New DPW head given more hours

Enterprise file photo

New Director of Public Works, Wayne LaChappelle, works to ensure New Scotland is always up and running.

NEW SCOTLAND — “Behind the scenes” isn’t just a phrase for movies; it also aptly describes much of what happens each day to keep a town functioning.

Last August, Wayne LaChappelle took on the new role of Director of Public Works to take over many of the duties that keep New Scotland running every day and used to be handled by the highway superintendent. His main scope of work is dealing with water and sewer facilities, as well as building maintenance and development.

Anticipating development in New Scotland, the town board created the part-time post and is now increasing LaChappelle’s paid hours from 20 to 25.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot,” LaChappelle said of the work, “but it’s all-encompassing.”

LaChappelle, a retired police officer, starts his day by checking his email and seeing who he has to get in contact with throughout the day. But after that, it’s a draw from the hat to see what he is doing any particular day.

“My typical day sometimes isn’t so typical,” he said.

When speaking with The Enterprise this week, he was taking a break from jacking up a house. He also gets called to replace siding and lighting on town buildings, and create maintenance schedules.

One project he has in the works is HASP, which stands for Hydrant Assistance Safety Program. HASP entails meeting with each fire district in New Scotland and addressing concerns about water pressure and basic hydrant functions.

“It’s been an ongoing idea of mine since September,” LaChappelle said of the project.

Another task for HASP that is currently in the planning stages is color-coding area fire hydrants so fire departments know which ones can be used for firefighting and which do not have the pressure necessary for that task, but can be used for cleaning out the water lines. Once implemented, fire districts will be given maps of the hydrants in their area.

He is also working to fix up the community center: The wheelchair ramps will be replaced, the heating and cooling systems updated, and new landscaping and lighting will be put in.

“That building has seen better days,” he said of the former schoolhouse in New Salem. “We are actively putting a maintenance program in place.”

Developments coming into New Scotland are also on LaChapelle’s radar. Kensington Woods is still going through the logistical stages, and Country Club Estates is an incoming development that LaChappelle has been working with. Country Club Estates has its water lines in place and is currently selling lots ready to be built on.

The public works department evaluates what development applicants are applying for as well as what their impact on that water, sewer, and infrastructure of New Scotland will be. The department — consisting of LaChappelle, John Hensel, Jim Kendall, and Jamie Duncan — works to ensure the best results for the town.

The New Scotland Town Board has decided to increase LaChappelle’s weekly hours so he can more fully accomplish the duties his job entails.

When asked about the five hour increase, LaChappelle said, “That’s so insignificant. I’m working way more than that right now… easily 30 to 35 hours per week.”

LaChappelle is concerned with getting maintenance schedules made up for public buildings to ensure that preventative measures are taken to avoid large-scale repairs needed later on.

“It sounds so mundane,” LaChappelle said, “but it’s so integral to the functioning of the town.”

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