ASHBURTON BOROUGH COUNCIL.
Tho usual fortnightly meeting of the Borough Council was held last night. Present—His Worship the Mayor (presiding), Messrs. G. M. Robinson, R. Friedlander, E. Saunders, D. Williamson, A. Orr, and G. St. Hill. The Chairman said the only matter of importance which had occurred during the fortnight was the sitting of the Assessment Court, and only in one case had a serious reduction been made. The total reduction in the roll was L 430. It would be necessary, as, tho rate book had been prepared, to give the necessary 12 days’ notice to-night of the Borough’s intention to strike a rate. THE DEAF AND DUMB ASYLUM. Mr. J. V. Colborne Yeel wrote, enclosing correspondence relative to the institution for deaf mutes. It was resolved to acknowledge the letter. REGISTRAR OF DOGS. A letter was read from the Colonial Secretary’s office, informing the Borough that Mr. Charles Braddell had been appointed Registrar of dogs for the Borough. AN APPEAL AGAINST BEING RATED. The Rev. W. Keall wrote, objecting to his residence being rated, on the ground —(lst.) That it was the property of the trustees of tho church, and was precisely similar as a trust to the church in Cameron street; (2nd.) That the generous reason which relieves churches in the colony from taxation applies with equal force to parsonages ; (3rd.) That as the parsonage was solely maintained by public beneficence, there was an injustice done to those who subscribed to support the church. Mr. Robinson could not see that this manse should be exempted from rates, as all other manses in the district were rated, being outside the Borough and rated by the Road Board. Mr, St. Hill endorsed the previous speaker’s remarks. A monstrous injustice would be done to the ratepayers if such a request were granted, and he could not look upon it as other than an appeal on tho plea of poverty. Not long ago Mr. Keall had written to them complaining that they had not kept a lot of circus dogs from barking near Ins residence. The Mayor read clause 115 of the Municipal Corporations Act,providing that a remission of rates could not be granted except on the plea of extreme poverty.
Mr. Oxt understood that Mr. Kcall would attend the meeting,' and perhaps could throw more light on the matter. He had been informed that the parsonages, &c., were not rated by the Road Hoard. Mr. Robinson proposed, and Mr. St. Hill seconded—“ That a reply be sent to Mr. Keall that the Borough could not legally remit the rate.” AN UNFAIR DEMAND. Mrs. V. Callaghan wrote, stating that Mr. Crisp had charged Os. for writing a letter demanding payment of a rate, and putting her to unnecessary expense. Mr. R. Fried lander said it was no part of the duty of the collector to call for rates. Mr. Robinson said that a paid servant of the Council had no right to charge for writing letters; and he thought the Borough’s solicitor should not have demanded payment for doing work his salary was intended to cover. ' Mr. St. Hill said it looked as if the collector and solicitor had agreed that their screw was not very large, and they must “ send a letter,” and he would like to know whence Mr. Crisp obtained his authority to write that letter. The Borough were responsible for the acts of its servants, and he considered the borough should refund the money, both as an act of courtesy and of justice.
Mr. Friedlaudcr —But the Council did not receive the money. Mr. St. Hill moved, and Mr. Robinson seconded—“ That the (ss. be refunded.” Mr. Saunders recollected that instructions were given to the collector to collect the rates and to obtain the assistance of tbo solicitor. Ke thought Mr. Crisp might have acted in the usual way, and sued for the rate, and not have written, and charged for the letter. The Mayor said if this resolution were carried, there was no saying whore the matter would stop. It would be the better course to write to Mr. Crisp to pay it. Mr. Robinson withdrew his motion. Mr. Saunders then proposed—“ That Miss Callaghan’s letter be forwarded to Mr. Crisp for an explanation, to be laid before the next meeting.” Seconded by Mr. Williamson and carcarried. BUILDING REGULATIONS. Mr. C. E. Fooks, engineer to the borough, wrote stating that the building bye-laws had been completed by him with the assistance of the solicitor, and suggesting that the whole of the borough from South street to Peter street, and from East street to Cass street, be included in the operations of the bye-laws. Mr. St, Hill said the old boundaries were fixed at Tancred street, and he thought the alteration of the boundaries would tend to check building. Mr. Robinson said that Christchurch had been closely packed with houses before a building bye-law was thought of. Mr. R. Friedlaudcr proposed that Mr, Fooks be instructed to act on his original instructions. —Carried. defaulters’ list.
The Rate Collector stated that thcfollow■ing was the state of last year’s rate fist: — Amount collected—Llo39 12s. ; paid in that day, Ll 9 12s. ; still due, LBO 18s. Total—Li t4O 2s.
The Mayor said tho most prominent of the defaulters was the late Mayor, who still owed his dues on six sections ; and the Town Hall Company, who were in debt LlO, the Town Clerk being secretary, and several others.
Mr. R. Fricdlander proposed that the solicitor bo instructed to sue at once for all overdue rates.
Mr. St. Hill seconded, and paid a high compliment to the perseverance of the rate collector, who had been very diligent in his duties. The motion was carried. DESERVES COMMITTEE'S RETORT. The Committee appointed to report on the best method of dealing with the borough reserves recommended that Nos. 7G7, 210, and 211 he let for 21 years, and 1080, with cottages, for 14 years. These were to be submitted by public auction, with the reserve prices fixed by the Council ; Nos. 704 and 705 to be planted. Mr. Saunders proposed that the Council adopt the report prepared by the Committee. Mr. R. Friedlander seconded. Mr. Robinson thought the reserves should be put up to public auction, and sold at a less price than the reserve in the report, and that a rental should not he fixed dogmatically. The Mayor said the Reserve Committee had acted for the best, and considering the depression existing, ho was of opinion that there would be a great loss if the reserves were sacrificed by auction. The motion was then put and carried. Mr. R. Friedlander proposed, and Mr. Orr seconded, “ That the Reserves Committee take the necessary action re letting the reserves. ” ‘Carried. INSPECTOR OF NUISANCES. The Inspector reported that great damage was done to the side drains by drays. Mr. St. Hill said that at Messrs. Friedlander Bros.’ corner farmers and carters occupied the footpath to such an extent that it was frequently impassable. Mr. R. Friedlander said that if drays drew over the footpath at their store it was not by their request, and it was a matter for the Inspector to deal with. There were plenty other obstructions, such as packing cases, on the footpath.
The Mayor said there were no bye-laws as yet, and the matter dropped. REX To DUE. The'Mayor reported that a largo amount (LG4) of outstanding debts were due by the tenants of the cottages, who only paid | ,4s. per week for each, and lie would suggest that proceedings be taken for the recovery of the rents. LEAVE OF ABSENCE. Mr. Weymouth Roberts was granted leave of absence for a term. THE NEW RATE. Mr. Saunders proposed the resolution standing in his name : “ That the Council strike a rate of a shilling in the £ seconded by Mr. St. Hill and carried. FLUSHING THE SIDE CHANNELS. Mr. Saunders said that he considered the nuisances arising from the Burnett street and other drains were such that it was absolutely necessary to do something in the matter. The state of the funds did not permit of any permanent works, but he was of opinion that water could he brought down the gully in the domain and into East street and thence down other streets. He believed a regulating hatch could be put in for about LlO. He had previously explained his siheme to the Council. The Mayor said he was prepared with a scheme something similar to Mr. Saunders, and would suggest a special meeting of the Council at an early date. Mr. Williamson thought the Mayor might give some information to the Council as to the nature of his scheme, to give them an idea of its value. There was another very important matter, the question of the right to bring the water through private lands. It was then resolved to hold a special meeting next Monday night. Mr. Robinson said that where vested interests were concerned people usually claimed compensation, even whore the water being brought through their lands was a direct benefit to them. Mr. Saunders said that he had made enquiries of the people interested, and thought there would be no objection. At any rate, it was only a temporary measure. Accounts amounting to L 43 7d. were passed for payment, and the Council ad-
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