Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry.
CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. Mr. Ernie Vose was present.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Accounts Payable check register in the amount of $181,772.83 for checks issued January 11, 2019. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved. The above amount includes a payment in the amount of $65,195.50 to Primex and $22,509.01 to Granite State Minerals.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending January 11, 2019, in the amount of $28,835.81 for checks issued January 11, 2019, and the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Employer Taxes in the amount of $5,952.81. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
North Walpole Election Moderators and Ballot Clerks: Town of Walpole Election Moderator, Ernie Vose, advised the Selectboard of the retirement of North Walpole’s Assistant Election Moderator, Herbert Werden. Mr. Vose recommended that two people be appointed Assistant Moderators in North Walpole in order to divide the 7 AM – 7 PM polling time. This would divide the time into two shifts as is done in Walpole. Mr. Werden and Mr. Vose are in the process of identifying people in North Walpole who might be interested in filling the positions. The Selectboard encouraged Mr. Vose to fill these positions by March, 2019. Currently, enough voters live in North Walpole to warrant a separate polling site.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION I:
Mr. Dalessio moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II (c) to discuss reputations. Ms. Mayberry seconded the motion and, on a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved at 6:45 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 6:55 PM.
Walpole Town Meeting Warrant Articles Moderator: Mr. Vose advised the Selectboard that the Warrant Articles Moderator for the annual Town Meeting, Mr. William Houghton, is retiring. Mr. Houghton has also retired as the Town’s Fire Warden. Mr. Vose has asked Mrs. Lucy Weber to fill in as the Warrant Articles Moderator for the March, 2019 Town Meeting. She has agreed to do so. Ms. Mayberry suggested that perhaps the role could be rotated between people on different years which would relieve pressure on those who may have scheduling conflicts on the day of the annual Town Meeting.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
STAFF MINUTES – December 20, 2018: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Staff Meeting of December 20, 2018 as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES – January 3, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 3, 2019 as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved. Mr. Delessio abstained due to his absence due to illness at this meeting.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD MINUTES – January 3, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Non-Public Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 3, 2019 as submitted. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved. The minutes remain sealed. Mr. Delessio abstained.
The Selectboard received and reviewed Minutes of the following meetings:
PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS:
MAP and LOT #027-003-000: Ms. Mayberry moved to grant a Property Tax Refund for Map and Lot #027-003-000 for the amount of $40.63. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessioand Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved. The refund is due to an overpayment of taxes.
Letter to Jeanette Clark: Ms. Mayberry moved to approve the letter Mrs. Pschirrer drafted to Mrs. Clark suggesting Mrs. Clark fill out the Property Tax Abatement form that was sent to her so the Selectboard can consider her abatement request. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
12 Westminster St. – Former Westberg Estate Properties Update: Mrs. Pschirrer will finish writing the grant to the DES for the Brownsfield remediation project next week. The Public Hearing will be held on Thursday, January 17, 2019. Notices of the hearing have been posted. Walpole has received two letters from the DES approving Walpole’s application for the Covenant Grant. In one letter, the DES stated that, if Walpole receives the $500,000 Covenant Grant, the DES will give Walpole $100,000. Steve Rickerich of Ransom Consulting has been writing the scientific portion of the grant application which describes the nature of the contamination and the three potential ways to correct the problem. Walpole has selected the option that removes all the soils. The other two options would not address the contamination sufficiently.
Walpole Planning Board 2019 Warrant Articles: Ms. Mayberry requested clarification on the change made to Article 3. Mr. Dalessio explained that the prior warrant, which prevented the building of another recycling center unless the center was licensed by the Town, was deemed unenforceable under the Ruggiero court decision. This new Article 3 therefore reverses that unenforceable zoning regulation and clarifies zoning regulations that will apply to future recycling center applications.
2019 Town of Walpole Proposed Budget: Mr. Dalessio expressed some concern regarding the Workers’ Compensation rate in the proposed budget. He suggested that it remain as it is in order to avoid a spike in next year’s budget. A letter from the Town’s insurance company indicated that this year’s rate reflected a healthy pool of participants. Next year’s rate might not remain the same. Both Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry agreed with Mr. Dalessio to leave the Workers’ Compensation at the original $40,000 level.
