Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 4/18/19

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

 

Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Manager of Finance);  Audit.

The auditors conducted their field work in four days from Monday, April 6 to Thursday, the 11th.  Instead of the usual four individuals they were only able to field three due to scheduling conflicts.  As mentioned in an e-mail during that week, accounts payable (A/P) and payroll (P/R) passed without any findings of potential control deficiencies.  There was a slight issue with the cash and other minor issues but they were resolved.  Mr. Dalessio asked if there were any questions on Walker Road.  Mr. Kreissle replied the questions were forwarded on to Mrs. Flammia and Mr. Peska of the Conservation Commission. There were no major concerns.  Mr. Dalessio pointed that audits are a lot of work.  The auditors audit credit cards statements which they do separately from A/P.  Thank you for everyone’s efforts to make sure that purchase orders (PO’s) and account numbers are listed on PO’s and that all the time sheets have a.m./p.m. and supervisor’s signatures on them.  We all have a presence in the audit.  He is hopeful that next year’s audit, the auditors will scale down their testing of A/P and P/R.  They only asked for 1 water/sewer invoice from Jodi Daigle because of the success in auditing this area in 2017.  There were no concerns with the Town Clerk’s area.  The audit manager, Jennifer Dorr, and he spoke about implementing some subtle changes to the processing of data to tweak the accounting system.  Moving forward, there is on-going work on the cash account due to the GF being compromised back in July.  This was expected.  There are also some minor loose ends due to their being only so many hours in a day when they were on site. Many, many thanks to all of you for your patience, understanding and willingness to implement the changes that were recommended in years past to bring us to this point.  We’re all in this together!

 

Walpole Library:  Mrs. Justine Fafara, Director, brought the drawings in various sizes to this meeting.  She displayed and explained the architect’s drawing of the inside of the Library after the expansion/ renovations are completed.  It will include an office for Mrs. Fafara, a stack room, a staff room, a children’s room and a community room.  In addition, other areas will be moved around.  Mrs. Pschirrer pointed out that an exciting thing is the stack room that will have moveable stacks.  It will be the first public library in the State to actually have moveable stacks.  Mrs. Fafara said they were a great idea because that room will be handicapped accessible and it will increase their capacity.  They are only outfitting one-half the room at this time. The future plan is to do the other half.  Cost was a factor; $60,000 to do half the room.  The outside of the building will not look any different from the road. The only difference will be the roof line.  They raised $452,000 in just under a year.  There were some big donors.  Construction will start May 15th.  On May 31st they hope to have many volunteers help with the move to the Town Hall where they anticipate opening on Monday, June 3rd.  The banana boxes at the Recycling Center will be put to good use.  The intent is to be back in the Library in November.  Mr. Dalessio stated it is an exciting time for the Library and the Town.        

 

Recycling Center:  Mr. Ben Hoy, Recycling Center Director, reported they are doing a lot of exciting things at the Recycling Center.      

 They completed the Recycling Center’s webpage with the help of Ryan Harrison and Meghan Hughes.  There is different and additional information now featured on the updated webpage.  That went well for them and Mr. Hoy really likes it.
 He attended “Be the Manager Your Employees Want to Follow” – a Pryor Learning Seminar; it was a good seminar to attend.  
 They were able to dispose of the firewood at the Center.  They delivered and helped stack the last of the processed firewood for longtime volunteer. They sold firewood for fair market value to volunteers, donated 3 cords to Walpole Highway Department, donated 2 cords to Walpole families in need, and received $550 from Clint Joslin logging company. Additionally, they made home deliveries of processed cords to their volunteers willing to purchase said firewood.
 Currently working with Fuzzy Brothers on screening/developing compost on site at the Recycling Center.  Erica Sweeney and Ben Hoy are attending a compost workshop through NRRA/Yes in My Backyard on May 2nd to gain a better understanding the compost process. They have a lot of compost at the Recycling Center.
 The Recycling Center crew has been granted an organic, no till garden plot at the Hooper Institute through Fritze Till.  They have agreed to work in the garden after hours as a team and will donate 25% of their harvest to the Fall Mountain Food Shelf.  They, as a team, are trying to promote/adhere/learn more environmentally conscious lifestyles.
 They swapped out aging/patched up/rusty glass trailer for the spare construction and demolition (C&D) trailer.  On road safety concerns were expressed by the Naughton and Sons drivers relating to this exchange.  Glass is a heavy commodity. They do not want issues on the road.  The old rusty glass trailer can be better utilized as a C&D spare at this time.
 Viki Brehio, Shaena Hakey and Erica Sweeney cleaned up, painted and remodeled the Recycling Building office and upstairs break room.  The Recycling Center is looking sharp.

Mr. Dalessio mentioned it is great that Mr. Hoy is reaching out into the community as there is a lot of interest in Town on being “Green”.  The community garden, is a wonderful project.  

Revenues:  Mr. Kreissle had provided a monthly report on Revenues for the Recycling Center dated April 17, 2019.  He also did a comparison between the first quarter last year and the first quarter this year. They are doing well.  Ms. Mayberry asked if these figures included the wood that was sold.  Mr. Kreissle will check.  Mr. Hoy noted they did ship cardboard but are not getting as much for it when it has glue added.  He has to keep space available.  He will not be here for Green Up Day on May 4th, but everybody is lined up.  Old corrugated cardboard (OCC)is going out at a favorable rate; Mr. G’s provides most of it.  Mr. Dalessio said it is exciting to see new ideas from the Recycling Center.

 

Walpole Recreation Department:  Mr. Justin Cassarino, Recreation Department Director, submitted the following report dated April 18, 2019.

Mommy and Me Movie Night:

 They had about 38 participants;
 Asked if they could do more events like this over the summer.

Spring Soccer/Basketball Clinic:

 100 participants – About 40 more than last year;
 Starts April 30th.

Tennis Courts:

 Dave set the nets up and will put the wind screens up once the wind calms down;
 Need to put up the tennis backboard.  Mr. Rau and Highway Department will assist

Men’s Summer Basketball League:

 Created the documents to start this League over the summer;
 Will post the information after the 25th of April.

Pool:

 They have three lifeguards that are not returning – looking to hire two – People have already been reaching out to him about the position.
 Stephanie has been in contact with everyone and keeping them posted on paperwork and recertifications. She will be available at the beginning of May to start opening the pool.

Basketball Court:

 Company came down to take final measurements;
 Final drawing/layout of the court was  approved;
 Waiting until the 25th to give them the okay to order the materials;
 Huge thank you to Mike Rau for all of his help with the courts;

Company is going to donate the tar;

Company is going to remove all of the old material at no cost.

Mr. Dalessio advised they are doing very well.  Mrs. Fafara mentioned the Library has a movie license.  Mr. Cassarino will look into getting one for the Recreation Department.

 

Town Clerk – Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandra Smith submitted the following report dated April 18, 2019:

Collected $83,051.18 as Town Clerk; this includes motor vehicle Registrations, dog licenses of $584.50, boat registrations of $174.68 (people appreciate having this option), agent fees of $1,389.00 and title fees of $170.00, etc.  This all goes into the General Fund.

 

Since the last staff meeting, they have been audited.  They registered 5,112 motor vehicles and the auditors only pulled one receipt to check on.  They always balance, so now she can store most of 2018 records in the basement, making room for the new tax bills in May.

 

She executed her 2018 Tax Lien on April 2nd. On April 3rd or 4th, 2021 they can deed properties if not paid in full.  April 25th is her Deed Day for 2016 Tax Liens.  She only has five properties left on her list.  Hopefully, most will pay.  The uncollected for property taxes is $393,251.29 which is a very small amount.  It will continue to trickle in slowly.   

 

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

Eloise Clark continues to work with 6th graders on the Connecticut River unit.  She is working on Ornithology with the 5th graders.  They harvested at least a large bag of spinach in the High Tunnel that was given to the school kitchen. 

Becky Whippie is doing pollinators unit at the Primary School. She is helping with planning.  They are also planting seeds in cups to take home, planting classroom seeds for school garden areas and to encourage the pollinators.  The seeds are also forbird nests and birds as a makeandtake for the Pre-K and kindergarten.  In the third grade they are working on amphibiansand doing spring tree buds detections.  In the second grade they are still working on farming; they are fascinated with chickens and how eggs are made, etc.  In the fourth grade they have field trips lined up:  1) to McGill’s Sugarhouse; and 2) to Woodelland Daughters Sawmill and Forest Products.  Fifteen year old planters will be replaced at the North Walpole School with the help of volunteers.    

 

The Hooper Institute is close to advertising for a full-time director/educator position as Mrs. Eloise Clark is getting ready to retire.  A Search Committee is in place.  Mr. Dalessio pointed out it is an exciting time for the Hooper Institute.  Mrs. Clark has been with the Hooper for 42 years.  There will be a celebration on Sunday, June 23rd from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at the Hooper Institute.  Mr. Dalessio explained Eloise Clark was a part-time position but they are trying to make it a full-time position. It is a positive step in moving forward.  Back in 1989 Mr. Dalessio said there were advertisements for the Hooper; 1) was for microscopes; and 2) Star-gazing.  There were activities back then.  

 

Police Department:  Lt. Justin Sanctuary provided the following report.  It is now vacation time so they might be a little short-handed periodically  On April 27th they will have “Take Back Drugs” Day.    This is usually done twice a year.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned there are pouches where you can put your drugs in, put a cup of water in it and stir, it deactivates the drug and then it can be tossed.  He suggested that Lt. Sanctuary reach out to Mr. Leroy Watson.  The pouches might be a good thing to give out.  Lt. Sanctuary said Alstead will be having a Blood Drive on May 15th.  The Walpole Police Department will be hosting a second Cheshire County Chiefs of Police get-together on May 28th in the Walpole Town Hall.  It is business as usual.  They have seen an increase in cocaine.  A lot of training has been done.  They just finished 8 hours of training with the Fire Department.

 

Public Safety Comparison:

Emergency – 28Administration – 84Citizen Assists – 23

Motor Vehicle Calls:

Accidents – 5MV Stops – 123Traffic Safety – 73

Criminal Investigations:

Drugs/Alcohol – 17Crimes Against Persons – 46   Crimes Against Property – 16.  

 

Total Monthly Calls for Service:  March 16, 2019 through April 15, 2019 – 369.

 

Highway Department:  Mr. Mike Rau, Highway Department Supervisor, made the following report for the dates of March 22, 2019 to April 17, 2019:  They cannot start digging quite yet.  Winter sand came in; they now have a big pile.  He figured out what roads would be on the “Wish List”. Their repair list is quite high so they will have to hold back on some things to stay within budget.  Asphalt proposals came in.  Mitchells was the lowest bid.  They met all the criteria so the Town can go with them.  Unfortunately prices have gone up over last year.  Mitchells was still lowest by $4-to-$5/ton. He met with the milling crew.  Walpole had never done milling before.  It will be done on the road in North Walpole near the school where there are water issues so nothing can be put on top of what is already there.  The company will come in and mill off what they have to, shim it and then pave it; it should look like it was.  They are just taking off some tar.  It will make the road last a little longer.            

 Serviced trucks and equipment;
 Cold patched;
 Crushed dumpster at the Recycling Center;
 Posted Roads – March 25 – April 8, 2019;
 Met with milling contractors;
 Winter Weather Call-outs:  April 6th;
 Wind Storm Call-Out – April 3rd;
 Fixed Washouts;
 Fixed Truck-2 U Bolt;
 Hauled Sand;
 Fixed Backhoe bucket;
 Graded Drewsville Road;
 Cut pavement for culvert;
 Received asphalt proposals.

 

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Sarah Downing submitted the following report dated April 18, 2019.

Assessing Update:

 Property Tax Abatement applications have been reviewed by Avitar Associates.  Recommendations have been received.  The Selectboard has reviewed over half of the applications by mid-April with responses having been sent to applicants.
 The Selectboard Office is no longer accepting applications for tax credits, exemptions and current use.  The due date was Monday, April 15th.
 Another round of tax cards updates will be occurring.  These changes will be due to new construction that occurred prior to April 1, 2019.
 The spring tax warrant will be on the April 16th Selectboard Meeting Agenda.

Water and Sewer:

 Meter readings are being recorded for 1st quarter water usage.  Jodi Daigle, the Water and Sewer clerk, will be preparing to send water and/or sewer bills at the end of the month.
 The 2018 Walpole Water Consumer Confidence Report will be included in the next water & sewer billing envelope.

Emergency Plan Updates/Reviews:

 On 4/16/19, the Town was awarded a $4,000 Emergency Management Performance Grant which will be used to fund the Local Emergency Operation Plan Update.  Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) will be assisting the Town with the update.
 An Outreach Session presentation by safety engineers from Great River Hydro is planned for May 6th from 4-5pm at the Town Hall.  The engineers will review the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) for the Bellows Falls Dam.  They will also demonstrate the use of GIF interactive software that offers modeling under different conditions i.e. sunny day failure, weather events, etc.

Town Hall Facilities:

 New interior lights on the Elm and Westminster exit doors were installed;
 The BBQ pit was cleaned of debris and ashes;
 Spring cleaning of the grounds and parking lot around the Town Hall is ongoing;
 Just a reminder that starting in mid-May, the second floor of the Town Hall will be the used by the Library as a temporary location.  Access to the Library will be via the south side stairs of the elevator.  Only the first floor will be available to Town, civic and rental groups.

 

Broadband Committee:  Mrs. Pschirrer reported there is a new Broadband Committee that will meet for the first time on May 1stin the Town Hall.  Lots of other towns are already writing applications for grants.  Chesterfield has worked out a contract with Consolidated Communications, who now is the owner of the former FairPoint.  Consolidated is very interested in increasing rural broadband access.  They are eager to work in this area.  The Committee does not yet have a Chair but they will nominate one at their first meeting.  Southwest Regional Planning Commission has done a great deal of work in this area.  They have a survey Walpole will use.  Mr. Paul Looney and Mrs. Pschirrer are attending a meeting at SWRPC to obtain more information.  Broadband will help us attract families who wish to work from home because we have very poor internet access once you leave the center of Town.  It is to replace all the old wires with new fiberoptic cable.

 

Mr. Dalessio noted that Ms. Mayberry is on the Board of Directors at SWRPC.  He sits on the Economic Advisory Committee.  Mrs. Pschirrer is involved in the BrownsfieldsCommittee.  They go out beyond Walpole to represent our Town at these different levels.  Mrs. Pschirrer and he had the opportunity to sit in on a legislative meeting in Keene which was interesting.  It was informative yet discouraging at the same time because there is a lot of cost-shifting going on.  The State is shifting costs down to the local communities.  The State is giving us options such as add on $5.00 to car registrations, add $2.00 to anybody who rents rooms, etc.  Rooms and Meals Tax was supposed to be 40% back to the towns but that was only done once by the State.  The other activity in Town is lots of solar activity.  It is a concern of some residents in Town and the Planning Board; for example, we will lose farm land.  Ms. Mayberry mentioned cost sharing – the State is saying this is what we will give you so you have to come up with the balance.  She is also on the SWRPC Transportation Committee.  Now that there is a push for electric cars; what do you do a nbout the lost gas tax?  That is the reason they are talking about adding costs onto car registrations.  We need to pay attention to these things as the State pushes burdens onto the taxpayers.  Mrs. Pschirrer added that with electric vehicles, they will expect the towns to put in charging stations in their parking lots.  Mr. Dalessio summarized there are lots of things going on so they keep their eyes on many issues that will affect the town.  He extended good luck to the team with all their projects!              

 

ADJOURNMENT:  Mr. Dalessio declared this meeting adjourned at 6:00 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

 

 

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