Walpole Staff Meeting Minutes – 10/20/22

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

Staff Present:    Sarah Downing (Manager of Administration); Richard Kreissle (Administrator of Finance); Ben Hoy (Recycling Director); Helen Dalbeck (Hooper Institute Executive Director); Jane Malmberg (Library Director); Kraig Harlow (Recreation Director); Meghan Hansson (Town Clerk/Tax Collector)

Excused: Michael Rau (Road Agent); Justin Sanctuary (Police Chief)

CALL TO ORDER:  Mr. Dalessio called this meeting of staff to order at 5:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall. There were no members of the public present.

Mr. Dalessio started the meeting by asking Mr. Hoy to give his report.

RECYCLING:

Recycling received Walpole trash bag order from boxes and bags unlimited. Placed order in March, just received. Production and staffing issues still plaguing plastics industry. Mr. Hoy has started a new order to get the bags before they come close to running out again. The current order cost $18,500.

Mr. Hoy visited APC paper last month, and just visited Soundview paper in Putney with Walpole resident Jeff Miller. Making many new connections with those responsible for recycling our materials. Also learning much about the recycling industries that we are supplying. Thanks Jeff! The Clarion article regarding the visit was posted on the NRRA website.

Structural engineer Annette Dey from Walpole gave an initial assessment for Walpole recycling. Annette inspected the truss and attic area at Walpole recycling. She would like to know the manufacturer of the roofing truss as that information is not included in the blueprints. The architect has passed away, and builder of Walpole recycling building Jeff Kennedy does not remember the manufacturer name. Annette seemed confident that solar panels could be installed but would be interested in knowing more about the truss manufacturer if possible. Mr. Dalessio stated that a professional engineer or PE stamp was required for documentation regarding the roof.

Reuse center is in full holiday swing. They have decorations and nick knacks for the upcoming holiday seasons.

The recycling department is reliant on safe and accommodating storage. They are in dire need of a new storage facility to replace our rusted and frankly dangerous storage trailers. There was a discussion regarding storage being provided by Alstead. Currently, no recycled material is being stored in Alstead.

Mr. Dalessio asked Mr. Hoy if hearing protection in the form of earmuffs had been purchased. Mr. Hoy stated they had not been purchased. Mr. Dalessio instructed Mr. Hoy to purchase what was needed.

Mr. Hoy was nominated by NRRA executive director Reagan Bissonette to join the Department of Environmental Services board of directors’ solid waste working group

RECREATION:  Mr. Kraig Harlow read the following recap report.

Pool & Pool House

  • The pool closed on August 26th.
  • Brad Nash came and fixed all of the lights and globes down at the pool this summer.
  • Pool filtration motor blew up on July 15th and we quickly were able to repair it within a week with the help of E.E. Houghton.
  • Associated Concrete Coatings LLC finished the concrete non-slip surface on August 1st at the price of $15,450. The repair was paid through the warrant article.
  • We were over Pool Chemicals again by $1,557.28 this season due to the increase price in chemicals and the blown filtration motor.

EE Houghton has winterized the pool house and we’re official closed until next season

Summer Basketball

  • Summer Basketball ended on August 18th.
  • The program had 74 children sign-up for this program which generated roughly $1,850 in revenue. 18 of the 74 signups were from Walpole meaning we have a lot of other towns playing in the league.
  • We had three companies sponsoring teams: Cold River Materials, Bowman Dental, Chroma Technology. Each sponsor received a plaque with a team photo.
  • Bowman Dental was this year’s winners.

Soccer

  • Soccer signups happened August 15th through August 19th and the program began September 6th
  • We had 97 children signup throughout the K-6 program and generated $1,000 in signups.
  • Teams were broken into four groups of U4, U6, U8 and U11 with practices taking place at North Walpole School, Walpole Elementary School, and Westminster St. field.
  • Our sponsors this season were Home Away From Home, Craig Vickers State Farm, Dog Daze, Salon488, Hubbards, McGill Woodworking, and Diamond Pizza.
  • Soccer season ends October 22nd with end of season jamboree put on by the help of Craig Vickers.

Community Events

  • We’ve held three movies over the summer: Space Jam: A New Legacy, Sonic and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Sonic 2.
  • We are having roughly 30-50 members of the community show at each movie.

Our best showing was 73 people in North Walpole Park for Clifford and our worst was 3 people at Encanto at Whitcomb Park

Recreation Committee

  • The recreation committee met August 24th about the budget and on September 28th discussed North Walpole to build a committee to seek donors to add a pickleball court.

Mr. Harlow stated that has been a lot of interest in pickleball. Also, the pool leak was found in the gutter area of the pool. Warrant article funds to repair the leak issue will be encumbered to use for next year.

FINANCE: Mr. Rich Kreissle read the following report.

Budget

  • Subsequent to the budget meeting held in September, updated the budget with the changes discussed and documented those changes.  These notes ran 4 pages.
  • Received the new health insurance, property and liability, workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation rates for 2023 – incorporated them into the budget.
  • Discussions will be held about the effects of these rate changes on the budget and how to lessen the impacts on these rate changes.
  • Tweaked my spreadsheet version of the budget to be better able to tell the board the effect on any changes made to the budget.
  • Since we last met, the audit field work has been completed and all the information requested to date from the auditors have been supplied.
  • I’ve started sending inquiries to them as the progress of completing the MS-535 so it can be sent to the DRA (Department of Revenue Administration).
  • The MS-535 is critical to the setting of a new tax rate.
  • The auditors suggested some procedures/processes that would enhance the audits.
  • I’m now coming in around 7 a.m. to better able incorporate those procedures.
  • My workflow on any given day usually consists of a series of widely varied tasks that, though they not necessarily take a long time, do require different thought processes.
  • The only tasks that take extensive time are the processing of payroll and the issuing of accounts payable checks.
  • The MS-434 has been uploaded to the DRA’s portal.  This document, which reports projected revenues, is also used in the calculating the new tax rate.
  • I’ve started to create my auxiliary Excel files for 2023; will start boxing 2021 paper files within the next month.

HOOPER INSTITUTE: Mrs. Helen Dalbeck reviewed the following report.

School Programs and School Gardens: The school lessons that we teach in grades pre-K – 7th every week are at the core of what we do as Hooper educators. The gardens are also demanding our end of season attention with lots of harvesting and bed prep happening in the lower grades and planting the high tunnel and beds of garlic at the middle school. Both Becky Whippie and I have met with each of the teachers that we work with and with Principal Cassarino. Our collaboration has deepened with the teachers so as to help them meet national and state science standards in Hooper classes while we stay true to our focus areas and mission. The middle school lessons are becoming even more hands on and experiential. Subjects have been switched around due to changes in all grades. Becky and I are staying nimble and intrigued by new ideas, teacher needs and creative program development. More to follow as the year progresses.

Outreach and Marketing: Clarion, flyers, Facebook. I plan to reconnect with The Walpolean. A different opportunity arose and I will be attending the Fall Mountain Regional High School Career Fair on October 26, representing the Hooper Institute and opportunities that the Institute can provide Walpole students (High School Work Program and Scholarships). I have degrees in agriculture, biology, zoology, and conservation education and can share my own professional pathway to date. We can talk and make a snake craft, extras left from the Fall Festival. 

Walpole Community Garden: Upcoming October 22, Garlic Saturday with a garlic planting demonstration, 1 pm. A Walpole Community Garden member tea will follow. The garden clean-up day and closing is October 29.

Administration: Ongoing, in every way. Budget, Total Return Policy, reports, communication, maintenance, fundraising, land, building and gardens

Special Events, Programs, Scholarship and Friends:  2nd Annual Fall Festival was 9.24, Garlic Saturday is 10.22 and I plan to set up at the Thanksgiving Farmers Market in November (no date yet). Wreath making is Dec 2 and 3. Save the date for Winter Fun Day, February 11, 2023

Development/Fundraising: This has been “The Year of the Hooper Institute”. We have raised $53,160 thus far with additional monies from the 2nd Annual Fall Festival ($802 with $250 donation from EE Houghton). A postcard is in development and at the printer soon. I am working with Braden Printing in Keene; Friends of Hooper Institute will cover both the printing and postage cost for the appeal. The fall campaign is called “Lend a Hand to the Hooper Institute”. I missed the window to join NH Gives this November so will consider a GoFundMe campaign via Hooper Facebook.

Scholarship The total awarded for the school year 2022-23 is $15,000.

Other news: Hooper Institute logo cloth tote bags are available, yours for a $10 donation.

The Year of the Hooper Institute: 2022 Calendar

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 continue into July; Old Home Days Hooper Institute Alumni Display on June 25, Town Common; 6th grade River Trip (June 10 only); 2 weeks Hooper Day Camp and 1 week Adventure Camp (overflow into July)

July- High Summer School Work Program; 1 week Woodworking Camp; 6 weeks Flower Bouquet CSA began July 1: Presentation Night for HS Work Program (July 27, 7 pm) and Hooper Scholarship Recipients

August- High School Work Program ends August 26, Flower CSA ends August 19

September- 2nd Annual Fall Festival (September 24) Annual Giving Appeal

“Lend a Hand to the Hooper Institute”

October- Annual Giving Appeal “Lend a Hand to the Hooper Institute”

Garlic Saturday October 22 with Fritze Till; Walpole Community Garden Closing Day, October 29

November- Thanksgiving Farmers Market

December- Wreath-making Workshops (Dec 2 and 3), End of Year Appeal

LIBRARY: Mrs. Jane Malmberg gave the following report.

We registered 21 new library cards in September!  Library visits were up compared to 2021 and 2020.  Physical circulation was down slightly from last year, but Overdrive circulation was up compared to 2021 and 2020.

Art Exhibit

The Road Not Taken: artistic interpretations of the poetry of Robert Frost was mounted in both the Main Library and the North Walpole Branch on September 2.  The show will be up through the end of October. This is a traveling exhibit which has been making the rounds of New Hampshire libraries since 2011.

Building Maintenance

I reached out to Barry Bellows about wrapping the chimney before the winter weather sets in.  He said he thought that was a good idea and that he would be able to do it between now and mid-November.  He will get a quote to us for the chimney removal/reconstruction as soon as he can and we should plan for that work to commence in the spring.

Bill Rohdenburg kindly offered his time and expertise to reinforce some bookshelves in the children’s room that were in danger of collapse. 

Collection

We have four brand new STEAM kits for school-aged kids available for checkout:  Fort Building, Ozobots, Magformers and Keva Planks.  Thanks to Julie for putting these together.

North Walpole

Visits to the branch more than doubled from August to September.  Checkouts were down only slightly. Julie and some of the patrons in North Walpole have taken on a research project to find out more about the history of the branch library. 

Outreach

The library hosted tables at the Historical Society’s Christmas in September on Saturday, September 24, and at the Welcome to Walpole held on the Common on Saturday, October 1.

Programming

We had some new programs in September and October. 

A Caregiver Support Group facilitated by Walpole resident Judy Epstein has been meeting on the second Tuesday of the month. 

We had good attendance at “Finding Ways to Reduce Your Final Exit Footprint: Natural Burial”, on October 13, presented by Lee Webster from NH Funeral Resources. The Great Decisions discussion group took on the topic of Climate Change at their discussion on October 17. 

On Saturday, November 5, at 10:00 am, we will have a children’s concert featuring Lisa Nichols. Lisa’s parents, Diane and Ernie are Walpole residents and frequent library users. 

Staff Development

I will be attending the joint New England Library Association and New Hampshire Library Association conference from October 23-25.

TOWN CLERK-TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE: Mrs. Meghan Hansson read the following report.

  • Since August 22, we collected about $96k in property taxes.  August 18th, we sent out reminders of unpaid taxes and had a good response.  Total outstanding receivables stands at $285k.
  • One of the properties eligible for deeding has changed hands. The property is in North Walpole and has caused concern due to its abandoned state.  A certified letter has been sent to the new owner (presently living in CA) of the arrearages, and we hope this property can get back on track.
  • The State Primary Election was held on September 13th.  The State is pressuring election workers to make sure all State procedures are implemented.  Protocols were added making the testing of the ballot counter take longer.  Even preparing “test ballots” for this process took over 4 hours of my time.  The Moderator and I also brought in five or six residents to help with processing and counting write-ins and overvotes on ballots election night.  This not only improved accuracy with multiple people counting but also more eyes on the ballots and the counting process should improve voter confidence in outcome.
  • The State General Election will be Tuesday, November 8th.  We have been registering new voters and taking requests for Absentee Ballots.  Per the State, this year Covid will not be allowed as a reason to request an Absentee Ballot.  We already have one hundred absentee ballot requests.
  • Deputy Vicki Gohl attended the Tax Collector’s Conference September 6-9th.  She noted a particularly informative presentation by the DRA, specifically on the subject of Timber Taxes.  There was much discussion on the procedure to properly lien Timber Taxes.
  • I attended the Town Clerk’s Conference (NHCTCA), commuting to Manchester on October 12th and 13th.  There were some really good sessions on Running an Election, on Right to Know Requests, and on being Keeper of the Records…storage and preservation.
  • We have had a significant increase this fall in birth and marriage certificates and, most notably, marriage licenses.

SELECTBOARD OFFICE: Mrs. Sarah Downing summarized the following report.

Facilities Update

The Town Hall roof replacement project has begun. Initially scaffolding on the east and west sides of the building was installed. Starting on 10/19/22, Melanson workers began removing the old slate roof. The completion date is dependent on the weather. A large leak was recently found above an upstairs storage closet. The new roof will resolve the leak issues that have been ongoing for several years.

Asplundh Tree Service, on behalf of Liberty Utilities, requested that two trees be removed from the west side of the Common. Both trees were structurally compromised due to internal rot. They would have caused serious damage to the Veterans Memorial and the power, phone and cable lines if not removed. The stumps are to be Hartmann Tree and Garden.

Painting of the Town Hall hallway is ongoing. Brad Nash is working on this project as time allows.

Assessing:

Since the last report, updated property value assessments were mailed to property owners. Avitar Associated conducted phone meetings with property owners to answer questions and concerns. For property owners that feel that their assessment is not correct, the next course of action will be to complete an abatement form. Printed copies of the abatement form are available in the Town Hall. The forms can also be downloaded from the Document Center page on www.walpolenh.us  Abatement forms will be accepted at the Selectboard Office AFTER the final 2022 tax bill is mailed.

The MS-1 form, which is the total property valuation for the Town, was signed by the Selectboard on September 29th. This form along with the MS-434 Revised Revenues which is submitted by Rich Kreissle, once uploaded to the DRA portal, start the tax rate setting process.

Human Resources:

Since the cost of the September Employee Appreciation Meal was very reasonable in cost and effort, a second luncheon meal for employees is being planned for Tuesday, December 13th. This meal will feature baked lasagna, salad, garlic bread and dessert. Much thanks to Peggy Pschirrer for making her wonderful apple pies and Brad Nash for cooking up some delicious minestrone soup for the September meal. Additional thanks to Jodi Daigle and Vicki Gohl for their help with the room set-up and take down.

Open enrollment for healthcare is starting. Forms and notices will be sent to employees in November. This is the time of year for full time, benefited employees to change their coverage if they wish to move from a spouse’s policy to the Town’s policy or visa versa.

HIGHWAY: The following report was submitted by Road Agent Mike Rau.

ADJOURNMENT:

Ms. Mayberry moved to adjourn this Selectboard meeting.  Seconded by Mrs. Pschirrer.  Mr. Dalessio asked if there was any additional discussion.  There was none.  With Ms. Mayberry, Mrs. Pschirrer and Mr. Dalessio in favor, the meeting was adjourned at 6:07 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Sarah Downing, Recording Secretary Pro Tempore

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