Selectboard Meeting Minutes – 8/5/21

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

CALL TO ORDER:  Ms. Mayberry, Chair of the Walpole Selectboard, called this meeting to order at 6:30 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  This meeting was being recorded.  Attending this meeting was Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration.  Members of the public present were Joy Dannenberg, Grace Chandler, Marina and Joseph Coneeny, Alan Duprey, Barb and Jody Spivey, Pam and Jim Baucom, Judy Epstein, Kevin Healy, Christopher Sink, Becky Brown, Cindy Stewart, Jon MacClaren, Richard and Jane Malmberg, Ben and Vanessa Berman.

JULY 29, 2021 STORM WATER DAMAGE:  At the beginning of the update, Mr. Dalessio thanked the Walpole Highway Dept, Fire & EMS, a private contractor and local citizens who helped the Town make quick repairs. In less than 36 hours, damaged roads were made passable. Cold River Road was badly damaged and is now re-opened. Blackjack Crossing had two washouts. One home was evacuated due to foundation damage. They are addressing each report of damage as they come in. Emergency access is a top priority. Tomorrow a preliminary estimate is due to the State to see if the Town will have access to emergency funds. The estimated damage is in excess of 2 million dollars which includes large projects. Next week the State will be visiting the Town to see the problem areas.  There are daily activities such as stabilizing roadways and making driveways passable. Short terms goals include fixing the Cold River Road, the Mill Road embankment, and a culvert structure at Old Keene and Wentworth Roads. A long-term project is the School Street drainage system. Mr. Dalessio feels that professional engineering is required. A challenge is the availability of materials. They are using networking to find supplies. A stretch of good weather is needed to get the work done. Due to rainy weather, the paving of Elm Street has been delayed until September. Funding may be a challenge and they are looking at grants. Three and a half dump trucks of debris deposited in the School Street area due to the storm.

Christopher Sink, 16 Union St.: The closure of School Street wasn’t mentioned and asked if the drainage issues were included in funding. Mr. Dalessio stated yes that cost was included. Mr. Sink stated they have 8,000 pounds of debris at their curb.

Ms. Mayberry stated they were going to allow everyone who wished to speak with a 3-minute time limit. Second questions would be allowed after that.

Judy Epstein, 46 School Street: She was not in Walpole when the storm happened. Ms. Epstein felt it was a 4 year, not a 50 to 100 year storm as stated earlier. Ms. Epstein referenced the June 22, 2017 minutes. The Selectboard had been talking with an engineer to create a plan. A wetland permit was needed. Ms. Epstein asked if the permit was applied for? There was no damage to her home but a lot of debris in her yard. Ms. Epstein is not going to clean it up by herself. Mr. Dalessio said they did not apply for a wetlands’ permit and he did not know why. An engineer did review the area in 2017. The Town is meeting with the engineer again. The road agent thought he had solved the problem. On the night of the storm, Mr. Dalessio texted the road agent who had been on School Street twenty minutes before the flooding began. The culvert had been working fine. They are going to be working aggressively to get this solved. Peggy Pschirrer stated the DES did visit to walk Butternut Brook. DES told Mrs. Pschirrer we did not have enough damage for a permit or correction. Nine years earlier, some remediation had occurred with webbing being applied to stabilize the stream banks. Mrs. Pschirrer stated that we need to be conscious of problems that are emerging such as Rt. 12 that were not originally obvious. Mr. Dalessio announced that Rt. 12 is closed, north of Walpole, due to underlying issues. Mr. Dalessio stated with the School Street area, water is coming down Prospect Hill, bringing down debris which then blocks up the catch basin. That is the problem that needs to be solved.

Joe Coneeny, 11 Main Street: Mr. Coneeny stated that the damage in not just on School Street. He agreed the issue is the same each time with the drain being blocked. When unblocked, it shoots debris over his yard. The situation is frustrating since it has happened on more than one occasion. Mr. Dalessio used School Street as a generic term. He knows it includes properties downhill from the culvert. Mr. Coneeny asked if private property damage was included in the 2 million dollars estimate of repair costs. Mr. Dalessio stated they included these costs, as much as possible, into the figure.

Jim Baucom, 40 School Street: Thanks was given by Mr. Baucom to the Highway Department. They always show up and try to do as much as they can. Mr. Baucom did see Mike Rau, the Road Agent, out on School Street right before the road became inundated. Although School Street is not the biggest problem, it is a consistent and wide-spread problem involving several streets. This has been a long-term goal that needs to move up on the agenda due to the amount of property damage. In the past they regraded their yard. They had to rip up the carpets in their basement this past weekend. Mr. Dalessio said they will be working with an engineer this year but that it would be next year, due to timing, that actual work would occur.

Pam Baucom, 40 School Street: Thanks was given by Mrs. Baucom to the Selectboard for their service. She and her husband, along with help from friends, spent the last week cleaning their yard. That is a lot of unpaid manpower. Mrs. Baucom agreed it’s no one’s fault but they cannot keep picking up their yard. Mrs. Pschirrer said that figuring this out will be a priority. The Selectboard needs to figure out the funding for the repairs. She expects more severe storms to occur due to global warming. Mr. Dalessio stated that engineering firms are factoring climate changes into their planning.

Becky Brown, 23 South Street: Ms. Brown handed out copies of pictures of the damage on her property to the Selectboard. The culvert under Ford Avenue washed out on their side. The Duprey side of the brook was fixed years ago. No bank repairs happened on their side of the brook and they keep losing banking. They had a lot of water in their basement. They have to throw-out their carpets and water damaged books. Ms. Brown explained the pictures. There have been changes with Mr. Shamash’s land bordering the brook that effect the water flow too. Mrs. Pschirrer pointed out that the stream is becoming very close to Ms. Brown’s shed.

Alan Duprey, 10 Ford Avenue: Mr. Duprey stated all the problems with the culvert down at Ford Avenue come from upstream where the brook reaches over the banks. The water and the bank are level right now with no containment. Mr. Dalessio felt that the brook needs to be reviewed by someone who understands storm water management.

Joy Dannenberg, 34 Ford Avenue: Ms. Dannenberg lives at the other end of Ford Ave. There is a culvert that runs under the road from Ms. Chandler’s boundary with her neighbor. The stormwater comes down from Old Keene Road, between the two houses on the other side of the street, along with another neighbor’s drain into the culvert. Two years ago, she put in a larger pipe. This is the third time she’s had landscape damage. She cannot keep fixing the damage. The pipe gets full of debris and overflows.

Marina Coneeny, 11 Main Street: There are a lot of things property owners have already done to improve the drainage. Property owners have the experience of seeing what is happening when it floods, which an engineer would not experience. They have replaced pipes with new, larger pipes. The ditch on the north side of the property has been dug out. She asked that property owners be included in the engineering assessment discussions. They have more debris this time due to the failure of one culvert. Mr. Dalessio understands that each property owner wishes to protect their property. We must accept that what is happening on one end could affect what is happening on the other end. Ms. Dannenberg agreed since water from her neighbors’ property flows through to her yard.

Jon MacClaren, 16 Union Street: Mr. MacClaren wanted people to be aware that Union Street has eroded underneath the pavement in several spots. Those parking for Hastings House events could have cars collapsing into the road edge. There is a big hole down by the Unitarian Church per Mr. Sink.  It was agreed that there are cones near the area.

Kevin Healy, 43 School Street: Mr. Healy spoke with his driveway engineer who had recommendations. Deceleration areas were suggested, to slow the water. Mr. Healy was emailing his contact at Dufrense-Henry to Mr. Dalessio. Mr. Dalessio is open to new contacts to look at the area. We must keep debris out of the culverts.

Jody Spivey, 171 Whipple Hill Road: Mr. Spivey lives on a class VI road. He wants to make sure the damage on their road is not overlooked. There were two areas compromised. Pictures were sent to the Selectboard Office. Some of the damage is unseen.

Jim Baucom, 40 School Street: There are piles of debris on Union Street. Rain is predicted on Sunday night which may wash into the road. Mr. Dalessio texted the road agent to see if they can pick up the debris piles before the next rainstorm.

Ms. Mayberry said there is Emergency Watershed Protection Plan information that can be shared. Those interested are to write their email address on the sign-in sheet to receive the information document. The Selectboard thanked everyone for attending the meeting to voice their concerns.

LIBRARY and MUNICIPAL MASK POLICY: Mr. Ben Berman explained he was at the meeting because his seven-year old daughter is required to wear a mask at the Library. He wanted to offer a different point of view. Mr. Berman referenced an article from Parenting Science.com entitled, “Facial Expressions for Kids and Helping Kids Read Emotions.’ Mr. Berman covered highlights from the article. He also shared a copy of the article with the Selectboard. Mr. Berman has three children and feels there’s a lack of focus of what COVID-19 is doing to children and their learning. His daughter is homeschooled and a very good reader. Mr. Berman feels wearing a mask is a deterrent to his daughter’s education. He asked if the Town would change the rules. Ms. Mayberry related that the Town is allowed to make its own mask rules by the Governor and that most places have similar mask signage. She had notice that many vaccinated people are returning to wearing masks due to the Delta variant. The policies and procedures are for the majority of the people and their comfort level with masks. Masks are not to be meant to be restrictive but to curb the spread of the virus. Mr. Berman was concerned about the effect of the mask policy on his children’s development and general wellness. Mrs. Pschirrer commented she had a long discussion with Mr. Berman earlier this week. Decisions made effect the entire Town. Her scientific readings support children are spreading the virus which is why they must wear masks in the library. Mr. Berman replied that he has been reading different scientific articles with other opinions. Ms. Mayberry stated that earlier in the pandemic, masks are used to reduce the stress on the healthcare system so that it would not become overwhelmed. The Selectboard has to think of the larger population and the effect on the healthcare system. Mr. Berman stated our local healthcare system was not overwhelmed. Ms. Mayberry responded this was due to preventative steps that were taken. Mr. Berman stated he has natural immunity and things are not as they were. Ms. Mayberry said there have been growing COVID cases the in last few weeks. Mrs. Pschirrer stated there were two new cases in Walpole this week. Mr. Berman understands there is a risk to becoming sick and there are risks when active in society. The Selectboard is not willing to take that risk for the Town. Ms. Mayberry said that the Selectboard could vote on the request. Mrs. Pschirrer stated that the Board had discussed masks at the prior meeting due to increased cases and concerns with public meetings. Mr. Dalessio stated he is not a parent and therefore doesn’t know how he would respond. He felt that Mr. Berman presented his information very well. Mr. Dalessio feels the issue is about different parenting styles. However, the Selectboard must think of the greater good of the community. Mr. Berman stated other parents have similar concerns. Mr. Dalessio would like to hear from these parents. 

