Selectboard Meeting Minutes – 6/10/21

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 4:32 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.  There were three guests present:  Senator Jay Kahn, Representative Lucy Weber and Mr. Mark Houghton. 

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.

AMERICAN RESCUE FUNDS (ARF) DISCUSSION WITH SENATOR JAY KAHN:  Ms. Mayberry explained that they felt it would be good to meet together and have a conversation about the Town’s wastewater line relocation and the Vilas Bridge.  Senator Kahn advised the State will not be taking up the Ten-Year Highway Plan that includes the Vilas Bridge until next year.  He talked to Commissioner Bob Scott of Environmental Services about the Town of Walpole’s concern, However, the State put a hold on the Water Fund.  He believes this is because the Wastewater and Water Funds had been tapped pretty heavily; this is an opportunity with the American Rescue Plan which is Federal Funds.  The press release from the Governor stated that one out of three priorities was water treatment.  Senator Kahn wanted to confirm it included wastewater and it would.  He does not have time lines for when the funds could be allocated and what the process would be.  New rules would be established.  Being “shovel ready” is often what people say is a part of the criteria.  Commissioner Scott told Senator Kahn to have someone working on this Walpole project to call him; apparently he is establishing a list of his own projects and who his key contacts are for those projects. 

Mr. Dalessio reported there was an announcement that $396,000+/- was available from the American Rescue Funds (ARF).  Is that the same money we are talking about?  If not, the Town would have to apply to another agency.  Senator Kahn replied this is a good plan for small states.  NH State in total will receive about $2-to-3 billion dollars. Some of this is dedicated to school funding, child care, food programs, etc.  The State will receive $950 million dollars in State aid; that will look a lot like CARES money.  It will be distributed by the State for priorities that the State selects.  He thinks $200 million dollars is for Town and Municipal Aid.  Walpole’s share sounds like it is $396,000.  Cheshire County is to receive $14 million dollars.  Representative Weber asked if the $396,000 is unrestricted or restricted in particular ways?  Senator Kahn said it could not be used for tax reductions.  Mr. Dalessio saw it was for water and sewer lines.  Mrs. Pschirrer has been going to National League Cities meetings and cannot confirm all the numbers, but the last number was $112 million dollars. It is hard to find those numbers when she is searching government websites.  The website Mr. Dalessio is referring to stated there were limitations on what they could do.  The third thing in all the restrictions included water and sewer; the first two were related to the COVID virus.  Mr. Houghton said they are talking about two different things.  The first round was the rescue money, but the infrastructure issues are not related to the rescue money.  Senator Kahn thought they were.  Mr. Dalessio said American Rescue Funds sounds like multiple buckets and we could tap more than one bucket.  Senator Kahn noted Commissioner Bob Scott will control $950 million dollars; a significant figure.  There may be a matching source.  

Representative Weber said they know there are several buckets.  There are County funds and other funds that will come into the State that will get allocated by the Governor to individual projects in a number of different places.  She assumes if we had the money this would be almost ready to go.  Mr. Houghton advised all the survey work is completed and some preliminary engineering work done.  They have not done bid documents or a final plan that has gone to the Department of Environmental Services (DES) for approval. They have been moving forward slowly because of funding issues. Sewer funds have been hard to accumulate. This is just part of a bigger problem as 20 wastewater stations need upgrading to go along with this sewer bypass.  Senator Kahn mentioned a break-down of an estimate by component would be a great common source for them to speak to.  Mr. Houghton said they can put that together rather quickly.  Even that costs money.  Mr. Dalessio asked how they figure out where these buckets of money are and who they go to.  Representative Weber said the Legislature is not involved since this is not part of their budget.  She put together a list of people she contacted after the last meeting.  She wants to keep the conversation going because if one of them gets a bucket of funding, she wants them to think about us. Is the NH Municipal Association (NHMA) helping the towns with any of this?  Mrs. Pschirrer thinks they are trying to but they do not have all the information they need at this point. Mr. Dalessio pointed out that the Town usually finds out about many things too late to pull together grant applications.  He got a 60-page guidance document from Northern Borders two weeks before it was due.  The Selectboard spends a lot of time doing research.  The Selectboard has another project and that is to extend the Three Phase Power in the Industrial Park and Bensonwood. The cost will be $800,000-plus.  They are looking for funding.

Mr. Houghton mentioned maybe it is time to hire a consultant. It would be a huge help for the Town of Walpole. The County just hired someone.  Representative Weber advised there is a newsletter that comes out of Senator Shaheen’s office with various funding opportunities.  She will see that the Selectboard gets copies.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted they get information from Senator Kuster’s office. 

