LONGBEACH ASSESSMENT COURT.
The Assessment Court for this district held its sittings for the second time this year at the Road Boax’d offices oxx Saturday the 17th April, Frank Guinness Esq., R.M., being the Judge. The Valuator Mr. G. I’. P. Leach appeared in support of the valuation list prepared by him. The Board was represented by the chairman John Grigg Esq., and the clerk.
About forty ratepayers were present, for the purpose of objecting to the valuatioixs of their properties. The valuation list as prepared, showed a total acreage of 92,097 acres 34 poles axxd a rateable value of L 40,197.
Cuthbert, instructed by the Boax-d, objected to the list as a whole, on the grounds that it was not prepared as required as by the “Rating Act, 1876,” to prove which it was shown that ixo entry whatever was made in the column “If let, for what term axxd in what maxxner,” and that several of the pages of the list were not signed by the valuator. He stated that it was not because these trivial omissions were made that the Roard objected to the list, but that the list itself was completely wrong from beginning to end, owing ixo doubt to the fact that Mr. Leach had not visited any property in:the district with the exception of the Lowcliffe estate and perhaps one or two more, consequently the list xvas not a true and faithful valuation, and the Board not wishing to have to pay for such work, which xvas really useless to them as a valuation roll, took the only legal steps in their power to have it set aside. What the decision of the Court on this point xvould have been is not knoxvn, as Mr. Cuthbert further proceeded in terms of the 25th section of the “ Rating Act,” to ask that the valuator be required to produce his “Declaration as Valuator,” which according to the sth section should he made before entering on his duties, and be delivered up to the local body or their clerk. Upon being ixsked by the Court for his deelax’atxon M: - . Leach astonished everyone in the Court (xvith the exception perhaps of himself) by stating that he had never taken a declaration. The Court decided that, as the taking of the declaration xvas the fundamental part of the whole thing, there xx'as positively no legal valuation. The Boax-d at this stage, by their clerk, then handed in a list of charges, amounting to L 9 2s. 3d. , which they had had to pay for printing and advertising in connection xvith the txvo attempts Mr. Leach had made at producing a legal xmluation list, and asked that as Mr. Leach had already received 50 per cent, of the money agreed on as the price of the list, that he (Mr. Leach) should refund this money to the Board.
The Court granted the application, and ordered, at the nomination of the Chairman of the Board, that Mr. William Cuthbert be valuator ; that the valuation list bo prepared, and open for inspection on Tuesday, the Ist day of June ; that Tuesday, the 15th day of J une, _be the last day for giving notice of objection ; and that the next sitting of the Court to hear objections be on Monday, the 21st day of June. The Court then adjourned.
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