Town of Walpole Staff Meeting – 5/19/22

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

Staff Present:                Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Michael Rau (Road Agent/Highway Director); Justin Sanctuary (Police Chief); Jane Malmberg (Library Director); Meghan Hansson (Town Clerk/Tax Collector)

Excused:           Rich Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Kraig Harlow (Recreation Director); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director)

CALL TO ORDER:  Mr. Dalessio called this Staff Meeting to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  This meeting was being recorded.

Highway Department:  Mr. Mike Rau had submitted his May 2022 report as follows:

  • 2021 Flood Damages – He has completed and submitted all Category A damages from the July 2021 flooding to FEMA and it has been approved for federal funding.  A total of $19,854.88 will be awarded to the Town for this particular category thus far; this figure is the federal share which covers 90% of costs.  Repairing flood sites has been a top priory as it is crucial to prevent any further deterioration in these areas, since any new or further damage (washouts, erosion, etc.) sustained will not qualify for funding.
  • Culverts were ordered in March. However, due to supply shortages, replacement work is being placed on hold until further notice.
  • Quotes have been obtained for asphalt and paving work.  They will be using All State Construction, Inc.  Dates for paving are still undetermined.
  • Road sweeping has been done in both Walpole and North Walpole.

Mr. Rau thinks they are about half-way through the list of projects from the 2021 flooding; some were large and some were small.  They are still waiting for the plastic culverts to arrive.  He asked Arlington Paving, All States and Bazin Bros about paving on Hillcrest Road in North Walpole.  They will go with All State Construction at $83/ton which is $13/ton more than last year.  They are bidding in the $90+/ton price-range. We did the bidding just in time.  They will finish March Hill.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked if they will be painting the sides of those roads.  Mr. Rau responded “yes” that is on the schedule.       

Police Department:  Police Chief Justin Sanctuary did not have a written report to submit this month.  Chief Sanctuary reported he is working on some grant applications.  From 2017 to 2021 they had a 30% reduction in motor vehicle accidents but a 50% increase in citations.  It was interesting to look at.  Two thousand and twenty (2020) was low.  Ms. Mayberry mentioned some people worked from home during the COVID pandemic.  Per the radar sign by the school, an average of 880 vehicles a day went by it.  The average speed was 30 MPH.  He explained that the unit provides other information.  They are still doing some detail work in Town.  Liberty Utilities work on the power lines is being funded by them.  Mr. Dalessio advised that the Town ordered two solar speed signs. One will be placed on Hillcrest Road by the school in North Walpole.  Chief Sanctuary pointed out that the Police Department has new police signs so people can find them whether they are coming from the north or the south.             

Walpole Town Library:  Mrs. Jane Malmberg provided the following written report dated May 2022.

Foot traffic and checkouts of material continue to increase in North Walpole which is great news.

Building:

She has reached out to several masons regarding the work they need on the chimney.  One of them has done a site visit and is working on a proposal for the board to review.  She has heard from another who is interested, but she is waiting to hear when he would be available for a site visit.  Work has begun on the new front door for the main library.  They have received their new AED unit which was funded by a grant from the Walpole Savings Bank.  She is working on setting up training for their staff.

Friends:

The Friends of the Walpole Town Library will be holding their plant sale this year at the Reuse Center.  They are asking people to contact them before bringing donations of plants to the Reuse Center.  They will not be accepting donations at the library.

Programming:

April was a busy program month.  They hosted the first Great Decisions discussion group, “Ask a Muslim Anything”, a Recycling Program with Ben Hoy, and a kids’ vacation movie.  Julie has moved outside for story times starting in May, weather permitting (inside on rainy/chilly days).

They have some special programs planned for summer reading that will begin the week of Old Home Days.  The first is an adult kick-off program, “Introduction to Beekeeping” with Ross Conrad, who owns Dancing Bee Gardens in Vermont.  They will also have a kids’ kickoff program, “Tiny Creatures”, with Wildlife Encounters.  Julie and Jane are planning a hybrid Geocaching/Scavenger Hunt program in collaboration with the Hooper Institute, the Walpole Recreation Dept., The Walpole Historical Society.  The North Walpole Park, and Distant Hill Nature Trail.  They will introduce a program for reluctant readers, “Read to a Dog”.  A patron from Walpole has a trained and certified service dog and will be bringing him to the library to read one-on-one with children ages 5-16.  They are excited about these programs.

Staff:

Chris conducted a book shelving training for their volunteers, some of whom have not had training for several years.

Jane attended a workshop put on by the State Library on preparing for Book/Program challenges.  It was an informative and helpful session.  She also joined the Membership Committee of the New England Library Association and the newly re-formed Intellectual Freedom Committee of the New Hampshire Library Association.  Both committees meet regularly via Zoom.  

Monthly Library Statistics – Bridge Memorial Library and the North Walpole Library are available in the Selectboard Office.

Town Clerk/Tax Collector’s Office:  Mrs. Meghan Hansson submitted the following report dated May 19, 2022:

  • Since last month (mid April), the Town Clerk collected over $93,700 dollars, $70,126 of which belongs to the Town.
  • Since their last meeting, they have registered 527 vehicles and 27 boats.  During the month of April 173 registrations were done online.  Also, 24 dogs had their licenses renewed online.
  • Already, 76 motor vehicles have been done online since the beginning of May and 5 dogs. 
  • Attached was a monthly plot of registrations per month for the last two years.  They are only halfway through May; so, the May number (see green line) will continue to rise.
  • They are starting to think about the State Primary this coming fall.  Filing for candidates will be June 1st through June 10th.
  • Taxes collected since their last meeting amount to approximately $138,000.
  • Some liens have been paid off and released, but they still have 27 properties liened (fewer owners as some owners have multiple properties).
  • Only two properties have the potential to be deeded this year, although they expect they will probably be paid before that happens.
  • They received the warrant for the spring 2022 taxes this past week.  Bills are printed and being stuffed into envelopes.  Expected mail date is Monday, May 23.
  • They have come to the conclusion that they could better serve their residents and operate more efficiently with a more robust website that allowed residents to garner information and perform transactions right from the homepage.  Features could include a banner headline, a calendar, direct communication links, and push notifications.  It could transform to fit seamlessly to mobile devices for people that want to interface on the go.  It could be made ADA compliant.  Certainly, other town departments would benefit from the ease of communicating with the public and making certain transactions available remotely.  Many NH towns use the one Mrs. Hansson and Mrs. Gohl researched.  People would be able to find information themselves.  Mrs. Hansson displayed a brochure; towns can pick-and-choose what they want on their website.

Ms. Mayberry mentioned there is the cost that is not in the budget and even if the Selectboard agreed to make the change, there would be no new website until next year.  Mr. Dalessio is concerned with expansion of transactions.  Mrs. Pschirrer wanted everyone to keep in mind that we don’t have a lot of computer literate people in Town; a quarter of their population is aging rapidly and they like to make phone calls to talk to a human voice.  They are more comfortable doing this than going to a website that can be confusing with too much colorful information.  Mrs. Hansson explained that they would always be open to telephone calls. A lot of working people only have limited time.  Mr. Dalessio summarized that they will take it under consideration.

Walpole Recycling Staff Meeting May:  Mr. Ben Hoy submitted the following written report:

  • With the help of Keefe Harrison and members of the Recycling Partnership, they have begun recycling #5 plastics!  They are one of the pioneers of pure #5 plastic recycling in the State of New Hampshire.  Keefe is a resident of Walpole and was a keynote speaker at the recent NRRA conference. She gave Walpole Recycling kudos for recycling #5’s.
  • Members of Walpole Recycling attended the NRRA annual conference.  There are several vendors there and he was able to develop business relationships during the conference.  They have had an oil leak in their new max pak horizontal baler.  He had a baler company check out the leak, and they gave him a substantial estimate for repair.  He ran into a baler repair man at a booth at the NRRA conference, and they are working on the baler as he is writing this report.  The repair man working on the baler does not believe the damage is anywhere near what the other company quoted us.  In other words, fingers crossed on a swift and inexpensive repair to the max pak baler!!
  • He ordered the paper shredder through WB Mason.  HSM is the manufacturer of the paper shredder, and has held up the delivery of the shredder because they need documentation of their electrical service in the building.  Mark Houghton submitted the electrical specification form today, and they are awaiting word from HSM on a shipment date.  There have been many inquiries on the status of the paper shredder.  They are hoping the paper shredder will arrive and be installed within the month at Walpole Recycling.
  • Mike Rau is picking up a dump truck load of compost from Windham County Solid Waste facility in Brattleboro, VT.  The compost will be sold at Walpole recycling for $3 per 5 gallon bucket or $45 per rounded bobcat bucket load as we have in the past.  This compost is composed of food scraps from Monadnock Food Coop, Keene State College, and many other reputable food outlets.  Anyone can have success growing plants with this compost.
  • Last week Mr. Hoy sold a truck load of metal and they made $9,100 for the Recycling Center.

Purchase Order Policy:  Sarah Downing had distributed copies of the “Purchase Order Policy”.  Mr. Dalessio explained that during Staff Meetings over the next couple of months they want “Procedures” to make things more accurate and simpler.  Purchase orders and invoices have to match up; they need the same numbers to match up.  If they find a mistake in the accounting process, they have to go back and fix it.  He asked if everybody had looked at this new policy.

Mr. Rau’s concern is “Purchase orders whose amounts exceed $5,000.00 are required to be submitted to the Selectboard prior to the item being purchased”.  If he has a truck that needs to be repaired for $6,000 does he have to wait for Selectboard approval before he has the truck repaired?  This would also apply to certain purchases.  Ms. Mayberry felt a truck repair was an expense not a purchase.  Checking with his liaison would suffice.  Mr. Dalessio said he could write a purchase order stating “not to exceed $$”.  Just drop it off for his signature. They do not want to slow the process down.  It is for clarity. Be sure to get your receipts in when you have charged on the Town’s credit card.  Mr. Kreissle does not want late charges. 

Mrs. Downing wanted to thank Jodi Daigle and Rich Kreissle for covering for her while she was on vacation for two weeks.  She also advised that this Staff Meeting will be the last one for Regina as she will be retiring.  She started working as the Recording Secretary on February 1, 1996.  Mr. Dalessio noted that she served them well for many years and they certainly appreciate it.                    

Walpole Recreation:  Kraig Harlow was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following written report:

Benches/Trash Can Holders:

  • Jarrod Atkins from Bellows Falls finished his Eagle Scout project and delivered four benches and two trash can holders.
  • The wood for the project was donated and Walpole Recreation only paid for the bolts and the water sealer.
  • Walpole Recreation would like to raffle one of the benches off to help purchase new soccer goals at the North Walpole School fields.

Pool:

  • The pool should be opening on June 15th and will host Walpole School for their annual field day and open to the public the weekend of June 17th.
  • Mark Houghton has been working with Stephanie Greene and Ralph Fico on locating the leak within the pool.
  • Stephanie is actively seeking to hire new lifeguards; we have 7 lifeguards returning.

Pool House:

  • Outside the pool house, a “take a book – leave a book” house was installed.
  • The Walpole Library donated books for kids to take and read.
  • They have received a quote for the pool house by Associated Concrete Coatings LLC to repair the floor and add a duraflex coating to the floor at $15,450.
  • They also received a quote from Gerald’s Painting in Bellows Falls, VT to paint the pool house and touch up some of the building for $2,000.
  • Walpole Recreation is to pay for these repairs through the warrant article.

Basketball:

  • Brad Nash is currently helping paint the light poles and installing new LED lights at the park with the help of Mark Houghton.
  • Summer Basketball sign-ups begin May 19th at 6pm and will happen every Thursday for the next four weeks.
  • They are expecting roughly 75 to 100 kids to sign-up for the program this year.

Community Events:

  • Their first movie night will be in June 10th at North Walpole Park and it will be “Space Jam: A New Legacy”.

Polls/Surveys:

  • They have received some feedback about installing more pickleball courts, adding cornhole and board games to the Parks and Recreation program.

Hooper Institute:  Helen Dalbeck was unable to attend this meeting but submitted the following report:

School Programs and School Gardens:  Bark, buds, flowers and tree ID plus seeds, composting, soil prep and garden planning.  Seed planting is underway in the younger grades plus creating original farm designs in 2nd grade.  They are dreaming up and designing their ideal farms.  What is a watershed and river mapping are lessons in 6th grade, in preparation for their June River trip (June 9 and 10).  5th grade is deep into stream salamanders, migrating fish and fish anatomy.

Summer Camps:  Registrations are coming in for all sessions.  Woodworking Camp is now full (Jul 18-21) and the other camps, Summer Day Camp and Adventure Camp (sessions are June 27-30 and July 5-8) will take registrations until June 1st or until they are full.

High School Work Program:  Students have been interviewed and five are accepted into the summer program.  Paperwork commences plus a one-on-one interview with their new mentors.

Outreach and Marketing:  May and June Clarion submissions plus many Facebook posts; monthly school newsletter, posters for May and June events plus fundraising.  She looks forward to presenting at the May 18th “Women of Walpole” meeting, local outreach at its best.

Walpole Community Garden:  There are 16 members and 43 beds in the community garden.  The group has decided to also have a tent at OHD, for outreach and exposure plus to support the Hooper mission and programs.  Membership fees are mostly in and the work in the gardens has begun.  They hosted a Master Gardeners Class on April 28 here at the Hooper Institute that focused on the community gardens.  22 people attended the afternoon session.

Administration:  Seth Andrews is their newest board member. Ann Monette will attend their June meeting to try them out.  Ann is a longtime community gardener.  Seth is a high school science teacher in Keene.

Special Events, Programs, and Friends:  She hosted an afternoon tea for the Walpole Community Garden members on Apr 23 plus crafted in the morning for the OHD tent.  GL Hooper’s Birthday Party was last Saturday, May 14.  It was a small but sweet gathering.  Bill Perron (George) gave a really nice speech; the two teams of Morris dancers were really fun, lots of singing, crown making and cake!  Thanks to all the bakers and flower donations, both of which helped make the day special.

The Flower CSA subscription forms are being organized and publicized in June Clarion.  She has three subscriptions already promised and she plans on selling 10, at $120 each for the season.  She is looking for some helpers on Friday mornings to cut and prep flowers and create the bouquets.

Development/Fundraising:  This is “The Year of the Hooper Institute”.  The town wide mailing was mailed and donations have been coming in.  We’ve received $25,000 from The Walpole Foundation and two garden grants for $750.  So far, the Hooper Birthday Fund has received $43,398.  She continues to write and mail letters to large donors and is on the look-out for grant and foundation monies.  Stay tuned.  They will continue to raise funds beyond the birthday fund and Old Home Days Alumni Tent with the 2nd Annual Fall Festival, a Fall Annual Appeal, Giving Tuesday and an end of the year push for donations.

Other news:  The new cloth tote bags have arrived, selling for $20/bag.

The Year of the Hooper Institute: 2022 Calendar Old Home Days

February – Winter Fun Day 2/12/22 plus kick off of GH Hooper Birthday Fundraising Campaign.

April – Earth Day Celebration at the Hooper 4/23/22 9-10 am Woods Walk 10am – 12pm Crafting for Old Home Day Alumni Tent; Opening Day Walpole Community Garden 1 pm 4/23/22.

May – George Hooper Birthday Party 5/14/21 11am – 1pm.  Parking at the Watkins Inn and Tavern.

June – Birthday campaign will wrap up by July 1; Old Home Days Hooper Institute Alumni Display on June 25, Town Common; 6th grade River Trip (June 9 and 10); 2 weeks Hooper Day Camp and 2 weeks Adventure Camp (overflow into July). 

July – High Summer School Work Program; 1 week Woodworking Camp; 6 weeks Flower Bouquet CSA begins: Presentation Night for HS Work Program and Hooper Scholarship Recipients.

August – High School Work Program, Flower CSA.

September – Flower CSA ends; 2nd Annual Fall Festival kicks off our Annual Giving Appeal.

October – Garlic Saturday; Walpole Community Garden Closing Day and Gathering.

November – Thanksgiving Farmers Market; GIVING TUESDAY.

December – Wreath-making Workshops, End of Year Appeal.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mr. Dalessio thanked everyone for coming to this meeting.  He adjourned this Staff Meeting at 6:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

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