Ashburton Borough Council.
The usual fortnightly meeting of the Council was held in the Council Chamber last night, having been adjourned from Monday evening to clear the holidays. Present—His Worship the Mayor (presid- : ing), Messrs. Friedlander, Harrison, Parkin, St. Hill, and Williamson, and later on, Mr. Ivess. • THE MAYOR’S STATEMENT. The Mayor said the credit balance at the bank was L 346 3s. 2d.; rates collected since last meeting, LG 14s. Gd.; previously, L 1,077 35.; rents, L 9 145.; reserves, L 4. The Mayor reported having accepted Mr. William Anderson's (saddlei) tender at Bd. each for 330 dog collars. The matter had -been left in the Mayor’s hands, and ho now required the Council’s approval. No notice of payment of subsidy to the Council by Government bad yet been received, but his Worship observed that the Road Boards had received notice of payment, and it might be as well were the Clerk to write to Government on the subject again. Regarding the water-pipes,. he had been unable to see the County Chairman, who was up country at Mount Possession, superintending his shearing, but at next meeting of the County his Worship would attend, with a view to obtaining an unconditional grant of the water pipes to the Borough, so that a tangible security might be given to the bank for an overdraft. Failing the County’s consent, ic would still be open to the Borough to strike a rate sufficient to give the necessary security. Ho had seen a Timaru councillor recentty, and learned from him that Timaru received a fire prevention grant far greater in proportion than that given by the Insurance Companies’ Association to Ashburton. Bethought it might be advisable for the Clerk to write to the various boroughs and ascertain what amounts were gi-en to them by the Association. It would be necessary to ■ consider the question of altering the by-laws at this meeting. A DUN. Messrs. Montgomery and Co. wrote, reminding the Mayor of a pxomise to pay their account of Ll3l odd at a certain date. The Mayor stated that he had trusted to an arrangement that was to have been been made with the bank for the money, but the arrangement was not .completed. He thought the money ought to be paid. Resolved to pay the account. THE FIRE RRIGADE PUMP. Mr. S. Hardioy wrote, asking for an investigation as to the satemeut he made regarding the pump ho had erected for the Fire Brigade, and Mr. Parkin’s denial of that statement. Mr. Parkin adhered to what he had previously said, but admitted passing'the boxing of the pump, Mr. St. Hill said he had seen the pump at a time when it was useless, and again when it was working well. He thought the letter should not be entertained. Resolved not to interfere in the matter. THE ENGINEERS. ' A letter was read from the Borough Engineers, offering to continue to do the Borough’s work at the terms of tile contract made with them 011 Sept. 20bh last. They declined to continue Under the terms of the resolution last passed (in December-), but were unwilling to put the Couiicil to inconvenience, and would therefore bo prepared to complete works in hand* or undertake such new works as may be required at the terms — viz., seven per cent, commission on the cost. The Mayor stated that for four months Mr. C. E. Fooks had done the Borough’s work for no salary whatever. After some discussion, during which a heavy rain was falling and making a deafening noise upon the roof, x - endering the remarks made inaudible, Mr. Harrison moved “That the services of Messrs. Fooks be retained at the rates of 1 enumeration passed in September, viz. , seven per cent on the value of the work done.”
Mr. St. Hill said [as far as the storm permitted our reporter to gather] that it must be patent to all the Councillors that very soon the Borough would not want an engineer, as the work requiring a fully qualified man would be all executed. Still, there would always be work to do that required an intelligent and practical man to oversee, and if they did away with their professional engineer they had only laborers left, with nobody of any better knowledge than themselves, to guide their work. He suggested procuring an intelligent man at; say, L 175 a year—and he knew such a man could be got at that figure—and associating him with Mr. Fooks during the next twelve months. In that time he would be able to get at the run of all the levels, etc., of the town, and Mr. Fooks’ work in regard to these had been so carefully done, and the map he had drawn so accurate, that almost any practical man of ordinary intelligence could very easily pick them up. With such a man the Council would .then be in a position to relieve Mr. Fooks of the active duty of supervision, and only ask him to do such work as drawing engineering plans, and so forth, putting their own overseer to carry them out. During the last six or eight months there had been but three men at work, one overseer to run after them, and an engineer to look after him. He was quite sure L 175 would get a man to do the practical .oversight of the carrying out of Mr. Fooks’ plans. He would second Mr. garrison’s resolution if a clause were added 1 to the effect that no yearly salary be paid. The Mayor said it was well worth the consideration of the Council that some L 3,000 worth of work would require to be done this next year, and they would actually, under this resolution, have to pay more than the Engineers asked. Mr. St. Hill did not anticipate that a per ceutage would be given on the men’s wages, nor on any of the road maintenance done by them, but simply on the engineering work done by the Engineers. He desired to point out to the Council that on the chamber wall there hung a map on which all the levels of the Borough were plainly marked, and for L 175 a man could be got to do all the street work with that map for his guide. Mr. Parkin was in favor of paying commission on extra works undertaken, but thought a good foreman should be capable of doing the supervision of ordinary work.
Mr. Williamson never anticipated that a highly paid Engineer should be permanently retained by the Borough, but for what work such an engineer did he (Mr. Williamson) would be perfectly willing to pay in accordance with its value. He fancied that 7 per cent .was a very moderate rate to pay, and he reckoned that the Council were fpjd.unate in getting an offer like that of Messrs. Books. It was evident that there would be no more subsidies paid by Government, and he did not think that any very large works would be undertaken. Mr. Ivess (who had just entered) thought Messrs. Books’ offer was a very moderate one.
The Mayor said; there, would, be over L 2,000 of income at the Council’s disposal this year. Rates, L 1,200 ; licenses, L 400; subsidy, say, L4OO ; L3OO from the Road Boards, and L2OO from reserves.; He felt certain that for some time they vvould be unable to do without an Engineer. There were several streets still unformed, and many things required to be done that no foreman could undertake.
After a desultory talk that the rain again drowned, . - Mr. Williamson suggested the appointment of a committee to ascertain what were the actual terms wanted by Mr. Books.
The Mayor approved of,the. suggestion. Mr. Ivess wished an addition made to Mr. Harrison’s resolution, to show that
the Council reserved the right to do .Work’ under the-sole oversight of their own foreman, without engaging the services;of an engineer. . - Mr.-Harrison objected to the addition' being made to his resolution, and it was therefore put asap amendment, and! both' resolution and amendment were carried. • . the mayor. A letter front the Department of Justice intimated the appointment of the Mayor to the Commission of the Peace. engineers’ report. The Engineers’ report was read as follows : ‘ ■■■ Forming Footpath, at Belt, and lie-forming Cox street. tenders have been received for these w_orks.; ... . . Asphalting. —Two tenders have been received, but as no meeting of the Works Committee has .been, held for want of a quorum, they will be laid before you unopened. Water Supply for North-west side of Railway.—We have examined the roads with respect to levels, &c., by which a supply of Water can be brought to tlie junction of the Alford Forest road with the Nouh-west Town belt. Two of- the cross roads could he made available for bringing the water from 'Winter’s ' road to’ Alford Forest road, namely, Charles street and Allen’s road. By the first-named the lavge gully would’ be avoided, but - the length of channel would be longer, so that, on a rough calculation, there' would not be much difference in the cost, which for the actual earthwork and culverts required ought not to exceed LtOO. As, however, arrangements would have to be made with the U pper Ashburton Road Board, there would be probably additional items of expenditure for there being more traffic on the Allord Forest road than on Winter’s road, footpaths might have to he re-formed and fencing required. The d stribution of the water through the upper part of the Borpugh would be merely a. question of properly grading the Town Belt .and streets. ’ . -•
Noidh-we t 'Town Belt.t—'The. Upper Ashburton Road Board have commenced forming, thenorth west side -of the'Belt between the plantation,-and- the Borough boundary. We were not aware of the'fact until some days after the contractor had commenced work, but have communicated with the Surveyor to tire Board, informing him, that the Borough Council requires any roads or footpaths within their jurisdiction to be formed to certain levels and grades. It appears that the Road B >ard were under the impression that the upper portion of the Town Belt was under their control, and we are now waiting a further communication from their Surveyor. Clearing Tussocks in streets. —The contractor reports having finished his work, but we have not been able to go over it. Only a portion of the tussocks have been burnt, and the contract does not provide for their being carried away, so that as the time for burning allowed by the Council has expired, we have a difficulty in settling the matter. Cement and Timber.— Uhere will not be sufficient cement to complete the channelling of Havelock street. All the timber provided for in Mr. Hayes’ contract has been delivered, and a further supply will be required shortly if the work of concrete channelling is continued. The Labor Gang have been engaged in the cutting in Aitken street, making and putting in culverts, taking up kerhing,.. &c., in West street,’ raking - large stones off streets, attending to water supply and side channels, &c.—We have, etc.— Fooks and "Son; ; It was resolved to defer the ’Cox and’ Aitken street work till after harvest, when the contractors would be more at liberty.
After discussion, Mr. Ivess moved that the north-west water scheme' be deferred until funds expected be in band. Mr. Parkin seconded. Mr- St. Hill said the north-western property was juot *as ' valuable as ttiut on the other side of the lirio, and he would move as an amendment that the work be proceeded with. On a vote the amendment was carried, the mover and seconder, only voting for the motion. It was resolved that the contractor be instructed to burn the tussocks, as provided for in his contract. The cement and timber supplies mentioned in theC report weferred to the Works Committee. - NUISANCES. _ • . , The Inspector reported having served notices on certain parties for allowing offensive matter, to flow into the streets, and for pig keeping. THE OVERDRAFT ON THE FIFES. Mr. St. Hill'desired to know if any of the other banks would grant the overdraft on the pipes. The Mayor said he thought not, but would see the County Council with a view to getting better security. TUB FIRE BRIGADE. Mr. St Hill urged the' payment of tho LSO subsidy to the Fire Brigade. He had been up to the practice and had seen the state of the hose, which was bad indeed. ' ' Mr. Park in said that the Brigade had to avoid practising in the streets with a view to saving the hose. Tile Mayor hoped the Captain of the Brigade would send in his report of what was wanted. DOG COLLARS. The Council confirmed the action of the Mayor in regard to a tender- for deg collars. SUPERVISION OF WORKS. His Worship;obtained; leave to move the appointment of-Messrs. Williamson, Ivess, St. Hill, Hamsdrißanff the mover to consider anff report, how the work's’ of; the Borough can be 'hest and inost cheaply carried out. The : motion was passed.- - ASPHALTING. A tender for asphalting was accepted from Mr. James Bradley, at 2s. 3d. per yard, for such portions of the work of asphalting as the Works Committee recommended being done. In the course of a discussion,
Mr. Ivess said that it would be far better to do the whole footpath at once and all the breadth of it. He had advocated this work eighteen months ago, and he had always ui'ged that the chief street in the town should be made presentable to visitors. At present it was in a disgraceful condition, and he thought the extra cost of completing the asphalt to to the full width would only cost some 30s. or_3ss. per chain extra to the ratepayers in East street. , Mr, St. Hill opposed the doing of the whole work, and objected to paying the general ratepayers’ money away for a,work that it was benefit only a few. If asphalt were to-be laid down,there, ought to be only a quarter of the width of the' fbotpath dene at the Borough .the remaining three-fourths to be borne by the owners of property fronting the street. It was all very well to talk of visitors, but dressing up East street at the other ratepayers’ expense and leaving the other streets in their primitive wilderness state, was like a poor swell sporting a broadcloth coat over a dirty and dilapidated shirt. Mr. Harrison reminded Mr. Ivess of the cost that his suggestion would be to ihe Borough were it carried out. There wer.o very many chains of reserves fronting East street, which meant" a high figure if their frontages were all asphalted. Besides, many, of the burgesses were prepared to do a fourth of the footpath, but yvould not do a half. The matter then drepped. 1 Accounts to the sum of L 350 os. Id, were passed, and the Council adjourned,
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