Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 4/19/18

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

Staff Present: Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Michael Rau (Highway Department); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper Institute); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department) and Paul Colburn (Recycling Center)

Staff Absent: Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Justine Fafara (Walpole Library); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department).

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.

Recycling Center:  Mr. Paul Colburn reviewed the 2018 Recycling Revenues Summary as of April 18, 2018.  They are at $39,420.33 year-to-date.  This is a little under a quarter of the budget $173,300.00.  This is the slower time of the year for revenues; it is weather dependent.  Bag sales are consistent.  A load of plastics and metals will be shipped out soon.  Cardboard will be a little low this year.  A Recycling Revenues Monthly Report as of April 18, 2018, was also available.  Mr. Colburn reviewed the “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison”.  This is the materials that come into the Center and they are able to collect the weights.  This is a little higher than last year.  Mixed paper is up as the schools have been sending more in.  Everything else is pretty standard.  He anticipates the markets will stay pretty constant with materials Walpole deals with.  There was discussion about #1 plastic. Mr. Colburn explained plastic #1 thru #7; what is recyclable and what is not.  The ocean is filled with plastic. Walpole bags have three layers.   The “3 Year Comparison to Recyclables” was reviewed.  This is pretty much cash register items.  In general, they are doing okay.

Mr. Colburn and Kevin Pinsonault went to a monthly Cheshire county meeting of members of the NRRA.  The Re-Use Center will be opening May 1st.  However, it will only be open on Saturdays because there are not enough volunteers to work on Thursdays.  Walpole Clean-up Day is Saturday, April 28th.  They provide the blue bags.  A count of what comes in is made.  Their Thursday pick-up route for recyclables is:  Gendron Fisher, Drewsville Store, Walpole Middle & Elementary Schools, Town Hall, Library, Hubbard Foundation (Tavern, Hair Salon, etc.), North Walpole school.  It takes about 3-to-4 hours and they usually have a full truck.  Commercial businesses that drop off recyclables are Burdicks, Mr. G;s, Smart Power Sport, Aumands, FMT school, Food Shelf, Bill Houghton, Len-Tex, Diamond Pizza, Toles, Hubbards and Dr. Shaw.  They encourage the schools to bring students in for a tour.

Highway Department:  Mr. Michael Rau submitted a report from March 15, 2018 to April 18, 2018.  They had some winter call-outs. However, they were omitted from his report.  There were two wind storms; some clean-up still has to be done.

• Serviced trucks and equipment;

• Wing back snow banks with loader;

• Lots of Cold patching;

• Washed equipment;

• Cut fire wood;

• Fixed the Kubota;

• Cut Brush on the roads that will be paved;

• Sealed salt shed wall;

• Graded the Old Drewsville Road once as it is a heavily traveled dirt road;

• Wind Storm; Tree down 4/4 18;

• Cleaned up trees in Butternut Brook before there is a problem;

• Cut pavement for Culvert Replacement;

• Replaced culvert and fixed sink hole on Brewery Road;

• Replaced 3 culverts on Ramsey Hill Road;

• 911# Changes;

• Cleaned up Recreation Park parking area as it is being used.

Mr. Dalessio asked if bike racks will be installed this year.  Mr. Rau replied that should be done this spring.  Mr. Dalessio asked about the basin on School Street.  Mr. Rau and Mr. Houghton are working on that; they will put barriers up as soon as the snow stops.  He keeps a vigil on it.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that several people have been working on the Five Year Mitigation Plan which is required by the State.  The Highway Department ended up with more than half of the work that needs to be done because of the “red-listed” bridges, dams and culverts.  Mr. Rau reported the garage roof is almost done.  Mr. Colburn asked if the Highway Department could re-pave the entrance to the Recycling Center as it is broken up a lot.  Mr. Rau will schedule it in.

