Town of Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 8/19/21

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

Staff Present:                Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Michael Rau (Road Agent/Highway Department); Justin Sanctuary (Police Chief); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director); Meghan Hansson (Town Clerk/Tax Collector); Regina Borden (Recording Secretary)

Staff Excused:               Kraig Harlow (Recreation Director); Jane Malmberg (Library Director)

CALL TO ORDER:  Ms. Mayberry called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  She thanked everyone for attending.  This meeting was being recorded.

Recycling Center:  Mr. Ben Hoy, Director, submitted the following written report.

Mr. G’s has not been able to provide them with any pumpkin gaylords in the past several weeks.  This is cause for alarm as they have been able to throw their mixed paper in these gaylords since they began doing business with Mr. G’s.

Hubbard can no longer provide them with pallets, which is another cause for concern as they need pallets and gaylords to keep their current business plan in place.

Northstar Pulp and Paper has agreed to start sending them what they can for gaylords.  They are looking for innovative ways to get through this crisis.  Ms. Mayberry suggested Mr. Hoy contact C & S in Brattleboro to see if he can get gaylords from them.   

Their storage trailers are very old and seen a lot of wear.  NRRA has grant money available to help towns purchase new or used storage trailers. Mr. Hoy has applied for this grant money. NRRA will get back to him with their decision.

Recycled cardboard is worth more and more every month ($150/ton).  It was $30/ton.  They bale around 2 ton every work day that Mr. G’s has a full trailer in their yard – Giving them much more cardboard revenue than any other town our size in the state.   

They have painted several trailers, and finished up painting the Reuse Center.  Their trailers are getting older (years-and-years old).  This is something to look into as it is their weakest point at this time.   

Asphalt work area is working out great for moving materials without spilling or damaging product.  It is also keeping the dust to a minimal level inside the building. 

Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office:  Mrs. Meghan Hansson, Town Clerk/Tax Collector, submitted the following report:

  • Have deposited since last month’s meeting over $125,000 in tax collection, mostly late 2021 property tax payments.
  • Still looking for another $178,000 outstanding on the 2021 Warrant.  (This corresponds to 105 invoices out of 2032.)
  • Released several liens that were paid off.
  • Town Clerk collected about $94,700, out of which Walpole receives $72,000.
  • 449 vehicles were registered since last month; also another 12 boats (115 total) and 28 dogs (418 total).
  • Changes continue to improve their office efficiency and organization.
  • Renovation parts are on order; fire safety door is on order.  Door might be done before Veteran’s Day; week over which the rest of the renovations will be done.  Still looking for clarity on Selectboard decision on labor proposals.
  • Their new printer, a Kyocera, they purchased from All Service to replace an aging Motor Vehicle printer is fully integrated with her software now and is performing as anticipated.
  • The new copier, a Xerox from Benchmark, is also installed.  It took some patience to get the copier and software integrated fully.  Benchmark is working with them and Interware to see if they can offer a copier system with a seamless interface that would be ideal for other Town Clerks/Tax Collectors in the state of New Hampshire.  Consequently, they have had ready assistance!
  • Mrs. Hansson and her Deputy will be attending Town Clerk training September 8-10 in North Conway, NH.

Ms. Mayberry mentioned that notices should be posted for days when the office is closed.  Mr. Dalessio said it should also be put in the Clarion.  

Highway Department:  Mr. Michael Rau, Road Agent/Highway Department Director, submitted the following written report:

            They have had a busy past few weeks here at Highway.  The end of July storm forced many projects to be pushed out.  Flood damages were widespread throughout town consisting of road and river bank washouts as well as clogged drainage.  Flooding has taken a lot of their resources.  Several roads were required to be temporally closed, however were successfully reopened within 24 hours of flooding.   They were short-handed but everybody available worked well together to get it done.  Many temporary fixes had to be made in order to restore safe passage of some roads.  Crews continue to work daily on restoring these damaged roadways.  As of now, we are still waiting for FEMA to come on Monday and assess damages in order to determine if this will be declared a disaster, which will allow for federal funding in order to help pay for repairs.  However with another storm coming their visit might be delayed.  Today he talked with Julia Chase, Homeland Security, about fixing things.  He was told if it is an emergency repair they are allowed to fix it.  They need Emergency Permits from DES.  Mill Road is in need of repairs and right now the bank on Cold River Road is in danger of collapsing.  Various other projects were mentioned. Mr. Rau has things lined-up for Monday.      

            All throughout storm clean up, day to day scheduled summer projects must continue.  Town property and roadside mowing continue each week.  Taylor Street, Kilburn Street, Forest Street, and Willow Street in North Walpole have been paved.  They will begin paving roads in Walpole this week, contingent on weather.  The Elm Street project has been put on hold due to the high volume of materials needed to fix damaged roads.  Notices on progress are being sent to the residents on Elm Street.  Material that is needed to continue the project has been sold and we are waiting for more to be made.    

Hooper Institute:  Mrs. Helen Dalbeck, Executive Director, submitted the following written report: 

            “The work that they do at the Hooper Institute and in our schools and community is informed and inspired by our mission to provide educational and scholarship programs to the youth and citizens of Walpole in the following focus areas:  Agriculture, Forestry, Botany, Soils and Environmental Science.”

School Programs and School Gardens:  Mrs. Dalbeck is harvesting each week and delivering what they have grown to the Fall Mountain Food Shelf.  Planning for fall harvests (and garden lessons) with

students has begun.  She met with 6th and 7th grade science teachers to schedule a fall “Ecosystem Series” for 7th grade, based at the Mill Pond, our outdoor classroom.

High School Work Program:  This past month has been largely focused on the high school students – shepherding, corralling, cajoling, cheering on, and encouraging their workplace success.  Work sites have included Hooper Day and Adventure Camps, Abenaki Springs, Malnati Farm, Walpole Recycling Center, Walpole Veterinary and Alysons Orchard.  The program runs until August 21 when she projects 9 students will have worked 930 hours, 6/21 – 8/21/21.

CAMP Hooper Woodworking Camp, with 9 kids attending (5-8th grade), ran July 19-22 and was taught by Steve Dalessio, Helen assisted.  In two mornings they made Viking chairs and the next two days were devoted to making canoe paddles with cherry boards that were harvested from the Hooper Institute land (2008).  These paddles were pretty special (and very messy/dusty).  Special gratitude goes to Steve who donated his time, tools and lumber that made this session possible for a group of very lucky Walpole kids.  She would also like to thank Alexis Pittman, a Friend of Hooper Institute, who donated all of the Celtic stencils, pens and paints that the kids used to decorate their projects.

Outreach and Marketing:  July and August Clarion plus many, many Facebook posts, camp flyers and garden presentation posters.

Facility and Land:  Two fir trees are down and removed.  The sugar maple site, at last, was cleaned up.

Administration/ Special Events and Programs and Friends:  FOHI members are meeting and planning a 1st Annual Fall Festival at the Hooper Institute, September 25, 11am – 3pm.  July 28 was a presentation night for board members, parents, students, staff and friends at the Town Hall.  Scholarship recipients plus all high school work students were invited to present.  There were 40 people in the room, riveted by stories from the students about their academic programs and research and from the barns, fields, and orchards right here in town.  The arc of influence that the Hooper Institute programs have on the youth and people of Walpole was very much in evidence in that room, that evening. 

Development:  This newly formed Hooper Institute Board committee began meeting monthly in July.  There will be much more to report on in the coming months.

Walpole Community Garden:  The WCG (with FOHI) is hosting four garden talks/presentations this year.  She presented “Pollinators” on July 31 in the community garden.  Next is a garden tour and seed saving talk on September 11, 10 am.

Ms. Mayberry advised that the student presentations were wonderful.  They talked about what they expected when they went in and what they learned.  It was very inspiring and informative. 

Finance Office:  Richard Kreissle, Administrator of Finance, submitted the following written report:

Printers/Copiers:  Benchmark delivered and installed the new machines.  Installation went smoothly with minimal complications that were resolved either by Benchmark, True North and Interware.

Budgets:  Everyone should have received budget worksheets during the week of 8/2 – 8/9 along with where you stood at that time.  Budgets are due to him by 9/3 so he can present the 1st draft to the Board by 9/10.  Please feel free to ask him any questions or to see a detailed listing of transactions which comprise

any accounts.  Also he is currently working on finalizing the formatting of 2022 budget worksheets for the Board.  The budget will be his primary focus for the remainder of the year.

Tax Rate:  One document that the Department of Revenue Administration (DRA) uses to set the tax rate is the MS-434R.  This report shows budgeted revenues revised for the remainder of the year and is due 9/1.  He will complete this next week.

Ms. Mayberry asked Department Managers to review their reports to make sure they know the reason why their numbers are under or over because the Selectboard will ask those questions during the budget meetings. 

Ms. Mayberry explained there were some issues with the credit cards.  They all had cards but it is charged on the same account.  She asked Mr. Kreissle to look into increasing the credit limit so they minimize the bottle neck of funds.  Mr. Kreissle is looking into that.  They do have a Credit Card policy.  If Department Managers do not know what that is reach out to Mr. Kreissle.  Submit your receipts in a timely manner. 

Ms. Mayberry wanted to talk about the Purchasing Policy.  If you are at your budget line and you have to purchase something then you need to submit a purchase order with that request to the Selectboard for their sign-off.  If you have any questions contact Mr. Kreissle or the Selectboard.  

Selectboard Office:  Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, submitted the following written report:

Assessing Update:

This week, Avitar Associates will be completing the cyclical inspections for properties that are in the southernmost area of the Town.  Changes will be reflected in the upcoming MS-1 or Town-wide valuation report.  This report, along with the MS-434R with revenues, are the initial reports submitted to the NH Dept. of Revenue (DRA) for tax rate setting process.             

Facilities Update:

  • The new water fountain with the water bottle filler will be installed in the Town Hall first floor hallway next week.
  • The outside door for the Town Clerk-Tax Collector’s Office should be installed within the next 4-6 weeks.

Office Update:

With summer being the time for vacations, Selectboard Office staff continue to cover for others when they are out of the office.  Brad Nash is currently on vacation.  Next week, Sarah Downing is out-of-the-office.  Jodi Daigle will be gone from Sept. 1 through the 10th.  Monday, Sept. 6th is a staff holiday and the Selectboard Office will be closed.

Human Resources:

The Selectboard decided at last week’s 8/12/2021 meeting that all full and regular part-time employees will complete the online training module through Primex entitled, “Preventing Workplace Harassment for Employees”.  This training is to be completed during work hours and a certificate as proof of completion is required.  More information will be sent to department managers regarding online access and the due date for completing the online course.

Planning for an Appreciation Lunch for employees and a virtual presentation by Health Trust to review health insurance coverage/programs and wellness offerings are in process.

Police Department:  Police Chief Justin Sanctuary provided the following report.  Last month Officer Landry was promoted to Sergeant.  He will be taking over some of the duties and assisting the Chief.  Officer Parro is now certified and will be out in the public.  The County hired a new Prosecutor.  It is vacation time; shifts have been changing to provide coverage.  There has been an increase in the number of calls received.  Due to the Route 12 closure they are covering the south end of Charlestown.  They got their building roof repaired but the ceiling needs to be fixed.  Last night a tree came down near the Upper Walpole Road and Route 123 resulting in a lengthy power outage in three towns for about eight hours.  Ms. Mayberry asked about the number of employees in the Police Department.  Chief Sanctuary replied five (5) full-time and four (4) part-time employees. They are still looking for qualified applicants.   

