Town of Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 2/21/19

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 and Lt. Justin Sanctuary (Police Department); Michael Rau (Highway Department Manager/Road Agent); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk-Tax Collector); Ben Hoy (Manager of Recycling Center and Transfer Station)

 

Excused:Justine Fafara (Librarian); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department Director); Eloise Clark (Hooper Institute Director)

 

CALL TO ORDER:  Mrs. Pschirrer called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall and welcomed everyone.  She was happy to see so many staff members present because many employees have been sick especially in the Highway Department.  This meeting is being recorded.

 

Mrs. Pschirrer noted when they cancelled the Staff Meeting in January, they asked each department manager to consider one or two 2019 goals.  What would they like to talk about in January2020; what have they accomplished.  

 

Police Department:  Police Chief Paquette advised they probably have about a dozen goals they would like to achieve but he will talk about three at this meeting.

1. Extend training the schools regarding safety and active threats.  Lt. Sanctuary has been working diligently in the schools now on a safety plan. 
a) Cooperative training with our Fire Department and EMTs, thus bringing our agency up to Federal standards.  Lt. Sanctuary has contacted the Fire Departments to set up this type of training.  This is starting from protocol all the way up.  

Mr. Dalessio asked if there are panic buttons in the schools.  Ms. Mayberry said the schools have integrated their inter-com systems. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if the Active Shooter programs have been solely for teachers.  Lt. Sanctuary explained it is for teachers and then it is up to them to incorporate this training with their students based on age groups and physical limitations.  They want to make sure they are growing collectively with the schools and everybody else who is responding.  Chief Paquette said they are looking at blue prints of the schools that could be 50-60 years old; updates are needed as changes have been made over the years.  Do doors open in-or-out?  They continue to work with the teachers and Fire Departments.  This will be extended to the businesses in Town.  They want to know how to get into the buildings in emergencies so it is not a trap for them.    

2. Develop their traffic detail ordinance.  Develop a parking and noise ordinance. 
a) Billing and payment;
b) Scheduling procedures;
c) Policy updates.

Mr. Dalessio pointed out that if the town does not have an ordinance they cannot fine for a violation.  Chief Paquette mentioned the ordinances need a procedure on how and where to appeal a ticket.  Parking on the streets in winter makes it extremely difficult to plow.  He would like to increase the account line in the budget for part-time officers.    

3. They would like to reduce motor vehicles crashes.
a) More patrol time from traffic data stats by their new machine;
b) Continue the State grants (DWI / operation safe commute).

They would like to get these numbers down to about half.  Putting the new machine out again will hopefully help reduce speed and crashes.  Unfortunately they got a huge cut in the State grants.  The Feds cut the State which in turn affects the towns.  Walpole did get some funds, but about two-thirds of their funding got dropped.   It is difficult this time of the year to put the speed monitoring sign out because of snow banks and plowing. It will be out again in the spring.

 

Mr. Dalessio asked about the D.A.R.E program.  Chief Paquette replied they have been talking about this.  There is a similar program to D.A.R.E.  Two part-time certified officers do these classes but he would like to send one of the other officers to be trained.  Mrs. Pschirrer would like to have another D.A.R.E. program in the Middle School; especially the 8th grade.       

 

Town Clerk – Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandra Smith advised her first goal is to do the office renovations.  This year she will start to make a design.  The second goal is their web page.  They need somebody to work on that.  Emails are not going through.  

 

Following is the written report Mrs. Smith had submitted:  “Tax Collector has collected $168,974.93 since the last staff meeting.  They have an uncollected amount of $534,188.85.

 

She has been preparing to send Intent to Deed letters to property owners that have 2016 liens.  These will be mailed the 27th or 28thand property deeded April 24th if not paid in full.  Intent to Lien letters will also be mailed before March 1st.  Liens will be executed on April 2ndand this will increase the interest to 18 percent.  

 

They have received their ballots from LHS (their printer). Absentee ballots are available from their office to those that qualify.  She has not heard from the school regarding their ballots.  As soon as LHS prints the school ballots, then they can prepare their Memory Cards, mail them to us so they can test their ballot counting machines and they will be ready for the election!

 

They have received numerous calls regarding past due taxes. Also, people want to put their vehicles into trusts. This is a very busy time of year.

 

Finance Office:  Mr. Rich Kreissle reported the upcoming audit will begin on April 8th.  The auditors have been good in pointing out areas of improvement.  He will be working with them to find efficiencies but still maintain integrity.  Last year he attended a class on AccuFund.  They were training on Version 10; the Town is using Version 6.  He would like to revisit this after the audit.  There is another class he would like to take.  He would like to help out more with the office; for example, the new phone system.  He will be working on catching-up.  We should be ready for the auditors.  We have received good clean financial reports from the auditors.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned these auditors have been very helpful.      