Hooper Institute:  Ms. Becky Whippie reported that Eloise Clark and 5th and 7th grade students harvested 3 shopping bags of High Tunnel grown spinach for the school food service program.  The 5th grade is working on an animal unit.  The 6th grade is working on Connecticut River Human and natural history, river morphology, and the geology and river water pathways and how they change.  Mrs. Eloise Clark and Ms. Becky Whippie did a presentation on March 21st at the Town Library on a “No Till” gardening introduction.  On April 4th they met Tom Groves from Long View Forest to discuss a Hooper Institute invasive plant species proposal.  On April 10th they met with Beth Roy from Vital Communities.  Beth is interested in working in the schools.  They might start with Pre-K. She shared primary grade lessons and poster support promoting NH Harvest of The Month.org.  On April 13th Mrs. Clark did a Bobcat Talk presentation to help fund their summer programs.  On April 14th they had a Community Garden start-up meeting.  There are 2 new community garden members this year.  Since she attended the last Staff Meeting, she discussed maple sugaring season with all classes Pre-K to 4th grade.  All but one class missed tasting maple sap out of a tree. She is doing an amphibian season with K, 1st and 3rd grades – Reptiles Pre-K & Turtles; Farming – 2nd grade – sugaring, chickens, sheep, popcorn.  Forestry and wood products 4th grade and a Field trip to Northcotts wood turning business.  A visit from Jim Tucker, a forest stand improver, helps landowners with their forests and sells firewood.  A sawmill visit is planned for after April break

Recreation Department:  Mr. Justin Cassarino submitted a report dated April 18, 2018:

Soccer/Basketball Clinic:

• 112 Participants

• 149 Participants between both clinics

Some chose to do both soccer and basketball;

• Each participant is receiving a ball and t-shirt;

• Had to delay the start because of the snow;

• They will now run it one week later.

Pool:

• Have two lifeguards that are going to get WSI certified;

This will allow them to offer more swim lesson classes;

• One person has reached out in interest in the Pool Manager position.

Basketball:

• Cracks have reopened on the courts and will need to fill them in;

• Might look into seeing how much it would cost to repaint the lines.

Tennis:

• Still looking for the best deal on a backboard

Deciding between two companies

• Need to call Wilson and Lawrence about post repair on one of the courts.

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Sarah Downing submitted a report dated April 19, 2018:

Assessing Update:

• The deadline for tax credit and exemption forms was this past Monday, 4/16/18.

• There have been 30 Solar Energy Systems Property Tax Exemptions processed to date which equated to $549,000 in assessed value being removed from the Town’s total assessment.

• There are 6 pending Solar Energy System Exemption forms to be signed at this week’s Selectboard meeting.  A few applications need response from Avitar before they are processed.

• Several Veterans’ Tax Credits and Elderly Exemptions were processed in the last month.

• Timber and excavation intents and reports are being handed in with the ending and beginning of certificate years (April 1st to March 31st).

• Although it’s hard to believe, assessing preparations for the first tax bill of 2018 are occurring.  Avitar assessors have visiting properties for final follow-ups for those that had building permits, pending changes and corrections.

Water and Sewer:

• Sixty-day notices were sent out in the first week of April.

• The Tax Collector will be placing tax liens on properties with long-standing unpaid balances on April 19th.  The interest applied increases from 12 to 18%.

• Meter readings were completed by Bryan Wetherby who endured snow, sleet and rain during the collection period.  Much thanks to Bryan for completing this task quickly and without complaint.

• The readings have been imported into the billing software program.  Jodi Daigle is in the process of double checking figures before moving to billing.

• Invoices will be mailed by the end of the month and will include the Walpole Water Department’s Consumer Confidence Report.

Town Hall Facilities:

• The Selectboard Office storage closets in the basement are being cleaned with over 45 boxes of paper documents being sent to a commercial paper shredding company.

Wellness:

• The Town of Walpole has surpassed their 2017 Health Assessment numbers.  The Town will receive an extra $100 to be spent on wellness programs from Health Trust.

• A Walking for Wellness flyer is attached to share with co-workers.  With warmer weather on the horizon, there will be more opportunity for taking walks.

Town Clerk-Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandy Smith was not present but submitted the following report dated April 19, 2018:  They executed their deed today for unpaid 2017 property taxes.  Tomorrow they record the Lien at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds office in Keene.  They then send a list to Total Notice to notify the Mortgagees of these new Liens.

They collected $107,611.64 in property taxes since the last staff meeting.  $8,746.75 of that amount was interest generated by the late payments.  May 9th is their DEED DAY – if taxes for the 2015 Lien are not paid in full!

Mrs. Smith has been working for several weeks locating a couple of banks that hold Mortgages.  They can be difficult to locate.  One changed from NH to Texas and also changed names. Hopefully, they will not have to deed any properties.

As Town Clerk they collected $94,271.44 since the last meeting.  $91,213.00 in Registration fees, $1,761.00 in Municipal Agent fees, $222.00 in title fees, $543.00 in dog licenses and the balance is miscellaneous and vital record fees.  They collected $30,163.40 for New Hampshire registration fees that are submitted directly to the State.