Mr. Houghton asked for clarification. Is the $396,000 already allocated to the Town of Walpole.  Mr. Dalessio saw there was money coming to the State and we were allocated that amount.  Representative Weber thought they had to apply for the $396,000 and wastewater is one of the things that fits in the parameters. That money had been allocated town-by-town.  Mr. Dalessio said they had sent a letter to Senator Shaheen’s office and they had filled out the form.  Mrs. Pschirrer said when they are ready to apply for the $396,000. They already have a lot of things in place because of our EPA Grant.  Mr. Houghton summarized that the next step for him is to secure the engineering, put together a scope and get this as shovel ready as possible.  He will call Commissioner Scott the first of the week.  He asked if the Selectboard will approve this because it will be more than he has in his engineering line.  Mrs. Pschirrer advised we need to go ahead with this.  Senator Kahn suggested when Mr. Houghton talks with Commissioner Scott, he should ask what he envisions in grants for the total project.  Representative Weber said he should ask what they can use for a match because sometimes they can use one bucket as a match for another bucket.  Senator Kahn advised he can sometimes be involved in the discussion on the State’s distribution of the $950 million dollars. 

Ms. Mayberry thanked Senator Kahn, Representative Weber, Mr. Houghton and everyone else for attending this meeting.                          

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $76,675.40 for checks issued June 11, 2021.  This includes a payment in the amount of $26,048.26 to Ferguson Enterprises for culvert supplies.  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 June 5, 2021, in the amount of $30,115.41 for checks dated June 11, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $5,706.88.  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:

SELECTBOARD MINUTES – June 3, 2021:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of June 3, 2021, as submitted.  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 were approved.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION MINUTES – June 3, 2021:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of June 3, 2021, as submitted.  These Minutes will remain sealed.  Mr. Dalessio requested that these Minutes be tabled until next week to allow him time to review them.  On a voice roll call vote with Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the Minutes were tabled until next week’s meeting. 

NOTICES OF INTENT TO EXCAVATE:

MAP and LOT #014-013-000:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Notice of Intent to Excavate for Cold River Materials, the owner(s) of Map and Lot #014-013-000.  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.

MAP and LOT #015-011-000:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Notice of Intent to Excavate for Cold River Materials, the owner(s) of Map and Lot #015-011-000.  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:

Economic Revitalization Zones – Hubbard:  Ms. Mayberry reported the Economic Revitalization Zones for Hubbard will be discussed at next week’s hybrid Selectboard meeting in the Town Hall.  Mr. Michael Bergeron and Ms. Bridget Beckwith from the State Division of Economic Development will join the meeting via Zoom.

Brownfields Clean-Up Contractor Bid Reading and Recording:  Mrs. Pschirrer reported that yesterday Ransom Consulting, Mrs. Sarah Downing and she participated in the bid opening.  Six bids were received; twelve contractors actually visited the site.  There was a wide range of bids made; from $397,000 to $675,000.  They will be evaluating and discussing these bids with Ransom Consulting as they are the engineers who were hired.  The contract will be awarded on June 23rd.  Following that they will be scheduling a public meeting. 

Pending Further Actions:

Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Vilas Bridge, Houghton Brook Bridge, Generators, Three Phase Power for Industrial Avenue and Bensonwood:

Reservoir Dam:  Mr. Dalessio will try to schedule a Reservoir Dam meeting now that they have all the information. 

Tax Deeded Property Sale:  Mr. Dalessio recommended they hire somebody to cut down the weeds on the Tax Deeded Property.  People should be able to see the building from the street.  Ms. Mayberry agrees it needs visibility. Mrs. Downing was asked to find out if Mr. Brad Nash could do the job.

NEW BUSINESS:

Town Hall Copiers:  The Selectboard had received a Printers/Copiers Recommendation from Mr. Rich Kreissle.  Mrs. Pschirrer felt it was a very thorough analysis.

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Printers/Copiers Recommendation for Benchmark at $4,647.14.  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.

Municipal Utility Trailer: Ms. Mayberry reported that Mr. Brad Nash has been using his personal trailer for the work he has been doing around Town without compensation. To purchase a municipal utility trailer will cost $800.  Mr. Dalessio would like to have the insurance company contacted to see if there is liability when someone is using their personal equipment on the job.  Mrs. Pschirrer felt it would be better if he were driving/using something the Town owns.  Mrs. Downing was asked to contact Primex for an answer.      

Thank You Card:  Ms. Mayberry acknowledged receipt of a Thank You card from Big Brothers Big Sisters for the Town’s donation.

Town Hall Meeting Room:  Mr. Dalessio asked if the Selectboard meeting could be rescheduled on Thursday, September 16th, 2021, to the morning.  There is a conflict with the Horse Thieves Banquet meeting that night.  Ms. Mayberry mentioned it is also a Staff Meeting night.  There was a consensus that the Selectboard meeting could be held in the morning.  There will be no Staff Meeting on this day.       

Governor’s Emergency Order:  Mrs. Pschirrer advised that the Governor’s Emergency Order expires tomorrow at midnight.  He did not extend it.  The Selectboard meeting next Thursday, June 17th, 2021, will be an in-person meeting in the Walpole Town Hall.

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 at 5:20 PM.

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 5:43 PM.

Mrs. Pschirrer moved that the Minutes of the Non-Public Selectboard Session of June 10, 2021, will be 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.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Dalessio moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting.  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 meeting adjourned at 5:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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