 

Highway Department:  Mr. Mike Rau received one out of three permits from the State.  Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Town has red-listed bridges in accordance with the State for many years.  “Red” meaning they need to be repaired but are not in danger of collapse.  Mr. Rau explained the State wants the fish to be able to swim through everything.  If water is flowing under a bridge or through a culvert, the State feels there are fish there and the fish need fish-ladders.  The Houghton Brook Bridge has minimal traffic on it because there are 2-or-3 farms on the other side with a dead-end. However, a Wetlands Permit is required. Mr. Rau said one side of the March Hill Bridge was done.  Some work is being done on the other bridges.  Mr. Rau would like to do some ditching on the paved roads.  Some spots are done but it would be nice to do several miles.  A dry summer is needed to get that done.  Mrs. Pschirrer was asked what roads would be paved this year.  Someone asked about North River Road.  Mr. Rau advised that is not on the list. They have to do North Walpole from the bottom of Mountain View to the top; that development will be difficult to do.  They have to finish what was not done last year – River Road South, Black Jack Crossing, Wentworth Road and Old Keene Road.  Mr. Dalessio asked about the School Street box.  Mr. Rau has the design for the pipe; Mr. Mark Houghton is going to design the box.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned they have to put out an RFP for asphalt.  Mrs. Pschirrer said School Street was discussed when she met with Mr. Mark Houghton, an engineer and Mr. John Peska.  The Town was going to set aside the State Special Grant for $119,999 for School Street project and Alstead Center Road project.  Due to delays the Alstead Center Road project, that project will take most of that money.  Mr. Rau said equipment will be moved in tomorrow.  Ms. Mayberry wanted to be sure the North Walpole project would be coordinated with the North Walpole Village Commissioners’ Office and Water Dept.  Mr. Rau said the plans are being worked on.                   

 

Mr. Rau submitted the following written report from January 24, 2019 to February 21, 2019:

 Serviced trucks and equipment;
 Did cold patching
 Made cut outs for rain storms;
 Scraped ice spots in roads;
 Put out sand piles: North Walpole, Walpole Village, Christian Hollow, Valley Road, and the Transfer Station;,
 Mixed sand;
 Fixed Truck-3 on spots / hydraulic tank / back up lights;
 Fixed Truck-8 spreader chain / installed new wheel studs / fixed wing;
 Fixed Truck-4 on spots;
 Picked up snow in Village;
 Hauled winter sand;
 Winter weather Calls outs: January 23, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30 and February 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 15, 18.
 Crushed dumpster at Recycling Center;
 Trees down on February 9;
 Survived the flu!

 

Recycling Center: Mr. Ben Hoy advised his main goal is going to be training.  He is working on other projects.  He just got his Operator’s Certificate.  There are other courses he would like to take; an example is with the NRRA.  He would like to improve their web presence.  Uptodate information and news at the Recycling Center needs to be added. He would like to incorporate links to recycling discussion throughout the year. This would make it run smoother for everyone.  It would show upcoming events like Hazard Waste Days, etc.  Mr. Ryan Harrison and Megan Hughes will assist with the web page.  They are organizing a “Trash Talk” column to be in the Clarion.  It will keep the public informed of their activities.  He feels they have a good group of people working there.  Chief Paquette suggested a Facebook page as they have a lot of followers.  Ms. Mayberry noted the Recreation Department also has a Facebook page.  Mr. Hoy wants to improve what he can.  Copies of the “Daily Weight Report and 3 Year to Date Comparison” were distributed.

 

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Downing advised the internet is a big topic; it is also on her list.  Mrs. Beth Culley is interested in updating minutes of Town meetings and could keep the online website calendar updated.  They are behind in the posting minutes. One item on Mrs. Downing’s wish-list is having a notice system for water and sewer.  People have been giving Mrs. Daigle their email addresses.  She will maintain the list.  Users can be notified if there is a break in the water service, the dates for flushing, etc. Mrs. Pschirrer spoke to the Senior Group and she wants everybody to know that not everybody is online.  They need to be old fashioned in some respects.  Mrs. Downing added that paper notices will also go out

 

Mrs. Downing submitted the following written report dated February 21, 2019:

Town Meeting:

 One printed copy of the 2018 Town Report will be available for viewing at the Selectboard Office window on or before Tuesday, March 5th per RSA.  An electronic version will be online for viewing and/or downloading before March 5th.  Printed copies for distribution will be available as soon as possible before Town Meeting.
 Voting Day for electing town officials and voting on zoning ordinances and school district warrant articles is Tuesday, March 12th.
 Polling locations will be open at 7am on Voting Day and will close at 7pm:
 Town Meeting is on Saturday, March 16th in the Town Hall starting at 1pm.
 All Town department managers are expected to attend Town Meeting.

Assessing Update:

 Veteran Tax Credits and Elderly, Blind and Solar Energy System Tax Exemption applications are being accepted at the Selectboard Office.  PA-29 forms must be submitted by April 15, 2019.
 2018 Property Tax Abatement applications are being accepted at the Selectboard Office.  The deadline for submitting applications is March 1, 2019.
 All application forms are available at the Town Hall or online at http://www.walpolenh.us.
 Avitar has completed listing and measuring of properties located in North Walpole and Drewsville.  Tax cards are also being updated in the public filing cabinet with one more round of updates expected shortly for properties that had interior inspections.
 Reviewing of properties with new and open building permits within the last year will be occurring before April 1st.

Water and Sewer:

 Fourth quarter usage in 2018 was billed on January 31, 2019.  Water and sewer payments are due on or by March 2nd.

Town Hall Facilities:

 A fresh coat of paint was applied to the northern end of the hallway in the Town Hall.
 A new phone system has been ordered for the Selectboard office.  Once installed, the office will have voicemail for each staff member.
 Lighted fire exit signs in the Town Hall have been inspected.  Several signs will be replaced since they were either non or low functioning which is a safety issue.
 In mid-May, the library will be moving to the second floor of the Town Hall.  Only first floor rentals during negotiated or non-library times will be available.  

 

Walpole Recreation Department:  Mr. Justin Cassarino was unable to attend but submitted the following written report dated February 21, 2019:  Mrs. Pschirrer advised Mr. Cassarino’s goal includes implementing more community events for adults and children.  

Daddy & Me Dance

 74 tickets sold
 HUGE success – People are hoping that they do this again next year.

Mommy & Me Movie Night:

 Will show a movie and have snacks for people coming;
 Parents/kids are asked to bring their own seating – Blankets, chairs, bean bags, etc.
 Will sell tickets.

Basketball:

 Huge success for their first-year program (pre-k to 2nd grade)
 Every team participated in the Westminster tournament.  Did a great job and represented Walpole in a positive way
 Everyone’s season has ended;
 Will be getting a committee together to discuss changing how the league is run – he did not feel like the current way the league is run, helps the kids develop the skills necessary for the future.  He has brought this up to surrounding towns in the past and they are not looking to make changes.  Walpole coaches agree with Mr. Cassarino that there needs to be changes.

Spring Clinic:

 They will be running the spring clinic again;
 They are looking to do soccer and basketball again.

 

Selectboard:  Mrs. Pschirrer asked the other Selectboardmembers if they wanted to add goals.  

Mr. Dalessio is working with the Planning Board on several issues including solar arrays.  Water and Sewer surplus funds should be transferred over to PDIP so users know how much money they have.  The last thing is to look at the physical structure of the Police Department building to decide whether to make improvements or do something else.   

Mrs. Pschirrer is being optimistic and trusts the Town will have a Brownfields Grant award in October.  When the announcement comes, she wants to have a committee to work on that.  She will be responsible for sending out RFPs to all the people involved with the clean-up of the old plating company site.  The Town will have three years.  If we do not get the $500,000 Grant, it means the Town would have to apply again in 2020. A goal is to see another garage built at the Highway Department for storage of equipment rather than have it at various locations.  She wants to evaluate the Town’s employee needs and where will we be in ten years.  We need something that brings in tax money.  She would like the tax rate not to continue to climb.

Ms. Mayberry would like to see recycling continue to grow with the transition of staff and to help support the goals of the other Selectboard members.  To continue to see the Selectboard as a resource and to give help and support in any way they are able to do that.  Also, to see if she can help keep the website up-dated and user friendly.

 

Mrs. Pschirrer advised that during the Selectboard meeting they will discuss a Resolution for the Fall Mountain Regional School District.  The Selectboard met last Monday evening with the Charlestown Selectboard, Mr. Lou Beam from Langdon, and some other folks who have been involved with school issues.  They all agreed to support Article 8 to fund a study on how a town could leave the FMRSD.  It is for all five towns.  The Selectboard wrote an article for the Clarion. Most people do not understand this Article. They feel it is time to have an independent study on how a town could leave the FMRSD.  Ms. Mayberry said the study does not mean anyone is leaving the FMRSD.

 

SWRPC Survey:  Mrs. Downing reported that the SWRPC is doing an Age –Focused Planning Initiative Study. Everyone in Cheshire County is encouraged to fill out the survey.  Mrs. Pschirrer talked to the Walpole Seniors about it; Mr. Cassarino and the Recreation Department have asked about sending a survey home with each student, Mr. Dalessio talked to the Community Grange. SWRPC needs data to complete their study.  They need a mix of age groups.  Mr. Dalessio said age is becoming a planning tool for communities.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that Walpole has the oldest population in the county.

 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Pschirrer declared this Staff meeting adjourned at 6:00 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 )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: