Selectboard Present:Peggy Pschirrer (Chair); Cheryl Mayberry; Steven Dalessio
CALL TO ORDER: Mrs. Pschirrer called this meeting of the Walpole Selectboard to order at 6:32 PM. The Selectboard is happy to see so many people present at this meeting. We have eight Boy Scouts present who are working to achieve their “Citizenship in The Community “badges. Several parents of the Boy Scouts in addition to other members of the Legislature and Town residents were present. State Senator Jay Kahn who represents this district had asked to come into a meeting to tell us about Legislative updates. Representatives Michael Abbott, Cathryn Harvey and Lucy Weber were present. Mrs. Pschirrer is the Chair of the Selectboard; she introduced Ms. Cheryl Mayberry and Mr. Steven Dalessio the other two Selectboardmembers. Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, and Ms. Regina Borden, Recording Secretary, are also in attendance. This meeting is being filmed by FACT-TV. It is available for viewing on the internet.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE WITH STATE SENATOR JAY KAHN: Senator Kahn is appreciative of the hospitality received in the Town of Walpole. He thanked Mrs. Sarah Downing, for setting this meeting up and thanked his colleagues from the Senate and House for attending. This was a different exchange this year; collaboration crossed both chambers. They collaborated on a number of bills. March 12th and March 13thwere interesting dates for him because, at that time, both chambers suspended the legislative session. The governor declared a State of Emergency. We experienced a “Stay At Home” Order. It drastically disrupted the regular schedule for the Legislature. The House could not continue with their committee hearings; they could not exchange documents. He gave tremendous credit to the leadership to both the House and Senate. Thirty-three bills ended up on the Governor’s desk from about 220 different pieces of legislation. Four hundred forty (440) pieces had passed through both the House and Senate. They were able to look at bills that had priorities; some were left on the table. They were able to be protective and serve their district in Cheshire County.
Senator Kahn explained the process that resulted in not a single vote being cast against the legislation. It covers things for educational suspension and probation laws. There is an appeal process so students can continue to have learning plans while on suspension; it is age appropriate. They can appeal to be assigned to another school or district. The FMRSD is SB-2 but the Town is not. The new bill makes them both the same at a 60% vote rather than one at a 2/3 vote. SB-2 is already 60%. Each of the bills had hearings.
Senator Kahn worked with Representative Weber on a Tele-Medicine Bill. He worked with Representative Bill Marsh to put together a package. It would be for voice or video consultation. Before the pandemic, only 1% of all health care was reimbursed by Medicaid to the State; it was under-utilized. The importance of this is to have equal pay and cut costs. It allows for clinics to do medically assisted treatment. The governor signed this bill.
The governor signed the Broadband Bill. No money is attached to it. HB 1111 is relative to municipal broadband infrastructure bonds and establishing communications districts. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned that Walpole now has their bond. This bill is a few months late for Walpole, but it is a terrific bill.
HB 1129 will allow them to hold their Town Meeting in 2021 in a virtual manner and have alternative voting.
Senator Kahn talked about long-term care. The cost of the Nursing Assistance Program has been resolved at Maplewood Nursing Home. The 50% reimbursement cost is taken care of.
The Trump Prescription Drug Executive Orders are an asset to the State. Insulin and epi-pens must now be covered by any insurer in the State of NH.
Another benefit added to Medicaid is dental. It is 90% reimbursed by Federal Medicaid. Beginning April 2021, denta will be a supported benefit. If you provide maternity services, you must provide abortion services. There is some concern at the Federal level; same sex couples can adopt children.
The Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault Crimes is eliminated. There is a bill that prohibits the use of strangle holds by law enforcement. These should not have waited for another legislative session. It was a productive session.
Senator Kahn serves on the Fiscal Committee in the Senate. The State revenues will be shy by about $150,000,000. This figure might double or be even more because one-half of the tax year has expired. They can tap into some of the State reserve. However, the next biennial budget will have an issue. They are trying to accommodate for business losses during this pandemic. Our Federal delegation is doing a good job. They have not asked the municipalities how much they lost during this pandemic. He heard that in Cheshire County tax collections have been strong.
