THE CITY MAYORALTY.
MR H. F. HARDY IN THE CITY HALL. There were about 100 people present at the City Hall last night, when Mr H. F. Hardy, one of the candidates for the mayoralty at the forthcoming election, delivered on address to the ratepayers. The chair was occupied by Mr Grant P. Farquhar. The Chairman, in introducing the candidate, said it was just about twelve years ago-when the borrowed money had all "been spent and municipal economy became necessary in order that both ends might be made to meet, and it was difficult to find good men to stand for the office of councillor—that a number of the citizens, himself (Mr Farquhar) imongat the number, waited upon Mr Hardy and asked him to consent to nomination. He at first very decidedly declined, but after much persuasion consented. Since that time he (the speaker) and _Mr Hardy had had no communication on municipal matters. Ho thought that Mr Hardy had a large claim on those who were instrumental in bringing bim into active political life. He had given the same attention to the affairs of the Council'that he would have given to his own—(applause)—and after so many years' service it was only fuir that the honor of the mayoralty should be given him as a reward of his honest and faithful performance of duty. —(Applause.) He bespoke for the candidato careful attention and a kindly hearing. Mr Habdy said he would be glad if it were possible on an occasion of this sort if he had not to say anything personal, hut in seeking the honor of the mayoralty it became necessary that the candidate should give some reasons why he wished for that honor. As the chairman "had said, it was twelve years ago since he was first nominated for the City Council, and from that time to this he had been a councillor and a member of all the committees of the Council, and it was no egotism on his part to say that no councillor had been more punctual or regular in attendance, not only at the Council meetings, but at the committee meeting, than he had. Not long before Mr Fish left the Council he (Mr Fish) gave them a surprise by bringing down a return showing the attendances of the councillors at the committee meetings, and he (Mr Hardy) was at the heal of that list, having attended seventy-four meetings. These committee meetings were mostly all held during the afternoons, and it would easily be seen what like a tax they were upon a man's time, requiring the devoting of seventy-four afternoons during the year. In addition to serving upon the Council and the various committees, he was elected a member of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and he attended these meetings with the utmost regularity. "With Mr Snow, of the Taieri, he had been instrumental in having the principle established that the Charitable Aid Board had power to review, and if necessary to reduce, the votes asked for by the Benevolent Trustees. Since that time the Benevolent Institution had been worked for less and less, and that was naturally attributable to the stand the Charitable Aid Board had taken. Whether the economy that was now being exercised was for good or for evil, he took his share of the onus of it. As a member of the old Town Board he had been a regular attendant, and with the late Mr Fenwick he had made a valuation of the town for the Town Board. He had been connected with the formation of the streets and with all the affairs of the City from the very earliest. Anything that he had taken in hand he had gone through with, and in all his capacities had always been ready when called on to perform any duty. There was no doubt that the office of mayor should be a rolling one, and it had been so. So far as he could remember only two gentlemen —Mr Hyde Harm and Mr John Roberts—who had not been councillors had been elected mayor. In the case of Mr Roberts, he stood for the position with the consent of the Council, and on condition that no other councillor stood. That was the proper position. The case was different now, because it would be very distasteful for an outsider to step in. What would be thought in the Masons, the Oddfellows, the Foresters, or any of these societies if someone were to nominate for a high office one who was an outsider and had not gone through all the initial stages ? Whoever sought to be mayor should begin in the Council and work his way up.— (Applause.) Such being the case, he felt that nothing could be said against his ability in any way. He had managed his own affairs, and he had been connected with large institutions. He had been connected with the Mosgiel Woollen Factory Company since its commencement, and that day had been unanimously re-elected a director for a further term of three years. That company dealt with very large figures indeed, and put through their hands nearly as much money as did the Corporation. He knew something about figures, and he denied in toto that the affairs of the Corporation were in a muddle. The affairs were perfectly in hand, and were understood by the Corporation. The Council had loans amounting to £611,0."0. Ihatwaj the City's indebtedness in round numbers. It was made up by £IOO,OOO on the gasworks, £200,000 on the waterworks, and £311,000 |on the City generally, inclusive of the abattoirs loan. The?e loans absorbed between £33,000 and £39,000 a year in interest and sinking fund. Towards this £611,000 there was £175,000 of sinking fundmore than a quarter of the indebtedness—in the hands of the Sinking Fund Commissioners, and at a very early date the first of these loans would become due. It amounted to a little over £20,000. The proportion of that which would be paid out of the sinking fund was to be settled by the Supreme Court, and what more would be required could be borrowed at a lower rate of interest than was now being paid. These loans were at present bearing interest at the rate of 7 per cent., and if they had to be renewed the money could now be obtained at 4 per cent. Some time ago, when the Council wanted to borrow £6,000 for the abattoirs £50,000 was offered. There would therefore be no difficulty in financing these loans as they became due. It would be eight or nine years, however, before any practical relief cauld be obtained in this way, so that in the meantime it was necessary that a small additional rate should be imposed. Taings had not "come to a pretty pass." For some time past the income of the Corporation, had been lessening through no fault of their own. Amongst the causes for this decrease the candidate mentioned the closing of a number of public-houses, and the consequent loss not only of the £4O license fee, but also of the payment for gas consumption and the decrease in value; the general fall in property valuations; the destruction of Guthrie and Larnach's large premises; and the greater demands by the Charitable Aid Board, to whom the Corporation's contribution wa3 now £3,000 a year. With regard to the latter item, he mentioned in passing that lie believed outdoor relief did more harm than good, and tempted men to leave their wives and families, knowing that the Benevolent would take care of them. Referring to the revenue of the Corporation, he said that this was about £78,000 a year from all sources. Interest and sinking fund took nearly £40,000, and left about £38,000 a year out of which to pay for all the_works, salaries, and the keeping of the streets in order. When it was remembered that inDunedin there were thirty-three miles of streets and sixty-six miles of footpaths to be kept in order, it would be at once seen that this took a lo 1 ; of time and material. Out of that £38,000 the coal for the gasworks and the labor for waterworks had also to be paid. He doubted if there was another fifty-year-old city in the world in such an advanced Btato as Dunedin.—(Applause.) It was simply wonderful the amount of work which had been done and the Btate to which the town had been brought under the Corporation. To be a member of the Council was no sinecure—it meant hard work and no pay. Referring to the late Mr Fish's conversion scheme, Mr Hardy said he supported that all through, but even if Mr Leary had lived he did not know that he would have been ultimately successful in carrying the scheme through, and it had been stated"on good authority that if he had converted £IOO,OOO out of the £600,000 of loans it would have been all he would have been able to do, so great were the difficulties put in his way. But Mr Leary lost hi 3 life in the attempt, and since that time the Corporation bonds in the London market had gone up so high that it would be useless to attempt to convert now, for it would merely increase the debt People holding bonds bearing 6 or 7 per cent, interest were not likely to give them up for 4 per cents. unless they got the difference. Referring to the Corporation expenses, Mr Hardy said that these ■were a great deal cheaper in Dunedin than in Christctiurch or Wellington. The dust-cart work was done here for £382 a year ; in Christchurch it cost £728, and in Wellington, where they had a destructor which appeared to be a very expensive toy, it cost £1,700. The scavengering and maintenance work when done by contract on an average coat £2,750 a year. It was now being carried out by day labor, and was not more costly, but wa3 better done.—(Applause.) In the matter of rates Dunedin compared very favorably with some of our colonial cities. Our rates amounted to Is 3d in the £ ; in Christchurch they were 2s 6d, in Wellington 2* sd, in Auckland 2a Oid, in North Invercargill 2s Bd, in South Invercargill 3s 2d, and in East Invercargill 2s. These figures were from information he had obtained within this month. The municipal estate, which the founders of the province had in theirgood wisdom provided, consistingofanumber of reserves in various parts of Otago—in Dunedin, Blilton, Kaitangata, and other, places—used to bring in from £12,000 to £13(000 a year, but now only returned about £9,000. That estate required a good deal of looking after by the Corporation, and but for it we would have to pay nearly double the amount of rates we are now doing. The Amenities Society, assisted by the Corporation, had done a good deal to beautify tbetowDj and in that line he, personally, bad
considerably improved Maclaggan street. (Applause.) As regarded improved drainage, he did not think it was advisable to attempt anything in the shape of a comprehensive scheme until either a drainage board was established or until the boroughs surrounding Dunedin were amalgamated. Referring to the Jubilee, Mr Hardy said a gentleman had been nominated for the mayoralty whoso principal recommendation wa3 that his name was " Cargill." Mr Cargill was not one of the very old identities. He (Mr Hardy) was here, doing public work, years before that gentleman came.—(Applause.) So that if an old identity was wanted they had one in the Council in every way fitted to be mayor for the Jubilee year.—(Applause.) He was not going to give way to anybody in his admiration for the noble, brave, and stern men who founded the province and suffered all the hardships during the first few years. 'He honored these men very much indeed. He did not intend to say much regarding the other candidates on this occasion. Mr Gore had made a very good mayor. He had been mayor before, and that was a reason why he should stand aside and let another man go in. Mr Swan was a very industrious member of the Council, but he had not been there nearly as long as he (Mr Hardv) had. With reference to Mr Cargill, if the citizens consented to having that gentleman foisted upon them merely because he was brought forward by a number of Bond street gentlemen he would wonder very much He hoped, whether he was elected or not, that the citizens would elect one of the members of the Council. If elected himself he would be very glad, but he hoped that one of the three of them would be elected, for to put in a gentleman who for twenty-five years had been an outsider over the men who for twelve years had been doing the citizens' work would be base ingratitude.—(Applause.) He had nothing to say against Mr Cargill personally. He esteemed him very much. He was a good speaker, had a glib tongue, was very polished, a little peppery, and a nice gentleman, but for him to come into the Council over men who, some of them, had been working there for more than twelve years would be a downright insult to the Council.—(Applause.) He would be very pleaied to see Mr Cargill in the Council, but he should go there as a councillor first. —(Applause.) In conclusion Mr Hardy expressed the hope, that those present would do their best to place him at the head of the poll. He knew he was somewhat handicapped, inasmuch as he did not believe in canvassing, or committees, and that sort of thing. To him it seemed almost an. insult to a man to be asked for his vote, and wa3 very degrading. When Mr Mark Sinclair aspired to the honor of mayor a few years he made a personal canvas 3 of the whole City, and got sufficient promises to put him in. When the poll was over he wa3 450 votes behind, and he was surprised to find there were so many peop'e who did not speak the truth.—(Laughter). He (Mr Hardy) thought he was well enough known to leave it to the ratepayers to say whether he was worthy of the honor of election or not If he was chosen for mayor he would do his utmost to give satisfaction to the ratepayers and to give credit to himself. He would not put the honorarium in his pocket.—(Applause.) In reply to questions, Mr Habdy said he would see to it that the reserve at the back of Mr A. Burt's residence wa3 opened for the use of the public. He did not think it advisable to hand over the management of the Town Belt to the Amenities Society. Referring to the South Dunedin recreation ground, he said the time was coming when the boroughs and the Flat would be united to Dunedin, and in that case it was only a fit and proper thing that the Council should give that ten acres tor a cricket or recreation ground for the use of those boroughs as a reierve. That wa3 his private opinion. Asked, if Mr Cargill was elected would he be in favor of voting him £4OO, Mr Hardy replied : We!', he would not deserve it. (Applause and laughter.) I do not know. It would run much against the grain to vote £4OO to an outsider to come in and scoop the pool. Mr G. Watson moved a vote of confidence in Mr Hardy as being as fit as any of the cmrtidates now before the electors of Dunedin to be mayor of the City. He considered that as Mr Hardy had labored so faithfully and well for the interest and benefit of the ratepayers of Dunedin he was fairly and honestly entitled to the position which he was now seeking. The motion was seconded by Mr Beck and carried unanimously with enthusiasm. Mr Hardy briefly returned thanks, and expressed the hope that they would have the pleasure of seeing him Mayor of Dunedin.— (Applause) The meeting concluded with the usual compliment to the chairman for presiding.
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THE CITY MAYORALTY., Evening Star, Issue 10473, 17 November 1897
THE CITY MAYORALTY. Evening Star, Issue 10473, 17 November 1897
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