This town needs a manager.

I made the mistake of attending a town council meeting the other night for the first time in a few years. Folks, we’re in trouble. We can’t keep leaving the management of our town to five random people foolish enough to put their names on a ballot. I’m not going to report what I saw and heard in that room. It’s on you to take the initiative to show up.

Water was a big issue the other night. I don’t have all the details yet, but I’ve been hearing from reliable sources outside Ramseur that the city of Asheboro will be bringing a water main through town in the not-so-distant future, to help supply some of the three industrial mega-sites under development to our north and east. We have our own water treatment plant here, but in the words of two commissioners Tuesday night it has been sorely “NEGLECTED” for years like pretty much everything else around here.

Nobody wants our shitty water, including many of us living here in town. So if a bigger, more economical supply is coming through town, why would we want to keep pouring money into our outdated plant? Wouldn’t the more fiscally sensible thing be to work toward tapping the new supply when it arrives?

According to reports to the board the other night, our liquid chlorine supplier (I think that’s the right term) is pulling out at the end of the year; chemical costs have almost doubled. The board voted to spend several thousand dollars, maybe even ten thousand, on equipment for the treatment plant which sounded to me like applying bandaids to bullet wounds.

A few hardheads on this board are apparently too proud to admit an error and reverse course. Why are we throwing away money on a system that is out of date and that we can’t afford to operate and maintain properly?  We should have been leading the way to a countywide water system twenty years ago, but instead, we overcharged our neighbors and failed to maintain and update the plant and pipelines.

What should we do now? We should focus on upgrading the distribution pipelines throughout the town, which I understand is happening, and work towards being prepared to switch over to the Asheboro system as soon as that becomes possible. More customers on a bigger system mean lower costs for everyone. (<<<click the link if you don’t believe me.)

We can buy better water from Asheboro cheaper than we can treat our own. When that pipeline rolls through town we should do whatever is necessary to connect to it. We’ve let the water plant go too long and now, thanks to inadequate and incompetent management over the decades since it was built, and the costs to upgrade make that option fiscally unsound at this point. The facility should be turned over to a countywide water authority, upgraded if feasible, and only then returned to service.

Ramseur has suffered from myopic leadership for too long now. We deserve better, but until more people wake up to the poison that is partisan politics in these small places, and accept the fact that so-called conservatives have been in control of our community since at least the 1980s and they have not solved any of our problems, nothing will change. Ramseur is certainly in worse shape today than it was forty years ago.

If we keep doing the same thing we’re always going to get the same result.

This town needs a manager, badly. The only way that will ever happen is if we find and elect three board members willing to have the hard, ugly, and often unpopular conversations about what services we can afford and which we’d be better served to do another way. And honestly, with the influx of people the new plants will bring here over the next few years, the next smartest thing we should consider is cost-sharing and maybe even merging with Franklinville.

Those are not popular ideas around here, but by now you know I didn’t come here to make friends.