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CITY COUNCIL

The fortnightly meeting of the City Council was held last evening, and attended by the Mayor (Mr J. B. Shacklock), Crs Myers, Clark, Scott, Hayward, Begg, Green, Menzies. Todd, Hancock, Wilson, Cole, Marlow, Sinclair, Small, Carroll, and Black. —Trading Deportments.— In moving the adoption of the profit and loss statements of the trading departments for the half-year ended 30th September last, Cr Hancock said that he thought the City was to be congratulated on having such an officer as the treasurer, who could lay the position before them in such a clear and concise manner. In attempting to fore'east the results of the year’s operations to March 31, 1915, one or two factors should not be overlooked. With regard to the gas department, it would be noted that the profit for tho half-year just completed was slightly less than for the corresponding period of last year, and that for the second half of the year showed a loss of £343. There was no reason to suggest that tho current half-year was likely to show any material change. He did not think tho gas department could show a profit of more than £5,000 on tho whole year. The gas department, however, notwithstanding much mismanagement in past years, showed, in his opinion, excellent results. There was one thing he wished to say, and that was that it was inevitable that competition on the part of the K.P. and L. department must necessarily reduce the revenue of tho lighting department of the gas concern. He wanted to suggest to the management of that department that they should take into consideration a proposal for extension in tho direction of heating and cooking purposes. Ho could not sco how the revenue of the department was to be increased unless something of the sort was done. The water department could hardly bo called a trading concern. What was shown as profit was rather surplus of income. The profits were not made by any effort of management. If the water rate were reduced the general rate would have to bo increased proportionately. Out of the revenue of this department very considerable extensions had been made. The capital at the present time was being found for the construction of Sullivan’s dam, or practically so. With respect to the tramways, the figures for the half-year were exceptionally satisfactory when contrasted with those for the corresponding period. Tho factors that had contributed to that rehad been the exceptionally fine weather during tho winter months, the inclusion if the Easter holidays, and the increased revenue due to tho Territorials being encamped at Tahuna Park. The Town Clerk did not think the revenue for tho second half-year would reach the same level, but he did not altogether agree with that gentleman. Ho trusted the tramways revenue would increase rather than decrease. They required £3,000 for sinking fund, in addition to £1,500 for transfer to the general account. It should be noted that tho transfer to the general account was on the basis of only a-half per cent, on the capital invested. The figures for the electric department showed that so far tho department boro out the estimate made in March last. He wished to tell the chairman of that department, however, that he should have liked to have seen, instead of a profit of £3,215, a profit of £13,215. That would have assisted tho works department very considerably. Cr Sinclair seconded, and said that ho had criticised the tramways department before, and he intended 'to crticise it again. lls had always held that this department was in an extremely unsound financial position, and in spite of the balance-sheet tor tho half-year he was not satisfied with tho profits shown by that department. If it was proved that the prefit had been due to extraordinary circumstances, then he said it was not an optimistic balance, sheet.. He felt that they should receive more explicit information as to working of the different departments from the city treasurer. He would like to hear from tho chairman of the Tramways Committee as to how the profit was really worked out. He had always felt that one department should not bear the brunt of the whole of tho capital outlay. He maintained that the Finance Committee should set down some policy which should be adopted by the different trading departments. It was about time they adopted a policy and endeavored to bring down some scheme whereby each department would show a more uniform profit and a more reasonable profit on the i.i"iial outlay of the departments. Cr Hayward regretted that more should not have been written off in the tramways department. Cr Clark said he was extremely gratified with tho balance-sheet submitted by the gas department, despite the fact that it showed £553 loss profit than for tho corresponding period of last year. There was no question at all that the gas and electrical departments were not antagonistic to each other. Ho anticipated that next year they would not only hold their own, but that" they would show enhanced profits, Cr Marlow said that councillors would remember a. statement he made three years ago, when he eaid that within five years the electrical department would show a profit of £IO,OOO a year. To-day the figures certafnly justified the statement he made on that occasion. Cr Hancock had said that lie would like to see the department earning £13,000, and he (the speaker) was satisfied, if the charges were left as they were,' the department would bo earring that amount in tho near future. Or Wilson said he considered that tho competition between the electrical and gas departments was hardly fair. So far as price was concerned, it was against the gas department. Cr Myers said that, judging from tho last half-vear’s business, there was not the slightest doubt bub that the tramways department would have had a very satisfactory year hut for the general depression, which had affected their revenue. Consequently, they could not expect the next half-year to ha anything like as good as this half-year. As a mater of fact, for the last nine weeks their revenue had decreased £9O per week. Cr Carroll declared that the profits of the trailing concerns were nothing like what they should be, considering the capital outlay. Cr Menzies maintained that the consumers of gas were being fleeced for the benefit of the electrical department. Or Cole considered that they should keep the tramway fares down as much as possible. Cr Black said he thought that the electrical department was tho one department that took the biggest risk, and had the most money involved, and gave the shareholders (the ratepayers) the least return. 'Che motion for the adoption of the halfyearly statements was then carried. —The Outdoor Staff.— The Council adopted a minute submitted by the Mayor with respect to holidays for tho outdoor staff. Tho last clause stated ; The council are advised to determine that in tho matter of holidays the provisions of the respective awards bo' strictly enforced for the future. If this practice is fol’owed it will be necessary for the city engineer and any other officer controlling men engaged under the general laborers award to submit for the approval of the respective committees a list of permanent men. This course is necessary owing to some ambiguity that prevails regarding the definition of a “permanent hand under that particular award. —Works Committee. — Cr Small in moving the adoption of the Works Committee’s report said it was recommended that authority bo to purchase the Mornington Borough Council’s quarry, which adjoined their own in Eoslyn Ward, for tho sum of £350. , . The report was adopted. —The Baths.— The discussion on the General Committee’s report was confined to the public baths. The committee reported that the capital cost of the tepid baths, including extras and finishing, was £9,477 0s 3d, and tho cost of'the Turkish baths £2,730 ss. Cr Green moved the adoption of the report

