Back in the 1990s after we had just bought our place in Wolfeboro, my wife and I went to a sailing association dinner on the other side of the lake that featured an old fellow who had been the Bursar on the Mt. Washington for many years. He had many good anecdotes about the various ports of call, but we were a little uneasy after several jokes based on the notion that people from Wolfeboro were a little snooty. Most of the folks in the audience seemed to delight in this characterization.
We were new to the the Lakes Region and to Wolfeboro and just summer people anyway so we shrugged it off. It wasn’t until some years later that I started to get it.
In this weeks Grunter, we’re told that we need to have pride in Wolfeboro, and that means fixing up that old eyesore in the center of town. The writer presents a laundry list of ostensibly enviable Wolfeboro attributes, none of which are the products of our town government. I’m not saying that there haven’t been any municipal improvements made, there have, but the list is paltry by the standards of some of our neighbors.
Let’s take a look at the much cited Moultonborough. You know, the town down the street with one of the lowest tax rates in the state. They have just about the same assessed tax base as us and they have the same seasonal waterfront presence. Yet they have a practically brand new municipal infrastructure. I don’t believe the town of Wolfeboro has a single facility that is newer than Moultonborough’s Town Office, Library, Public Safety, or Police Station.
Their citizens have been forward thinking and deliberate in renewing their once aging infrastructure with enviable results. I shudder when I think of the disadvantage that we as a town face with a mostly end-of service-life infrastructure, and an already modest tax rate. We have leaders who state flatly that they think we can tax our way forward, all the while making decisions based on pure emotion.
Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, one of the most serious as I recall. As long as we are forsaking prudence, why not add pride to the list of reasons why we do stupid things?