Modernization, transparency, stability.

Here’s what I hope to bring to the Board of Commissioners. If you agree please vote for me.


Town Manager/Corporate Charter –  We need to fix the broken, misinterpreted parts of our town’s corporate charter, such as the board of adjustment problems, and consider several possible updates, but above all, we must adopt the council-manager form of government and hire a Town Manager!

Commissioner Duties – Commissioners are elected at large and should serve at large. Limiting commissioners to involvement in just one or two departments is a foolish way to operate a town. Until such time as a town manager takes over, all department heads should feel free to discuss their work and the needs of their departments with any commissioner interested enough to take the time.

Parks & Recreation – I believe Ramseur needs to study the possibility of developing a full-time parks & recreation position.  We have a number of valuable facilities to maintain and manage with more likely to be added in the coming years. One goal we should also be striving toward is making our town and its streets safe for families to walk around our community.

Water Resources – Ramseur and the surrounding area will be part of many important decisions affecting our water and sewer departments in the coming years. Whether we keep the system we have, become part of a larger regional solution, or do something in between, I want to be part of that process and help protect Ramseur’s greatest asset while seeing it used for the greatest good of everyone.


No More Illegal Meetings – North Carolina has many statutes governing how, when, and why a majority of a governing board may meet, either in person, online, or even on messaging platforms. Whether by email, text, or verbally, town commissioners ought not to be talking with each other about governing issues other than in one-on-one conversations. Hire a manager and this whole problem goes away.

Transparency is vitally important to earning the people’s trust and in their understanding of how local government works. All meeting minutes, with or without links to supplemental audio or video recordings, should be published or linked to the town’s official website. 


A well-regulated municipality with a competent administration on the job (manager, clerk, department leaders) makes for a more stable work environment. I want all the people who do the work that operates our town to have all the resources they need to do a good job today, tomorrow, and long into the future.

None of these ideas will get a fair hearing anytime soon unless you send a clear message to the Board of Commissioners by voting for me, Jay Hubbard, for commissioner.

Mayor Caudle will have my vote to continue as our mayor on November 7th. With you at our backs, maybe the other commissioners will agree to have an adult conversation about these and other important issues.

Yard signs are available at 1391 Church Street whenever I’m at home.

Or you can send an email to RamseurWatchdog@yahooDOTcom

I stay pretty busy throughout the week, but I’m happy to bring you a sign for your yard and/or set up a time to speak with you about any of the ideas I’ve expressed on these pages and to hear any thoughts you have that I may not have considered.

Thanks for your support.

Yeah, I saw it.

I heard there was some kind of mess on Facebook about this. Looks like much to do about nothing. The fact that neither of the parties in charge of this home improvement project gave any thought to the optics involved is sad enough, but the fact that I even feel the need to mention it is sadder still. A sad reflection on a few handfuls of adults hurling insults across the internet like a bunch of six-year-olds in a playground disagreement.

The worst anyone in this picture is guilty of is bad optics, as in failure to consider how the pack of internet reactionaries down the street, around the corner, or across the highway would react to any suggestion of anyone doing anything they ought not to do or should’ve done differently. Forward is never backward. We’re better than any of this.

Talk soon.


WTP inspection report

Here’s the water treatment plant inspection report referenced in remarks Commissioner Brower made last Tuesday night. The report includes a full explanation of what caused our water to turn brown a few months ago, so it’s worth reading for that reason alone. I have removed several web links that were embedded in the text and cleaned up a little grammar to make it easier to read. Bolding is mine.


On Sep 18, 2023, at 10:28 AM, Appelboom, Tim W <> wrote:

Mayor Caudle,

Good morning. I met with Jason Helton on September 7, 2023, to inspect the Town of Ramseur’s water treatment plant, raw water intakes, booster stations, storage tanks, interconnects, and associated distribution system. We appreciate Mr. Helton’s time and cooperation with the inspection. I have copied him on this email.

Compliance sampling is currently up to date with all required samples having been taken. The number of operator site visits is consistent with that required. The treatment plant appeared to be operating as expected.

Items needing attention are as follows:

The Stout Street tank will be put back into service soon so that maintenance can be conducted on the Weatherly Tank. Please ensure that an engineer’s certification and a total coliform / E. Coli (TC- / EC-) negative water sample is collected and submitted to the state prior to the Stout tank going back into service.
The lab’s STABLCAL and pH standards were past their expiration dates at the time of the inspection. Mr. Helton said he will order new standards.
One of the valves in the chlorine feed room was dripping at the time of the inspection. Mr. Helton said this will be fixed.

The permanganate tank at the old treatment plant needs to be in an enclosed structure to protect the tank, pumps, and chemicals from the elements.

The track Vac system is currently not working. Mr. Helton has been looking for parts to make repairs. Currently, the water plant is manually cleaning the sedimentation basins quarterly.

Currently, the filters are being run at an average rate of 3.69 gallons per minute per square foot of filter surface area. The maximum filter volume rate allowed for mixed media filters is 4.0 gallons per minute. The maximum rate achieved for the month of July was 5.48 gallons per minute.

During the preparation for this inspection, it was determined that there was one set of plans and specifications (SN: 17-00268) that needed one of the following: an Applicant and/or Engineer’s Certification for final approval, an Authorization to Construct extension, or a project termination (I have attached a copy of your current plans and specifications for your convenience).

The system had a complaint about dark water in the second half of July. This was a combination of high manganese in the raw water coming into the water plant and a faulty valve on the filter to waste line. The leaking valve allowed non-chlorine treated water to enter the filters from the sedimentation basins overnight when the plant was not running (the chlorine is fed on top of the filters when the plant is running to precipitate the manganese so the filters can remove it before being pumped to the Clearwell). This water would then be filtered and pumped into the Clearwell. Once into the Clearwell, the manganese interacted with the chlorine already in the Clearwell to cause dark water. Mr. Helton said that the plant now runs filter to waste at startup each day prior to the plant sending water to the Clearwell to ensure all untreated water is removed from the filters. Currently, the plan is to have the filter media and the filter valves replaced with a completion date of December 2024. This should be a priority for the Town and the water plant as it restricts the production of the water plant and allows a possibility of lower quality water entering the distribution system. Finding the leaking valve and creating a workaround until it can be fixed demonstrates Mr. Helton’s experience and knowledge of the Ramseur water plant.

We discussed the plans for an interconnect with the City of Asheboro. Please remember that the bidding on this project cannot commence without plans and specifications being submitted to the North Carolina Public Water Supply Section Plan Review and final plan approval given.

We also discussed the plan for the Ramseur Water plant to switch from chlorine gas to bleach, and eventually add ammonia to run on chloramines to match the other water plants that will supply water to the mega site. This will also require plans and specifications to be submitted to the North Carolina Public Water Supply Section Plan Review and final plan approval given.

Any testable backflow prevention assemblies owned by the town, both in the water treatment plant (including those on chemical feed pumps) and throughout the distribution system should be tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, continue to update and maintain a list of private backflow prevention devices throughout the distribution system.

We thank Mr. Helton for his cooperation during the inspection and for his and his staff’s work in providing quality water to your customers. If you have any questions about the inspection or related issues, please feel free to contact me.


Commissioner Brower amended the meeting agenda Tuesday night so she could sing praises to Mr. Helton for an outstanding inspection. I’ll agree that he’s a competent and creative water treatment plant operator, and like all workers who make an earnest effort on the job, he deserves praise when he gets caught doing the right thing. It’s his job to be accommodating to inspectors when they come calling, but I wouldn’t go around bragging about that report. It certainly didn’t qualify as much more than acceptable, given that we all know how badly the plant was maintained during the time Suez operated it.

The commissioners made an expensive mistake when they budgeted almost $100,000.00 for Mr. Helton’s wages this fiscal year, and we’re all going to pay that bill. It’s too much money for any department head in a place this small, especially when we’re being told we can’t afford a proper town manager and we still aren’t up to date on past-due budget audits. I emailed Ms. Akers about a week ago with a question about how that deficiency affects the town’s ability to win grants from our state or federal governments, but I have not received a response to that query as of this writing.

Salaried department heads in most places get comp time (extra time off), not overtime pay. I see no provision for overtime pay afforded to Chief Presley. Are some department heads treated differently from others? It certainly looks that way from here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not faulting Mr. Helton, nor am I attempting to create any animosity between department heads. I’m just pointing out the facts.

We have one department head with roughly thirty years of experience in his field, law enforcement, being paid a fair salary plus comp time, and another with less experience in his industry, and even less management experience, essentially written a blank check for overtime pay and shown how much is in the bank so he doesn’t overdraw the account.

That’s bad management on the part of the commissioners, and another example of why Ramseur cannot afford to go another year without hiring a properly trained town manager and giving that person the full authority they’ll need to do the job. If that means taking power away from the five elected commissioners, so be it. Every board I’ve seen since I arrived almost ten years ago has misused or abused its authority, playing petty middle-school politics against one another. This board may be the worst of the crop in that sense, and you and I get stuck paying for their poor decisions for years, sometimes decades after they leave office.

The commissioners accuse me of being “divisive and disruptive” for the sake of anarchy or sport or some other equally ridiculous reason, but if they were doing their jobs in a more transparent, equitable, and honest fashion, perhaps no one would feel the need to disrupt them. As for being divisive, if that’s my goal I seem to be failing because I’ve not seen one vote taken since Commissioner Hatchett joined the board that didn’t pass unanimously. They certainly seem to be united in their dislike of me, and that’s perhaps the most disappointing part of all.

With the exception of Commissioner Kearns, I helped every other member of this board to get elected or appointed, and I voted and campaigned for them in two different election cycles. Three of them have never even had a conversation with me longer than thirty seconds, despite my offers to do just that. They don’t know me and they refuse to even try.

They have all passed judgment against me based on hearsay, lies, and rumors spread by people who sometimes aren’t even mature enough to put their real names on their remarks. It’s childish, and I refuse to play their games. All offers to have an adult conversation are now rescinded. I made the effort, and I got my answer, in the form of even more lies, and I can and will prove that when appropriate.

Board Meeting: 19 Sept. 2023

When I started writing this it was ten o’clock on Wednesday morning, September 20th. Last night the Ramseur commissioners held their regular monthly meeting after a short public hearing for a rezoning request. On most days like this, the video of last night’s meeting would already be available on the town’s YouTube account, but today that’s not the case, for reasons I have no way to know.

Instead of being able to watch the video and clarify a few bits I couldn’t hear well or otherwise missed, today I’m going to have to rely on hand-scribbled notes and my memory.

The public hearing had to do with a request to combine two parcels and adjust any zoning differences between them so that the owners, Haney’s Holding Co. LLC, could move forward with what they described during the hearing as a self-storage enterprise.

I’ve included a map showing the parcels in question from the county GIS website. The red line indicates the property they requested be combined with the adjacent property behind it, which fronts US 64. I don’t believe the corner property, at Greenhill Road and US 64, is part of the project. Please accept my apologies if my graphics skills are confusing to anyone.

The rezoning request was later approved during the business meeting.

After the public hearing, the meeting got underway with an invocation and pledge of allegiance, followed by the adoption of the consent agenda. For those unfamiliar, a consent agenda is a collection of reports, invoices, or other items that recur every month or so and most often pass without much discussion. When I received the email containing this month’s meeting agenda and support documents, one item on the consent agenda jumped out at me: a $ 2,000 payment to the Ramseur/Eastern Randolph Chamber of Commerce. The clerk’s notes indicated that the item had been approved by the board at the August 15th meeting, but I didn’t recall any such a decision.

Commissioner Parrish must have anticipated that question because when he amended the agenda to add several last-minute items he explained what this payment was. Last month the board agreed to purchase some holiday lights through a GvoDeals auction, however, by the time bidding was complete the final cost went “well above” the approved budget of $2,000, and because GovDeals will only accept wire transfers from one entity for a purchase, the R/ER Chamber of Commerce paid the full bill; the $2000 was a reimbursement from the town for the amount the board had agreed to spend.

I thank the commissioner for explaining that odd transaction, but a few questions do remain: what was the total cost, and will the Chamber be making an “in-kind” donation to the town for the balance so that all? Until that happens the new Christmas lights exist in a sort of legal no man’s land because two entities (town and chamber) cannot both own them. My wife leads a local non-profit here in the county and works closely with their treasurer to make sure things like that don’t fall through the cracks and cause bigger problems down the road. I’m sure the commissioner intends to see that this is resolved properly in the near future.

Speaking of amendments to the agenda, there were quite a few late additions last night, from several commissioners. Commissioner Parrish added four: the fire department equipment purchase, the holiday lights payment above, the reappointment of an ABC Board member, and an update on preparations for our annual ‘A Day On Main Street’ festival. Commissioner Hatchett added an update on the Ramseur Athletic Association’s efforts to get restarted, and Commissioner Brower added four items as well: a question about zoning issues regarding a fence, an issue regarding violation of the special zoning district known as the “downtown overlay”, remarks praising Public Utilities Director, Jason Helton, and a statement about Commissioner Cranford.

By my count, that’s nine amendments to an agenda that was completed and emailed to board members and other interested parties last Friday afternoon, four full days before the meeting. The addition of the fire department issue was at least announced, via email, the day before the meeting, and the consent agenda item was really part of a discussion regarding the disposal of the decorations that the new lights will replace, so it didn’t actually take up any additional time.

Commissioner Parrish does have a great deal on his plate, so I think we can afford him a little grace for overlooking one or two items from time to time. Commissioner Hatchett has been a board member for four months now, so we’ll attribute her forgetting to add her topic to the agenda to that steep learning curve we’ve been warned about, but Commissioner Brower gets no pass. She spends a significant amount of time in the administrative office every week; almost every day from what I’m told, and she has been a commissioner for almost two years now.

Two of Commissioner Brower’s items were zoning/code enforcement issues. I’m not familiar with the garage alleged to be operating illegally within the downtown overlay, but the fence in question has been up long enough to have green mildew (it’s actually algae) growing on it. Those should have been added to the agenda well before meeting night. As for her praise for Mr. Helton’s work, she could have slipped that comment into the discussion of water and sewer issues already on the agenda, and the inspection she referenced was not what I’d call stellar, but it wasn’t horrible either. Mr. Helton is a very competent and creative water plant operator, but there’s always room for improvement as the inspection report lays out.

As for Commissioner Brower’s comments about Mr. Cranford… that issue was settled last month and I moved on. What was the point of bringing it back up?

Moving on to the public comments section of the meeting, only one citizen had signed up early enough to be listed on the agenda. Mr. Sonnenfeld, who lives over on Elam Avenue somewhere, asked the board to cut him a discount on his sewer bill because he spent the hottest months of the summer watering his new Bermuda grass lawn. You know, since the water goes on the ground it doesn’t return to the sewer plant to be treated. I understood his reasoning but, as several commissioners correctly pointed out, that’s a slippery slope and if we do that favor for one person without anything legal to base it on, before long we’ll be letting everyone slide on water bills, fees, or code violations.

The other public comment was a last-minute sign-up from a lady representing the food pantry. I’m sorry, but I missed her name, and since I can’t review the video yet to listen to her remarks again I’m not even clear on what she said to the board. I missed most of her remarks because I was confused by the back-and-forth between the commissioners and the speaker during the first comment. Public comment rules in every meeting I’ve ever attended limit speakers to three minutes and board members are not supposed to respond to speakers during the comment period. Neither rule was observed last night, for either speaker. In the future, I hope citizens and other parties wishing to have a discussion with the board will be encouraged to ask to be added to the new business portion of the meeting, rather than the limited public comment period to ensure that all citizens are treated and equally.

Since I can’t review the video yet and avoid memory errors I’m sure to make, I think I’ll end this post here, but I would like to point out that I agreed with 90% or more of the decisions voted on last night.

Y’all have a good day.

Addendum: Just before 2:30 this afternoon, after several emails between myself and Ms. Akers, the video miraculously began working. As you can see, there are two copies visible on the screen as of this writing. I sent a tech support ticket to YouTube earlier today, so I don’t know whether they fixed an issue (unlikely, given two copies) or what, but I’m glad it’s working now.

Agenda: 19 September 2023

I’m only aware of one planned amendment to the agenda as published: fire department equipment purchase.

If you cannot attend tonight’s meeting you should be able to watch it live or view the recording later. A link should appear on this YouTube page once the proceedings get underway around 6:30 p.m.

[EDIT] Here’s the link for the video of last night’s meeting. If it won’t play don’t worry, the problem isn’t on your end or mine. Someone needs to click something somewhere to make that public record available to you and me. Eventually, they’ll figure it out.

September Update from Randolph EDC

I received this update a few days ago, from the desk of Kevin Franklin, President of Randolph Economic Development Corporation. It was originally received by Mayor Vicki Caudle, who forwarded it to the town clerk’s office for further distribution. Mr. Franklin’s message begins below.

It’s the first day of September and time for another RCEDC Investor Insights email with news and information we hope you’ll find informative. Your feedback on content is always welcome and appreciated.

EDC Info

Our work with existing industry is going strong. Brantley has called on twenty-three of our established industrial businesses in the past two months and four of those have expressed some level of planning around potential future growth. He’s also getting some great experience offering support in response to a variety of inquiries from our local industry.

Crystal is doing an outstanding job managing RFIs and activity for new business attraction. We have a full pipeline of active projects; since the July 1 start of our fiscal year, we have received 24 project inquiries and have responded to 15 of those with site and/or building submissions. Those 15 active projects represent potential investment of approximately $1.3 billion and roughly 5,500 jobs. We may see only a fraction of that land here, but we definitely see opportunities ahead.

News & Insights

NC Commerce recently posted a brief article titled “Why Every North Carolinian Should Care about the State’s Manufacturing Industry.” It’s a worthwhile quick read and underscores why we do what we do here in Randolph County.

The closure of Klaussner Home Furnishings this month was a significant blow with 800+ employees, many of them long-term, losing their jobs. The efforts of the community to support these displaced workers (your EDC was right in the mix) showed the best of who Randolph County is. While Klaussner was closing, Ramseur’s Amor Furniture was stepping up to grow its business, reopening the former Benchmark Upholstery facility in Staley to fill in some of the production gap left with the closures of Klaussner and UFI.

The Greensboro Chamber recently recognized the original Greensboro-Randolph Megasite ownership group – Randolph County, the North Carolina Railroad, and the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation (all RCEDC investors) with its Stanley Frank Economic and Workforce Development Award. We appreciate the foresight of these leaders in what ultimately brought Toyota to our community.

Several of our investors have recently been recognized by the Triad Business Journal. Millikan Tractor is a 2023 Family Business Award winner. Engineered Steel Products, Fourth Elm Construction, Graham Personnel Services, Millikan Tractor, and Samet Corporation were on the TBJ’s 2023 Fast 50 list of the fastest growing companies in the Triad. Congrats to these award winners!

North Carolina continues to be cited as a top state for doing business. In early August, Business Facilities ranked NC second on its Best Business Climate list and in the top ten states in a variety of other measures published on their website.

Did You Know?

The EDC website contains a wealth of demographic information about Randolph County, and you can even compare our community with others across the country. Visit the Sites & Buildings page, click on the Explore Communities tab, and start digging around. Looking for labor force info, occupation data, or wage info? It’s all there. If you’d prefer our office to save you the time of exploring, just connect with Lisa and let her know what you’re looking for; there’s a good chance she will be able to generate a report for you.

NCDOT seeks public input to improve transportation access for seniors and disabled individuals in small towns and rural areas.

I received this announcement yesterday, in an email that originated from one of the NCDOT offices. It seems like information many of you might find important. The quoted text begins below:

The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Integrated Mobility Division (NCDOT IMD) is seeking public input to develop its draft plan to improve transportation access for seniors and individuals with disabilities in small urban and rural areas.

The plan was created by NCDOT IMD, planning organizations, and public transportation providers. It identifies opportunities to expand mobility options to seniors and individuals with disabilities, particularly in small urban and rural communities. The public’s feedback will help NCDOT IMD develop strategies that give people in need better access to reliable public transportation around the state.

NCDOT IMD will host three virtual workshops in September (see list below) to educate the public and receive input about the draft Statewide Locally Coordinated Plan, which outlines public transportation improvements from 2025-2029.

Provide feedback through our survey
People can also provide feedback through a public survey, which will remain open until Sept. 28th. You do not have to attend an online workshop to respond to the survey. Click here to take the survey.

Access information any time
virtual room is also available for people to access information about the plan at any time and includes a link to the survey. The virtual room will remain open for the duration of the plan and will be updated as more materials become available.
Click here to visit the Virtual Room.

Sign up for an online workshop
During the virtual workshops, people can receive information on the plan, interact with NCDOT IMD project staff and provide comments. Click on the meeting links below to be taken to the Zoom link to register for the workshops:

After registering, people will receive an email directing them how to join the virtual workshop. 

Funds for the plan and resulting projects come from federal Section 5310 grants – Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Program and the state Rural Operating Assistance Program.

Once the plan is complete, planning organizations and transit agencies will apply to NCDOT for project funding.

Should we spend $2M on water meters?

At their August meeting, our board of commissioners discussed a proposal to purchase and install 1,352 “smart” water meters and other hardware, such as radio transmitters, needed to make them function. The topic was listed on the meeting agenda as “AMI Metering”.

Prior to the regular third Tuesday meeting, a special meeting was called to present the subject to the board members. I was unable to attend that particular meeting, but the commissioner in charge of the camera didn’t feel that spending two million dollars of our money was important enough to you and me to bother streaming or recording that special meeting. That makes it harder for all of us to have any say in what gets discussed in those meetings.

A company called USG Water Solutions wants to sell us 1,352 “AMI” water meters. AMI stands for advanced metering infrastructure. You can read more about that technology by clicking here.

All of this cool new technology can be ours for the low, low price of 2.2 million dollars ($1,694,022.50 principle, borrowed at 4.952%, repaid over ten installments of $224,412. 28, equals $2,244,122.80). By now I’m sure the interest rate has probably changed, but you get the picture; $2.2 million dollars, all or nothing.

A representative from USG Water spoke to the commissioners on August 15th, and I hope you’ll watch that segment of the meeting by clicking this link. It’s a little hard to follow at times because every time any commissioner shuffles some papers, opens a water bottle, or unwraps a piece of candy the noise makes it very difficult to understand speakers.

Anyway, for a ten-year commitment to repay more than 2.2 million dollars, we’re going to be just rolling in money from the recaptured water revenue that USG assures us will follow. Here’s a link to the relevant documents, provided to the commissioners before the meeting.

The selling point according to statements made by Mr. Helton and/or Mr. Cauthern, the USG representative, is that roughly 33% of the treated water leaving our treatment plant disappears between there and the customer’s water meter. The town loses out on all that revenue, not to mention the wasted chemicals used to treat it, and I agree, that’s an unacceptable loss, but I’m not convinced it justifies replacing all 1,352 meters on our distribution system at once.

We’ve been dumping treated water from the end of the line down NC-22, south of Faith Christian School, for decades. This is done because there’s not enough usage on that end of the system to keep the water in the pipeline from going stale, a problem that should have been addressed years ago by building a return loop, but that’s an issue for another time. The fact remains: we’re wasting about one million gallons of treated water out of the end of that pipe each year. I wonder if anyone has ever placed a meter on the end of that pipeline and actually measured how much clean, treated water we’re losing down there every year?

At one point during the August 15th discussion, Mr. Helton stated that most of the lost revenue from unbillable “ghost leaks” (my term, not his) is associated with one-inch diameter commercial services. Those account for less than ten percent of the 1,352 meters on the system, approximately 120 according to Mr. Helton’s statement to the board.

Got that? They’re saying we should spend a couple of million dollars replacing everything all at once, to fix a problem that primarily affects less than ten percent of the system. Do I have that right? Watch the video.

After more than a decade of running my own business, I’ve learned to be a little bit skeptical of figures and claims made by sales representatives, and often those were expensive lessons I’d rather not repeat. Being on the hook for expensive equipment that doesn’t deliver is no fun, but if I make a bad decision for my business, only my family and I bear that cost. If this AMI system fails to live up to expectations or starts failing before the loan is paid off, you and I and every other water customer in Ramseur will all be paying for it long after those responsible have left office or moved away.

This is why I had hoped the commissioners would do the right thing and allow me to participate in these and other important decisions between now and December; decisions which may impact our ability to move forward on other critical issues.

Had I been allowed to participate in that discussion I would have asked the USG representative to work up an alternate proposal to replace only the one-inch meters, since according to Mr. Helton, they are the biggest part of the problem. Call it a pilot program if that helps.

If the technology proves to work as advertised and really does save us as much money as is promised, then we might consider buying more meters later. Given the numbers I heard in that meeting, it seems to me that the captured revenue from such a pilot program could easily be reinvested in replacing more meters in a few years. Right now, given the shape we’re in, I can’t see signing off on a ten-year, seven-figure debt without more concrete proof.

What really blew my mind during the meeting was the fact that no one had run this idea past the LGC (Local Government Commission). As I understand it, the LGC has to be consulted before this deal can be sealed because our town has been so far behind on mandatory budget audits. We have to get permission from the LGC to borrow this much money. No one in the office or on the board contacted the LGC before this was presented.

At least two commissioners apparently had every intention of holding a vote and closing the deal that night. That’s bad governance and makes us all look stupid. Watch the video. Commissioner Parrish was ready to spend two million dollars of your money on technology that may or may not live up to expectations. Pushing through big spending deals and making unnecessary changes to how our government works is not the way a town in the shape we’re in should operate.

Water treatment chemical prices continue to skyrocket. Remember that pipe I mentioned south of town? Hundreds of gallons of treated water flow out of that pipe, wasting water, chemicals, and money all day, every day. The AMI system may indeed be able to save us money over the long term but, replacing all of our meters at this time just seems like just more reckless spending to me.

Thankfully the AMI discussion was tabled last month, but if past experience is any indication it will be brought back up again at the September 19 meeting, where it will probably come to a vote, and this board rarely fails to pass anything that comes to a vote.

I’d like to see a few other options on the table before anyone commits us to spending money we might not even have. I’d like to see a few more of you, my neighbors, in that room on meeting nights. I’m guilty too. It’s no fun sitting in that room, biting your tongue, but it’s up to all of us to let those commissioners know that we are paying attention.

You can sign up to make a comment to the board on the night of the meeting. Please, show up and let them know what you think.

What is best for Ramseur?

I don’t know Tim Cranford very well, but we’ve had a few conversations over the years, so I think I have some sense of how he feels about his hometown and the job he wanted to do as a commissioner. He came to the house and spoke with us for a couple of hours back in 2019 when he was running for his seat on the board and the one thing I took from that discussion above all else was how much Tim loves Ramseur. All he wanted to do was whatever was best for Ramseur.

With that in mind, I began thinking about Tim’s empty seat. Our town’s corporate charter stipulates that our town is supposed to be governed by five elected, or appointed, commissioners. I don’t believe Tim Cranford ever expected to be away so long, but just a few weeks ago he was quoted telling a mutual friend he feared he wouldn’t be able to run for office again this year. 

Tim Cranford wants what is best for Ramseur, and I can’t help but believe he’d want to see that seat filled and a full board of five citizens making those important decisions. Since only three people signed up to fill three seats for this November’s election, and two of those three people are already seated – one by appointment – I thought that perhaps the other members of the board might agree that the best thing for Ramseur is to move forward with the full board our founders intended us to have by seating the third of this year’s crop of three candidates. 

At last Tuesday’s meeting, there were many issues on the agenda: a new rec ball league, new vehicles to purchase, changes to the planning board, and a proposal for 1352 new “smart” water meters, among others. I had thoughts on all those topics that might have been useful: ideas that I didn’t hear anyone else suggest and which might have led to different outcomes or moved some items closer to a final vote, but if the four current commissioners don’t want to listen I can’t make them.

I wish there was a possibility that any one of us might lose in a four or five-way election where we actually have to work to gain our seats or some chance to go back to ignoring the trainwreck that is our local government for another few years. I had hoped there would be at least five candidates for you to pick from on November 7th, but that won’t be the case, because only three people bothered to file to run for those three seats. That’s it, you’re stuck with us for the next four years. 

Two of those three people are already seated commissioners; one elected, one appointed. The experts at the UNC School of Government have written about vacancies on municipal boards several times, and some of that is what I handed out to the commissioners last Tuesday night. I realize now that I should have emailed those documents to the board members earlier in the day so they could have read them ahead of time. That was my mistake, and I apologize.

In January 2013, Frayda Bluestein wrote: “A city or county board member may obtain a leave of absence for protracted illness or “other reason satisfactory to the governing body” of the city or county under G.S. 128-40 (counties) or G.S. 128-41 (cities). This appears to be an option that is rarely exercised. It must be initiated by the board member seeking the leave of absence and is approved by the governing body. While on leave the board member does not receive a salary but retains any sick leave to which he or she is entitled. The leave does not extend the term of office. These statutes also authorize the governing board to appoint a temporary replacement who must be qualified to hold the office and who has all of the “authority, duties, perquisites, and emoluments” of the official who is temporarily replaced.”

The commissioners are within their rights, legally and morally, to fill every seat at that desk. I have many constructive ideas that I don’t hear being brought up and I have over three decades of infrastructure and business experience to offer. I’m ready and able to go to work the second three commissioners, or two commissioners and a mayor, are ready to ask.