Ashburton Guardian Megna est Veritas et Prævalebit. FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 1905. THE BOROUaH COUNCIL.
The polling at the election of Borough Councillors on Wednesday was a satisfactory one, and wo are glad to find that such a large number of burgesses had sufficient interest m the matter to avail themselves of the privilege of voting. All the conveniences which the inhabitant of a city enjoys over anrt above what the resident m the country has at hi 3 command are due more or less directly to the efforts of such bodies as the Borough Council. If the town is to be clean, well kept, and up-to-date, it is the Borough Council that has the direction of the work by which it is put m that condition. The faot that so many votes wero recorded at the polling booth at the recent eleotion shows that the burgesses are not quite co dead to tlieir own interests as previous appearances indicated, and that a good number of them realise their duties to themselves aud their neighbours. The selection that has been made by the electors is a very good one, aud we anticipate that the new Council will do good work for the borough during the next two years. The presence on the new Council of four members of the old Couucil is a guarantee that that important body will not be altogether inexperienced m the transaction of municipal business - when it commences its labours. One of the earliest and mo3t important matters that will oome before the Council for settlement will be the fixing of the rate for the next yeav. As we have already stated, we do not consider it; advisable m I the interests <-f the borough that any redaction should ba made ia the rate for the present year at leist. One of the last acts of the outgoing Council was to prepare | two balance sheets, showing estimated ! revenue and expenditure for the incoming year on the basis of a rate of Is 6d and a rate ofc Is 9d m the £ and they recommended their successors to adopt the higher of these two rates. But they also recommended the adoption of an additional special rate of 3d m the £ for the upkeep of the Domain ; so that practically their suggestion amounted to a recommendation to leave the rate unaltered. The importance of this question warrants our repeating the arguments we employed on a former occasion, when discussing what the rate should be. In the fir3t place, if the present rate of 2s m the £, was to be reduced, it would not be easy for the Council to raise the rate again if it so happened, as is probable, that the 2s rate proved to be required. It is better, now that the rate is 2=;, to leave it at that tor the present year at least, and postpone the reduction until there is no doubt about the reduced rate bein^ sufficient to carry on the neces.-ary work of the Borough. It is quite evident thit there is still an extensive field open for the expenditure of Borough money m a profitable way, and on beneficial objects. The figures we quoted recently will bear reproduction. The total rateable value of the property m the Borough is £25,074. At 23 m the this produces £2507, at Is 9d it produces £2193, and fct Is 6d it produces only .£I,BBO. The difference between the revenue at 2s and that at Is 9d is thus £314, while the difference between the revenue at 2s and that ab Is 6d is so large as .£627. The latter of these amounts would represent such a substantial decrease m the financial resources of the Borough for the coming year that we do not think for a moment the new Council will care to face the responsibility of agreeing with it. The selection is thus reduced to two—a rate of 2s or a rate of Is 9d. In deciding which of these two is to be selected, the Borough Council will do well to remember how small is the difference which the suggested reduction would make to the smaller ratepayers. The rateable value of private residences varies from £18 to JE3O. The reduction of 3d m the £ would make a difference of only 43 63 a year to the owner of the residence rated at .£lB, and only 7s 6d if it is rated at £30. The saving made to the individual property ownor is thus so insignificant as not to be worth consideration, and as for the larger property owners, it has to be remembered that they are m a sufficiently good position to be able to pay all that is asked of them by way of rates. The Borough requires money for more channelling and asphalting, for improving the Domain, and to some extent for providing additional lamps m the streets. The more the Council can spend on at least the first three of these municipal works, the better for the Borough. The need for more channelling and asphalting is a very obvious one, nod with so many of our streets still uuapphalted, it seems somewhat premature to talk of reducing the rate, What the Domain represents to Ashburton does not need to be enlarged on; as the town's sole recreation ground and chief beauty spot, it will bear all the expenditure that can be bestowed upon it for some time to oome. The increasing of the number of laujps m the streets has, of course, to be proceeded with cautiously, as every additional lamp represents a permanent charge
of £4i a year ; but tb« houses are extending out to the Belts steadily, and some provision will have to be made for supplying more lamps m the streets. Taking one consideration with another, wa cannot see anything to warrant a reduction of the existing 2s rate for the present year at least.