By Mason Lipman
The Rolesville Public Works department, the newest addition to the Rolesville Town Hall, consists of a street superintendent named Isaac Poelman and a maintenance worker named Victor Sims.
Hired in July, Poelman and Sims have taken over responsibilities that had to be contracted out to various companies or people in town. Their tasks can consist of anything from removing dead animals from the road and filling in potholes to cutting the grass and taking care of the baseball field.
“Every day is different,” said Town Manager Bryan Hicks, who is partially responsible for filling out the work orders that tell Poelman and Sims which jobs they will be performing each day.
Before Poelman and Sims were hired, most of the work was done by citizens who had the needed equipment or companies that could be contracted to perform the work. When there were only two or three hundred citizens in Rolesville, a police chief named Louis Pearce took care of the responsibilities of the public works department, including reading water meters and picking up trash.
“When I first came to town in 2004, there were 907 people, and now there are over 5,700, so it was a proper time to bring these guys on to help get the work done in the town,” Hicks said about one of the reasons for hiring Poelman and Sims.
“[In July], we were at a point in time where it was more cost-feasible with timing, with using our resources to hire staff and going from there. It was a big step,” Hicks said. “We started examining how much it costs and the time it took these contractors [to get the job done] versus what it would be if we did it internally.”
The town board had considered taking action toward creating this department for several years, but it was at a budget meeting in February that the board decided the town would look into the costs of creating a Public Works department and hiring employees. In July, the Public Works department was created, and Poelman and Sims were hired.
The two men have worked together in municipalities/public works for three years in Wake Forest and Clayton. They were hired for their working relationship as well as the fact that they have extensive experience with the work they are doing for Rolesville Public Works. Rather than hiring someone who has experience in one aspect of the job, such as landscaping or construction, the town made the decision to hire employees who know how to do all aspects of the job: repairing curbs, pouring concrete, filling potholes and doing landscaping work when necessary.
“I’ve been in municipality work for about seven years, working for other towns. I saw this opportunity and decided to go forth with it, and it ended up working out,” Poelman said.
Hicks is doing what he can to make the job easier.
“We’re playing catch-up on trying to get the right equipment for helping them to get the projects done – which is challenging and costs money, but you’re looking at an investment for the future to save money down the road,” Hicks said.