Jane Malmberg, the Library Director, stated as a parent she shares the concern with children being isolated due to COVID-19. She has discussed the issue with the Library’s Board of Trustees. Other visitors to the library could be susceptible to COVID. The library must be a safe space for the public. The library offers outside programming where masks are not needed. Under RSA 41:11-a, the Library Trustees can determine Library policy.

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Accounts Payable Check Register in the total amount of $33,486.00 for checks issued August 6, 2021.  This includes a payment in the amount of $5,457.03 to Granite State Minerals for Highway salt.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  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 July 31, 2021, in the amount of $36,249.25 for checks dated August 6, 2021, and for the 941 Payroll Tax Transfer in the amount of $6,603.73.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

SELECTBOARD MEETING MINUTES:

SELECTBOARD MINUTES – July 29, 2021:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 22, 2021, as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor the Minutes were approved.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION #1 MINTUES – July 29, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 22, 2021, as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor the Minutes were approved.

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION #2 MINTUES – July 29, 2021: Mrs. Pschirrer moved to accept the Minutes of the Selectboard meeting of July 22, 2021, as submitted.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor the Minutes were approved.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the following Committee reports:• Conservation Commission Meeting – August 2, 2021

BUILDING PERMIT:

Permit #2021-32, MAP and LOT #012-042000:  Mr. Dalessiomoved to grant Building Permit No. 2021-32 for the owner(s) of Map and Lot #012-042-000 to add a “48’ x 47’ breezeway and addition to home”.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

OLD BUSINESS:

Brownfields Cleanup of Former Central Plating Site Update:  Mrs. Pschirrer reported that the sumps in the red building had been cleaned today. The red building will be coming down on Aug. 23rd.

Pending Further Actions:

Mill Pond Dam Inspection, Vilas Bridge, Houghton Brook Bridge, Generators, Three Phase Power for Industrial Avenue and Bensonwood, Complete Streets re: Sidewalks:  There were no updates at this meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Exterior Office Door: The Selectboard reviewed the three quotes. Due to the lack of difference in price, the contractor that can complete the work in the earliest time frame will be awarded the job. Mr. Steve Dalessio moved to approve the purchase order for replacing the door for the TC-TC Office, not to exceed $27,000, to the contractor with the earliest starting date. Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer. With Mr. Dalessio, Mrs. Pschirrer and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Cemetery Deed D577, D578, D579:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to approve the Cemetery Deed for the purchase of Lots D577, D578, D579.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

Emergency Expenditures re: RSA 32:11: Mrs. Pschirrer found there is approximately 2 million dollars in the unassigned fund balance. Jamie Dow of the NH Dept. of Revenue (DRA), who had called earlier in the week to offer advice, will be back on Monday. Mrs. Pschirrer stated that is an option to request a special hearing to use these funds for repairing stormwater damage. Mr. Dalessio stated that creating actual figures will take time. Ms. Mayberry requested that the topic be placed under Old Business for the next Selectboard meeting.

Emergency Requests for Driveway Repairs: Ms. Mayberry felt that the Town should have a defined process for deciding when an emergency repair is needed for a driveway. There was a consensus that the Fire Chief and Road Agent make a joint decision. It is a collaborative judgement between the two parties.

Request for Information on Town Electricity Load: The Manager of Finance will gather the Town’s fourth quarter of 2020 electricity bills and send to the right-to-know requestor.

Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP): A copy of the information form is to be sent to Ms. Jeanette Clark of Cold River Road. Her yard flooded during the storm.

DRA Monitoring Report: The Selectboard acknowledged receipt of the report from a recent survey of audited properties that were re-evaluated by Avitar Associates. It was a positive report.

Home with Stormwater Damage: A letter to the Selectboard regarding a home with foundation damage on Colonial Drive arrived late in the day. The Board wished to review the history of this property. This item will be addressed at the next Selectboard Meeting.

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.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 8:38 PM.  

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:39 PM.  

NON-PUBLIC SELECTBOARD SESSION:

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to enter into a Non-Public Selectboard Session pursuant to RSA 91-A:3 II to discuss (a) Employees, (c) Reputations, (e) Legal Matters.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved at 8:39 PM.

The regular Selectboard meeting resumed at 8:54 PM.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mrs.  Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  Ms. Mayberry asked if there was any discussion.  There was none.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.  

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Downing, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore

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