​​​Five-Town Selectboard Meeting – 19/28/22

Present:  Walpole:  Steve Dalessio, Peggy Pschirrer, Cheryl Mayberry; Alstead:  Joel McCarty, Joseph Levesque, Matthew Saxton; Acworth:  Kathi Bradt; Charlestown:  Jeremy Wood, Nancy Houghton, Bill Rescsanski; Jean Kobeski (Recording Secretary)

Call to Order:  Steve Dalessio called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. This meeting was recorded.  Steve Dalessio welcomed the selectboard members and asked them to introduce themselves.

Approval of Minutes:  Jeremy Wood moved to accept the May 28 and August 5, 2022,minutes as written.  Joel McCarty seconded the motion, and all voted in favor. Motion carried.

Perambulations:  Prior to the meeting, the Charlestown Selectboard asked that perambulations of the town lines, which are by RSA to be done every seven years, be put on the agenda. Mr. Dalessio asked that they lead that discussion.  Jeremy Wood stated they are starting with the Acworth/Unity line, but it is difficult finding the markers. He said the last time the survey was done was in 1797 by the Masons, though the Conservation Commission has done some boundary marking.  Mr. Wood said they will most likely use a surveyor, who has told them the markings left by the Masons are probably the most accurate.

Mr. Dalessio said he did a survey when he first got on the board. They carried over the work that was done seven years prior, believing the lines hadn’t changed. Ms.Houghton said there is a discrepancy in Charlestown.  Mr. Wood explained that a gentleman purchased property with uncertain boundaries and wants clarification of his property lines. 

Joel McCarty said he might be able to help by recommending a surveyor, whom he has used in the past. According to Mr. McCarty the surveyor was quick, efficient, and inexpensive because he used a GPS system.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked the name of the surveyor; Mr. McCarty did not readily know his name but will email it. He also suggested that, as a five-town consortium, they could afford to hire someone and make a multi-year project out of this. Mrs. Pschirrer agreed this could be a good idea. The group discussed how rough maps, particularly those used by FEMA, can and have caused problems for towns.   

Fuel Oil, Gas, Shelters, Housing Assistance this Winter:  Matt Saxton introduced the topic of the high price of heating oil and gas this winter. He explained that a postcard was sent to all Alstead addresses giving residents needing assistance with oil and electricity the phone number and website address of SW Community Services. It also states that anyone who wishes to do so may make a tax-deductible donation to a fund for Alstead residents only.  Mr. Saxton said that could add an additional layer of resources for those in need. He said they are very worried about carbon monoxide and house fires this winter.

Mrs. Pschirrer stated the welfare officer in Walpole has already received several calls since September for oil, gas, and apartments.  In Walpole there are no available places to move. Jeremy Wood said their welfare office got a notice stating there would be no housing assistance this winter.  Mrs. Pschirrer said there is state money available for rental assistance, and the welfare officer has referred many people to the state. Mr. Saxton said that the state has said that anyone receiving up to 75% of the median income will qualify for assistance. He also said that SWCS is understaffed. They ask people to leave messages.  They will not run out of money, but processing applications for assistance will be very slow. 

Mrs. Pschirrer asked if anyone has shelters in their towns; none do. Walpole’s closed last year.  Mr. Wood said Charlestown goes to Claremont for temporary housing. Mr.Saxton explained that they lost renters to Keene because, with the price of gas, people could not afford to travel to Keene for a job that paid minimum wage. A discussion continued about subsidized housing and how people pay for it.  They also talked about the need for workforce housing.

FEMA:  Steve Dalessio asked how the towns are doing with their FEMA funding.  Charlestown has received money.  Langdon and Walpole have received some money. Alstead has not. Ms. Bradt said all site visits were done a month ago in Acworth, but they don’t expect money before the end of the year because of the lengthy processing procedures. 

Reservoir Dam:  Joel McCarty ask about the status of the Reservoir Dam.  Steve Dalessio responded that they have been approved for funding.  No formal decision has yet been made, but the dam most likely will be repaired rather than taken out. Ms.Bradt asked about the funding. Mr. Dalessio explained that the state had $15 million for dam repair, $10 million of which was spent on state dams.  That left $5 million for the next level.  Because the Reservoir Dam is designated a high hazard dam, Walpole was approved for roughly $800,000. Mr. Dalessio continued to explain problems with the dam and repairs that need to be made.  He said it will probably be repaired because it would cost roughly the same as removing it, and it has recreational value for the town. 

Other

Vilas Bridge:  Mr. Dalessio reported that engineering work continues to remove the waste line under the Vilas Bridge. A bypass line will be put in.

Brownfields Project:  The Brownfields site is just about finished in Walpole.  Mrs. Pschirrer reported that drainage will be done this fall but paving will wait until spring.  Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) paid for the testing and helped write the EPA grant. Ransome Consulting has done most of the work. The Walpole Foundation has purchased two double electric charging stations for the parking area.

Selectboard Rules and Procedures:  Kathi Bradt asked if each town has adopted a set of rules and procedures for selectboards.  She was directed to contact each town’s selectboard office for a copy of their documents.

Bridge Repair in Alstead:  Alstead has secured funding to repair two small bridges.  An engineering firm has been secured. The money is administered by the DOT.  Mr. McCarty would be happy to provide the name of the man in charge of the program.

There was a brief discussion about town budgeting and pay increases.

The next 5-town meeting will be held on January 27, 2023, in Langdon.

The meeting adjourned at 5:34.

Respectfully submitted,

Jean Kobeski, Recording Secretary

These minutes are in draft form until approved at the January 27, 2023, meeting.

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