The Ashburton Guardian. COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER THURSDAY, APRIL, 6, 1880.
We cannot congratulate those concerned in the production of the Wakanui valuation list upon the success of their efforts. One of the gravest wrongs that a farmer can suffer is unduly high rating by the local body to which he contributes ; and should he be rated at double the value of his property, he has, after the roll is officially confirmed, no appeal against such rating. A rate roll to he perfect requires, 'lst, that it should have the names of occupiers in alphabetical order; 2nd, that the Christian and surname should be given in full ; 3rd, that the various properties should be equally rated in proportion to their value, so as to have a uniform value throughout; 4th, that each property should bo accurately described by having the number of section or lot and the acreage of each set down against it for the purpose of identification ; and sth, that all houses and improvements should be described on the roll, and the values placed on them separately stated. Not one of the necessary conditions have been complied with in the document which Mr. Guinness passed on Saturday last, and instead of possessing a complete roll of the district, the Road Board is saddled with an incubus, the half cost of which they will have to pay to the County Council, and on which we imagine they will have very great difficulty in collecting a rate even if struck. Those who appeared to object to their valuations obtained almost any concessions they liked to ask for, whilst the land of many of those who neglected to attend the Court is rated much above its value, and in some instances large properties are set down against persons to whom they do not belong, and in others persons owning property arc omitted altogether. When the County Council first inspected the rolls of the County they at once gave orders that all blanks should be filled up, but those necessary additions were certainly not made to the Wakanui roll. When the various rolls came up before the Assessment Court they were, in most cases, thrown out, and fresh ones ordered to be made, and Mr. F. G. P. Leach was again appointed valuer without pay, and further time given him to perfect them. This delay does not seem to have enabled him to approach perfection, as the proceedings of the' Assessment Court on Saturday have shown; hut one of the features must to be regretted is that a judge who previously, in a cursory examination of the roll, threw it out, should now by the strict wording of the Act and the negligence of the Road Board in having omitted to give the required notice of their objection, be compelled to pass a roll very slightly better than the one previously rejected. One other point in connection with the business is the wholesale manner in which the word “owner” is made to stand for the proprietor of land where the assessor had neglected to make proper inquiries as to the ownership. Altogether, the incapacity of the assessor will be the cause of endless trouble and expense in the future collection of rates, as there is hardly a single name on the roll but which bristles with non-suit points if the Board has to take any claims for rates into Court. If the Rating Act confers the necessary power, we trust the County Council will consider the advisableness of withholding full payment from the assessor for his very incomplete work.