Savings Bank of Walpole Request re: Concerts on the Green: Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Saving Bank of Walpole’s annual request to allow the continuation of the Summer Concerts on the Green as the Bank has done in the past. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Street Lights: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that several people had called the Town Hall expressing concern regarding the town’s non-functioning street lights. Mrs. Downing stated that Mr. Mike Rau, the Road Agent, advises citizens to go to the Liberty Utility website and fill out an online form that initiates service calls by Liberty. The form asks for the pole number of the non-functioning street light; that number is posted on each light pole. Mr. Rau has found that submission of this online form by citizens receives a quicker response from Liberty Utility than his requests for service calls. Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry suggested these instructions be published in The Clarion. In the meantime, the Selectboard strongly encourages citizens to wear bright, lightly-colored clothes when walking on roads without shoulders or to put reflective tape on their coats and on their dogs’ collars or leashes when walking at sunset or later.
Correspondence: Mrs. Pschirrer acknowledged receipt of a card from Ms. Kathy DePasquale of Middle Street thanking the Selectboard Office for its help in their application for a Veterans’ Tax Credit.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION II:
Ms. Mayberry moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) personnel and (c) reputations. Mrs. Pschirrer seconded the motion and, on a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:26 PM.
Ms. Mayberry moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of January 3, 2019 be sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:40 PM.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS:
Fall Mountain Regional School Budget Meeting: Ms. Mayberry attended the Fall Mountain Regional School Budget meeting held earlier in the evening. She reported that the tax increase for Walpole will be $.74, if the first Warrant Article is passed and an additional $.12, if the second Warrant Article is passed, leading to a total increase of $.86 per $1,000 for Walpole. Mr. Dalessio asked what Charlestown’s increase totaled. Ms. Mayberry reported that Charlestown’s increase would be $.51, if the first Warrant Article passes, plus another $.29, if the second article passes, giving Charlestown a total increase of $.80 per thousand. The reason for these increases is due to the Teachers’ Agreement that was passed last year and the Union’s Support Staff Agreement which was passed this year in Article 2. Ms. Mayberry noted that the default budget was $31,048,858 and that the proposed budget was $31,224,800 representing a total increase of $175,942. Mr. Dalessio said the increase seemed high. Ms. Mayberry said there had been no push-back on the increase because all the contractual agreements that caused the increase in budget had been covered by other line items. Ms. Mayberry did ask the School Board about the $150,000 increase to the Vocational Educational line item which seemed high. She learned that it too was attributable to the Teachers’ Contractual Agreements that were pre-approved from last year’s Warrant Article.
Warrant Article #8 for School District: Ms. Mayberry reviewed the Warrant Article #8 which asks voters to “…authorize, indefinitely, until rescinded and retained in a year’s unassigned general funds, an amount not to exceed in any fiscal year 2.5% of the current fiscal year’s net assessment.” Ms. Mayberry noted this ended up being 0 last year. She said many questions were then asked about the Capital Reserves, the apportionment formula and how the money is spent. People were particularly interested in learning when appropriations for improving the schools’ security measures would be made. They were told that additional work needed to be completed before schools would be eligible to apply for grant funding. Ms. Mayberry also noted that the deliberative hearing for the School Board’s Warrant Articles is scheduled for February 6, 2019. All the materials for the School District Articles and their appropriations will be available online.
Petition Warrant: Ms. Mayberry read the Petition Article which asks the District to “…raise and appropriate the sum of $30,000 for the purpose of hiring a qualified, non-partisan, third-party firm to conduct a study of the feasibility and sustainability of the withdrawal of one or more pre-existing districts from the cooperative school district.” When asked which district encompassed the “or more” clause, Ms. Mayberry was informed that this wording was left intentionally vague in order to allow districts to withdraw should they decide to do so. Mr. Dalessio thought the Petition Article was particularly timely because it would require Walpole to decide, once and for all, whether it is better for the Town to have its own school or to belong to the School District. Such a decision would need to be made by a future Warrant Article. Several people at the Budget Meeting questioned the sufficiency of $30,000 to make an adequate assessment of this issue. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if a timeframe had been put on the completion of the study. No time frame had been discussed. The Article only stated that the study would be completed under the provisions of RSA 195:25. Furthermore, the primary intent of the Article was to see if the Charlestown voters would approve the formation of a Withdrawal Committee. If they did, only then would the Fall Mountain District contribute $30,000 towards the total cost of hiring a facilitator. Mrs. Pschirrer then asked if the School Board indicated interest in proceeding with the study if Charlestown voted against it. Ms. Mayberry replied that the wording of the Warrant implied the District probably would not proceed if Charlestown voted against it. The School Board would probably make a final decision in a non-public Executive Session.
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, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 7:52 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:22 PM.
Town of Walpole Annual Report Preparation: Mrs. Sarah Downing noted that the Town of Walpole Annual Report is due on March 5, 2019. Departments need to get their reports in by January 18, 2019.
Ms. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.
Beth Colley, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore