Selectboard Meeting Minutes – 4/8/21

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

CALL TO ORDER:  Ms. Mayberry, Chair of the Walpole Selectboard, called this meeting via Zoom to order at 6:31 PM.  The Selectboard members are in three separate locations.  Also attending this meeting is Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, in the Walpole Town Hall and Mrs. Regina Borden, Recording Secretary, by telephone at a separate location.  This meeting was being recorded. 

Ms. Mayberry called for a voice roll call of the Selectboard present:  Steven Dalessio was present; Peggy Pschirrer was present and Cheryl Mayberry was present.  This meeting will be in accordance with Virtual Meetings, Emergency Order #12, which has been effective since March 2020.

OLD BUSINESS:

VILAS BRIDGE JOINT MEETING:  Ms. Mayberry welcomed the following attendees for this Vilas Bridge discussion:

  • Bonnie North – New member of the Rockingham, VT Selectboard;
  • Gary Fox – Development Director, Town of Rockingham, VT;
  • Sue Westa – Senior Planner for Community Development, Windham Regional Commission-VT;
  • Colin Bratton – Transportation Planner, Windham Regional Commission-VT;
  • J.B. Mack – Principal Planner at Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC);
  • Todd Horner – Senior Planner at Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC);
  • Shane O’Keefe – Walpole resident and former Municipal Manager for BF/Rockingham, VT;
  • Jeff Miller – Chair of Walpole Planning Board.

Bonnie North is a new member of the Rockingham, VT Selectboard.  They would really like to restart communications for the Vilas Bridge.  They have some ideas that Gary Fox can explain. They are hopeful they will be able to get the two states to work together.  They have already contacted Representative Peter Welch who is interested in working with NH Representative Annie Kuster.  They also asked their Town Manager to contact VT Representative Welch about the Vilas Bridge Community Project Funding Request for $11,000,000.  They are also interested in applying for a BUILD Grant.  This is something that communities can apply for together.  They would like to get some feedback on what the Walpole Selectboard think the prospects are.  She thanked Sue Westa, Colin Bratton and J.B. Mack for attending.

Gary Fox reported that Congressman Welch’s office indicated that he can put in for ten projects in the state.  At this time he is not sure what the top ten will be.  They have not yet worked with New Hampshire  Representative Anne Kuster.  The Vilas Bridge could be one of the top ten projects and they would check with Representative Kuster.  The Vilas Bridge is in for the competition at the House level.  The Rockingham Selectboard voted to submit the Vilas Bridge as a priority project to Congressman Welch and are hoping that Walpole will notify Congresswoman Kuster that it is a priority as well.  If Walpole would encourage their legislator to support this, it would be submitted by Vermont.  New Hanpshire has $5,000,000 in their State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) for this Vilas Bridge project.  Instead of asking for $5,000,000 over the 2023-2029 period, they would be asking for $2,750,000 in 2023 and moving up as the project would have to be done in a tighter timeline.  The other reason Congressman Welch’s office said to put this in is that it is a good project.  If it did not meet the top ten, they would put it in the Transportation Infrastructure Bill.  They would be looking for concurrence in both cases.  Ms. Mayberry clarified that Mr. Fox is looking for the Walpole Selectboard to encourage our NH legislators to support the request made by Representative Welch.  Mr. Fox said “yes” and for NH to support the project for the Vilas Bridge with matching funds.  Ms. Mayberry said was it $5,294,032 NH had allocated.

J. B. Mack will double check those numbers as he thought it was about $4,000,000.  Congresswoman Kuster’s office had reached out to the SWRPC office last week about House of Representative’s interest in transportation projects as well.  SWRPC spoke about Vilas Bridge being a high priority need and based on SWRPC’s discussion with Congresswoman Kuster’s staff, it sounded like the legislative staff would be following up with Congressman Welch to discuss the project further. That is good news.  He also wanted to talk about some other research he was doing regarding other opportunities including the BUILD Grant.  Through the BUILD Grant about $15,000,000 was put into the Brattleboro Bridge Project.  There was cooperation between the two states.  The Town of Walpole has been concerned about the sewer line that passes underneath the Vilas Bridge.  He has been looking into something called the Long Island Sound Future Fund which looks to protect the rivers that come down into Long Island Sound.  He is looking into the eligibility of that.  He also asked Todd Horner who works with him at SWRPC about potential economic development-related grant opportunities such as programs through the US Department of Agriculture, Northern Borders Regional Commission and Economic Development Administration.  Gary Fox is aware of the Northern Borders Regional Commission and its grant programs. 

Todd Horner noted there are some grant opportunities.  He explored the earmarks and the potential of including the Vilas Bridge.  The USDA is another potential resource.  There are projects open to funding.  This group will continue to explore funding options. 

Colin Bratton advised that historically the State of VT has determined projects without allowing any input from municipalities.  They are in the process of allowing towns to indicate what they want to get done and get it on the list.  This year it is looking at state highways but next year they will include bridges which will give Rockingham an opportunity to get the Vilas Bridge on the list.    

