Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 6/25/20

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

Staff Present:​​Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Michael Paquette (Chief Police Department); Justin Sanctuary (Lt. Police Department); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director); Justin Cassarino (Recreation Director – resigned July 19, 2020); Kraig Harlow (New Recreation Director – hired June 15, 2020);

Excused:​​Sandra Smith (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Michael Rau (Road Agent/Highway Department); Justine Fafara (Library Director)

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.

Mrs. Pschirrer was pleased to welcome a new employee.  She asked Mr. Cassarino to introduce Mr. Kraig Harlow who will be taking over as the Recreation Director.  He hopes to get the pool ready for use on Monday, June 29th, 2020.  

Mrs. Pschirrer displayed a thermometer; one was purchased for every department.  They are to be used every day when employees come to work.  They can do it themselves or the department directors can assist.  It is suggested that everyone wear their masks during working hours.  Unfortunately, thisvirus is with us for the long haul.  We are expecting a second surge of COVID-19.  People are dying on a regular basis.  There is the potential in all states that the governors will re-think their re-openings if the number of cases continues to go up.  

Recycling Center:  Mr. Ben Hoy had submitted and reviewed a written report and revenues as of June 24th.  It has been tough working in the high heat and humidity.  They asked the public to give them some leeway and time when providing assistance.

Volunteers will be coming back in.  This will increase their sorting ability that will bring in more revenue.
Greg Given retired after several dedicated years at the Recycling Center.  A thank you was extended to Greg for the hard work and his invaluable trade knowledge.
Jake Velazquez has taken over Greg’s position for the summer.  He has already learned to make bales, and is contributing well in Greg’s absence.
The Recycling Center is looking for a full time replacement to take over the open recycling attendant position.
Hooper Institute workers Ian Gould and Ruby Frithsen (who spoke at Town Meeting about plastic bags) are working 100/80 hours respectively at the Recycling Center this summer.
Cardboard prices are up to $90/ton.  Prices were at $20/ton before this COVID-19 epidemic.  Mr. Dalessio asked what the driver is.  Mr. Hoy felt more stimulus and online shopping.  A lot of their cardboard comes from Mr. G’s.  Mr. Dalessio said it appears a lot of people are refurbishing as there are many appliances at the Recycling Center.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted they are getting a lot of Amazon boxes.    
Spare compactor trailer was repaired and is ready for use.  No more overflow rubbish issues.

Mr. Hoy mentioned that Saturday is the July 4th holiday.  They are usually open on Saturdays.  Mr. Dalessio noted Friday, July 3rd is the holiday for the Town.  Mrs. Pschirrer summarized that the Selectboard will continue this discussion on what day the Recycling Center will observe this holiday.  

Recreation Department:  Mr. Cassarino submitted a written report dated June 25, 2020, and reviewed the following.

Pool:

Justin, Stephanie, Cheryl and Kraig met to come up with the guidelines and protocol to open the pool.

*Reviewed the state requirements and looked at what other facilities were doing;

*Created a plan with strict guidelines that will be presented to the Selectboard to discuss and make any changes that they feel necessary.    

10 ft x 12 ft Pods were created around the pool to help with social distancing.  

*Up to four people, from the same household, can occupy one pod.

*Another Pod will be assigned if there are more than four people from the same household.

Changed the age requirement to be dropped off alone from 10 to 12 years old.

*They felt like with all of the requirements and guidelines, it was important to make sure that kids, who were being left alone, to be able to understand what was being expected of them.

Worked with Sarah on getting a COVID-19 Aquatics Waiver form.

*Will need to be signed in order to use the pool.

There will be a staff meeting to go over the approved guidelines, in detail, with the lifeguards before the pool opens on June 29th.
They feel like these guidelines are necessary to keep their staff and community members safe.
A thank you was extended to Mike Rau for taking the time to remove the diving board and diving blocks from the pool.

Mr. Cassarino advised there would be 14 pods.  He recommended using field marking tape, at this time, to mark the pods.  People have to call to reserve a pod.  Mr. Mike Rau took out a lot of items left behind from other years and Mr. Hoy took them away.  There is a lot more space and it looks nice.  The pool area capacity is for 54 people.  They will be keeping track of people with a daily log.  There will be a lot of strict guidelines some of which the public might not like.  Staff employed by the Town will still have free access to the pool but they need to call to reserve.

