The Ashburton Guardian, COUNTY AGRICULTURAL & SPORTING RECORDER TUESDAY, APRIL 20, 1880.
After the experience of the various Road Boards in the Ashburton County during the recent sittings of the Assessment Courts, at which the valuations of property made by tlxe officer appointed for that purpose gave no satisfaction, it will no doubt be a source of gratification to ratepayers to learn that it is probable this unsatisfactory state of things will shortly be discontinued. The Wellington “Post” refers to the subject as simply a rumor, but our acquaintance with the above journal is such as to lead us to infer that rumors of the kind mentioned are generally the outcome of a- pretty broad hint from a reliable quarter. The “Post” says :—“ We hear that the new plan is likely to be for the Government to employ valuers throughout the colony and for the valuers to furnish the various Municipalities with their valuations for rating purposes at a small fixed charge. It is calculated that a material saving in expense would thus be effected, while the valuations would probably be more satisfactory, especially in respect to uniformity. We give this rumor simply as it has reached us, and without being in possession of any absolute officialinformation on the subject, ” If this plan were adopted, and sufficient care taken to appoint competent valuers, we have no hesitation in saying that it would be a great improvement upon the existing system. Our local bodies have too frequently, with a laudable desire to practice economy, defeated their own object by accepting as valuer the lowest tenderer, almost without making any inquiry as to the competency of the gentleman aspiring to this very important office. It is always advisable to view tenders for any work with a discriminating eye, and most particularly those for such work as the compiling of a rate roll, where a dishonest or careless man can by only half performing the duties, well afford to take half the payment which would only fairly remunerate a conscientious and able worker. We do not think, if the proposed plan were actually adopted, that die direct saving in expense would be very material, as, to render it thoroughly effective, able men must be induced to accept the offices of valuers, and such men can always command a fair salary ; but the annoyance and indirect expenditure which arise out of rolls similar to those we have recently had occasion to notice would be avoided.
The character of the present Government assures us that the details of any change will bo well considered, and the practical knowledge of Ministers will develope a workable system, but before dividing the districts for allotment to valuers, care should be taken to ascertain with all possible accuracy how much work is to be done in each ; and in our own county, at least, owing to the imperfect records we at present have, this information will not be readily obtained. If the work is to bo done in the thorough minner we hope it will be, the Ashburton County should receive the undivided attention of one valuer, and, although Mr. Leach undertook to compile a roll of this county in a few weeks, we think if the authorities insist upon all they should, a permanent officer will find his duties sufficiently extensive.