Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Cheryl Mayberry; (Absent: Steven Dalessio).
CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. Mrs. Pschirrer welcomed Mrs. Beth Colley as Recording Secretary Pro Tempore who is standing in, temporarily, for Ms. Regina Borden. No members of the public were in attendance.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Accounts Payable check register in the amount of $76,639.80 for checks issued January 4, 2019. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The above amount includes a payment in the amount of $40,484.82 to the Health Trust.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending January 4, 2019, in the amount of $24,754.78 for checks issued January 4, 2019, and the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Employer Taxes in the amount of $4,988.41. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MEETING – December 27, 2018: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of December 27, 2018, as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION – December 27, 2018: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Non-Public Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of December 27, 2018, as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved. The minutes remain sealed.
The Selectboard received and reviewed Minutes of the following meetings:
Mrs. Pschirrer noted the wording of the Planning Board Warrant is different from the wording normally used in warrant articles. The Planning Board will need to change the wording of its Warrant to read “To see if the Town will vote…” in order to conform to the wording of the other Warrants that will be voted on at the Town Annual Meeting in March, 2019;
Ms. Mayberry noted the appointment of a new commissioner, Mrs. Colburn, to the North Walpole Village District.
Westberg Estate Properties Closing Update: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that a Quit Claim Deed for the properties formerly owned by the Estate of Nils Westberg and now owned by the Town of Walpole, NH was recorded at 10:21 AM on January 3, 2019 in the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds. The final closing documents have been received and saved in the Town records. The Quit Claim Deed transfers ownership of two tracts of land to the Town of Walpole and a Right-of-Way that eventually will be transferred to the Walpole Foundation. Originally, the Right-of-Way was used to access the Westberg Property at the back of the lot which is land-locked; but now the Right-of-Way runs alongside a number of apartments and businesses. As part of the deliberations regarding the acquisition of this property, the owners and residents of the apartments and businesses repeatedly asked that the Town change the legal designation of the Right-of-Way to a driveway so the property can be closed to through-traffic. Once the legal designation of the property is changed and made part of the deed for the Griswold House, it will be posted as “Not a Thru-Way”.
Westberg Estate Properties re: Brownfields Project: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that the Notice of Public Hearing regarding the Proposed Brownfields Cleanup Grant for Map 20 Lots 65 and 66, the former Central Plating site formerly owned by the Nils Westberg Estate, has been prepared. The public hearing will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm in the Selectboard Office at the Walpole Town Hall, 34 Elm Street, Walpole, NH. The Notice of Public Hearing has been posted in The Walpolean, The Keene Sentinel, and on the Walpole Town website. Copies of these notices will be submitted with the grant at the end of January.
2019 Town of Walpole Proposed Budget: Mr. Rich Kreissle printed out 2019 Town Budgets and sent e-copies to the Selectboard. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that no changes had been made to the Budget since their last review on December 10, 2018. Ms. Mayberry noted that Mr. Dalessio had recommended a few more cuts be made to the budget because he felt the total percent increase needed to be further reduced. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that all items proposed in the Warrant Articles that will be added to the budget, aside from the $400,000 proposed for items covered by the Unassigned Fund Balance, totaled $191,177.67. The total proposed budget comes to $4,086,328.67. Per Ms. Mayberry, this reflected a 4.7% increase from last year. Following this review and several other prior reviews, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry concluded that few additional cuts could be found in this year’s budget that would significantly reduce the total percent increase.
Warrant Article for Walpole Police Vehicle: Mrs. Pschirrer reviewed the Warrant Article proposing the raising and appropriation of $32,000 to purchase a vehicle for the Walpole Police Department. Mr. Tom Goins is currently working with Mascoma Bank to draw up a promissory note for $32,000 at a fixed interest rate of 2.95% for 3 years with fixed payments of $10,666.67 per year. As part of this agreement, the bank requires a letter of qualification from the town’s attorney indicating the Town’s status as a non-for-profit, tax-exempt municipality in accordance with the Municipal Finance Act (RSA:33). Mr. Hockensmith will prepare this letter upon his return on January 4, 2019.
Warrant Article for Walpole Police Department Capitol Reserve Fund Account: Ms. Mayberry requested confirmation that the Warrant Article proposing the raising and appropriation of $15,000 for the Walpole Police Department Capitol Reserve Fund Account is to bring that account back up to $45,000 for the acquisition of cruisers and equipment. Mrs. Pschirrer confirmed that was the intent of the Warrant Article.
Walpole Highway Department Fleet: Ms. Mayberry asked if the purchase of a truck for the Highway Department would be included in next year’s budget. Mrs. Pschirrer indicated that the Town is in the process of purchasing a truck this year and would need to do so again next year because the fleet is wearing out. Next year’s truck will be purchased through a loan because 2020 will also be the last year for paying for the loader, the fees for which total $56,000 per year.
Budget Line Items Payable to the County: In reviewing other items listed in the budget, Ms. Mayberry noted the increasing financial pressure placed on New Hampshire towns in subsidizing state and county budgets. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that Walpole sent a check in December to Cheshire County for over $1.7 million. Walpole’s share of the County budget had an increase of $300,000 from last year. Much of that increase was due to the construction of the Maplewood Nursing Center that has commenced.
Posting and Public Hearing of 2019 Town of Walpole Budget: Mrs. Pschirrer said the Public Hearing for the Budget will be February 7, 2019 at 5:30 p.m. All directors of Walpole Town Departments should plan on attending. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the public hearing. An overview of the budget will be given by Mrs. Pschirrer and the Warrant Articles are explained. The public will have opportunity to comment on the budget and the articles.
Houghton Brook Bridge: Mrs. Pschirrer noted that the NH Department of Environmental Services has red-listed several old bridges in the Town, one of which is the Houghton Brook Bridge that is located on a dead-end road. The Town has been trying to get a permit from the DES to repair the bridge. Since a wetland exists on one side of the bridge, the DES has suggested the installation of a fish-ladder along-side the bridge. Recently the DES also decided that the Town needs to submit a new plan that demolishes the old bridge and replaces it with a new one. Doing so would triple the cost of the project. Because the bridge has almost no traffic and is not a through-way, local engineers who have been working with the Town have said that replacing the culverts and various other items would repair the bridge sufficiently. Brian Vincent, an engineer working with the Town, and Mike Rau, the Road Agent, will be attending an upcoming meeting with NH DES to convince the DES of the sufficiency of the less-costly repairs to the bridge which the DES had approved earlier.
Citizen’s Report from Cheshire Turnpike: Mrs. Pschirrer stated that citizens’ comments and complaints are welcomed by the Selectboard. However, people should identify themselves when making requests of the Selectboard so that issues can be resolved as satisfactorily as possible for all parties involved. An anonymous Citizen’s Report was recently submitted to the Selectboard complaining of the noise made by heavily-loaded trucks that are part of a business located on Old Cheshire Turnpike. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that it is a long-standing, permissible business in Walpole and operating heavy trucks is the source of the business’s livelihood. Weight limits for roads are posted in the Town in the Spring when there are frost-heaves. Alstead Center Road is currently posted because it is in danger of a collapsing culvert. Repairs on that road will begin this month.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:
Ms. Mayberry moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II (a). Mrs. Pschirrer seconded the motion and, on a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:05 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:07 p.m.
RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:
Ms. Mayberry moved to recess this Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:07 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:25 PM.
Ms. Mayberry moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 7:25 PM.
Beth Colley, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore