Public Hearing – 9/23/21

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

CALL TO ORDER:  Ms. Mayberry called this Public Hearing to order at 6:01 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  Also present was Mrs. Sarah Downing, Manager of Administration, and Mrs. Regina Borden, Recording Secretary.  This meeting was being recorded.  There were three members of the public in attendance. 

Ms. Mayberry advised that this Public Hearing is to Request Funds from the Unassigned Fund Balance to Repair Roadways, Bridges and related Infrastructure.  The Notice of Public Hearing was read as follows:

TOWN OF WALPOLE, NH

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

SEPTEMBER 23, 2021 AT 6:00 PM

To Request Funds from the Unassigned Fund

Balance to Repair Roadways, Bridges and

Related infrastructure

You are hereby notified that the Walpole Selectboard will host a public meeting on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 6:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall to discuss the proposal to use the unassigned fund balance to fund necessary roadway repairs due to the stormwater damage from the July 29th storm.

Ms. Mayberry opened the Public Hearing for comments or questions.

A resident noted that the work on Cold River Road needs to be done before it snows.  Mr. Dalessio replied it will be done before it snows.  They are waiting for material to come in as there is a 6-to-8 week lead time which takes the Town into the end of October to mid-November.  They are doing that with current existing funds.  

Mr. Jody Spivey mentioned the funding.  There is a lot of damage throughout the area.  How is that going to work with disbursing funds?  Ms. Mayberry advised they have a list of identified projects and are waiting for some FEMA money.  They need to determine how much funding they will have.  Now they are fixing the immediate roadways that have to be done.  Mr. Dalessio pointed out that this is federal money.  Within the last week or so the Governor just declared this a federal emergency disaster and requested that the federal government release money for that.  FEMA declared $2.3 million dollars of damage in Walpole.  How much of that comes back is a question.  We want to take some of the Unassigned Fund Balance now so they can get started on some of the major repairs. They know for example that School Street/Union Street/Main Street area is a disaster by itself.  That is what they are trying to do with the Unassigned Fund Balance.  Some of it may come back or it may not but they want to get started with engineering work now rather than waiting for FEMA funds. It might take six months to a year to come back.  Mr. Dalessio noted they will be trying to hire a consultant to help them identify and apply for programs that are out there.  It will be a challenge to find and hire an engineering consultant.  He has called some firms who simply told him to call back sometime next year as they are already busy working on projects.  The purpose of the meeting tonight is to authorize the Selectboard to move forward with using the Unassigned Fund Balance. Mr. Spivey said that “makes sense”. Mr. Dalessio said it will not cost much money to borrow it. 

Mrs. Pschirrer reported that when FEMA was here two weeks ago, they said it would be months before they finished their report and made the money available to the Town.  They talked about the process and expected us to get an emergency permit to repair a road such as Mill Road, which they are already working on, and then apply for money to mitigate the problem so that it does not happen again.  That is a separate amount of money.  It is complicated and frustrating.

Ms. Mayberry advised that our goal is not just to repair and mitigate later, but rather to try to mitigate as a part of the repair process and pay for it all at one time even if it will cost a little bit more. Address the problem the first time around and not do a patch job or temporary fix only to take it apart and do it over.  It seems like a waste of resources and money.  Mrs. Pschirrer thinks that is what we are doing on Cold River Road.  Mr. Dalessio said that is specific to Cold River Road; fix it right.  Ms. Mayberry said for the additional $2,000 we would rather fix it right the first time.

Pamela O’Hara advised that the Cold River Road culvert has a rough life with all the sand and gravel trucks traveling on it.  Mr. Dalessio mentioned they should be fixing the guardrail if they have not done it already.  Ms. O’Hara said they are working on the old school bus stop right now.  Mr. Dalessio advised the culvert was on their list of projects to do before the July 29th storm.  The storm was ahead of them about two weeks.  They then decided to upgrade the culvert by making it bigger. 

Ms. Mayberry asked if there were any other comments or clarifications.  There were none. 

Mrs. Pschirrer moved to authorize this Board to sign the letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Administration indicating that no one has objected to our using the Unassigned Fund Balance. Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, the motion was approved.

ADJOURNMENT:  Mrs. Pschirrer moved to adjourn this Public Hearing.  Seconded by Mr. Dalessio.  With Mrs. Pschirrer, Mr. Dalessio and Ms. Mayberry in favor, Ms. Mayberry declared this Public Hearing closed at 6:13 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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