Mr. Dalessio pointed out that Jeff Miller was instrumental on getting the Westminster Bridge built.  He asked Mr. Miller to speak a few minutes on bridges in NH.  Mr. Miller was unable to unmute.  Mr. Dalessio stated that Jeff Miller told him that the way to go about these things is to have the State Representatives introduce legislation and drive it past the various committee, etc.  That is the answer to the Vilas Bridge.  Get the State Senators involved. The only way this bridge will get done is from the highest levels in both states.  They have to agree that the bridge needs to be fixed.  It has to be Governor-to-Governor.  A letter needs to go to both Governors expressing our concern.  The Walpole long-term goal is still to get the sewer line off the Vilas Bridge and run it off the Arch Bridge. 

Ms. Mayberry asked what are the next steps?  She agrees with Mr. Dalessio that there needs to be an upper-level conversation.  It sounds like the Vermont people present are busy advocating getting something introduced by Congressman Welch.  Gary Fox feels a letter of support/concurrence from the Walpole Selectboard to Congresswoman Kuster.  They might want to include the sewer line in this letter.  Mrs. Pschirrer feels it important to mention the sewer line.  She is happy to support what Bellows Falls/Rockingham is trying to do.  The Walpole Selectboard needs to introduce themselves through SWRPC to Congresswoman Kuster to let her know Walpole has a sewer line system under a bridge that needs to be rebuilt.  Mr. Dalessio is in favor of the supporting document, but Walpole has to get Representative Lucy Weber and Senator Jay Kahn to submit a bill and push it through the various steps in Concord to get it through. 

J.B. Mack feels it is really important to capitalize on what is going on in Washington right now between the earmarks discussion and the infrastructure package.  It is important for Walpole to reach out to Congresswoman Kuster and let her know about their important issue.  Transportation in NH is basically funded with federal dollars.  This bridge is over $10,000,000.  He feels they are comfortable with the current Ten-Year Plan but are watching the dollars going up every year. The Vilas Bridge is 93% NH and 7% VT.  Mr. Dalessio felt somebody should be talking to the NH Department of Transportation (DOT). 

J.B. Mack will check with the Project Manager for the Vilas Bridge to see what she thinks about their ideas. 

Shane O’Keefe has been working with this project since 2013.  This is the time to act on it.  Infrastructure money is expected in the near future.  The project will be subject to federal funding.

Bonnie North felt the Walpole Selectboard should have copies of previous correspondence.  Gary Fox will provide this.  Walpole might mention why they are concerned about the bridge including the sewer line running across it when they reach out to Congresswoman Kuster.  They would like to work together with the Walpole Selectboard to get this bridge open again.  She feels a letter of support is needed from the Walpole Selectboard.  A letter of support to Senator Kahn and Congresswoman Kuster is important.  J.B.Mack is happy to be involved. 

Bonnie North thanked the Selectboard for having them attend this Joint Meeting and they are eager to work with them.  Feel free to reach out to Gary Fox.     

Ms. Mayberry thanked everybody for coming to this meeting and participating in the discussion.                                      

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $47,088.94 for checks issued April 9, 2021.  This includes a payment of $23,732.28 to the NH Retirement System.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

PAYROLL:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Payroll Check Register for the week ending April 3, 2021, in the amount of $27,964.56 for checks dated April 9, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $5,326.14.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:

SELECTBOARDMINUTES – April 1, 2021:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of April 1, 2021, as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry requested the following amendment to the Minutes.  On page 1, in her statement for the “Elm Street Water/Sewer and Repaving Project”, change “public hearing” to “public meeting”.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Amendment to the Minutes, was approved.

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of April 1, 2021, with the Amendment made to these Minutes on April 8, 2021.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes and Amendment were approved. 

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION – April 1, 2021:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of April 1, 2021, as submitted.  These Minutes will remain sealed.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.    

NOTICE OF INTENT TO EXCAVATE:

MAP and LOT #012-073-000:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Notice of Intent to Excavate for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #012-073-000.  This property is located off the Old Drewsville Road.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

CURRENT USE:

MAP and LOT #008-088-002:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Notice of Current Use for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #008-088-002.  This is for a newly combined lot off the March Hill Road.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

BUILDING and DEMOLITION PERMITS:

Permit No. 2021-13, MAP and LOT #018-012-002:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant BUILDing Permit No. 2021-13 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #018-012-002 to add a “16’ x 12’ Screened Room OutBUILDing”.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Permit No. 2021-14, MAP and LOT #011-040-000:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant Demolition Permit No. 2021-14 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #011-040-000 for the “Removal of a collapsed shed.  The removal occurred before April 1, 2021”.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms.  Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Permit No. 2021-15, MAP and LOT #010-034-000:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant BUILDing Permit No. 2021-15 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #010-034-000 for the “Construction of a 48’ x 30’ two story Timberpeg Barn/Garage”.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Mr. Dalessio questioned if they are going to take down the existing barn and, if so, they would need a Demolition Permit.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any further discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Permit No. 2021-16, MAP and LOT #008-015-007: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to grant BUILDing Permit No. 2021-16 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #008-015-007 to add a “12’ x 18’ shed”.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

OLD BUSINESS:

Vilas Bridge Joint Meeting (Continued):  The Selectboard had agreed to do a letter of support for the Vilas Bridge.  Mrs. Pschirrer will prepare the draft letter for review.

