Well, Ipswich is at it again. Profligate as ever. Classic big-government, tax-and-spend mentality, squandering millions on unnecessary luxuries.
It happened once more at Town Meeting this past fall, when voters passed a bond authorization to reconstruct old water mains on Linebrook Road.
An outrageous boondoggle.
These water mains have been functioning perfectly well since sometime between Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley. If you’re going to scrap every little thing that gets to be 119 years old, you’re going to irrevocably damage the small-town, Colonial-era quality of Ipswich. Just because Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona all have newer water mains than we do is no reason to replace ours. Of course Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona have newer water mains than we do. Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona weren’t even states yet when our water mains went in.
To reconstruct our water mains will mean endless traffic congestion on Ipswich’s longest road. Didn’t we learn our lesson the first time around, when we laid these water mains in the first place? It was an absolute tangle of horses and buggies, trying to maneuver past the shoveling corps. And the oxen dragging in the pipes themselves left such a colossal mess, that part of town still has greener grass.
Most damnable of all, this massive, needless desecration of some of the oldest continuously operating water mains in America will be paid for out of astronomical increases in our water rates. Every person in Ipswich, regardless of age — from the newborn screaming in the condo next door to the twinkly-eyed granddad in the basement of Town Hall — will be smacked with this hike. It won’t matter if you live on Linebrook Road, or even near Linebrook Road. It won’t matter if you never use Linebrook Road. It won’t matter if you have an irrational loathing of Linebrook Road that dates back to when the girl you liked in grade school ditched you in the Marini Corn Maze. Everyone will pay.
The average estimated per-person increase will be well over 4¢ a day. That’s nearly a nickel. You can easily imagine what a blow this will be to our local economy. A family of five will get socked for a shocking $6.16 a month. For many, this is going to mean a hard decision: Market Basket toilet paper, or the good stuff? I do not envy families facing this predicament.
Our water mains are historic. And quaint. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. These are Smithsonian-quality water mains. They’re works of art. Let them be. Even if they should finally crack and crumble, leaking into the earth beneath Linebrook Road, softening the soil so dramatically that sinkholes swallow three houses between Doyon School and Our Lady of Hope, and diminishing water pressure to a trickle, leaving Mrs. Wallenfinch stranded in the shower with her hair full of Head & Shoulders, it will still all have been worth it. We will be able to say to our grandchildren, “We preserved the past for your sake.”
And when they ask us what the police tape is for, we’ll be able to say, “That’s to keep you from falling onto the Schloshmachers’ roof.”