Scott Duncan, Berne highway superintendent candidate

Scott Duncan

BERNE —  Democrat Scott Duncan, coming from the larger-scale Albany County Department of Public Works, wants to work closer to home, closer to Berne residents, at the helm of the town highway department.

Duncan, 39, wants to focus the highway department on a five-year replacement program, to control costs by keeping a closer eye on maintenance for town equipment.

He wants to start a similar plan for the town’s paving projects.

“There’s always a backup plan,” said Duncan. “The way I do things, if the weather is bad, we have a maintenance day on the trucks.”

Duncan grew up in Berne. He is currently the fire chief for the East Berne Fire Company. A Berne-Knox-Westerlo graduate, Duncan went to trade school, then worked in construction for 14 years before working for the county, eventually as a supervising foreman. He has Independence Party and his own party's endorsement.

“Working a little closer, hand in hand with the townspeople,” said Duncan of his candidacy. “I get to deal directly with the townspeople rather than have a commissioner between them and myself.”

Duncan said he would be open to shared-services agreements, but thinks doing so with snowplow routes could be difficult due to the town’s different road conditions and equipment. He said he is not interested in a consolidation plan between the town and the county.

Duncan said he was foreman for the county in Knox when Tropical Storm Irene came through and washed out many Hilltown roads.  Since then, Duncan said, he has been to Cornell University to take classes on stormwater management. Stone lining, rather than blacktop or concrete, is a preferred way of combating rushing waters in town ditches, he said.

“If you stone line 100 feet before or after, it cuts down the erosion tremendously,” said Duncan. “Then you don’t have to clean out the culvert pipes as much.”

The Berne Highway Department has five or six workers at one time. Duncan said he would be able to manage his projects with that number of hands.

“In Westerlo, right now, we have 121 miles of road that we maintain in the wintertime,” Duncan said of the county. “That includes some state roads, and right now I have seven employees in the town of Westerlo.

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