Tennis:

They have two companies, VT Tennis and Wilson and Lawrence, coming down to give them quotes on minor repairs to the courts.
New benches for the courts should be arriving next week.

North Walpole Park:

A flag pole was donated to the park.
o The park will be holding a special flag ceremony on July 4th at 9:00 am;
o Invited the Selectboard to attend.

Basketball Clinic:

Kraig is considering a basketball clinic over the summer.

Waiting to see if more regulations will be lifted in the next few weeks.

Police Department:  Police Chief Michael Paquette and Lt. Justin Sanctuary were present.  Chief Paquette had submitted a report on Canine Calls for Service from January 1, 2020 through June 15, 2020.  There was a Total of 63 Canine Calls.  

Calls By Location:

Walpole, 40, 63%​​North Walpole, 18, 29%​​Drewsville, 5, 8%  

Time of Calls:8:01 AM to 4:00 PM – 28 – 44%     12:00 AM to 8:00 AM – 6 – 10%

4:01 PM to Midnight – 29 – 46%

Chief Paquette is working on the Town Ordinance for canines running at large.  The court system is slowly opening but they are backed-up several months in arraignments.  Mrs. Pschirrerclarified that there already is an ordinance but they are working to amend it.  Chief Paquette reported they are assisting the Highway Department on Watkins Hill and both Highway and Water Departments on Main Street.  They will also help during the paving.  Their lobby is now open.  It was closed since mid-March due to COVID-19.  They are getting data from the traffic speed unit on County Road and North Road.  Vehicles were traveling over 20 plus miles over the speed limit on County Road.  The machine identified repeat offenders and when they are traveling on the road.  The department has their new cruiser but is waiting on two pieces of equipment.  They hope to have both new cruisers on the road in a few weeks.  Lt. Sanctuary spoke to Mr. Rau about an old cruiser.  Officer Prince is back on duty.  Business has not slowed for them, but their cases are a little different; fraud, investigations, etc.  Mr. Nash comes in two days a week to clean-up; they are grateful for this service.  Sometimes they have to have people inside the Police Station. Mr. Dalessio asked how many canines were licensed.  Chief Paquette is not sure.  A part-time person could track all that.  A lot of towns have their own canine investigation person.

Administrator of Finance:  Mr. Richard Kreissle submitted the following written report that he discussed at this meeting.  .

GOFERR Covid-19 Expense Reimbursement Submission:  Concord rejected the labor and loss of revenue submissions.  Brad’s extensive labor in disinfecting the Town Hall and labor associated with updating facilities to make it as hands free as possible was rejected. They felt it was within his normal realm of duties.  Any claims for loss of revenue are not allowed within the parameters as established by the government.  He is working with Mark Houghton for any expenditures related to the Walpole Fire District (WFD).  He also contacted North Walpole for the same.  WFD has lost revenue on ambulance calls.  Specifically, as it relates to the WFD, Elizabeth Gilboy of the NH Department of Safety-Homeland Security believes we should be able to include radios so the Town Hall can be an alternate emergency operating center.  The next deadline is July 15th.  Mrs. Pschirrer does not believe the Town will be able to collect $91,000+ which is the amount they were allocated. The State is not allowing for much of what we have submitted.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned submitting items needed to open the pool such as the tape, signs, sanitizers, etc.  We can try.  Mr. Kreissle said this is an on-going project.  

The annual audit: The field audit was done remotely this year, and, in some ways, it was busier for him than when they were onsite.  When they are onsite, he could give them the records for the library, Trustees, etc. and let them go through those records to find the documentation they need.  This year the onus was on him.  At the end of the day, he was actually grateful for this for he got a greater awareness of those other areas and, depending on their findings, may add to his record keeping to faciliatatesubsidiary schedules for future audits.  Another example of how it was busier for him were the credit card accounts.  Each statement for each of the five departmental cards we have are two pages.  He had to scan and forward to them a year’s worth of statements for them to do their testing; that’s 24 pages for five departments for a total of 120 pages that had to be scanned.  To do that each statement had to be unstapled, scanned, then stapled back together after they selected the charges they want to verify!  When they’re on site, he can just give them each department’s credit card folder and do the leg work.  It was very different this year.