Cr Black said that there were a lot of tilings wrong with the Turkish baths not mentioned by the contractor or by the building surveyor. Even iu the caretaker’s houso upstairs there was not a wall that was not cracked. The floors in the house wore resting on air. (Laughter.) He felt that they should get some competent architect to report on the state of tho baths and the cost to put the public baths in a proper condition. Cr Green, In replying, declared that Cr Black had allowed the baths to bo completed and stand for three months without protesting. Any fool could go down now' and say that "the building was not what the council would like to sec. (Laughter.) The report was adopted. Tho Band Kiosk.— Cr Todd, in moving tho adoption of the Reserves Committee’s report, said that tho erection of the Band Kiosk in the Botanic Gardens hud now been completed, and that the opening had been referred to the superintendent of reserves and himself to arrange. The building, he said, reflected credit on the building surveyor, and had been spoken very highly of by tho bandsmen. Cr " Clark said he though it ludicrous to have an official opening of the stand. Cr Todd said that the official opening had been forced upon them by outsiders. The report was adopted. —Tramways.— The Tramways Committee reported that after further consideration they recommended that the Caversham-Cargill road service be continued as at present run for a period of six months. Cr Myers, who moved tho adoption of the clause, said that the majority of the committee considered that tho present loss of revenue from the service might only be temporary, and wished to continue the present service for another six months. , Cr Menzies moved as an amendment—- “ That the clause He referred back.” Ho declared that in the face of tho report from the tramways manager tho council could not adopt the recommendation of tho committee. Cr Clark seconded the amendment. Cr Todd said that he used the car to Cavcrshanv via Cargill road perhaps more than any other councillor. It was surprising the number of people wjio travelled by it. It certainly supplied a want. The traffic between South Dunedin and Caversham had been increasing for a considerable time. A largo number of people used this car, and if it w'ero taken off a groat injustice would be done to very many people. The amendment was lost, ami the report adopted. —The Expansion League.— The main clause in the Finance Committee’s report read : “As a number of councillors are of the opinion that the council aro under a moral obligation to grant the application from the Expansion League for a contribution for this year in addition to the two contributions granted during tho past two yearly periods, it is recommended that the third ami last payment be made for this year out of unauthorised expenditure, hut at the same time this 0011111111100 desire to state that in their opinion no further grants should be made hereafter to tho league.” The clause was adopted. —Town Planning.— Cr Wilson moved—“ That, with the view of taking active steps towards town planning in the City, the council appoint a committee of four councillors and four cooperative members, tho function of the committee being to pass all plans of subdivisions within the City, and generally to deal with all matters affecting town planning.” He said that Ids idea was not to interfere in any way with tho association which had been formed in connection with town planning. Cr Hayward seconded the motion, and said that it was time something was done. If, was a move in the right direction. There was great room for improvement in the existing slate of affairs. In reply to Cr Clark, Cr Wilson staled that the Town Planning Committee would have just the same, powers as any ordinary committee of the council. Cr Sinclair said that at present, so long as the plans of subdivisions complied von the Act they must be passed. If tho motion was carried some legislation would bn required to enable them to hold up plans. There were certain buildings in the City which were an eyesore, and that matter would also require attention. Cr Clark was in support of the principle, and thought that Cr Wilson deserved their best thanks for bringing the matter before them. While he thought it wise to have co-operative members, lie did not think it a good thing that they might have a majority of the voting power. If one of the outside members was elected chairman, that would mean that they would have the voting power. Cr Marlow said that if the committee were sot up certain functions would have to be taken away from two committees, or there would be overlapping. There were certain legal requirements which had to he complied with, hut outside that the council could do nothing unless the Act was amended. He thought the best, plan would be to reiect the motion in the meantime, but to follow up the idea on the lines suggested by Cr Clark. Cr Green was strongly of opinion that more attention should he given to town planning than had been the case in tho past. They had only to go outside Dunedin proper, and what went on was anything but creditable to those who had the administration of affairs. He advised Cv Wilson to strike out that portion of his motion to bring in outsiders. The Mayor said he was of opinion that further legislation was required before very much could ho done. The hulk of the subdividing was going on on the outskirts of the City, out of the jurisdiction of the City Council. Sooner or later a hoard would have to he appointed to examine and pass plans within a certain radius of the City. As regards buildings, the council did not at the present time have any control over the design of buildings. Cr Wilson, in reply, said that his motion was on the lines of the appointment of the Library Committee. Nobody could say that the co-operative members of that committee had not done good work. The motion was lost by 8 votes to 7. —Tender.— The tender of Thomas Maxwell for the supply of dog collars for the year ending 1915 at a total cost of £55 17s 4d was accepted.

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CITY COUNCIL, Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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CITY COUNCIL Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914

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