Recognition of New Police Chief:  Ms. Mayberry apologized for not announcing last week that the new Walpole Police Chief is Justin Sanctuary.  This was effective April 1, 2021.  He will do an excellent job.  Chief Sanctuary was unable to attend this meeting as he responded to a call.  He has the full support of the Selectboard.  Former Police Chief Michael Paquette will be a Walpole Patrolman.      

Public Meeting for Elm Street Project:  The Selectboard confirmed that the Public Meeting for the Elm Street Project is Wednesday, April 21st, 2021, at 5:00 PM.  It will be held outside near the Town Hall.  Mr. Dalessio is drafting the letter that will be sent to the abutters.  The letter will also be posted in the two customary locations. 

TrueNorth Networks Invoice for Broadband Installation:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve Purchase Order #657724 for $1,600 to TrueNorth Networks to complete the Broadband Installation Project.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there were any questions.  There were none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.    

Mr. Dalessio reported there still having problems with email service in the Town Hall.  They will need TrueNorth to come back. Therefore, he will contact them.

Memorial Day Parade:  A request was received from Mr. Whit Aldrich on behalf of the American Legion Post to have a Memorial Day Parade.  Mrs. Pschirrer thought that a few weeks ago they agreed there would not be a Memorial Day Parade for several reasons including the COVID-19 virus and to be able to begin the Water/Sewer Project on Elm Street and Drainage Project on the Common in May rather than wait until June.  Mr. Dalessio reported Mr. Aldrich is fine with whatever decision is made tonight.  Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned the Brownsfield Project was moved back to July 1st to avoid overlapping the projects.  The Selectboard agreed not to hold the Memorial Day Parade this year for several reasons.       

Pending Further Actions:

Tax Deeded Property Sale, Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Reservoir Dam, Exec. Councilor Warmington Meeting Request

Houghton Brook Bridge:  Mr. Dalessio will have a purchase order ready for next week on the Houghton Brook Bridge.  It will be for the next phase which is the permitting process. 

Reservoir Dam:  Mr. Dalessio reported we have done the study.  The next phase will be for about $5,000; the purchase order will be increased.  The Department of Environmental Services (DES) has not yet weighed in but it appears this will be a “High Hazard” Dam.

North Walpole Library Lease:  Ms. Mayberry advised that two of the North Walpole Commissioners have signed the North Walpole Library Lease.  She offered to pick up and bring it to the Town Hall as soon as it is signed by the third Commissioner.   

NEW BUSINESS:

Letter of Support from EPA Clean-Up Grant:  Mrs. Pschirrer explained that a part of their EPA Clean-Up Grant required that they do a study to see if anything had any historical significance. They determined that it does not but they have to write a letter of support for the work that Ransom Consulting, LLC had done.  The Historical Society had also been asked to write a letter and they have already done this.  What remains has no historical significance at all.  They have old maps of the site.       

Mr. Dalessio moved to approve and sign the letter of support to the US Environmental Protection Association (EPA) regarding the Clean-Up Grant.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Mrs. Pschirrer advised that people will be coming to look at the site. They removed as much of the Maple tree on the edge of the property as they could.  There was a problem with metal fencing imbedded in the tree.  Funds will come out of the escrow money being held for the clean-up.

Concerts on the Green:  The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Savings Bank of Walpole announcing that they would like to sponsor their Concerts on the Green series on consecutive Sunday evenings beginning at 6:30 pm and concluding at 8:00 pm from June 27, 2021, to August 15, 2021.  Mr. Dalessio stated the work on the Common would have to start before mid-May to be finished by June 27th.  The road might not have been paved by then. 

Mr.  Dalessio moved to accept the 2021 Concerts on the Green sponsored by the Savings Bank of Walpole.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Clear Divider for TC/TC Office Windows:  The Selectboard had looked at three options for clear dividers (plexiglass) for the Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s office windows that will be between the two service windows. 

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to purchase one ceiling to floor divider and one on-the-shelf divider for the Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s office.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved. 

Donation Thank You Letter:  The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of a Donation Thank You letter from the Monadnock Family Services.

RECESS SELECTBOARD MEETING:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to recess this Selectboard meeting.  The Selectboard will enter into a meeting as the Hooper Trustees.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 7:40 PM.

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 7:56 PM.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:  Mr. Dalessio moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Personnel and (c) Reputations.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:45 PM.

Mr. Dalessio moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of April 8, 2021, will be sealed.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, meeting adjourned at 8:46 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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