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THE CITY'S FINANCES., Issue 7932, 13 June 1889
THE CITY'S FINANCES.
At the inception of last night's meeting of the City Council, Cr Fish intimated his intention of moving that the tenders previously lodged for the fencing of tho Triangle be opened with a view to accepting the lowest. At a later stage of the proceedings, Cr Sinclair, as chairman of the Works Committee, urged that the Triangle should not be improved at present, because there was only some LGOO available for works and street maintenance, unless the Council were prepared to sanction an increased rate. The Mayor added that the Corporation could not increase their overdraft, and thero were only sufficient funds in hand to keep the streets in repair. He was, however, pleased to say that our streets would compare favorably with thoso of any other city in the colony. Councillors should bear in mind that tho undertaking of any extra works could only be done by an increase in the City rates. At a later stage, Cr Fish moved that the tenders for fencing tho Southern cricket ground be declined and the deposits returned. He admittod that, if the finances of the City had been in a better state, this was a work that should be done, and that ho was in somewhat of a difficulty. As a representative of the ward, who would possibly be seeking re-election in a few months, ho should press this work being done j but commousensc said that in view of the declaration made by the chairman of the Works Committee he should vote, as he intended, for staying their hands meanwhile. The Forth street bridge was on a difftrent footing, und ought to be attended to without delay. But when tho time came he should move that the tenders for fencing the Triangle should be dealt with in the same way as the present tenders. Cr Kimisku, complained that all works at tho north end of the City wore voted urgent, whilo those in South Ward were regarded as merely ornamental. The Council had ordered this work to be proceeded with, and it was as necessary as any that had been undertaken this year. The reserve was simply in a disgraceful state, Cr Barron also thought that the work should be gone on with, Beeing that the Council had more than once affirmed its desirability. Ho thought that a bogie about finauco had been raised, and that the money would be forthcoming. Crs Solomon and Havsks also strongly urged that the lowest tender should be accepted. Cr Harpy suggested that tho work could he done without cost to the City if tenders were invited for utilising tho fence for advertising purpoßCß, and ho proposed to move in that direction.
On the question of the tendera for the fencing of the Triangle, Cr Fish moved that they be declined, and the deposits returned. However deßirablo the work, it was plain that it could not bo undertaken juet now. He also moved "That the Finance Committco be directed to inquire into and report on, at next meeting of the Council, the present state of the City fiuancG." Cr Sinclair seconded. Cr Cakroll considered that the Council would be acting very foolishly if they did more than postpone consideration of the tenders pending the Finance Committee's report. But for a recent event tie work would in all probability have been gone on with ere this He did not think that the City finances were in such a bad state as had been represented. If tho Triangle was to be improved in view of the Exhibition, no time should be lost in setting abont it. Cr Solomon moved that the acceptance of a tender should be postponed for a fortnight. The Amenities Society had been the means of collecting a considerable sum of monoy with the special object of improving tho Triangle before tho Exhibition opened, and there was tho prospect of this money being lost. Cr Fish complained that some of the councillors opposite were not treating him justly. He had consented to the indefinite postponement of a work in his own ward, believing that there had been an understanding to deal similarly with this special work ; but now there seemed to be a disposition to "jockey" him. The improvement of the Triangle, and works in the same categoiy, could not be undertaken unless a special rate were struck; and he would be no party to that. Cr Solomon would be equally opposed to levying a special rate, considering that the ratepayers had enough burdenß to bear already ; but he urged postponement, as no harm could result from that course, pending the receipt of tho Finance Committee's report. Cr Barron said it might seem inconsistent on his part to vote for this motion, acting that he voted for the acceptance of the other tender, bat he had always held the opinion that the best thing to do with the Triangle would be to asphalt it and leave it as an open space, with a band rotunda in one corner and a fountain in another, and have a few scats here and there.
Cr Carroll thought that the best purposo to turn the Triangle to would be a parade ground for the volunteers. Cr Sinclair said he conld not too strongly urge not only on councillors, but on citizens generally, the necessity that existed for refraining from asking for works other than absolutely urgent ones. There was only a limited sum now at the disposal of tho Works Committee, though little more than a quarter of the municipal year had gone, and if a titho of the works asked for were to bo undertaken it would inevitably mean an increase of tho rates. .
Cr Cohen could not support this work in the face of the declaration of the ohairman of the Works Committee. The Council found themselves face to face with an altered state of things, and must perforce stay their hands. The discussion served to strengthen the opinion he had before expressed : that all works outside of the ordinary wear and tear of City maintenance out to be provided out of special rate, to be furnished by tho ward in which such extraordinary works were situated. Cr Kimbell contended that the finances of the City were not in the gloomy condition that had been pictured by the chairman of the Works Committee. Several workß that had been authorised by the Council should have been taken in hand, and they were all more or lees of a pressing nature.
The Mayor endorsed what had been said about the chairman of the Workß Committee in regard to the low state of j;he finanoes. This Committee bad; o\4rthei wards along with' the cbWculortl 8&d def
oiding what works were of a character that could be deemed urgent, but they had not gone very far when they found the claims put forward so numerous that they saw it would take thousands of pounds to carry them out. They had, therefore, decided to go no further, but report the condition of matters to the Council.
The amendment was negatived by 7 to 3, and the motion carried.
The only tender sent in for repairing the Forth street bridge was accepted.
THE CITY'S FINANCES., Issue 7932, 13 June 1889
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