Walpole Town Library: Mrs. Justine Fafara was unable to attend but submitted a report for April 2018.

Technology at the Walpole Town Library:  The Library Trustees had asked for a narrative explaining what technology the library offers.  Here it is!

The Walpole Library, like most public libraries around the country, has come a long way in terms of technology over the last few decades.  There has been a lot to embrace, and change can be challenging, but they (both the staff and the community) have adapted with grace.

Today they have an online, digital catalog which is searchable by patrons and staff to see what materials are available at the library.  You can search this catalog while in the library, or from home.  They have 2 desktop computers and 2 laptop computers for the public’s use.

They offer printing, copying, faxing and scanning services.  Lots of people come in specifically to print.  They have computers at home, but not printers, so they’ll e-mail something to themselves and print it here.

The Library also offers free WiFi for anyone in the library to use with their laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device.  There are many patrons who work from home, but find that they’re more productive away from the distractions of home and come to work at the library.  There are a number of parents who come to the library to work on their laptops while their kids read and play here.  This is a wonderful service, because most other places that offer free WiFi would require you to purchase something before you sit and work on your laptop for hours.

A fabulous service that is curated by the State Library and funded by all the public libraries state-wide is New Hampshire Downloadable Books.  Using your library card, you can access thousands of e-books and audiobooks to download to your kindle, nook, tablet or smartphone.  While in the library, you can access their subscription to Ancestry.com for free for all your family research needs.  While at home or in the library you can use our subscription to Mango, a language learning software.

At the library they have tablets called Launchpads available for check-out.  These tablets come preloaded with learning games and do not connect to the internet.  Each tablet has a theme: cars, dinosaurs, cooking, space, etc.  These tablets are a great way for young children to get comfortable with technology before they get to school, where it is often assumed that children have basic computer skills.  The company they buy the tablets from have recently expanded the selection from tablets for small to children to tablets for all ages.  They have purchased tablets for high schoolers to help with SAT and ACT prep.  They are hoping to purchase tablets for adults with crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other brain games in the future.

In terms of programs for technology, they offer one-on-one help and an after school program for kids.  Their one-on-one tech help was originally created to help people use New Hampshire Downloadable Books and has grown to help people with any use-based questions on their smartphones, laptops or tablets.  They have one patron who comes in weekly for help accessing her e-mail, online shopping and researching, online banking and text messaging on her phone.  Their after school Maker Play program is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) based.  The kids do many things from improve games to computer coding.  The program has expanded from once a week for kids in grades 4-6 to twice a week with one session for grades 2-4 and another for grades 5-8.

As they look towards the future, they hope to offer more technological services.  They continue to tweak the library’s website to make it as user friendly as possible while also having links to most of their online services like the library catalog and Mango.  They continue to monitor technology trends in public libraries across the country, which is how they came to have Launchpads.  They continue to track the number of people using their public computers to ensure they have an accurate amount of computers to meet the public’s need.  Technology is ever changing, and they are ready to embrace those changes as they meet the needs of their patrons.

Walpole March 2018 March 2017

Days Open 25 25

Hours Open 149 (two snow days) 171

Hours Scheduled 162 171

Visits 1540 1669

Circulation 2489 2304

Overdrive Circulation 325 292

WiFi 47 36

# of Adult Programs 17 12

# of Adults Attendees 135 82

# of Teen Programs 4 4

# of Teen Attendees 18 44

# of kid/family programs 19 23

# of kid/family Attendees 167 324

Website Visits 432 370

North Walpole March 2018 March 2017

Hours Open 27 28

Visits 69 69

Circulation 227 114

The expansion project is going well.  Fundraising continues.  New expected start date is May, 2019.  The date was pushed back because they are applying for a number of grants and, if they are successful in getting the grant money, they won’t have it in hand until next year.

Police Department:  Police Chief Michael Paquette and/or Lt. Justin Sanctuary were unable to attend this meeting.  They submitted the following report for the period of March 15, 2018 through April 15, 2018.  Their total number of calls for service was 407.  Following is the break-down:

• Public Safety Calls:

Emergency Calls – 31 Administrative – 62 Citizen Assists – 44

• Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 5 MV Stops – 165 Traffic Safety – 28

• Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol – 22 Crimes Against Persons -39 Crimes Against Property – 11

Adjournment:  Mrs. Pschirrer thanked everyone for their time and hard work.  She closed this Staff Meeting at 6:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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