Selectboard Present: Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Steven Dalessio; Cheryl Mayberry.
Also present: Representative Lucy Weber, Tara Sad, Tom Goins, Ray Boas and Sarah Downing.
CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this Selectboard meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.
Walker Road Conservation Project: Mr. Ray Boas and Mr. Tom Goins provided an update on the Walker Road Conservation Project fundraising efforts. With the acquisition of the property completed and ownership assumed by the Walpole Conservation Commission, the various bank accounts that were set-up to facilitate fund-raising, such as the GoFundMe account and the Walker Road Savings account, will now be closed. Any residual amounts that remain in the accounts will be dispersed to the Walpole Conservation Commission and placed in a new capital reserve fund earmarked for the “Walker Road Conservation Project.” Should any subsequent funds be donated in the name of the Walker Road project, they will be placed in this capital reserve fund which will be under the auspices of the Walpole Conservation Commission. Mr. Goins will have this account established no later than January 31, 2019.
Broadband Project: Representative Lucy Weber and Ms. Tara Sad reported on an informational meeting they attended in Chesterfield, NH on Saturday January 19, 2019 re: Chesterfield’s project to replace telephone and cable– based internet service with fiber optic service. Following passage of SB 170 in 2018, which gave NH municipalities the authority to issue bonds for the expansion of broadband infrastructure, Chesterfield issued Requests for Proposals to see which service would install the needed fiber optic infrastructure to 100% of existing phone customers in Chesterfield without incurring a tax-based liability to the town. Consolidated Communications met the criteria. Subsequently, Chesterfield issued a $1.8 million bond that was guaranteed by Consolidated. The principle and interest of the bond will be repaid, not by taxpayers, but through a $10.00 monthly infrastructure fee added to subscribers’ monthly service charges. Once service is established, this infrastructure fee will remain in effect until the bond is paid off. In addition, Consolidated committed $2.5 million to help meet the cost of the bond repayments prior to the establishment of services. They will replace the aging and inefficient copper wire that was originally installed by FairPoint with fiber optics that will be capable of delivering up to 1G of service. The monthly cost to consumers will be in the price range consumers currently pay depending on the level of service they elect. In addition, some consumers may need to upgrade their terminals and routers to accommodate the increased speed of fiber optics. Consolidated will offer routers for consumers to rent or consumers can buy their own. These fiber optic lines will be run to all properties and rights of way, including private roads, currently served by poles. Overhead fiber optic lines will be run for free over the first 150 feet of driveway with a one-time cost of $0.55 per foot for any extra distance to the building. Underground installation will also be available on a cost per foot basis. The benefits Chesterfield will enjoy by replacing current copper-wire-based internet service with fiber optics are that 1) individuals and home-based businesses will be able to operate telecommuting functions requiring high-speed connections with greater reliability than the current dial-up or cable-based service and 2) the resiliency and longevity of fiber-optics is more versatile than copper-wiring thereby lowering repair and replacement costs over time and more consistent service. Such benefits would, in turn, increase the ability of rural towns like Chesterfield and Walpole to attract businesses and residents. This would have a positive effect on property values. Representative Weber and Ms. Sad both felt Walpole’s long-term interest would be well served by Walpole pursuing a similar project as Chesterfield’s. Members of the Selectboard thanked Representative Weber and Ms. Sad for the information. They recommended that a committee be established to survey Walpole’s residents’ interest in such a project. If such interest is sufficient, the committee would map the town’s current landlines and come up with cost estimates for a June 2020 bonding. Representative Weber added that, once the bonding is settled, Consolidated estimated a build-out time for installing fiber optics of about 24 months.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Accounts Payable check register in the amount of $191,178.23 for checks issued January 25, 2019. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved. The above amount includes a payment to the Village for Bellows Falls in the amount of $177,868.24.
Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending January 25, 2019, in the amount of $24,312.02 for checks issued January 25, 2019, and the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Employer Taxes in the amount of $4,710.01. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer, and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES – January 17, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 17, 2019 as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD MINUTES SESSIONS – January 17, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Non-Public Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 17, 2019 as submitted. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved. The minutes remain sealed.
SPECIAL PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING PROPOSED BROWNFIELDS CLEANUP GRANT – January 17, 2019: Ms. Mayberry moved to accept the Minutes of the Special Public Hearing Regarding Proposed Brownfields Cleanup Grant as edited. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Mrs. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the Minutes were approved.
