Everyone deserves clean water.

Water is an essential element of life. A human being can survive for a month or more without solid food, but after about three days we all die without clean water. Randolph County needs a countywide water system, especially on the eastern side of the county. It is nothing short of criminal that today, well over a decade after the completion of Randleman Lake, there are still people in this county without access to a reliable supply of clean drinking water.

County and municipal leaders have long been aware of a need for a reliable supply of water to several communities on this side of the county. Plans have been floated several times, including last year, to extend a distribution main from Ramseur up NC Highway 49 to serve an area where existing water wells are known to be contaminated. Each time, those with the power to push such a project to completion have either lost interest or been too busy to see it through. It seems that despite so much lip service to the contrary, our leaders, past and present, do not really give a damn about those people.

The town of Ramseur owns a water treatment plant and reservoir with enough capacity to serve at least two or three times as many customers as it does today. More customers mean more revenue flowing through the system, which in turn means more available funds for plant maintenance and line replacement, not to mention a few more good jobs. A state inspection of Ramseur’s water treatment plant (WTP) earlier this year revealed a long list of issues, some dating back to at least 2017, which if not addressed could lead to catastrophic events that might leave the town and all of its water customers without potable water.

Instead of actively seeking ways to expand its customer base after Ramtex, once the town’s biggest water consumer, left town, Ramseur chose to simply let things stagnate. For a while, water plant operations were contracted to Suez, and during that time maintenance was almost nonexistent. What was done amounted to jerry-rigged, piecemeal repairs made only when they could no longer be ignored. Suez is gone now, but that doesn’t change the facts on the ground. Ramseur’s water plant and distribution infrastructure need a major influx of cash to bring the system up to date, and Ramseur leadership has, over the years, shown itself unwilling or unable to properly manage its water system. Perhaps there’s another, better option.

Fifty odd years ago our neighbors to the west in Davidson County chose to create an independent non-profit water company, Davidson Water. Today that system is among the largest in the nation and even serves some of our neighbors on the west side of Randolph County. There is no valid reason why something similar could not be established here. None. All that is needed is the will to do so and pressure on elected officials to make it a priority.

A strong case exists for the creation of an independent, non-profit water company to serve communities up and down the east side of Randolph County. Such an entity could lease or purchase the existing Ramseur WTP and expand service to most of this side of the county within just a few years. Ramseur could retain their wastewater treatment system and the revenue it generates, but would no longer be burdened by the maintenance costs of the WTP. 

The availability of a clean reliable water source is key to economic growth anywhere. The creation of an “Eastern Randolph Water Company” would lead to an economic development boom that would benefit everyone on this side of our county. The time is right for a group of visionary leaders to come together and study the possibilities of such a project. Are you one of those leaders?

We’re all watchdogs now.

When I began this project, not quite two years ago, I never intended to spend the rest of my life or even a significant portion of it hounding local officials, digging through mountains of public records, and writing several thousand words per month about my findings.

The website you are now reading was started to address one issue, the misuse of tax money that our previous governing board voted to spend in a misguided attempt to expose and silence those who opposed them on the internet, specifically, those behind the Ramseur Watchdog 2 Facebook page, and it evolved from there.

In the past, many people in Ramseur were afraid to openly speak their minds or sign their names when criticizing public officials on social media. Some held those apprehensions with good reason. Local business owners can and have been “blackballed” out of existence for exercising their First Amendment right to speak freely against their government. I stand behind every word I’ve written here in the past. It was all true to the best of my knowledge and I’d write it all again today given the same set of circumstances, but that’s the past. I’ve moved on.

Earlier this year, without any public discussion that I heard or saw, our local government purchased an $800 video camera and, I presume, the laptop it is run through (visible during most meetings). That camera belongs to all of us, and you should join me in demanding that a few town employees be trained in how to set it up and either record or live stream every public meeting that takes place, including meetings of the zoning board or other subcommittees. This is especially important now since public gatherings need to be limited in order to help fight the spread of Covid-19.

That’s the last word I have to say about the mess we find ourselves in here in Ramseur. Many things are improving today, some are not, but I’m moving on. My life is not limited to this town and its problems. Going forward I plan to begin publishing some of my writing in this space again, but I will not limit the content to subjects that only pertain to Ramseur.

If you have been an email subscriber, thank you. If at any time you decide that you do not wish to continue receiving these posts you will find an unsubscribe link at the bottom of any emailed post generated from this site. I hope you’ll stick around, but if you choose not to I can respect that.

I considered opening the site to comments but decided it would be better not to. I have neither the time nor the inclination to debate my opinions with anyone. If you want to drop me a note there’s a link at the top of the site where you can send a letter to the editor. All messages received are subject to publication at my discretion.

There’s one other thing I wanted to say before ending this message. You’ll notice that most of the old articles from 2019 are no longer visible. I decided to unpublish most of that old news out of respect for those in our community who have lost so much this year. The information is still here and can be made available should it become relevant again.

So there you have it. The watchdog isn’t dead, he just got bored and needed a break. Now it’s your turn to be watchdogs. Don’t hide behind anonymous Facebook pages or blogs. If you see something wrong, say something about it to the people responsible, and if you don’t get an acceptable response put it out there.

Thanks again. I’ll be back soon.