He developed a subsidiary schedule of tax collections against the Spring Tax Warrant to allow us to determine whether tax collections are being affected by the pandemic.  As compared to this time last year the town is slightly ahead.  His personal concern has been the cumulative collections (Spring and Fall Tax Warrants) as the town always has a seven-figure obligation for the county portion of taxes due in mid-December.  So far, so good.  Mrs. Pschirrer advised they have collected $3,000,000 out of the $5,000,000 property taxes coming due.  There is a lot to think about in this economy.   She talked with the Town’s Welfare Director.  The Governor had said there would be no eviction notices issued back in mid-March or early April with COVID-19.  Mrs. Clough anticipates she will be over-come in the next couple of months when that order runs out and people who have not been paying their rent will start coming in for assistance from the Town.  Mrs. Pschirrer pointed out that this represents issues for any town.  

As always, Mr. Kreissle is available to address any concerns, questions or suggestions.      

Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Helen Dalbeck submitted and read the following report dated June 25, 2020.

School Gardens and Community Outreach:  Gardens are growing.  Donations of fresh produce and herbs begins again on 6/29/20.

Summer Programs:  27 students, grades 1-8 participated in their new at home and in the field version of Camp 2020.  Usually summer camp has 60 to 80 kids.  It was an enormous amount of work for Becky Whippie and her, but people were happy.  It was very positive.  Owl nest box building will happen in July.  Tenstudents and their families have signed up so far.  Pre-registration is required; $30/kit to make one box.  For families, there is an open invitation to come to the Hooper Institute andwalk our trail, make shelters and fairy houses.  “Shelterwood and Fairy Houses” Staff will curate but this activity is self-guided.  They invite you to visit them anytime during through the summer.  Mr. Dalessio said that Becky Whippie did a video and built a kit for every project. It was awesome.  

Summer High School Work Program:  Nine students were interviewed and accepted, eight have been placed on three farms (Malnati Farm, Abenaki Spring Farm and Alyson’s Orchard) and the Recycling Center.  They are all set to begin working with one exception.  Her paperwork is incomplete and still pending.

Walpole Community Garden:  The garden members are very happy and active this year.  It is a beautiful sight.

Building and Grounds:  Anyone know a good roofer, tree surgeon, and handyperson?  Mrs. Pschirrer will email her some suggestions.

Governance:  The HI Board met 6/1.  The Hooper Scholarship Committee work is ongoing.

Marketing:  School-Teacher-Parent email network as well as Facebook and The Clarion.

Fundraising and Grants:  Ongoing via Friends of Hooper Institute and her office.

Mrs. Pschirrer advised that they have done remarkably well considering the limitations that were placed on them this spring and summer.    

Manager of Administration:  Mrs. Sarah Downing distributed and reviewed a written report dated June 25, 2020.

Town Hall Update:  

The Town Hall has reopened to the public including public meetings and events.  Today there will be three Town related meetings held in the Town Hall, with the Safety Committee, Staff and then Selectboard Meetings occurring with people in attendance. There had been no meetings since March 19th.  
All meetings will be set-up with social distancing applied for seating.

Visitors continue to call Town Hall offices to set-up appointments.
During the last several months, painting projects have been occurring.  The main meeting room walls were painted along with the Men’s and Women’s Bathroom walls.  The trim has yet to be painted.
Koala Baby Changing Stations have been installed in the larger bathroom stalls in both the Men’s and Women’s bathrooms.
The western steps onto the Common’s gazebo are no longer safe due to rot.  The area has been taped off.  The steps are to be fixed in July.  There are no Concerts on the Common planned for this year which lowers the use of the gazebo for this summer.

Water and Sewer:

Water bills were due at the end of May.  Thirty and 90-day notices have been sent.
Meter readings will start in the first half of July for 2ndquarter use.
There has been a water break at the junction of Prospect Hill, Wentworth, South and Main Streets.  Since pipes and values date to the early 1900’s, the repair has expanded in scope due to unforeseen issues.  Additional work is required with traffic being detoured.  Mr. Dalessio said they would be back to work on this project over the weekend.

Seasonal Office Activities:

Summer Hiring for Hooper and Pool Lifeguards; both a bit later than usual due to COVID-19 situation.
Insurance Exposure Update for Primex includes a listing of buildings, vehicles, and other equipment and structures to be insured against loss.

Chief Paquette reported that the first house on Prospect Hill/Wentworth Road will be having a tree taken down.  The company will be there for about half-a-day.  He will give Mrs. Downing the exact date.  

Mrs. Dalbeck asked about the drought.  Mrs. Downing replied that it is definitely dry but the office has not yet been given any orders or direction on conservation.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted that people on wells are very conscious of it.  The Town wells have not gone dry but we should not use the water wastefully.            

Highway Department:  Mr. Rau was unable to attend this meeting as it is his daughter’s birthday but he had submitted the following written report dated June 24, 2020.

“This past month, highway has been taking advantage of the dry weather and has been doing roadside ditching for drainage, approximately 4 miles so far.  We have also repaired 13 catch basins and replaced 6 insufficient culverts.

The new drainage was installed last week for Maple St.  This road should be ready for paving in the next few weeks.”

Beginning next month, they will start their paving projects.  Starting with reclaiming a portion of the Old Drewsville Road as well as milling Main Street from Wentworth Road to the Walpole Middle School.  After that is done, paving will begin.

Town Clerk / Tax Collector:  Mrs. Sandra Smith was unable to attend this meeting but had submitted the following written report dated June 25, 2020.

“First a big Thank You to Sarah for coming in Wednesday to remind her!  She had been so busy collecting taxes and keying them into the system, that she forgot all about the meeting.  She is totally exhausted, so will not be attending.

She did have her “Million Dollar Day” yesterday!  Core Logic, a tax service, sent checks for almost $900,000 and then with payments from the property owners has completed her quest.  This took steady keying all day to complete all the deposits.  She deposited over $100,000.00 today and the checks keep coming!

They collected $82,885.00 on motor vehicle fees since the last Staff Meeting.  

She collected $3,465,389.15 in taxes – most of this is for the new bills due July 1st.

Working by appointments is going quite well.  If someone wants to pay taxes, she runs outside, gets their check and then brings their receipt out to them.  That way they only have one transaction in at a time.  

She will be taking some time off in July to recover!

Walpole Library: Mrs. Justine Fafara was unable to attend this meeting but had submitted a written report.

“May Updates:

Julie has continued creating tutorials for their digital resources which are all on their website at walpoletownlibrary.org/tutorials.  She’s been maintaining their Facebook page, hosting weekly story time and now weekly Wiggle Time on Facebook, monitoring emails and creating new library cards for new patrons.  Julie has also been reading and writing book reviews.  She finished her Story Time class and received her certificate.  She’s spent a great deal of time setting up the new Summer Reading software, READSquared, provided for free from CARES money via the State Library.  It looks very promising and they are excited about the new platform!
Chris has continued cataloging new books, cleaning up old catalog records, reading and writing book reviews, and attending relevant webinars.  She’s done a number of Ebsco hosted webinars on book displays, readers advisory and collection development.
Kelli has been creating marketing materials for their services and their book reviews.  Both Kelli and Julie have been exploring the new LibraryAware software.  The three of them are very pleased with it and she is planning to purchase a year’s license.
Fran and Carolyn have been reading and writing book reviews.
Justine has been attending 4 weekly video calls: three with the state library and one with the coop, as well as weekly new book previews hosted by publishers.  She has been maintaining and updating the website, working on the book awards she chairs for the state library association, answering lots of emails, creating new patron cards, hosting weekly staff calls, continuing communication with the staff, the board and the public, researching more digital tools and services to help the staff and our community, creating and editing a phased reopening plan, reading, writing book reviews, watching the governor’s press conferences, communicating with other local libraries to help inform her reopening plans.  She is working with the State Library and YALS (young adult library services) to create a Summer State Wide Read and a Fall State Wide Read.

Service​​April 2020​​May 2020​​May 2019

Overdrive​​615 checkouts​​542​​​423

Hoopa​​42 new patrons​​8   new patrons

​​​87 checkouts​​75 checkouts

​​​$129.45 spent​​$137.24 spent

Curbside​​​​​191 check outs -4 days

Their Facebook stats continue to be high.  They have over 2,500 video views, and they are reaching over 3,000 people per month.”

ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Pschirrer thanked everyone for attending and wearing their masks.  She adjourned this Staff Meeting at 5:58 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: