CAVERSHAM'S LAST BALANCE-SHEET.
TO TUB EDITOR. Sir,—Elehfc years ago few New Znland boroughs had fairer prospects than Cavorsham. The rates were 6 per cent, on the annual value, and the leading men in the Council expeoted to bo able to reduce that tax to three-i'iurthp, or oven or'e-half of tint »mount. The health of the inhabitant was meet fati; f ictory. TheGovernmentgave thedeath rata a-among the lowest (if not the very lowest)in the colony, Thrre was no municipal debt, Its Council, with wise for*si.'ht, being opposed to borrowing. With prudent eoonomy at the helm no doubt the fair prospects would have been all realised.
Nw light, or rather from my point of view thick dnkneß', rame to the Civersham Ccunoil. Our OoioniHl Government had Jfor years been moving onward by " lears and bounds" on borrowed Cavcrsham hal long resisted infection by the use of the invaluable drug- foresight; but some councillors were chosen who raved about " progress," and such was their energy that those without backbone yielded. The Council were, I believe, unanimous, and so influenced the ratepayers that the requisite number of votes was got, and on the Ist of May, 1888, the Caversham Borough borrowed L 20,000 Tbo annual oha-ge on this lnan is, I h>d by last balancesheet. L 1,230 Is 3d If the Council had saved this annual oharge, and avoided the costly and comparatively melees Bystem of drainage, on which they havo spent some L 15.090, all the really useful work oould havo lftn done without borrowing any money. Another lo»n of L3,C00 for water need not havo been incurred if the Connoll had not laid large and expensive water pip- a along tho Main South road side by side with the S3 leading to Dunedin, Not only wou'd this low have been dispensed with, but in all probability the rate. payers would ha»e bad their water supplied for muoh lens than they at present pay. The last loan was only necessary through taking the upper drain through tho Wilkie road and hiving to pay a Arm of brlckmnkers an enormous award for the land taken. So muoh for loans. The interest paid last year, including two debentures of the 1888 or Wilkie roid loan, and whioh will annually fall due till 1898, was L 1.776 Is 3d-a very heavy burden on a borough whose rates at Is a £ produce les; than L 1,480. Tho first payment in the balance-sheet, the salary of the mayor, is LSO. This, I believe, is the first complete year in which C»vernham has been aristocratic enough to have a paid mayor. Formerly the honor attaohed to the position, or nther the sense of having performed a municipal duty. w:ib a sufflolent reward. Now it seems as the borough becomes poorer no one is able or willing to servo It for nothing. There Is no honor in serving the poor. Nothing less than cash will obtain a mayor for a loan-loaded borough. But if wo are to judge of tho efficiency of a Said mayor by tho amount cf money spent by the ounoii during the year, then I admit that a salaried worship is a great success. The bank overdraft on Ist April, 1888, was 1307 6) 6d; on 81st March, 1889, it is L 1.467 2i Bd, showing an Increased Indebted* dbbs of the Borough of Cavcrsbam of L 1.149 16s Bd. This sum c lines well up to tho a shilling tats over the whole property in the borb'utfi. Two
years' rates speDt In one year is highly ore'ditable to the intelligence of the ratepayers who put and keep the present " progressive" party In power. Long before the 81st March, 1890, the same rate of expenditure will top the legal overdraft; the bank will stop supplies, and what next? Another loan? No doubt more money can be borrowed, even by tho triple loan-loaded Borough of Caversham. for the Council hus rating power for the payment of interest up to tho full value* of all the property in the district. Will the Council get a suffloieut number of ratepayers to vote for a new loan ? The ratepayers had better wake up, as at the present rate of progress the p operty in the borough will soon be of very little Tftlue to i :s present OWnerp. One remarkable feature in the balance-sheet Is the sum contributed by the borough to hospital and charitable aid. When the sick and poor were made a oharge on looal bodies tho charge was made palatable by a Government eubsidy la most instances ia excess of what was required for these purposes. While looal bodies mado a profit by aiding the sick and poor, few thought of the principal involved, but greedily swallowed the surplus. Some looked on the large nub.idy as a bait to saddle a poor rate on the poor. The result has been as such suspeoted. Caversham piid last year L 283 6s, the Government subsidy was L 46 17s 6d, so the sick and poor now coßts our borough L 240 8s Gd—a comfortable result; and it would be a proper reward to those who swallowed a osntrallstlo bait if the councillors who took it had now to pay the difference out of their own pockets Several other items deserve comment, such as the St. Ctair wall, the audit, and others, but reapeot for your space bids me halt. There Is one matter not in the " Bneet" which doserves notice. The rate levied this year is Is 3d, being 8d more than last year's. Then we have a special rate of Bd, which makes Is 6d per £-heavy enough, most people will tbiDk. But < the Council have a high opinion of the endurance of the people, and purpose levying—if they have not already levied—a sanitary rate of 3d. The Municipal Corporations Act, with an eye to olotely-built towns, empowered levying such a rate, making 3d the maximum. In a sparsaly-peoplNi town like Caversham it hj only a portion of the community who benefit t<y the borough contractor carting away the uightsoil. Tho expense Is to bo borne by all, and most heavily by those who do not require the contractor.—l am, eta, Search. Caversham, July 14.
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CAVERSHAM'S LAST BALANCE-SHEET., Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
CAVERSHAM'S LAST BALANCE-SHEET. Evening Star, Issue 7960, 16 July 1889
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