Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 3/21/19

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

 

Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance);  Lt. Justin Sanctuary (Police Department); Michael Rau (Road Agent); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk-Tax Collector); Justine Fafara (Library Director); Becky Whippie (Hooper Institute)

 

Excused:Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department Director); Ben Hoy (Recycling Center); Eloise Clark (Hooper Institute)

 

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

 

Mr. Rich Kreissle – Finance Office:  Mr. Kreissle provided the following written report on the “2019 Pre-Field Work Audit Documentation Requirements” and talked about the audit coming up in a few weeks.  

 

The question of audits can easily be answered by looking 10 miles to the south of us where the State Police recently went to the former Tax Collector’s house and found they had taken $5,000.  There were newer vehicles and six motorcycles.  This is why audits are needed.

 

Prior to an audit, auditors require copies of documentation forwarded to them or the assembly of information made available to them at the time of their field work.

 

The audit list from our auditors, Vachon & Clukay, forwarded a list comprising of 91 individual items that they want to review.Items involving the General Fund dominate the list. Items requested also include Water, Sewer, Hooper, the Tax Collector, Town Clerk, Library, Conservation and the Trustees of Trust Funds. A complete General Ledger for all of 2018 for the General Fund, Water, Sewer, and Hooper is perhaps the largest of the items requested.  It is everything that goes through the system. They look at cash.  

 

Bank accounts are another key item that is obviously examined.  December’s bank statement and reconciliations along with January 2019’s statement is required. We have bank accounts for the General Fund, TC Credit Cards, and BOS Credit Cards. When the auditors are here they have access to all the financial documents.      

 Additional scrutiny as a result of the compromisedGeneral Fund in July.  
 Additional scrutiny on the Walker Road account.

 

The New Hampshire Retirement System is also examinedclosely based upon a report generated by NHRS.  To date he uploaded into their portal approximately 50 individual items.

 

Access to all registers (Accounts Payables, Receipts, and Payroll) are made available at the time of the audit.  When the auditors come in they have their own programs.  Mr. Kreissle gets to explain unique situations we have.  It is enlightening because they are extremely educated.  

 

From all this data, requests will be made primarily of myself, Jodi, and Sandy of specific documents to examine during the audit. Last year, 40 records each were pulled from accounts payable and payroll.

 

During field work, any questions arising from their examination of the documents ensues.

 

Emphasis is on:

a) Proper accounting for cash receipts and disbursements.
b) Adherence to generally accepted accounting standards for government entities.
c) Adherence to a proper set of internal controls.
d) That the financial data is a reliable reflection of the financial activity for the town as of 12/31/18.

The accounting data is changing all the time.  Expenses are always being incurred.  

 

Mr. Kreissle passed around a few copies of the Auditor’s Report from a previous year for the Staff to look at.  He pointed out various sections of the report.  The auditors can go from the source document to the general ledger.  At the end we receive an Auditor’s Opinion testifying to the general veracity of our financial position as of 12/31/18.  Mr. Dalessio pointed out that each one of the employees here has a piece of the audit.  Purchase orders without the accurate line item – if it is randomly picked by the auditors and it does not match up to the accounting system that might possibility go into an Internal Control Deficiency.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that we are asked about fraud all the time.  Audits are supposed to be done annually.    

 

Highway Department:  Mr. Rau wanted to recap how the winter went.  He has been doing this for 14 years and this has been the most miserable year he encountered.  Mr. Jim McLean has been here 25 years and he agreed.  It was not a normal winter; there was ice, rain and ice, sub-zero temperatures and a little bit of snow and then more rain.  It is impossible to explain how they battle all of this.  For a normal snow storm of 5-or-6 inches, they usually go out 2-or-3 times. With an ice storm they are going out 5-to-6 times to throw material on the road and hope it works. They usually go out about 3:00 AM if there is school or wait a little longer if school was cancelled.  A lot of the weather-men will say “Oh, it is just going to rain” so they throw salt on the roads, wait a while and do it a second time.  Most people cannot tell they have been there.  They have to maintain the roads as best as they can and try to work around the heaviest traffic.  People should not go out or be prepared.  He hopes the winter is over but it might rain tonight so he will get up to be sure it is not freezing.  People like to see the brown sand but salt has more traction, it lasts longer and has the melting effect.  They use more salt than sand.  This year they used more sand than the previous two years.  This will be the worst mud season in Walpole.  Old Drewsville Road is the worst one.  They have put out over 300 tons of stone on a mile of road.  If the weather cooperates they will scrape off some gravel, put down a fabric and then cover it back up with gravel.  By the time he retires, his goal is that there will not be a dirt road in Walpole.  Walpole is not as bad as some other towns.  The frost is still in the ground.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked if he pre-treats any roads before a storm. Mr. Rau said when it starts, that is when they pre-treat the roads. They have an additive in the salt. Every storm is different. A number one priority is whether or not there is school/ the bus routes.  Each route is about four hours.  They also try to do the sidewalks but if that person is needed to do roads that is their priority.  Ms. Mayberry advised they do a great job.  Most people do not realize a lot of thought goes into maintaining the roads in the winter.         

 

Following is a list of other projects done last month:

 Serviced trucks and equipment;
 Cold Patched
 Crushed dumpster at the Recycling Center;
 Fixed Truck-3 wing cable and exhaust pipe;
 Fixed Truck-4 wing cable and tower;
 Picked up snow in Village
 Winter Weather Call Outs: 2/21; 2/24, 2/18, 3 /4, 3/10
 Worked on New Dump truck quote;
 Worked on RFP for asphalt quotes;
 Alstead Center Road Phase 1 completed;
 Fixed loader broom;
 Fixed Truck-5 chain and lights;
 Fixed AEBI PIO shaft;
 Fixed lights on Kubota;
 Thawed out culvert on Farnum Road;
 Filled in mud spots with stone.

 

Town Clerk – Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandra Smith provided the following report:

February 28th she mailed 97+ certified notices of impending Tax Liens.  The liens will be executed on April 2nd.

 

Then within 45 days notices are sent to the mortgage companies.  Total Notice does this work and costs are added onto the lien amount.  No costs to the Town, as property owners pay.

 

On March 5th she mailed 15+ Certified notices of Intent to Deed.  Only 3 or 4 had mortgages.  If not paid on or before April 25th at 11:00 a.m., the properties will be deeded to the Town of Walpole.  

 

We also had elections and Town Meeting!

 

They collected $68,741.86 for auto registrations, dog licenses, vital records, etc.

 

They also collected over $21,000.00 in state fees that were submitted to the State of NH.

 

Tax Collector deposited $191,986.28 during the last 30 days.Our uncollected taxes are very low, $412,392.40.

 

Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Becky Whippie presented the following report:

Mrs. Eloise Clark:  5th Grade  Working on native wildlife;

      6th Grade – Began planning their Connecticut River canoe trip

Mrs. Clark has already done some publicity for the high school summer work program. 

 

Mrs. Becky Whippie:  All students have been studying about maple syrup;      Pre-K – Farming and Birds; 

      K – Focused on Birds;

      1st  Finishing up mammals, did some sugaring and planted some seeds;

      2nd – Farming and talking about cows;

      3rd – Mammals and finished up sugaring;

     4th – Forestry, forest products, they went to Northcott’s Wood Shop and did a visit to 

                 McGill’s Sugaring House plus another trip is planned.

 

Mrs. Whippie helped with a program at the Walpole School.  Mrs. Clark and she prepared for a presentation at the Library “Gardening With Hooper Institute”.      

 

Police Department – February 16, 2019 through March 15, 2019:  Lt. Justin Sanctuary reported they had 348 calls. Their administrative work has increased.  They are at the end of the first quarter.  A lot of pistol permits were processed.  Overall the number of motor vehicle stops is consistent.  At this time they do not have any State Safety Grants.  When they are on Route 12 it puts them in a neutral spot to respond to calls.  They are getting a lot of their mandatory training hours in. There was an increase of DUIs.  On April 1st they will be doing training in the North Walpole School.  They have a new prosecutor.  That is going well.  

 

Police Safety Comparison:

Emergency Calls – 33Administrative – 79Citizen Assists – 32

Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 5NV Stops – 100Traffic Safety – 23

Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol  37Crimes /Against Persons – 27     Crimes Against Property – 12Mr. Rau asked if they could break down the accidents on State and Town roads.  Lt. Sanctuary felt they could do this as well as provide information on the cause, such as road conditions, speed, etc.  Mr. Rau mentioned the Old Drewsville Road is closed now it is just open to emergency and local vehicles.  It is suggested that if any dirt road in town has more than 50 vehicles on it each day it should be paved.        .    

 

Library:  Mrs. Justine Fafara provided a report on both the Walpole and North Walpole libraries comparison by years – 2016 to 2019.  She attended the New England Koha Summit on Friday, March 8th.  Koha is their ILS or Integrated Library System.  Basically, it is the software they use for everything from registering patrons to checking materials out.  The Summit was great and she learned a lot about features of Koha that theyare not currently using but should be.  She will be working to train the staff and start implementing some more features over the next year.  One of the features is an acquisitions module, so they can import budgets into Koha and import all of her ordering into Koha and it’ll do some of that book keeping for her.  This is definitely going to take a lot of time and she is thinking it will be a good summer project.  Julie is taking over most of Summer Reading planning and execution which will allow her to focus on other things; like this acquisition project, this summer.

 

March Programs:

 3/9 – Prepping to Sell Real Estate;
 3/11 – Social Security;
 3/18 – Gardening with Hooper Institute;
 3/22 – Stuffed Animal Slumber Party;
 3/28 – Friends Annual Meeting.

 

Mrs. Fafara reported that work will start on the Library on May 1st.  The plan is to move into the second floor of the Town Hall at the end of May.  She is partnering with other libraries.  Mr. Dalessio asked about the entrance.  Mrs. Downing explained they felt the best one would be the south entrance because it is handicapped accessible.  If all goes well the project should be completed before next winter.      

 

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Downing provided the following report

They are getting ready for taxation.   Abatements are closed.  They are focusing on getting assessing cleaned-up.  They are doing an Emergency Operations Plan update.  Yesterday they submitted a grant application with the help of the NH Homeland Security.  Justin and Mike volunteered to be on that group   There will be 11 committee members which includes the Selectboard.  They will not start to do anything until the grant is approved.  It will be a month or so before they start.  We will have a contract with SWRPC who will manage the update.        

 

Staff Meeting –March 21, 2019- Page 5

 

Assessing Update:

 Veterans’ 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 on or by Monday, April 15, 2019.  This happens to be the same day federal and state income tax forms are due.
 The first set of Property Tax Abatement applications are being reviewed by the Selectboard with responses to be sent shortly.  Forms that were submitted in the second half of February are currently being reviewed by Avitar.
 All application forms are available at the Town Hall or online at http://www.walpolenh.us.
 Updated tax cards have been created for properties in North Walpole and Drewsville.  Thank you to Jodi Daigle for filing the 400+ new tax cards.

Water and Sewer:

 Meter readings for 1st quarter water usage will be occurring at the beginning of April.

Town Hall Facilities:

 The new phone system has been installed in the Selectboard Office. The system features an automated attendant to direct callers to specific extensions.  Voice mail, hands free calls and  caller ID log functions are now active.
 Several lighted exit signs were replaced since they were no longer working or were not up to code.
 The Town Hall has been very busy for the last few weeks with Town Voting and Meeting days, two Walpole Players productions being organized; 4H Robotics group preparing for their competition, Town boards/commission/committee meetings, and the Scouts holding regular meetings and events.
 Just a reminder that starting in mid-May, the second floor of the Town Hall will be used by the Library as a temporary location.  Only the first floor will be available to Town, civic and rental groups. 

 

Walpole Recreation Department:  Mr. Justin Cassarino was unable to attend this Staff Meeting but provided the following report:  

Mommy and Me Movie Night:

 Event is this weekend;
 Snacks will be provided.

Basketball & Soccer Clinic:

 They will be having sign-ups for this next week;
 They will be using the new Waiver form that was created by Jeremy Hockensmith;
 Will be a 5-week clinic for basketball, soccer, or both;
 Clinics will start at the end of April.

Pool:

 Stephanie has reached out to all lifeguards to see who is returning and who needs recertification;
 It looks like they will have two lifeguards that will not be returning this year.

 

Town Meeting:  Mrs. Pschirrer advised that we will be having aSpecial Town Meeting on April 25, 2019. at 6:00 PM.  We had an error when filing all our documents and the State notified us that we would have to have a second Town Meeting to ratify all the work they did.  It will require us to have a Special Public Hearing Meeting to explain the circumstances and that we are correcting it.  The agenda is just to ratify it.  We will have a Special Public Hearing on Tuesday, April 16th at 6:00 PM and then our public Special Town Meeting on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 6:00 PM.  We hope to have enough voters to pass the motion to ratify.  The impact is that none of the 2% wageincreases will be given to employees until after this is ratified.

 

Maintenance:  Lt. Sanctuary and Mrs. Fafara said they really appreciate having Mr. Brad Nash.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted he has been a strong addition to this building.  It was a good move to make it a full-time position.  Mr. Nash replaced Mr. Jerry Brady who was our part-time custodian but unfortunately passed away.  Mr. Nash is cleaning the Town Hall, Police Station, Walpole and North Walpole Libraries and Recycling Center.  

 

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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