Recreation Department:  Mr. Kraig Harlow, Recreation Director, was unable to attend this meeting but had submitted the following written report:

Pool:

  • The pool opened on Saturday, June 18th and will be closing on Saturday, August 28th.  A total of 15 lifeguards were staffed for the season and a majority will be back for the 2022 season.
  • The staff sold ice creams, waters and ice pops this year and made a good amount of money from the sales.
  • They offered three sets of swim lessons this year and every spot was filled immediately.
  • Added multiple games for kids to use down at the pool house that include a large connect four, yard Jenga blocks, Spikeball, and Kan-Jam.
  • Replaced the water heaters and the ADA chair this season.

Summer Basketball:

  • They offered K-2 skill development program on Monday nights, grades 3-4 3v3 league, and the 5-8 summer league on Monday and Wednesday.
  • The program had 100 kids signed-up between the three different programs.
  • This year they purchased aluminum benches for the players.
  • A huge thank you to Bowman Dental, Cold River Materials, and Chroma for sponsoring their programs this season.
  • The winner of the 5th-8th grade league was Bowman Dental.

Community Events:

  • Walpole Recreation will be showing movies in September and October.
  • The movies that will be shown are Tom and Jerry and Coco.

Recreation Committee:

  • The Recreation Committee met Monday, August 16th to discuss the budget with plans of scheduling another meeting in the upcoming two weeks.

Walpole Town Library:  Mrs. Jane Malmberg, Library Director, was unable to attend this meeting but had submitted the following written report: 

Programming:

Our Summer Reading program wrapped up on August 8th.  We had fewer participants than last year – her thoughts on this are that most people are tired of online programming, and some have still not gotten back to their regular library schedule.  Hopefully, next summer they will be past the pandemic restrictions and able to offer more in-person programming to draw more people in to the library.

They had five people for their first social justice reading and discussion group at the library and they had lots of ideas for future reading, viewing and discussion topics.  Their nonfiction book club had planned a discussion on immigration for September, but that has been postponed due to a conflict for one of the

discussion leaders.  The Thursday morning book club did not meet in July but are planning to begin meeting at the library again in September.  The knitting club has regular attendance of six or more people each week.

Plans for the fall include a monthly adult craft program on Friday afternoons, monthly book club meetings resuming on Thursdays at noon, and hopefully resuming the kids’ coding club on Tuesday afternoons at the North Walpole Library and Wednesday afternoons at the Bridge Memorial Library.  They will need to limit the number of participants in order to socially distance and masks will be required for anyone who is unvaccinated.  She has booked a talk with Anders Morley, a New Hampshire author whose book This Land of Snow: A Journey Across the North in Winter tells the story of an entire winter spent living outdoors and traveling on cross-country skis across northwestern Canada.  This will take place on Tuesday, October 5th, at 4 pm.

North Walpole: Two of the commissioners (Patrick Kiniry and Celeste Aumand) paid a visit to the library last Tuesday and were happy with the changes they made.  They indicated that they plan to address the needed repairs to the windows and replacement of the fire extinguisher.

ARPA Grant:  They announced their grant in the August issue of the Clarion as well as in their weekly email blast and on their website and social media.  Families have been excited about the new Launchpads, and she has heard from several staff and patrons who are excited about the offerings on Universal Class.

Policy: She is continuing to work with the Trustees to review and update their public policies.  There have been some first amendment challenges occurring in other local libraries that warrant the inclusion of language addressing photography/filming in the library in their behavior policy.  She attended the Selectboard meeting on August 5th regarding compliance with their mask policy.

Professional Development:  Mrs. Malmberg plans to attend the New England Library Association conference which comprises three virtual sessions and one in-person session in September and October.

Their Monthly Library Statistics – Bridge Memorial Library – Library Visits & Hours Open for July 2020 and July 2021 plus % Change were attached.

ADJOURNMENT:

Ms. Mayberry thanked everyone for attending this meeting.  The next Staff Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd, 2021, at 5:00 PM.  She looks forward to seeing everyone then.  This meeting was adjourned at 5:59 PM.  

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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