Selectboard Present:Steven Dalessio (Chair); Cheryl Mayberry; (Absent: Peggy Pschirrer)
Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Rich Kreissle (Manager of Finance); Police Chief Michael Paquette (Police Department); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk / Tax Collector); Justine Fafara (Library Director); Michael Rau (Road Agent);
Ben Hoy (Recycling Center Director)
Excused:Justin Cassarino (Recreation Department Director); Eloise Clark (Hooper Institute)
CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Dalessio called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall and welcomed everyone. He advised this meeting is being recorded. Mrs. Pschirrer is doing well following her surgery.
Mr. Dalessio advised that everybody has been having challenges with the weather; rain and then sun and then more of the same. If you cannot attend a meeting, let Mrs. Downing know. In that case, a department manager should send their second-in-command. It is important for everybody on the team to know what is going on.
Mr. Justin Cassarino will not be here but Mr. Dalessio encouraged everybody to see the new basketball courts. They are slick and are blue. The poles have to be fixed and painted. Next people will be asking for a walking track and tennis courts. The Recreation Department also wants to do pickle ball. Mr. Cassarino wanted to thank the Highway Department for their help on the project and for paving the entrance and exit. Mr. Dalessio mentioned the Town does not own the parking lot at the Rec Center; the School District does. They have agreed to let the Town have it as long as it does not cost them any money but it must be approved at the next FMRSD annual meeting. At one time the pool was land-locked but when Hubbard Farms was for sale, Mr. Dalessio negotiated an easement that will remain with the Town. The pool house has been fixed. The Town now owns the BBQ pit area. It was donated to the Town by the former Hubbard Farms.
Town Clerk / Tax Collector: Mrs. Sandra Smith provided and read the following report dated June 19, 2019.
Tax bills were mailed Monday, May 20th. Since then they have collected $1,835,960.75 on the Spring Warrant! The bills are due on or before Monday, July 1st.
The Warrant was for $5,592,973.00 and as of today she has an uncollected amount of $3,718,131.61. Mrs. Smith took in another $100,000.00 today. The mortgage companies usually pay very close to the due date.
She also collected $47,018.57 since their last staff meeting – this amount is for Liens, Gravel Tax and a Timber tax.
They have been very busy answering questions regarding taxes.
Mortgage companies have been calling because they received notices re: the 2018 Tax Lien that she executed on April 2nd. Banks and real estate offices are calling re: closing on properties, they need to know if all taxes are current, etc.
The Town Clerk has collected approximately $88,881.00 this includes vehicle registrations, title fees, municipal agent fees, dog licenses, boat registrations, and vital record fees.
They also collected approximately $28,222.00 for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Rich transferred this money electronically to the State.
Meghan has been working on delinquent dogs. There are over 300 on the list. Two or three Town employees own these unlicensed dogs.
It has been a very productive month; she loves it when they are busy.
Highway Department: Mr. Michael Rau submitted a written report for the period of 5/16/19-6/19/19. Right now they are getting ready to pave in the next few weeks. They are making sure their equipment is ready to go. Normal summer work is being done.
We may see the new truck in October or November and, hopefully, completely built in February 2020. Mr. Kreissle will encumber these funds. The new building is going up. They are cleaning the yard when they can. Mr. Dalessio said eventually they will have to think about other buildings they have. There will be more space for storage. Everything is going well with the roads. The Town will be milling roads for the first time. It is a process they have not used before. The first road will be Mountain View Road in North Walpole. Cost about $8,000. If it works well milling will be done on more roads as it adds longevity.
Ms. Mayberry asked if Mr. Rau had an opportunity to look at the trees in the North Walpole Park. Mr. Rau did look at them. If they fall they will probably land on the railroad tracks. These trees will be taken down along with other Town trees. Mr. Dalessio explained the Town budget for tree cutting; all trees will be done on one day during the year. If there is an emergency, it will be taken care of.
Police Department: Police Chief Michael Paquette distributed a report for the period of May 15, 2019 through June 15, 2019. Chief Paquette reported that Bellows Falls had their Alumni weekend. They usually receive a few calls but there were none. The Wentworth Road project for the new poles will be going in. Liberty Utilities will be doing work in 5-to-6 weeks. Mr. Dalessio advised the Selectboard had one person come in opposed to the new poles. Another project on Route 123 will be starting this fall; that whole road will be done.
Detective Bromley will be retiring at the end of July. They will do something at their level for him. This will increase their work level on investigative cases. It is also vacation time.
Recently Chief Paquette received a call from Rite Aid Pharmacies. They are looking to help out with the Drug Take Back boxes. The Walpole box would be placed in front of the Police Station. The department checks the box every night and takes the drugs inside. Chief Paquette will obtain more information on the box. Mr. Dalessio suggested Chief Paquette look into the bags that Mr. Leroy Watson has. The drugs are placed in the bag, add a cup of water, seal and shake and it deactivates the drugs so the bag can be thrown out. He feels the bags would be a good thing to have.
Public Safety Comparison:
Emergency – 41Administrative – 78Citizen Assists – 45
Motor Vehicle Calls:
Accidents – 11MV Stops – 95Traffic Safety – 26
Drugs/Alcohol – 22 Crimes Against People – 48Crimes Against Property – 21
Total Monthly Calls For Service: May 15, 2019 through June 15, 2019 – 387 Calls.
Walpole Town Library: Mrs. Justine Fafara reported the move to the Town Hall went very well. There were between 30 and 40 people who helped. Everything was moved in one hour. It is a little “muggy” upstairs but not too bad. Things are now getting back to normal. She distributed a sheet with their stats. Some people were not sure if they were open or not. People now know where they are and what the open hours are. Their Summer Reading Program has started. The Reading Challenge starts next week. One of their biggest programs “Wildlife Encounters” will be on July 31st at 1:00 PM. They usually get between 60 and 75 people to attend. Tuesday afternoons there are programs with the Grafton Museum for all ages. Maker Play for grades 2-6 is on Tuesdays from 3:30-4:30 PM.
The building construction is moving forward and is right on schedule. They finished pouring the first round of concrete.
They started talking again about automating the North Walpole Library. Everything is status quo there. Mr. Dalessio feels it would be good to have some new ideas for this library.
Mrs. Downing contacted Griffin Construction to check on the roof leaking problem affecting the second floor. She will contact them again. Mrs. Fafara advised there was a little leaking overnight on Sunday. Unfortunately, the leaking is where the books are.
Finance Office: Mr. Rich Kreissle provided a written report on Amazon and Prime Amazon.
Even though when ordering from Amazon you have no intention of subscribing to Prime Amazon, they may automatically sign you up for a free, three-month trial subscription to Prime. In this case you’ll receive an e-mail congratulating on your decision.
This recently happened in the Selectboard office. After Mrs. Jodi Daigle received the congratulatory e-mail, she figured out how to undo the action. Jodi has written instructions on how to undo this unintended action to share with others. As always, Mr. Kreissle is available to address any concerns, questions or suggestions. Mr. Kreissle also included information on “How to End Amazon Prime Membership”.
Mr. Dalessio asked how often the Town buys from Amazon. Mrs. Fafara has Amazon Prime at the Library. They will donate 5% of the sales each year to a designated non-profit. The Library receives a check made payable to “Friends of the Library”.
Recycling Center: Mr. Ben Hoy submitted a report for May as follows:
There was discussion relative to recycling in North Walpole. Mr. Hoy felt it would be good to have some kind of recycling program there. Ms. Mayberry suggested Mr. Hoy contact the Board of Commissioners in the Village about this. Mr. Hoy knows some North Walpole residents come to the Recycling Center. Chief Paquette asked if the Town would consider one “free” day a year for people to bring in their appliances (some sitting in yards for long periods of time). Mr. Dalessio would have no objection. Keeping children from crawling into refrigerators/freezers is a real safety concern. There are a lot of areas on the sides of the roads where people have disposed of mattresses and other larger items. It would be nice to have an email address where people can report where they saw these items. Chief Paquette mentioned that one day Mr. Lennon from Len-Tex paid several employees for two hours to pick up trash along the road in North Walpole.
Selectboard Office: Mrs. Sarah Downing provided the following report dated June 19, 2019.
Water and Sewer:
Town Hall Facilities:
Mr. Dalessio advised the size of this EPA Grant is $500,000. The matching amount was waived. It is rare for anyone to get a grant on the first try. It was a proud moment for them when it was presented in Nashua. A big Thank You goes to Mrs. Pschirrer for all her work and time. The Town now has enough money for the clean-up without using taxpayer’s funds. Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Downing will be heading to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend the training session for administering the Grant. If they do something wrong, everything will stop. NH DES will give us another $100,000. The Westberg Estate will give the Town $175,000.
Mr. Dalessio pointed out that in the last twelve months we have accomplished three very large tasks: 1) The Library renovation; 2) the Walker Road donation to the Town; and 3) this clean-up in the middle of Town. We have not taken any money from the General Fund for these. It is really quite impressive. The total is well over $1,000,000.
Ms. Mayberry believes the Village of North Walpole just secured the USDA Grant. The Village now has $1,200,000 for their water project. It is amazing. Now they can move forward.
Recreation Department: Mr. Justin Cassarino was unable to attend this Staff meeting but submitted the following written report dated June 13, 2019:
Basketball/Pickle Ball Court:
Hooper Institute: Mrs. Eloise Clark did not attend this meeting. She submitted a Director’s Report: Winter-Spring, 2019 (four pages). It included the School Programs, Community Outreach and Administrative duties. This report is available at the Selectboard office.
Mr. Dalessio encouraged employees to attend the Retirement Get-Together for Mrs. Eloise Clark at the Hooper Institute on Sunday afternoon. Ms. Mayberry said the Summer Camp Youth are doing some decorations and there will be refreshments.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Dalessio declared this meeting adjourned at 6:00 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary
I’m a bit confused about the Walker Road donation of land to the town. Land that was paid for by donations from townspeople.
It looks to me like this same parcel of land is now listed for sale on MLS for 249,900.00.
Please tell me that I am mistaken, and that this remarkably similar property for sale is not, in fact, “The Gateway to Walpole” that so many of us contributed to.
Cathy, I checked with Ray Boas and here is his response:
“The property currently for sale is the parcel of land directly south to the ‘Gateway to Walpole.” It went on the market late 2018. The out-of-town owners probably based the price on what funds were need to purchase The Walker Road property. A small group is hoping that this parcel too could be acquired and conserved with its additional 800 feet of Connecticut River frontage.”
Thank you Lil and Ray.
I feel so much better knowing that!