for recyclables until after a delivery was made but now the Town gets paid on delivery.   The “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison” was reviewed.  The Annual Forecast was for 387.00/tons and the Annual Estimate was 357.56/ton.  Two thousand and seventeen was pretty consistent with other years but the markets faded toward the end of the year; it is fluttering right now.  Their biggest commodity is cardboard and they are getting a good price.  Metals are bringing a good price.  They have a high grade of recyclables.

Keeping up with everything during and after the snow and rain storms is a challenge.  The line between their well and building froze solid.  It took a long time to thaw it out.  Since 2005 this is the first time this happened.  Commercial recyclables came in last month from nine local businesses and the schoo

Mr. Colburn thanked the Highway Department for sand; it serves the public by keeping them in a safe place.  Next year he would like to buy a sander so they can do it themselves as soon as it is needed.  They had an issue with tires but took care of that as they were able to buy an almost new set at a significant saving.  He handed in a purchase order from the Great River Hydro Electric Company. They wish to buy services (bring items to the Recycling Center) for up to $2,000 of recyclable components.  Mrs. Pschirrer will read the document before authorizing the signing.

Town Clerk/Tax Collector Office:  Mrs. Sandy Smith, Town Clerk/Tax Collector, presented the following report dated January 18, 2018.

The Town Clerk has collected approximately $42,813.00.  They have processed one boat renewal, one marriage license and sold 27 dog licenses.  January is always slow.

Several transactions have involved credit cards; people are just learning that they offer this option.  Customers do love the “one check” system.  This saves time and checks.  Rich is doing a great job transferring the funds to the State.  Jodi has also done this when Rich is not available.

As Tax Collector she collected $360,530.52 from December 21st, 2017 to January 16th, 2018.  $4,818.35 was collected in interest; of this amount $1,631.80 was collected on the Fall billing.  The due date for taxes was December 18th.  People are still paying; she collected $120,926.20 on the fall taxes on Tuesday.  Their total uncollected is only $725,596.97.  This includes water and sewer and liens.

Thursday, January 11th she printed the Delinquent Letters and “Barrington” notices.  She then took home the address stamps, our “forever” stamps, envelopes, and both notices and took home to stuff them and be ready to mail them on Tuesday.  She worked most of the day Monday on them and put them in the mail Tuesday morning.  Next month she will do this again with the “Intent to Lien” notices.  When these notices are received, people come in and pay and it also generates lots of questions.  The “Barrington” notice mentions “bankruptcy” and it can stir people up.

She also worked on the notice for the Keene Sentinel, advertising the filing period for Town Officers.  The first day of filing is January 24th and ends on February 2nd.  They have to be open 3-5 p.m. on the last day of filing, per State law.  She will send a copy to Ray Boas for the Clarion and post copies at the Town Hall and near the post office.

Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Eloise Clark, Director, reported the following.  It was a good year to turn off the heat and water at the Institute.  She just runs in to check on things, pick up necessary items and leaves as soon as possible.  Both she and Ms. Becky Whippie are back working in the schools.  There have been a number of snow days.

Topics in the schools at this time of the year that Mrs. Clark works on are Forestry including forest ecology and forest management.  Ms. Becky Whippie has been working on forest products with the intention of having visits later in the winter, for example, at the saw mill.  Other topics that fit into this time of the year are “Animals in Winter”.  Ms. Whippie has been working on animal tracks and field guides.  Mrs. Clark is doing adaptations of mammals and birds to winter weather.  Mrs. Clark is also doing administrative work.

Finance Office:  Mr. Rich Kreissle, Manager of Finance, distributed copies of the “2018 Payroll Taxes – What You Should Know” and “Budget Perspectives” plus “A Word About Financing the Budget”. Mr. Kreisler reportted that recently the most significant changes to the tax code since 1986 were signed into law.  Among the many changes are significant changes to the payroll tax tables.

1. The new tax tables have been released.  The accounting software vendor, AccuFund, has released those tables and was updated in our system prior to this week’s payroll.  Therefore, employees’ withholding will reflect these new calculations.

2. As a result of the Trump Administration wanting Americans to see the effect of these new tables, the Treasury Department, who oversees the IRS, issued the new tables without being able to reformulate form W-4.

a. Form W-4 is the form used to determine the number of withholdings when calculating how much income tax is withheld from individual’s paychecks.

3. The new tables are based upon withholding calculations under the old W-4 calculation.

4. This may result in employees over-withholding income tax from their pay checks (in which case a refund results) or under-withholding (in which case a tax liability results at year end).

5. The higher your yearly income is the more you’ll want to be sure that their withholding is correct.  This is especially true if you use IRS Schedule A – Itemize Deductions.

6. Sometime in February, the IRS will release an online tax calculator so individuals can calculate what their withholding allowance should be and have a reasonable assurance that they are withholding a proper amount.

7. As was true in the past, it is the responsibility of the individual to make sure that they are withholding the proper amount.

8. For further information and detail is available online by searching “2018 Tax Reform”.

Mr. Dalessio encouraged those who use a professional tax preparer to check with them before making any changes.

Relative to the 2018 Budget, Mr. Kreissle prepared a Budget Perspective as follows:

• 2018 Total Proposed Budget $3,714,942

• Total Proposed Wages $1,357,177

• Total Proposed Benefits   $586,568

• Total Proposed Taxes     $80,851

• Total Proposed Required Costs   $233,133*

• Total Proposed Discretionary Costs $1,457,213

*Costs needed to keep the doors open; Insurances, Telephone, Electricity, Fuel, etc. (Non-Discretionary-Non-Labor Costs).  Whatever is left after this is Discretionary Spending.

Mr. Kreissle prepared charts of:

• 2018 Labor Costs Breakout:  Wages 67.03%; Benefits 28.97%; Taxes 3.99%

• 2018 Labor Cost – Percentage of Budget: Wages 36.53%; Benefits 15.79%; Taxes 2.18%

• 2018 Budget Breakdown Labor, Required, Discretionary: Labor 54.50%, Discretionary 39.23%; Required 6.28%

In 2017, $12,994,972.61 of cash was disbursed by the town.  The vast majority of this money came in through property taxes.  Of these funds, $8,552,175.64 was disbursed to the Walpole Fire District, the North Walpole Village District, Cheshire County, and the Fall Mountain Regional School District.  This leaves a balance of $4,442,796.97 to be put toward the Town’s operating budget.

Every town in NH has on file with the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) an amount listed as their “Unassigned Fund Balance”.  This can be best viewed as a “rainy day fund” to be used either in case of emergencies (a major flood situation) or to reduce taxes for any given year.  The larger the balance the more pleased the DRA is.  This balance accumulates based upon the comparison between budgeted expenditures versus actual expenditures.  It’s the excess cash flow of a town for a given year.

The three year trend is going up in Walpole; it is positive.  They have consistently been spending less than budgeted.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned in the next few years the Town will need to make significant infrastructure repairs such as the bridges.  We have an aging water system in the center of town.  The Town is healthier with a good Unassigned Fund Balance.

When Mr. Kreissle came onboard, all the Town’s funds were in the Savings Bank of Walpole.  After Mr. Tom Goins became the Town Treasurer, Mr. Kreissle talked to him about the cash flow. Mr. Goins did research on investing excess cash.  Now we transfer excess cash to the NH PDIP which is a pool of investments for municipalities.  We have been able to earn $25,000 in interest this past year.  By doing this, the Town’s money is safer.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted on each tax bill it states what percentage is going to the County, the Fire District, the North Walpole tax rate and the Fall Mountain Region School District.  Next year the County tax will be higher because they will begin work on Maplewood.  It could go up as much as $50/per person.  The FMRSD tax will be going up.  Every employee should understand how the Town is working and what they are doing.  It is taxpayers’ money.  Mrs. Pschirrer feels they should use pieces of this report at Town Meeting.

Police Department:  Police Chief Mike Paquette, distributed copies of their monthly report for December 2017.  The total number of calls for service in 2016 was 4,023.  In 2017 it was 4,358; following is the break-down.

• Public Safety Calls:

Emergency Calls – 460 Administration – 614 Citizen Assists – 670

• Motor Vehicles Calls:

Accidents – 115 MV Stops – 1,177 Traffic Safety – 260

• Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol – 248   Crimes Against a Person – 670    Crimes Against Property-264

Chief Paquette reported Lt. Justin Sanctuary is working with Keene Mutual Aid on the Swift Water Rescue Team as they are short of people.  Walpole has three members.  They will be doing an ice dive in a couple of weeks on a weekend.  This is a good viable thing; other departments are looking at it.  He had submitted pictures of the tree damage from a neighboring property and is waiting for an estimate to repair.  Back in 2000 the department gave three false alarm responses; after that they would bill the company $25.00.  He handed in a revised policy for the Selectboard to review and, if adopted, the Police will respond to four false alarms per year for free; one per each quarter of the year. After that they will bill $175/for call. They will not charge during a storm because sometimes there are power outages, etc. If this policy is approved, the Police Department will do a mailing to all businesses and residences in town with alarms.

Chief Paquette received a copy of the Claremont Contractual Employee’s Agreement for review.  He will make some changes and present it to the Selectboard for their consideration.  Everything is going well.  By the last week of February they expect to have a potential hire who will attend the Police Academy in April.  After this revised agreement is received, the Selectboard will send it to their employment attorney.

Mrs. Pschirrer noted the Selectboard received some amendments to the Route 12 project.  New maps were received.  They have not indicated when it will start.  Chief Paquette reported they set the pay rate.  In March Chief Paquette plus anyone else who has not previously attended a “Flag Instructor Course” will go to it.  The cruiser was ordered but it is contingent on the budget being passed.  They will be doing more patrols in the Village.

Walpole Recreation Department:  Mr. Justin Cassarino distributed copies of his report dated January 18, 2018.

Basketball:

• All four teams are participating in the Westminster Tournament starting tonight:

Two grade 3 / 4 teams (one boys and one girls)

Two grade 5 / 6 teams (two boys)

• Tournament starts on Thursday and finishes up on Saturday.

Tennis:

• They met on Sunday, January 14, 2018, to discuss the tennis backboard request.

• No one that supported the backboard attended the meeting.

They had one email to express their interest in us purchasing one for the park with an example of what they would like.

• The committee decided to table to request because there were a lot of questions that were not able to be answered.

Pool:

• Received the list for classes/trainings on how to manage, take care, and run a pool.

They agreed that this will be a requirement for the new pool manager.

• When can they post the position to the public?

Relative to posting the pool manager position, Mrs. Pschirrer recommended they wait until after the budget is voted on.  It would be after March 17th.

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Downing, Manager of Administration, made the following report dated January 18, 2017.

Assessing Update:

• 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.

Water and Sewer:

• Meter readings are currently occurring.  Bills will be posted before the end of January.

Town Hall Facilities:

• Falling Snow warning signs were purchased and placed by the sidewalk in front of the Town Hall.

• The Town Hall elevator has been repaired by Otis Elevator.  The magnets were out of alignment.

Town Report:

• Various reports are flowing in.  One set of reminders has been sent to those who have not sent in their document.

• A nice selection of photos has been submitted for the Town Meeting slideshow.  Additional photos are always welcome from departments and committees.

2018 Public Hearing on the 2018 Town Budget and Warrant:  Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Public Hearing on the 2018 Town Budget and Warrant is scheduled for February 8, 2018, at 6:00 PM in the Town Hall.

Mrs. Pschirrer thanked all the Department Managers for the great jobs they are doing.  People are reading the minutes of these meetings and making comments.  This is public information so the minutes of meetings do get posted.  People are paying more attention to what is happening in the town.

Adjournment:  Mrs. Pschirrer closed this Staff Meeting at 6:08 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: