ASHBURTON BOTOUGH COUNCIL.
Thgrasual fortnightly meeting of the BortSjjp. Council was held last night. Preset*—His Worship the Mayor (presiding), Messrs Roberts, Robinson, Friedlander, and St. Hill. mayor’s statement. The Mayor made his customary introductory atatememt, in the course of which he said that the balance at the bank to the Borough’s debit was £5lO. £4l lls had been collected since last meeting in rates, and the total now collected was £BO2 12s. He had forwarded all correspondence between himself and the Government to Mr E. G. Wright, on the matter of the rural land endowment. He was sorry to have to shite that the demands for employment on the Albury works had been greater than were expected, but the Government had promised to forward 15 men to that place. In a fortnight, however, a part of the Oxford line would be ready for the unemployed. The Fire Brigade had applied for reserve 777, but they would see that that could not be granted, and application had been made by the Brigade for a section in the same street with the Council offices. Mr Hughes desired to be released from his duties as scavenger. It would be for them to say whether he would be so or not. He had received letters which would be laid before them regarding the Municipal Association. APOLOGY. The Mayor tendered an apology for Mr George Parkin’s absence that evening. THE MUNICIPAL ASSOCIATION. Letters were read from the City Clerk of Christchurch, and from the Town Clerks of Kaiapoi, Waimate, and Lyttelton, acknowledging receipt of the Council’s resolutions regarding the formation of a Municipal Association, and promising either due consideration of the suggestion or support of the proposed union of boroughs. TWH! COUNTY COUNCIL IN DEFENCE. The Chairman of the County Council wrote, enclosing copies of the parts of the local papers’ reports of last meeting of the Borough Council, in which reference was made to the action of the County Council in regard to the refusal of a grant in aid, with the object of enabling the Borough Council to procure work for the unemployed ; also to their conduct in reference to the Mount Somers Railway extension. The County Chairman denied that any charge of “ lukewarmness,” or “apathy,” or entertaining feelings of “ opposition to the Mount Somers line,” could be brought against the members of the County Council, and • contended that some misunderstanding must have existed, or such expressions could never have been made use of, nor could Mr Williamson’s resolution have passed. He also enclosed a resolution that had been passed after the Mayor, who was the deputation to the County s meeting, had left the Council room. It was as follows : “ That the Government be urged to proceed with the construction of the line to Mount Somers already authorised, and that the Government be requested to consider ■the advisability of. sending some of the unemployed there, as had been done at Mr Walker-hoped the exptlßons had been used in error, and would not be endorsed, and desired to be assured, in face of the resolution he quoted; that the treatment the County Councillors had received had been the result of a misunderstanding. The Mayor said there appeared to be some misunderstanding regarding the way in which he had been received at the County Council He did not remmember having seen the resolution referred to by the Chairman in any of the papers. Further he thought the County should have telegraphed to Government to have the works proceeded with. Had that resolution been known to the members of the Borough Council he did not think the resolution proposed by Mr Williamson would have been passed. He desired to state, in passings that .the Engineer had told him the line in question would not afford much pick and shovel Work to the unemployed, the main Work would he for scoops.
Mr St. Hill thought Mr Williamson, in the absence of any published report of the resolution mentioned by the Chairman, should be exonerated from all blame in the matter.
The Mayor said Mr Williamson was not blamed in particular. The onus lay with the whole Council.
Mr Saunders. thought the tone of the County meeting in regard to the subject, and the absence of the resolution from the published report of the said meeting, were sufficient exculpation of the Borough Council. The Clerk was instructed to write to the Chairman of the County, explaining that no resolution as supplied by Mr Walker had been published. THE BOROUGH SCAVENGER. Mr R. J. Hughes wrote, complaining that he was a heavy loser by his contract with the Council, and desired more favorable terms, or a release from his engagement. He would take such steps as others “hiad done to get rid of their engagements” if the Council did not meet his views. Mr St. Hill said if the man was determined to. follow Ashburton’s fashionable course of schedule filing, he should be allowed to relinquish his contract, on the understanding that he should pay a part of the expense in procuring another scavenger. The Mayor was in favor of letting the man out of lus contract, but he hoped the scavenger’s rate henceforth would be collected by the man who did the work. Mr Robinson thought the man should have to carry out his contract, and the sureties made responsible for any loss. ; A resolution to call upon Mr Hughes sureties to perform the work in the event of his failing to do so, was put to the vote against another to release him if he paid the incidental expenses arising through the change, and the latter was carried by the Mayor’s casting vote. THE FIRE BRIGADE SITE. Mr Marshman wrote to say that Reserve 777 being for school purposes, could not be used for Fire Brigade purposes. The. Hon. Sec. of the Fire Brigade wrote, applying for permission to the Brigade to- occupy Reserve 434, Tancred street, to the rear of the Council Chamber, as a brigade depot and site for the proposed bell tower and engine shed. He also asked that the brigade’s pump wells haye their caps secured by chains to prevent them being removed by children.
The Mayor said he had gone with the brigade captain to see several sections. The first one selected, near Jameson’s grain store, was on the highest ground in the hordin'}!, but it was too valuable, and he had suggested the one now asked. Mr St. Hill suggested that the triangular section on the VVakanui Road would be suitable.
Mr Robinson thought the site near the post office was most suitable. Mr St. Hill moved— “That the letter be i emitted back to the Brigade with a recommendation to reconsider their request, and suggesting a part of Reserve 502 as h better site, and one that would be readily granted by the Council.” Mr Robinson seconded and the motion was carried. THE LAND REVENUE. A telegram was read from Mr E. G. Wright (in reply to one by the Mayor) stating that no sales of Government lands had been set down in the returns as having taken place in the borough. The Mayor said he was waiting for further information on this subject, with a view to obtaining a share of the 20 per cent, of land revenue. BURNETT STREET DRAIN. Mr Mossman wrote complaining of the state of the drain in Burnett street. Referred to the Sanitary Committee. THE UNEMPLOYED. Several telegrams from Mr E. G. Wright were read, regarding the Albury works, and the Oxford and Malvern line, the substance of which telegrams have already been published in these columns. ENGINEERS’ REPORT. North East Bril Contract for Formation and Shingling. The contract for this work is progressing favorably. The gully across the whole width of the road has been filled up with the extra pipes. The foreman is preparing the timber wings for ends of culvert. He requires some more timber for the posts, viz., 85ft. (running) 5x5 totara. South East Belt Contract for Formation and Shingling. With the exception of breaking the large stones this contract has been completed satisfactorily. In order to procure a proper channel for the flow of water, it has been found necessary to add extra filling in the large gully. Some timber is also required for a culvert on this Belt, across the North East Belt, viz., 200 ft. (running) 6x3. Ko id far Scavenger to River Bed We have examined the locality and find that the only practicable road (on account of water channels) is about in a line with the continuation of Cass street, and runs about 12 to 13 chains through toi-toi to the edge of the stream. Messrs Saunders Water Channel. We find the channel from the back of Messrs Saunders Bros. ’ premises'to be too low in relation to the side channel, and Messrs Saunders wish the Council to make the necessay alteration, and charge them with the cost. C. E. Fooks «fc Son, Borough Engineers. The requests for timber by the Engineers were granted, and the proposal regarding Messrs Saunders’ water channel was agreed to. DEPARTMENTAL REDUCTIONS. Mr St. Hill was sorry to report that the Committee appointed to enquire into the question of reducing the departmental expenditure of the Council had failed to meet. He had attended ou two occasions, hut only one had put in an appearance. It was an important question, and ought to have had more attention paid to it. The ratepayers at this moment were paying a considerable number of salaries to no purpose, as no works were going on. He would move that the Council go into Committee on the question at once. Mr Friedlandcr thought the night would be spent in talk, and nothing would be done. He suggested that another Committee should be appointed. It was ultimately resolved to go into Committee of the whole Council on the matter at the conclusion of the business. VALUATION. It was resolved to call for applicants to perform the work of valuing the Borough property. Mr St. Hill, “ on the score of economy,” moved that the advertisements be given to the two morning papers and not the evening paper. Mr Friedlandcr said that the Council had settled this question at a previous meeting. The Mayor said that the matter had been settled by a resolution. He was not in favor of that resolution, hut thought the minority should give way to the majority. Mr St. Hill desired to know who were the members of the printing Committee ; by whom the advertising was controlled. On being told, he objected to the name of the Clerk being upon the Committee. It was ultimately decided that a valuer be advertised for, and that the work be completed by the 15th of January. SUBSIDIES. The Mayor said he was advised that no. portion of the subsidies would be paid by the General Government until the negotiation of the £5,000,000 loan. DEFAULTING RATEPAYERS. The Mayor suggested that due notice had been given by advertisement that summonses would issue if rates were not paid before the 14th, and that as the sheet before him showed the list of unpaid rates, it was advisable to instruct the rate collector to proceed against them. It was ultimately decided that all rates outstanding on the 27th of this month be sued for. THE UNEMPLOYED. On a suggestion by the Mayor to pass a resolution urging the Government to find work for the unemployed, in the belief that it would strengthen his hands, Mr Friedlandcr said the Council had done its very best for the unemployed, and they owed the Mayor a debt of gratitude for the interest he had taken in them. The unemployed should now approach the County Council on the matter. It was ultimately resolved to make use of the resolution passed recently by the Council. ACCOUNTS to the sum of £136 5s 4d were passed for payment, and the Council went into com- • mittee of “ Ways and Means.” s A Chinese Crew. —The cable steamer i Agnes, now employed ou the Cook Straits - Cable, has a crew entirely of Chinamen, both sailors and engine stokers.
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