CORRECTION REQUEST FOR SELECTBOARD MINUTES – January 10, 2019: Mr. Ernie Vose suggested that the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of January 10, 2019 be changed to reflect the unofficial, unelected status of Assistant Moderators. However, because the Assistant Moderators are appointed as stated in the Minutes, the Selectboard felt the Minutes did not need to be corrected.
The Selectboard received and reviewed Minutes of the following meetings:
OTHER OLD BUSINESS:
Abatement Appeal Issue: Mrs. Pschirrer asked that the ongoing abatement appeal issue involving AvitarAssociates be placed on the Selectboard’ s next meeting for January 31, 2019.
OTHER NEW BUSINESS:
NRRA Commodities Agreement: After reading NRRA Commodities’ proposed contract, Mrs. Pschirrer voiced concern over the overly-broad language pertaining to the settlement of disagreements in Massachusetts courts that gave all advantage to NRRA and little to Walpole. Ms. Mayberry stated she did not support signing the Agreement. Mrs. Pschirrer agreed saying she would not sign the Agreement until Mr. Hockensmith had provided some guidance regarding the conflicts in claims language. Ms. Mayberry provided additional background saying the Walpole Recycling Center was originally approached by the North Star Pulp and Paper back in the spring. Negotiations proceeded with them because NRRA was not providing the most cost-effective alternatives for the Recycling Center. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if Walpole currently had a contract with NRRA. Ms. Mayberry affirmed, although Ms. Mayberry believed that contract had expired. Mr. Dalessio then asked if North Star Pulp would take metals. Ms. Mayberry answered that the list of items that North Star would take needed to be reviewed but that North Star’s proposal did not prohibit Walpole from doing business with NRRA. On the other hand, NRRA’s proposal implied that Walpole would have to work with them exclusively. Mr. Dalessio reminded the Selectboard that one of the positives in NRRA’s favor is that they provide “one-stop-shopping”. If Walpole signs with North Star which will take mixed-paper but not metals, for example, then Walpole would have to find other contractors to take whatever items North Star would not take. Ms. Mayberry recommended that the proposed contracts for both North Star Pulp and NRRA be reviewed before proceeding. Mr. Dalessio also suggested that the Recycling Center ask other towns about the recycling consultants and haulers they use.
Vachon Cluckay & Co. Understanding of Services Agreement Letter: Mrs. Pschirrer noted that the auditors’ contract for this year looked the same as last year’s agreement with the same level of services. All Selectboard members commended the auditors on their accessibility, responsiveness, and thoroughness. Ms. Mayberry moved to have Mrs. Pschirrer sign the Understanding of Services Agreement with Vachon Clukay & Co. Mr. Dalessio seconded the motion and, with Ms. Pschirrer, Ms. Mayberry and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved.
Police Department Revolving Fund Request: Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned a request for an $825 withdrawal from the Police Department’s Revolving Fund had been received to purchase three Nikoncameras. Mr. Dalessio explained there was currently only one working camera at the Police Department and that cameras were needed in all the police vehicles. Ms. Mayberry moved to purchase three Nikoncameras for the Police Department. Mr. Dalessio seconded the motion and, with Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
SWRPC Winter Meeting Invitation: Mrs. Pschirrer said an invitation from the Southwest Regional Planning Commission had been received inviting the Selectboard to attend the Winter Meeting. The Commissioner of Transportation will be speaking. However, because the meeting will be held at 12 Court Street at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, the Selectboard members will not be available to attend due conflicts in their schedules. Mrs. Pschirrer commented on how helpful it would be to meet with the Commissioner of Transportation, given the lack of public transportation in Cheshire County. Ms. Mayberry volunteered to take Mrs. Pschirrer’s concerns to the Transportation Committee of the SWPRC. Mr. Dalessio noted that Claremont, Lebanon, and Hanover have public transits. At one point, the Walpole Selectboard had decided against having the Current stop in Walpole because that Selectboard had not wanted to pay the money required to provide Current stops. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that the River Valley Seniors at Home program was talking with the Community Volunteer Transportation Company headquartered in Peterborough. Mr. Dalessio mentioned that the advisory council he serves on had identified the need for a bus between Keene and Hanover along Route 12 as a priority. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned the Dartmouth-Hitchcock bus that picks people up in Windsor but that, by the time it arrives at the medical center, it is packed with employees of the medical center with little to no space for patients.
Mr. Dalessio moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II. Ms. Mayberry seconded the motion and, with Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the motion was approved at 7:53 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:13 PM.
RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:
Ms. Mayberry moved to recess this Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 8:13 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:38 PM.
Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 8:39 PM.
Beth Colley, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore