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CITY COUNCIL., Issue 8004, 5 September 1889
The ordinary meeting of the above, held last night, was attended by the Mayor (Mr H. Gourley), Crs Barron, Carroll, Cramond, Cohen, Kimbell, Haynes, Hardy, Solomon, M'Gregor, Sinclair, and Lee Smith. CORRESPONDENCE. Mr H. S. Fish wrote that he would do his beat to have the Rating Act Amendment Act thrown out. These continued attempts to interfere with municipal revenues were most intolerable.—Cr Cohen thought that the Council should place on record its dibapproval of the measure, and he moved—"That this Council strongly protests against the manner in which this measure has been introduced, and calls on the city representives to do their utmost against the measure." It would be grossly unfair to municipal bodies if measures of this character, affecting their finances, were to be thus brought down, and attempts made to push them through the House without giving fair notice of them.—Cr Sinclair seconded the motion, which was carried. Mr W. Oram Ball wrote asking on what i terms the Council would let the Southern Reserve for two years (or more) for the purposes of a switchback railway and toboggan railway.—Referred to the Reserves I Committee.
Mr T. C. Maltby, of the Railway Department, wrote that three sidings in the south end of the City had become disused and would be removed. The surface of the roads would be disturbed, but he would have the roads repaired.—Referred to the Works Committee. Mr S. Jacobs wrote :—" I beg to respectfully request that you will allow me to place at the corner of the Octagon one of Ingrey's patent automatic supply machines. There are 5,000 of these machines in London, where they have given universal satisfaction and are not objected to."—Cr Haynes asked if Mr Jacobs had permission at present to place the machine in the Octagon.— The Mayor replied that Mr Jacobs had been informed a few days ago that he might place his machine there for a day or two without any opposition being raised, but he would have to make application to the Council for permission, and until then it would not be objected to.—Cr Solomon said that shortly after the machine was placed in the Octagon, several persons had spoken to him, objecting strongly to the thing being allowed to stand there. Mr Jacobs himself seemed to supply the strongest argument against his own request when he pointed out that a large number of these machines were coming into use. They were being used for the sale of almost every kind of article, and were used even as gas meters in some places. It seemed to him that it was not fair to shopkeepers that theße machines should be allowed to stand on a public reserve, paying no rent, no taxes, and not even a hawker's license. It was not fair competition, and it should not be allowed. The Octagon belonged to the citizens and was for public purposes exclusively, and the Council would be doing an unfair thing if they allowed the machine to stand there. This was only the thin end of the wedge. If this application were granted a man might apply next week for permission to stand an automatic cigar selling machine in the same place. He moved " That Mr Jacobs's application be declined." —Cr Kimbell objected most strongly to the application being granted, It was very unjust to shopkeepers, when an automatic shopkeeper could do them so muoh harm, —Cr M'Gregor supported the motion, which was carried.
Messrs P. Hayman and Co. complained of the water pressure to one of their engines being insufficient. The City Surveyor reported that there was no decrease in the pressure, and that he could discover no leak in the pipe. The inspector told the firm that the pipe was probably corroded.— Referred to the Water Committee to report. Messrs Smith, Chapman, Sinclair, and Whito wrote that in the Mornington Borough v. City Corporation case the Resident Magistrate confirmed the offer of the Council, and awarded the Mornington Borough one-third of the cost of maintaining the Kglinton road.—Cr Sinclair thought this matter had ended very satisfactorily. The Mornington Borough attempted to force the Council to pay one-half the cost. He was glad the Council had had the courage to fight the matter out, and had not acceded to the request of the Mornington Borough Council, —The letter was received. REPORTS. The Works, Gas, and Finance Committees' reports, as published in Tuesday night's issue, were adopted without discussion, The Water Supply Committee havipg reported that the renewed application of the ' Otago Daily Times' Company for a refund of LC 10s, charged for the privilege of having an engine connected with the water main, had been declined, Cr Barron explained the arrangement under which the water was to be supplied an! charged for. The ' Times ' Company were to have two water engines—one, placed away from the office, was simply an emergency in case of accident. The money paid for water had been paid under a misapprehension, and it was a cjuestion as to whether the Council would continue to charge until notice had been given that the engine had been discontinued, or whether they would agree to deduct the amount paid for water not used, —lt was decided, on the motion of Cr Lee Smith, to refund the money referred to in the report to the ' Daily Times ' Company, provided the Committee are satisfied with the truth of the statement made that the engine had been removed some time ago. The clause referring to the matter in the YVater Supply Committee's report was deleted, THE TRIANGLE. The Reserves Committee having approved of the plan of the 4ft iron fence for the Triangle and of the tender accepted by the Reserves Conservation Society for the erection of the same, Cr Carroll moved the adoption of their report. Cr Lee SsifTn believed that the Conservation Society understood that the fountain would be erected in the Triangle reserve at the expense of the Council. Cr Carroll said that the Council had no right to assume that the donor of the fountain would not erect it. Cr Lee Smitii said it was thoroughly understood that Mr Harris only gave this fountain, which was to be delivered in Dunedin, and the Council would be deceived if they thought that he would erect it. Cr Carroll said that Mr Bathgate and Mr George Gray Russell waited upon the Council with regard to the matter of the fountain. Mr Bathgate expressed the opinion that Mr Harris would not erect the fountain, and Mr Russell was as distinctly of the opposite opinion. Cr Hardy remarked that it struck him very forcibly that Mr Harris would be doing a very graceful thing to erect the fountain. If he would not, he (Cr Hardy) thought that the Council would rather not have it.— (Hear, hear.) If anybody gave a present to the Council they ought to do it properly or not at all.
Cr Barron thought Cr Lee Smith was perfectly right in his contention. The matter ffas before the Council at the last meeting, and it was stated that the fence would he erected by the Conservation Sopiety on the condition of the Council doing certain other things. (Cr Lee Smits: "Hear, hear.") If those conditions were not carried out, the Council had no right ,to ejepect the society to erect the fence. If they erected the fence, the Council were in honor bound to do the work the society required them to do. Cr Sinclair asked if the society made jt a condition that the Council should ereot the fountain.
Cr Cohen understood that the agreement of the Council with the society did not include the fountain at all. The society said they had certain money in hand, and were prepared to proceed with the erection of a fence if the Council would find labor and give the u'ee of their officers to do certain work, and otherwise help in carrying out the plan submitted by the society for the improvement of the reserve; but the understanding was perfectly clear that the Council wero to do these latter things, which included the laying out of the reserve, planting, and asphalting of footpaths, when they were in a financial position to do so. The Council stood committed to an expenditure of L 250, when funds were available, but not to a penny more.
Cr Lee Smith said the society were going to erect the fence on the distinct understanding that the Council would erect the fountain at the same time. Would the Council not be in a strange positiou if they found that the fountain arrived in Duuedin and no provision was made for its erection ? Mr Harris had made no such provision, he was sure.
Cr Cohen : We are not bound to accept the gift on those terms. The motion for the adoption of the report was then put and carried. salaries. The Special Committee's report re salaries was as follows:—" iour Committee having considered the salaries received by the permanent officers of tho Corporation, also a report by the town clerk giving details of the nature of the work and the responsibilities of the municipal staff, recommend that the salary of Mr A. Wadie, cadet, gas department, be increased from LSO to L 65; of Mr D. Duncan, assistant rate collector, from Ll5O to L 16 5; and of Mr H. W. Wilson, assistant town clerk, from Ll6O to Ll7O per annum."
Cr Cohen asked why the Council were not put in possession of the information on which the Committee's report was based. The report had just been brought down, and councillors had not had reasonable time to consider it. He moved that consideration of it be adjourned for a fortnight. Cr Cramond seconded.
Cr Sinclair inquired why the salary of Wadie, which the Special Committee had decided was not to be altered, was now raised Lls ? The Mayor said that he was absent through a misunderstanding from the first meeting of the Committee, but hearing from some members of the Committee that some deprecatory remarks concerning the young man Wadie had been made thereat, he had called another meeting with a view to justice being done. Wadi3 had been two and a-half years in the Council's employ, and when Mr Taylor was called before the Committee he stated that the young man was now doing his work most satisfactorily. Seeing that such a satisfactory explanation had been given, and that his work had practically doubled, he (Wadie) had a just claim to the increase recommended.
Cr Barron endorsed what His Worship had said in regard to Mr Taylor's certificate of Wadie's progress. The young man had now overcome all difficulties, and -was doing his work satisfactorily. When he joined the Corporation Bervice he had 350 meters to attend to; now he had to look after over 800. The Council, having referred this matter to a special committee, should give credit to the latter for having gone carefully into the whole matter and considered each case on its merits. He therefore hoped that the Council would unanimously accept the report. Cr Carroll was sorry to hear some of the remarks made concerning one of the officers, concerning whom it was now reported that he was doing his work satisfactorily. He was opposed to raising salaries where it could be avoided, but he thought they should deal justly by their officers. In the Committee he had shown where one salary —he would not enter into particulars—could be teduced to more than compensate for the increases now recommended, but he could not even find a seconder.
Cr Haynes: I beg your pardon, I seconded your resolution. Cr Carroll : That salary ought certainly to be reduced, The Committee had had a delicate duty to perform, but he thought the increases now recommended were fairly earned,
Cr Solomon explained the grounds on which the Committee made their recomr mendations. Mr Duncan had been sixteen years in the Corporation, was admittedly one of their most industrious officers, and five years ago was raised from Ll4O to Ll5O. Mr Wiladfa'a capabilities weie known to every councillor ; he was exceedingly industrious and very able. He had been eleven years in the service, and it was five years since his salary had been raised. It would now stand at LI 70, which was about the salary of a young shopman. At the Committee's first meeting Wadie's salary remained untouched, but at the next meeting, in consequence of Mr Taylor's report, it had been agreed to recommend him for an increase.
Cr Smith supported the adoption of the report. It was notorious that the Corporation's staff was underpaid, considering their responsibilities. Cr Cohen said that if the information now given had been furnished at the outset this debate might have been avoided. He had always supported increases where fairly earned and recommended by the responsible head of the department, but what had struck him was the relatively large advance in onp case after comparatively short service. He had hoped that the Committee would have brought down a systematic scheme of promotion, under which officers, after a given length of service, coupled with the certificate of the departmental head of work faithfully performed, would as a matter of right be entitled to increases of salary until the maximum salary of that grade was attained. Such a plan would obviate these oontinual tinkerings with salaries. But he could not help coming to the conclusion that the present was a most inopportune time—when the Corporation's finances were so straitened—to grant increases of salaries. The report was then adopted. THE SOUTHERN CEMETERY SEXTONSHIP. Fifteen applications for the position of sexton of the Southern Cemetery were referred to the Reserves Committco to select three names. CORPORATION WEIGHBRIDGES. Cr Haynes presented the following petition with regard to the Corporation bridges: —" We, the undersigned, beg to draw your attention to the undesirability of letting the Corporation weighbridges to private persons, as we think it may in the future, as it has done in the past, lead to practices that will not be to the benefit of the public," The petition was signed by forty-four business men in the City. When the tenders for the City weighbridges were brought up, The Mayor moved that they be referred to the Works Committee to acctpt the highest or most eligible. Cr Barron thought that, Beeing the weighbridges were now carried on at a loss of between LSO and L6O a year, the Council might lease them to individuals, and in that way make a gain, however small, out of what was now a loss. An argument likely to be brought forward against this was that if the weighbridges were out of the hands of the Corporation, the individual who leased them might be "got at" by those sending goods over the bridge. But the same thing applied to their own servants—(hear, hear) —and he thought, looking at the matter in a broad light, that the Council should make a little revenue out of the bridges. Cr Solomon said that very few people now used the weighbridges, and an experiment of the leasing method should be tried for a year. As to control, a specification might be inserted in the agreement so that the Council would have as much power over the weighbridges as they had now. Cr Haynes moved as an amendment—- " That the tenders, along with the petition, be referred to the Works Committee to report." Cr Lee Smith seconded the amendment. He thought the Council should keep the weighbridges in their own hands, and the public would then have more confidence in them than if they were leased.
The motion was carried. THE BUILDING REGULATIONS,
Cr Lee Smith said that several attempts had been made within the last few months to get modifications of the building regulations. He observed that the Government had lately started the erection of two houses of wood, and he would like to ask the chairman of the Works Committee if they had taken any steps to remonstrate with the Government for so doing. Was it not pointed out to them that they were destroying the uniformity of the buildings in that locality ?
The Mayor said this was a Government matter, in which the Council had no power to interfere.
The Council then adjourned,
" The older you grow the more you know," says the old proverb. This is another of those fallacious sayings that time exposes. Just think how little the old men of to-day know compared with the young ones.
CITY COUNCIL., Issue 8004, 5 September 1889
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