Representative Lucy Weber wanted to thank Senator Kahn for the initial Broadband Bill that allowed us to vote to pass a bond issue that is going to provide an incredible service to everybody in the Town. She referred to the $150,000,000 shortfall that Senator Kahn mentioned. Under the CARES Act, we have had $1.25 billion in this State. This is completely controlled by the governor. He has made every effort to be sure that the Legislature has no input or over-site in how that is spent. We are working to get a little more of that. This is an enormous concern of hers. It is the Legislature that should been approved and accepted the disbursement of that money. This is a concern of all of theirs going forward. They do hope that the next round of CARES money will have some help for the municipalities and the taxpayers.
Representative Michael Abbott is just about finishing his third term in the legislature. He serves on the Public Works and Highways Committee. He noticed the Ten Year Transportation Plan on tonight’s agenda. The Vilas Bridge is at the end. He knows that Ms. Mayberry serves on the Southwest Region Planning Commission’s Transportation Advisory Committee.
Representative Cathryn Harvey is the mother of four Eagle Scouts. This has benefited them many times in their lives. She hopes the Boy Scouts present at this meeting will continue in their journey. She feels Senator Kahn did a good job in explaining the situation on March 12th. She wanted to remind everyone that they have to operate under the Constitution that was created in the 1700s. They were in that situation because they are under an obligation to operate as best as they can with what they have now.
Mr. Dalessio hopes the Legislatures present at this meeting will consider a Job Relocation Bonus Program. Vermont is offering $10,000 to relocate. We are struggling in NH to find talent.Vermont is offering $10,000. With reference to the Town Meeting in 2021, is that a virtual meeting or a mixed-bag? It would be better one-way or the other. Representative Abbott said it depends on the governor.
Mr. Dalessio mentioned the Vilas Bridge is only 50% funded on the Ten Year Transportation Plan. If it remains at 50%, it might not get repaired.
Mr. Dalessio said it would be helpful if more future CARES money could be used. We would like to use some of this money to prepare the Town for another possible pandemic or other emergency. There is a need for better emergency communication between Town departments. The Broadband that will be installed in August will be a huge help. A lot of things the Town submitted were turned down. Senator Kahn noted it was the intent of the CARES Act to invest in the town’s infrastructure and emergency preparedness awareness. Those are crucial. Mrs. Pschirrer reported that Walpole was allocated $91,000+ but so much of what we sent in and what we had to do for this pandemic was denied. If we only spend $10,000, where does the rest of that money go? We could have used it to add a generator to the Town Hall so it can function as an emergency center. Senator Kahn said given the deadline on these expenditures, he thinks the governors across the nation will ask the Federal Government to extend the deadline from December 30, 2020, to a to-be-designated date.
There was general discussion relative to the 2020 Election. Senator Kahn believes every town has already received absentee ballots for the Primary Election. Mrs. Pschirrer noted a complication will be that voters do not get absentee ballots for Town Meetings. If they cannot attend the meeting they do not have a vote.
Mr. Bill Stahl advised the Fall Mountain Regional School District Board met today and discussed the schools opening. He cannot give them the specifics. They will meet again next week. There are a lot of good people coming up with a lot of great ideas.
Senator Jay Kahn thanked the Selectboard for this opportunity to meet with them. He congratulated them on the Arch Bridge Pole Lighting Agreement with the NH Department of Transportation. Mrs. Pschirrer confirmed that the agreement has not yet been officially accepted by the NH DOT. The Arch Bridge will have lights on the NH side. It will no longer be as dangerous crossing the bridge as it is now. The Selectboard is grateful that Senator Kahn and the other visitors attended this educational meeting.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the amount of $224,096.82 for checks issued July 24,2020. This includes a $68,762.56 payment to the Village of Bellows Falls for sewer usage and bond. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending July 18, 2020, in the amount of $34,257.20 for checks dated July 24, 2020, and the electronic fund transfer for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $6,569.67. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION – July 16, 2020: Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 16, 2020, as submitted. These Minutes will remain sealed. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved.
The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the following Committee reports:
Permit #2020-26; SMITH LIVING TRUST, 241 Prospect Hill Road, Map and Lot #008-107-000: Mr. Dalessio moved to grant Building Permit #2020-26 for the Smith Living Trust to build a “23’ x 22’ Family Room Addition” at 241 Prospect Hill Road, Map and Lot #008-107-000. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
NOTICE OF INTENT TO CUT WOOD OR TIMBER:
MAP and LOT #009-012-002: Mr. Dalessio moved to approve the Notice of Intent to Cut Wood or Timber for Map and Lot #009-012-002, off March Hill Road, as submitted. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
Dr. Shaw: Mrs. Pschirrer announced that Dr. Shaw just arrived at the meeting. He is the Town’s Health Officer and is here to discuss a number of issues. The first one is mask wearing which we are all doing. Last week at the Selectboard meeting, they did mandate the wearing of masks in all public Town buildings. We have had some people in Town request that they mandate wearing masks anywhere people go in Town. There was a lawsuit recently involving the City of Nashua which mandated the wearing of masks everywhere and it was immediately challenged. The decision was upheld. Walpole has not gone down that route. We have left it up to retailers and restauranteurs. They understand our Health Officer has more power about this than the Selectboard. However, Dr. Shaw is questioning this. Dr. Shaw began by stating this is “huge”. There is a lot to stay informed about. The history on masks has been irregular; it creates mixed messages. Today at 11:00 AM,he listened to the Commissioner of Education about opening schools in NH. There is little doubt about what a mask will do: 1) they protect everybody else from him; and 2) they protect him from everybody else; and 3) it makes a statement. Masks are uncomfortable. We are allowed to walk away from a person not wearing a mask. There are a couple of reasons why he would prefer not to make wearing masks mandatory. No. 1) Right now we are in a low risk area; 2) Much of the activity around here is outside; 3) Walmart, Target, Kroeger and other large stores have all made wearing a mask in their stores mandatory. They are doing something they would probably rather not do. At this point, his feeling is that all businesses have a mask policy and a distancing policy. They will watch the numbers and revisit this issue. We, as a Town, need to rely on our community spirit and our community strength.
Election Days re: Food: Mrs. Pschirrer explained that food on Election Days has become an issue. In the past, it was tradition that the Walpole Grange sold hot dogs as a fundraiser at Town Meeting and at the end the meeting, have celebratory cake and coffee. In March, the night before the Town’s Annual Meeting,the Town Moderator cancelled the serving of food. This issue has now come up again. Do they feed the workers and voters? The Walpole Town Hall has a great kitchen. People have also donated cookies, brownies and other food items to the Grange. Mr. Jack Wozmak, Moderator, does not have a problem with serving food. Restaurants are open and there are food service guidelines. There is no identifiable transmission from food to people. He thinks the risk is low. There is a strong history of the Walpole Grange having food on election days. Precautions will be taken; hand washing, wearing a mask and gloves, etc. A suggested change would be to have the server handle the food. He talked about duration and proximity. There will be fewer booths which gives more spacing. It does not take long for a voter to move through the line.
Representative Weber is not going to challenge the discussion because she agrees with all of it. She has one small caution on the testing. They used to get results back in about 48 hours. Now they are waiting for a week for test results to come back. There is a much larger time lag now. We are now looking out to three weeks and exposure. Statewide, the hospitalization numbers are creeping up again. She watches the numbers.
Mr. Leroy Watkins reported the Grange discussed this. After a lot of deliberation, they set up a committee who talked about what measures they should take to serve food safely to the poll workers and some voters. They plan to talk to a few restaurant owners. They would be happy to work with the Moderator and Selectboard. This goes back about 60-70 years of tradition. Mr. Dalessio mentioned there is no question about the quality of food. However, they must maintain safe distancing. It will be hard to control that. People have to take their masks off to eat. Mrs. Pschirrer noted that decisions on the food will be made before the first Election Day.
2023-2032 Ten Year Transportation Plan: The Selectboardacknowledged receipt of the 2023-2032 Ten Year Transportation Plan from the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC). The Selectboard was invited to make comments on it. Mr. Dalessio pointed out that they support the Vilas Bridge. Ms. Mayberry is not aware of any highway projects that would qualify at this time. The only possible one was on Route 12 at the Shaw’s Plaza. In past correspondence with the State, there was not a lot of history on crashes at this site. Mr. Dalessio noted the Department of Transportation did not want to see traffic lights there. Mrs. Pschirrer will send a note to SWRPC that they will support and urge the rehabilitation of the Vilas Bridge.
Gay Office Building Letter: Len-Tex had sent a letter to the Village Commissioners, North Walpole Village District, dated July 15, 2020, and forwarded a copy to the Walpole Selectboard. The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the copy of this letter from Len-Tex. However, Mr. Dalessio explained this is a North Walpole issue.
Drewsville Common re: Soccer Net Donation: Mr. Dalassio reported that a resident of Drewsville would like to donate a soccer net for the Drewsville Common. He does not have any objections but will leave the decision to the Recreation Department. Ms. Mayberry will follow up on this with them.
Huntington Realty, Karlson Realty and Chamberlain Machine Sewer Easement Agreement: Mr. Dalessio recommended sending Mr. Mark Houghton’s comments to Attorney Jeremy Hockensmith for an opinion. Mrs. Pschirrerpointed out that the Sewer Ordinance might not remain the same in perpetuity. This is a lengthy Easement with several property owners.
Brownsfields EPA Grant Update: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that Ransom Consulting is testing this property and found some PSAF. However, Ransom is not concerned. The State of NH has not yet set clean-up guidelines in soil. The migration is negligible, but is present.
Recreation Area Parking Lot: Lot Line Adjustment and Deed with Letter: Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Town will be appearing at the Planning Board meeting in August. This property is next to the Recreation Area and Walpole Elementary School. It was approved by the district towns in March 2020.
The Town of Walpole will buy it for $1.00 from the FMRSD. The expense of the survey and documents will be paid byWalpole. The new survey is different than the survey done in early 1982. They expect this will be approved by the Planning Board. A letter to confirm that the Elementary School can park on that area will be a part of this Lot Line Adjustment.
Boy Scouts: Mr. Dalessio announced that the Boy Scouts were excused at this time but they were welcome to stay in the meeting if they chose to do so. They were invited to have some refreshments before leaving. This included brownie bars made by Mrs. Pschirrer.
Pending Further Action:
The following Agenda items will remain on this pending list as there is no new information available at this time.
RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:
Mr. Dalessio moved to recess this Selectboard meeting. The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved at 8:10 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:15 PM.
FACT-TV: Mrs. Pschirrer announced that this concludes the regular Selectboard and Hooper Trustees meetings. The Selectboard will be enter into a Non-Public Session. FACT-TV ceased filming and left the meeting.
NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:
Ms. Mayberry moved to enter into a Non-Public SelectboardSession pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel and (c) Reputations. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Mrs. Pschirrerasked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. On a roll call vote with Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was made at 8:16 PM.
The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 9:00 PM.
Ms. Mayberry moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of July 23, 2020, be sealed. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Ms. Mayberry, Mr. Dalessio and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the motion was approved.
SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:
SELECTBOARD MINUTES – July 16, 2020: Mr. Dalessio moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 16, 2020, as submitted. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the Minutes were approved.
Mr. Dalessio moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting. Seconded by Ms. Mayberry. Mrs. Pschirrer asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none. With Mr. Dalessio, Ms. Mayberry and Mrs. Pschirrer in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary