«Town of Walpole Town Report Town of Walpole Annual Reports of the Boards – Committees – Commissions – Officials Scenes from 2010 Walpole Day ...»
Town of Walpole
Town of Walpole
Annual Reports of the Boards – Committees – Commissions – Officials
Scenes from 2010 Walpole Day
FOR THE YEAR ENDING 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GENERAL GOVERNMENT PUBLIC WORKS
Board of Selectmen 1 DPW Administration 172
Town Administrator 2 Walpole Highway Department 174 Town Clerk 5 Walpole Cemetery Department 175 Board of Registrars 5 Walpole Parks Department 175 Spring Annual Town Meeting 6 Building Maintenance Division 176 Fall Town Meeting 36 Vehicle Maintenance Division 177 Election Information 57 Engineering Division 178 Moderator Jon W. Rockwood 77 Recreation Department 180 Town Counsel 78 Water & Sewer Commissioners 182 Personnel Board 79 Sewer and Water Division 184 Personnel Department 80 Economic Development Commission 82 HUMAN SERVICES 187 Information Systems 83 Board of Health 187 Permanent Building Committee 84 Veterans Services 190 Insurance Advisory Committee 84 Walpole Public Library 191 Walpole Pond Management 85 Board of Library Trustees 193 Purchasing Department 86 Council on Aging 194 Walpole Historical Commission 87 Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project 195 Friends of Adams Farm, Inc 88 Walpole Area Visiting Nurse Association 197 Adams Farm Committee 89 Walpole Housing Partnership 198 Walpole Housing Authority 199 PUBLIC SAFETY Walpole Housing Authority 199 Walpole Police Department 90 May Counseling Center/Walpole 200 Walpole Fire Department 95 Center for Community Counseling & Education 202 Animal Control 99 South Norfolk County Arc 203 Walpole LEPC 100 Walpole Farmers Mar
The Board welcomed Eric Kraus and Michael Berry as the newly elected members to the Board.
Shortly after the election the Board met to reorganize and Nancy Mackenzie was elected Chairman, Eric Kraus was elected Vice Chairman, and Michael Berry was elected Clerk.
In an effort to minimize the Town’s budget, during the Spring of 2010, the Board members worked at the potential regionalization of the Veteran’s Office and Animal Control with many surrounding towns. The only town which expressed some interest in sharing the services of a Veteran’s Agent was the Town of Foxboro. After meeting jointly with them, the Town of Foxboro decided they would move forward with hiring their own Veteran’s Agent and not join Walpole in forming a Veteran’s District. Walpole in turn hired Jon Cogan as the new full time Veteran’s Agent.
The Board was pleased to learn the new Library project construction cost came in under budget and will have further discussion on any remaining funds once the project is complete. They are also considering re-use of the existing Library on Common Street and will involve the neighbors in discussion when they have more ideas that are concrete. Last year the Board asked the Housing Partnership Committee to look at the Old Library for affordable housing and they were able to obtain a grant to do a feasibility study. They will return to the Board when the study is complete.
The Board has been involved with discussing safety measures at the Home for Little Wanderers on Lincoln Road. There is a proposal to expand the school and many of the abutting residents expressed concern for the safety of the residents at the school and those in the neighborhood.
The Board continues to work with the State to ensure the appropriate level of safety for all residents.
As one of their Goals, the Board has been focusing on the revitalization of the downtown by developing short-term impact programs. One of these programs is the Farmer’s Market, which the Board supports fully. Overseen by Stephanie Mercandetti, Economic Development Officer with the help of the previous owners of Dick and Jane’s and Walpole residents, they kicked off the first season in June 2010 and have continued a winter market inside the VFW on Robbins Road as of November. It has been a welcomed addition to the downtown with various vendors at the market.
To further help with the revitalization of the downtown, the Board adopted a public/private partnership with the Walpole Youth Football program whereby they will be rehabilitating the Stone Field with new soil and seeding to include new playing fields and an irrigation system.
These renovations of Stone Field and the venture by Walpole Youth Football will address significant youth safety concerns and beutification of the downtown. These renovations will be completed largely through their funds and efforts not the Town’s budget.
The Board also supports the proposed revitalization of the Spring Brook area adjacent to the Stone Field by the Master Plan Implementation Committee. The objective is to enhance a portion of open space in the downtown that continues to be underused by residents by creating a town park. This proposed park will connect to Stone field via a pedestrian bridge across Spring Brook. The MPIC is seeking funding through a grant as well as the assistance of the Norfolk County Engineers that are surveying the existing site and students from Northeastern to help with the engineering design. Their assistance is at no cost to the town.
The Selectmen will continue to focus their energies on meeting the challenges of the fiscal constraints currently facing the Town in this budget year and next. The Selectmen wish to continue to provide Walpole residents with the necessary services they have been receiving and which they deserve. The task of balancing the budget is becoming more difficult and the Board is carefully reviewing ways to lessen the impact on the citizens of Walpole.
The Board of Selectmen wishes to thank the many citizens who volunteer their time to serve on the various Boards, Committees and Commissions that are vital to the function of our local government. The Board will continue to solicit citizens to become involved and to volunteer their time and skills to the Town. We thank all employees for their dedication and professional service to the residents of Walpole.
The Board would like to thank all of you for the opportunity to serve the Town and will continue to focus on all issues brought before us and welcome your input.
With the Year 2010 coming to a close, I am again most honored to present the Town Administrator’s Annual Report. Each year I am pleased to report that we have concluded another twelve month period with great success, and this year is no different in that regard. However, it does differ in one significant manner. Our successes this year have been achieved despite significant reductions in state aid and local receipt revenues. They have been achieved with fewer employees. And they have been achieved in a time of continued growth in demands for service. How has this been accomplished? Simply put, we have achieved our successes as a municipal organization through the continued amazing dedication, creativity and professionalism of our department heads and staff, and through the generosity and volunteerism of our community at large. Walpole is a very special place, and 2010 has demonstrated that together we are and will continue to be successful.
In 2010 we experienced the third consecutive year of state aid reductions. Since 2008 we have lost over $1.4 million dollars in aid from the Commonwealth. The economic crisis across America has been felt right here locally as demonstrated from the major cuts in cherry sheet funding. As we look into 2011, yet another possible reduction looms on the horizon as the State grapples with an operating deficit projected to approach $2 billion. Compounding the cherry sheet cuts has been the non-restoration of $750,000 in prison mitigation funding. And, when we factor in local revenue declines of over $1 million, primarily in lost interest income, we have had to find alternative ways to meet our service demands. One such change was achieved through health insurance plan changes negotiated between the School Committee and all four school unions. Those changes helped to transfer roughly $700,000 in insurance cost savings that was in turn used to supplement our public school budget. Similarly, non-union staff insurance changes also resulted in significant savings. We hope to build on these successes in the coming year.
Infrastructure improvements and maintenance programs were priorities in 2010. Significant engineering milestones were reached in the design of the Washington Street roadway & sidewalk overhaul project. These achievements have us on track for advertising and construction in 2011.
We completed the third year of a five year project to improve local roadways above and beyond our annual Chapter 90 program. Dozens of miles of road surfaces have now been repaired through this maintenance work. We continued our design program for Elm Street and the Elm Street School through the Safe Routes To School Program. Final repairs and widening were also completed on Summer Street removing a very narrow and dangerous curve with the partnership of resident Joseph Lorusso. And, we advanced the design of the Route 1A rehab project through our partnership with MassDOT and commitments to take on this stretch of Main Street once the project is fully constructed. These major milestones were only a part, though, of a much larger effort by the Town to preserve and protect our roads, sidewalks & bridges, an effort that has truly enhanced vehicular and pedestrian safety in Town.
Significant improvements were also made to our South Pool, the Bird Middle School, and Fisher School in 2010. The South Pool overhaul brought much needed safety and structural repairs to the facility there. In concert with that project, Public Works crews created a new student walkway along the pool property to the Boyden Elementary School to enhance the safety of students. At the Bird Middle School, a major roof repair project was completed during school vacation, and at Fisher, work commenced to replace the flooring in the lower gym. That project has been compounded by added remediation work now needed, however it is slated for completion in early 2011. Finally, the most significant facility project got underway in September. The new Walpole Library, a 30,000 square foot facility located next to Town Hall on School Street, is now under construction. This project is being directed by our Permanent Building Committee with staff coordination by Assistant Town Administrator Jim Johnson.
Walpole once again in 2010 took a lead role in addressing issues that are taking place beyond our immediate borders. On the topic of regional service delivery, our Board of Selectmen spearheaded a fifteen town effort to identify services that can be shared among two or more communities. This is a long term issue indeed, however it is one that is necessary to pursue as local budgets continue to be constricted as a result of less and less state aid. We also have taken a lead role in the discussion of expanded commuter rail service to neighboring Foxborough. As this proposal would certainly have the greatest impact on our town, we will continue to advocate for the needs of Walpole residents and neighborhoods.
As I have stated numerous times during my tenure here, I am extremely proud of the way we as a community and organization respond to critical incidents. Back to back major rain storms at the end of March and beginning of April caused widespread flooding throughout Town. Our Public Works crews went above and beyond in their response to the storm, literally saving residents from significant flood damage. In addition, crews worked with state agencies to bring relief to areas of Town where flooding was prevalent, especially in the Autumn Lane & Brown Drive neighborhood. Crews worked around the clock for five days manning pumps to prevent flood waters from overtaking homes. Following the storm, residents were provided with essential contacts and services to apply for state & federal relief. For two weeks Walpole again came together to help those who needed us the most.
Public and private partnerships took center stage as well in 2010, highlighted by the tremendous efforts of Walpole Youth Football in the rehabilitation of Stone Field. Turf revitalization and the installation of sprinklers were just a part of the WYF efforts, efforts that will continue into 2011.
Add to that the participation of Walpole Youth Softball in the restoration of the softball diamond there, and the fine work of Town staff to improve the field perimeter, Stone Field has again become an outstanding recreation resource here in our downtown. But the efforts did not stop there. Under the leadership of the Board of Selectmen, an Adopt-A-Field policy and Field Use policy were drafted and adopted. It is hoped that the successes of Stone Field combined with the structures found in these policies will encourage other user groups to come forward and work with us to improve field conditions throughout Town.
The achievements listed here are a microcosm of the work that goes on at Town Hall and throughout Walpole’s municipal organization each and every day. From our Conservation Commission, to the Planning Board, to the Ponds Management Committee, or to our Building Department, staff and volunteers town-wide are working to help make our community thrive. I am very proud to be a part of this team, and I especially wish to thank all of our department heads for their leadership and dedication. I too recognize the fine efforts of my office staff, Cindy Berube, Valorie Donohue, Clare Abril, Sue Abate, and Jim Johnson. They go above and beyond day in and day out! Finally, I want to commend and thank Purchasing Coordinator Debbie McElhinney. After many outstanding years of service to the Town, Debbie has retired from her position at the close of 2010. Your passion for your job Debbie and your tremendous heart for your co-workers shall serve as a model for others to follow, and you will most certainly be missed!
Saying that we are here to serve the residents and businesses of Walpole is not a cliché. Instead, it is our mission. As we begin another year, we will continue to hold that mission dearly, and we will work to improve upon the successes of the last twelve months. So too will we look to you, our customers, to provided us with the feedback necessary to allow us to improve and excel. I thank you and our Board of Selectmen for the privilege of serving such a wonderful community.