The Mayoral Installation.
THE MAYOR'S ANNUAL STATEMENT
At hir. installation into office for the third time last evening the Mayor (Mr H. Davis) made the following statement: —In presenting tha customary annual statement of the work done by my Council for the punt year, lam pleased to show a very satisfactory condition of the Council's linancea. The Borough overdraft on April Ist 1903, was •£2,357 12a Id and a loss m the annual revenue confronted the Council owing' to No-License being carried m the district. Without curtailing necessary Municipal Works, the retiring Council has been able to materially reduce the overdraft, ana on March 31at 1905 it stood nt£l44l 19s 3d, showing a reduction of £915 12a lOd for the two years. The loss m revenue for this period due to No-License can be put down at £700, which, with £955, paid for interest on Loan and Sinking Fund totals £ 1,655. If this amount is added to the amount reduced on the overdraft, we obtain ft sum of £2,570 which more than equals the sum realised by &2s rate m one year, and proves that during the past two years the ordinary maintenance of the Borough, as well as new works have been carried out with a general rate of less than one shilling m the pound per annum. In my opinion the general rate can be reduced this year. The net amount expended for last ear was .£ls les3 than was estimated. The Borough overdraft for the time being h.-is now been paid off, as a temporary loan of £1,000 ha 3 be^n obtained at one per centlower rate of interest than that paid to the Bank. Among the new works that have been carried ouC during the past ypar, I may mention that 62 chains of concrete channelling have beon Jaid down, and 41 chains of asphalt footpaths, the traffic bridge has co^t th<» Borough £70 more than m previous years owing to the redecking, and over £100 has been expended m buildings, including a propagating house m the Domain, and a wushhouso at the Fire Brigade engineer's cottage, a sum of £65 waa expended on the proposal to purchase the gasworks find an amount of £53 was voted towards the erection of the bridge over the north branch of the Ashburton to the Eifle Butts. The poll on the proposal to purchase the gasworks and plant for £13,800 took place on the 14th of October last, when it was rejected by 287 votes to 105 votes. The Municipal isation of the lighting power m the Borough would have been a very profit able undertaking indeed to the Council. The price was a reasonable one, and the very prosperous condition of the company during the past year proves that the property is increasing m value every year. The Council as a whole was favourable to the purchase, but the ratepayers lacked the enterprise to support the scheme. The matter of dealing with the Borough Reserves so as to secure a larger return than is now obtained was discussed by the Council during the year. With the exception of the business sites m East and West Streets, an annual revenue of only 1£ per cent on the value of the property is now obtained from the Town JReserves., It was decided to again offer these Reserves at low rentals on Glasgow leases, including the most advantageous conditions the Council could legally make, but although the leases of a number of the most suitable building sites were submitted to public auction, only two were sold. In future I should strongly recommend that the Town Clerk should accompany the Mayor to the Municipal Conference, as this officer being more conversant with Municipal Law and Borough By-Laws, would reap a gresit advantage from the Association with the members attending the Conference, which would tend to the general good of the Borough. For many years land the Council have endeavoured to persuade the Railway Department to have the latrines at the south end of the station removed, but although the member for the district haa worked hard m tbe matter, all our efforts have been unsuccessful. These buildings area thorough disgrace to the Department and an eyesore to the town, and it certainly seeing stiange that nothing cm bo done to remove the nuisance. Nearly all the Ministers m the Cabinet from the Premier down have been approached on this matter but without result, as nothing hs been done. The contract with the Canterbury Frozen Meat Company to provide an abattoir for this Boroug"h will expire next year, and the question of its renewal or otherwise will have to be soon decided by the Council. I wish to say that on the whole the arrangement with the Freezing Works Company has worked exceedingly well, and has been carried on without any expense to the Council, and I think cheaply for the consumer. In my last annual report I mentioned that the Council as the Domain Board had just appointed Mr James Young as curator of the Domain m place of Mr W. W. Smith. Mr Young has done excellent work during the past year, and he has succeeded m giving complete satisfaction to the Domain Board and, I believa, to the many Sports Clubs who use the grounds. This he has done without putting the Board to any large expense, m fact I may say that the sports grounds m the Domain have never been so economically worked before. A propagating house was erected last year, and it amply repaid the out-lay by the splendid display of flowers m the Domain during the summer. lam pleased to say that the Board has raised the curator's salary by £25 per annum, an increase that is certainly deserved. Mr Young has undertaken a considerable quantity of new work during the ensuing year, and it is expected that next summer will show a greater improvement still m our Domain. During the summer a large number of picnic parties visited the Domain, some seven to eight thousand excursionists coming to Ashburton. The want of a suitable pavilion iv the sports ground was much felt and a proposal on thia subject will be laid before the incoming Domain Board. Before bringing my remarks to a close I desire to draw attention to the apathy of the ratepayers and electors of Ashburton on matters concerning the welfare of the Borough. Any' public meeting that is called to consider any municipal question meets with small support, and even at the last general election of Councillors only 335 electors out of 806 exercised their vote. It would, Jin my opinion be to the advantage of the town if the ratepayers attended the ordinary meetings of the Council, at. which they are always welcome. Any means that will stimulate the people to take a deeper interest m municipal matters will be of benefit to the Borough. In conclusion I wish to thank the outgoing Council for the attention they have given to their municipal duties and for the amicable way m which they have worked under my chairmanship. I also wish to acknowledge the cordial relations that have always existed between myself and the Councillors. In welcoming the new Council to tha chamber, I note that it is leavened withla fair proportion of old Ooanoillors who have served the Borough well and I look forward with confidence to a year's work that will be as economically and as satisfactorily icarried out as the last. I also desire to express my thanks to the Council's officers and labour staff for the conscientious manner m which they have carried out their duties.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6561, 4 May 1905
The Mayoral Installation. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6561, 4 May 1905
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