Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 1/16/20

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


Staff Present:Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Michael Rau (Road Agent/Highway Department); Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Rebecca Whippie (Hooper InstituteEducator); 

Michael Paquette (Chief Police Department); Justin Sanctuary (Lt. Police Department); 


Excused:Justine Fafara (Library Director); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Director); 

Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director)


CALL TO ORDER:  Mr. Dalessio called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall and welcomed everyone.  He announced that Town Reports are due.  Get them in on time for Mrs. Downing.


Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Becky Whippie explained this is an activity she does with the students.  She distributed laminated pictures of various actual sized mammal animal tracks to each person.  Everyone held up their picture of tracks found in snow.  They are broken down into four categories: Hoppers, Bounders,Whoppers and Trotters.  Some animals have two different type feet (front and back).  Mrs. Whippie went around the room, had everyone hold up their picture and make a guess on the animal by their tracks.  Each distinctive track was described in detail. Red Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, Fisher, Porcupine, Gray Fox, Mink, Bobcat, etc. were identified.  The program was very informative and enjoyed by everyone.


Mrs. Pschirrer advised that the Tree Program last Sunday was terrific.  Twenty-eight people attended.  It was a nice weather day.  There was discussion regarding Norway Maple trees.  Mrs. Whippie noted they were planted or “blew in” more than 30-to-40 years ago; they are invasive.  


Highway Department:  Mr. Mike Rau, Road Agent/Highway Department, had submitted a Walpole Highway written report for the period of 12/19/2019-to-01/15/2020.  He reported the Town is now down to two Red-Listed Bridges instead of three.  The sidewalk by the Town Hall was fixed.  Rice Tree Service will be here on Monday to cut the trees by the Library plus another dead tree down the road.  Ms. Mayberry asked about the tree in North Walpole.  Mr. Rau said it is on the list but he will remind Mr. Rice.  The new generator is in.  The first one was damaged. Therefore, Mr. Houghton sent it back.  The kitchen area is almost finished.  Their new employee started and is working out great.  Work at the Mill Pond was done.

 Serviced trucks and equipment;
 Cold Patched;
 Picked up waste oil for Recycling Center;
 Cleaned catch basin;
 Winter weather call outs – 12/29, 12/30, 01/01, 01/04, 01/05, 06/06, 01/08.
 Shovel Library Walkways;
 Put Out Sand Piles;
 Sanded Recycling Center;
 Buckets of Salt to Police Dept and Library;
 Fixed Truck-1 Hydraulic Hose;
 Fixed Truck-5 Hydraulic Hose;
 Fixed Truck-7 Heated Windshield, On-spots;
 Fixed Kubota Plow;
 Changed Plow Blades on Truck-7 & Truck-8;
 Fixed Railing on Mill Pond Dam;
 Plowed and Sanded Boy Scouts Camp Road;
 Fixed Ditch Line;
 Cleaned Out Culvert Ends With Backhoe;
 Stone on Scovill and Merriam Roads.


Recycling Center:  Mr. Ben Hoy provided the following written report dated 01/14/2020.

Their new max pack horizontal bailer is spitting out 4’x5’x2.5’ bales.  The average weight of a new cardboard (OCC) bale is 1250 lbs.  The old horizontal baler created cardboard bales with the same dimensions (4’x5’x2.5’) that averaged 1200 lbs.  The deep penetrating ram of the new baler creates better compressed bales and maximizes freight revenue.  Thirty-five new bales constitutes a “full load” based on 44,000 lbs. max load.  It would take 36 bales to make a full load with the old baler at 44,000 lbs. max load.  That is 6 pieces of extra baling wire per load.


Green Mountain Railroad has decided to discontinue providing them with waste oil.  The process of retaining waste oil at Green Mountain Railroad involves a “skimming” process that can have environmental impacts if not done properly.  There was at least one such occurrence at Green Mountain Railroad which prompted them to discontinue this operation.  The railroad informed him that we can retain the skimming equipment and complete this process ourselves if interested.


