THE LONGBEACH VALUATION.
To tub Editor.
Sir —The ratepayers of Lougbeach road district cannot but congratulate their Chairman on the stand taken by him in throwing out what with propriety may be called a farce at valuation. The result of Saturday last, shows plainly how much a man may aspire to a work which he is totally untit to carry out. Mr. Leach may or may not'be 3 valuator. It is quite evident, however, that his knowledge of country districts is meagre in the extreme. The extraordinary mistakes, added to the confused way in which the whole ratepayers’ list was made up, could not but convince the most sceptical, that to uphold such a valuation roll as was presented before the Assessment Court on the 17th, would be a gross injustice to two-thirds of the ratepayers. Consider a farmer assessed with live hundred acres, which lay perhaps ton miles from him, and of 'which he knew nothing whatever, and the rightful owner thereof rated with a hundred and fifty acres belonging to the party thus assessed with the five hundred. In ray own case, I had a valuation notice which was a fac simile of that for last years’ roll, and to which I raised no objections ; but Mr. Leach was not satisfied with such plain work, and so had me assessed with an imaginary hundred acres (as it was put down) at the very modest annual value of a LlO9. I have no doubt but it formed part of the famous Longbeach district, but I knew it not.
I mention those two out of a large number of similar cases which, although not brought before the Assessment Court, can be easily adduced, and show plainly that the valuator, even in his amended roll, knew little of the work before him. Had Mr. Leach considered the magnitude of the work that was involved in undertaking to give a proper valuation of the largo and important districts included in his tenders, he would certainly have given the matter more thought, and arrived at a more accurate estimate of the remuneration required for carrying the work out satisfactorily. This lam afraid he hasnot done, and the natural consequence is an attempt to confine or rather reduce the whole system of valuation to the pleasant shade of an office and map room. In this particular, I am inclined to the belief that Mr. Leach has only followed in the footsteps of past valuators. Year after year men have been appointed, new rolls have been made out, but no one has ever seen those men asking for information ; then the grand announcement is made that a rate has been struck, and that money is required. It requires no great stretch of imagination to see that such a system is extremely faulty, and the result is that whilst some may be rated to their full value, and perhaps over, others maybe much under. So far as the present valuation is concerned, it has been hinted that Mr. Leach was actually aeon once in the flesh on the Longbeach road. How far this rumor is correct, I can’t say ; only' I have not met with any who have seen him in any other part of the district. As ratepayers, our protection was in the Assessment Court, and the Chairman of our Road Board, and it is certainly well for every community that the law provides for checking such gross blunders as defaced the late rate roll of the Longbeach district. —lam, &c., G. Gilmour.
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