Potential oil spills at our site did not seem like a better alternative. Mr. Hoy contacted Swanzey Oil Company.  They informed him that they had used oil if we could pick it up.  Without a lift gate or means of lifting by machine on site, this would be an impossible task.  He phoned Mike Rau about the issue who sent Keith and Harry from the Walpole Highway Department to pick up our heating oil for the winter.


He attended Natural Resource Recovery Association (NRRA) meeting in Epsom, New Hampshire, on January 8th.  It is a chance to talk to other managers across the state.


Several new Alstead residents have begun recycling at Walpole Recycling over the past few weeks.  Alstead transfer station discontinued recycling plastic last month.


Mr. Dalessio asked Mr. Kreissle about the Revenue side.  Mr. Kreissle advised they just started this year.  Last year they were a little under on anticipated revenue.  


Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Sarah Downing provided the following report dated January 16, 2020.

Assessing Update:

 The Avitar field representative is in Walpole for 2 more weeks visiting properties for list and measures for this year’s section of revaluation.  If changes in condition, improvements, etc. are noted, changes will occur on property owner’s tax cards.
 The yellow hanging door card that is left by the Avitar field rep is a notice that your property was visited.
 A separate mailing regarding scheduling interiors assessment visits will be sent at a future date.
 If property owners have questions or requests related to the revaluation process or any other assessment questions, they are to call the Selectboard Office.
 Property Assessment Abatement, Veterans’ Tax Credit, Solar Energy Tax Credit, Elderly Assessment Exemptions and Current Use applications are being accepted at the Selectboard Office.  The Abatement Application deadline is March 1, 2020.  The PA-29 and A-10 forms are due on or by April 15, 2020.

Water and Sewer: 

 Sixty Day Notices were mailed on January 7th.
 Water meter readings have been completed.  Invoices for usage that occurred between October and December of 2019 will be posted on January 31st.

Town Hall Facilities:

 The new swipe-card based locking system swipe cards have been created for those that need access to the Town Hall.  Town Hall staff is testing the new system.  Once parts for the vintage outside doors have arrived and been installed, the new system will be activated.

Human Resources:

 The Town has a new insurance carrier for employee life, AD&D, short and long-term insurance coverages.  The Town’s insurance broker recommended the change to ensure a longer period (3 years) of fixed costs.
 Additionally, with the new insurance carrier will directly send payments to employees.  This will be a much quicker benefit process than in the past.

Town Report:

 Save the dates for Department Managers:

Thursday, Feb. 13th – 2020 Budget Hearing at 5:00 PM;

Saturday, March 14th – Town Meeting;

 A reminder to department managers that 2019 recap reports for the Town Report are due on Weds., 1/22/2020.  One page or less of text is requested.  Photos can be included, if space allows.  Extra photos for the slide show are welcomed.


Town Clerk/Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandy Smith provided the following report.

Since the last Staff Meeting, they have collected $1,729,338.84 in taxes.  They have collected $4,999.79 in interest.


Delinquent sewer payments are coming in very slowly, if not paid they will go to tax lien and be recorded at the Cheshire County Registry of Deeds office; this affects the owner’s credit.


Their total uncollected is only $618,151.39. This includes delinquent water, sewer, 2017, 2018 liens and the spring and fall bills that are outstanding.  This is a very small uncollected. They will be sending delinquent notices very soon.  This brings in phone calls and some payments.   The Town Clerk’s Office has collected $37,874.50.


They are contacting Town departments that have permanent plates as this is the year for renewals.  In the past, they did this every five years.  The State has changed the rules; this year is the last year that they will have to process renewals for state vehicles.  Going forward, they will just have to process transfers and any new vehicles that the Town buys.  The Highway Department has brought in copies of their registrations.  These will be the first ones processed.   She will contact the Village of North Walpole to make them aware of this change.


They are also busy with absentee ballots for the February and March elections.


Police Department:  Police Chief Michael Paquette reported that they are finished with the Wentworth Road pole project.  The Town will have to contact the telephone company about removing the old poles.  


These double poles are taxable.  Mrs. Downing will talk to Avitar Associates about this.  Chief Paquette foresees more special detail work with some tree projects and possibly the Broadband project.  They are getting an increased number of K-9 stuff. Therefore, they are looking at adopting a Town policy with fines and possibly a K-9 officer/person.  An animal control person goes through training.  Dr. Shaw has been very gracious in allowing them to bring these dogs to his office temporarily (a day or two).  Then the dogs are transported to the Humane Society. The Police Department to make other arrangements because they do not have the extra staff.  This is taking the officers away from other duties.


Lt. Justin Sanctuary distributed copies of a graph providing information on 2019 accidents.  There was a total of 88 accidents.  Motor Vehicle Accidents with Injury – 18%.  Motor Vehicle Accidents – 82%.  

 Accident Locations:  Walpole, 59, 67%.  Drewsville, 5, 6%.  North Walpole, 24, 27%.
 Time of Year:  Dec to April, 38, 43%.  May to August, 46, 52%.  September to Dec, 5, 5%.
 Time of Accidents:  12:00AM-10:00AM – 17, 20%; 10:01AM-3:00PM -30, 34%;

3:01PM-6:00PM – 24, 27%; 6:01PM-Midnight – 17, 19%.


Chief Paquette mentioned there are more accidents in the summer than winter.  Mr. Dalessio would like to see the Crimes Against People broken down but not by locations.  Ms. Mayberry would like to see the time of accidents broken out more.  


Administrator of Finance:  Mr. Kreissle advised that W-2s were processed today.  They should be in the mail next week.  


Walpole Recreation Department: Mr. Cassarino was unable to attend. He submitted the following written report dated January 16, 2020.


 All teams are participating in the Westminster Tournament this week

3 4 boys and girls and 5/6 boys and girls;

 Working with Craig Vickers on a possible donation from State Farm for the winter basketball programs:  Attachable hoops for our younger participants.


Daddy and Me Dance:

 February 8th is the dance;
 Tickets are being sold at the Town Hall;
 All local companies are helping/participating in this event;

Joanie Joan’s Bakery

The Village Blooms

Loves Photography

Selena Garrison (DJ)


 Stephanie and Justin have started reaching out to employees to see if they will be returning for the summer.


Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Helen Dalbeck did not attend this meeting but submitted the following report dated 12/18/19-01/14/2020:

School Programs:  They have only been back for a little over a week.  Classes are being taught in winter wildlife, tracking, tree math, forests around the world, subnivean wildlife as well as mammals that are true hibernators.  The state of no snow cover is encouraging creative classes on their part.  On a positive note, spinach is still growing in the High Tunnel.


Public Programs:  The Walpole Village Tree Tour was a grand success with 28 attendees.  She is meeting with the “Art After School” group this week to plan for some after school sessions in February.


Building and Grounds:  Their driveway is being plowed by an anonymous volunteer. They do an amazing job.  Becky and she check on the building regularly.


Governance:  The Hooper Institute (HI) Board met Jan. 8th.  They are planning and prepping for a successful year.


Looking Ahead:  Tracks and Trees 3/8 at Distant Hill, Eyes on Owls: a live owl program on 4/11, Earth Week at the Hooper Institute 4/20-4/24 and save the date for the 1st Annual Hooper Looper5K Trail Run, 5/16/2020!


Outreach:  She has been invited to and plans to attend the February Conservation Commission Meeting.


Thanks everyone and please consider becoming a Friend of the Hooper Institute (FOHI).

Helen Dalbeck, Hooper Institute Director


Walpole Town Library:  Mrs. Fafara was unable to attend this meeting.  She had submitted information on 2019 Checkouts and Events, etc.  This is available at the Library and Town Hall.


ADJOURNMENT:   Mr. Dalessio thanked everyone for attending.  He adjourned this Staff Meeting at 6:05 PM.


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