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MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.

COUNCILLOR ROBIN IN BELL WARD

Cr Rubin addressed a meeting of tho ratepayers of Bell Ward in tho Oddfellows' Hall, Stuait street, yesterday evening. The attendance was small, owing, uo doubt, to tho weather, and Cr Carroll was voted to tho chair.

Mr Ront.N prefaced his remarks by saying that when he sought election three and a-half years ago it was with a particular aim. Ho was anxious to sco baths established and the city made more attractive by planting trees iv aud around it. They all knew how he hail agitated for baths nnd how the couucil had got a site from tho Harbour Board at a very nominal rent. The funds of the city, however, wero insutlicient to provide the cost of construction, and upon a poll of tho citizens being taken upon a proposal for a £7000 loan, notwithstanding the cry there had beeu foe baths, only 17-1 voted for borrowing the money and 819 against it. It was, therefore, tho citizens' fault that they had not at tho present time central salt water baths which would ba a credit to tho city. The council, however, had dono the next best thing possible in subsidising the St. Clair baths. Tho baths nt Logan's Point, ho was sorry to

say, had proved a complete failure, and he feared uothiug tho council could do would improve them very much, as the site was bad. A proposal had, however, been made to construct baths near tho Grand Pacific Hotel, and he should bo in favour of tho council handing over all the buildings and material at tho Logan's Point baths to help the promoters of siien a scheme. He had been more successful, however, in his efforts to ornament the city and suburbs, aud during tho time he had been iv oflico 16,000 trees aud evergreens had been planted in and about the city, which, if care wero taken of them, would in tho future do much to beautify tho place. He hoped, also, tho example tho council were setting in planting their portion of the Anderson's Bay road would bo au incentive to tho suburban boroughs to follow their example. Since ho had been iv tho council also the Botanical Gardens had been tuken over, aud there was an idea, he know, that theso wero merely an extravagant toy of his. He had dono a good deal towards improving these gardens, and was glad to see that tho number of visitors to them was increasing day by day. In fact, the late Mr B. Gillies told the speaker two or three days before he died that he was so pleased with the way in which the gardens were kept and patronised that he intended giving a very handsome donation towards them. In order to understand the cost it was woll the public should kuow that prior to taking them over the council were paying £824 per annum in wages for the cemeteries and reserves alone, nnd now that the gardens were taken over, cemeteries, reserves, and gardens only cost £759 in wages for the whole lot. There was no large extra expense there, so he hoped when the citizens looked at the gardens they would not think they were costing a lot of mouey. He referred also to the altered status of the Fire Brigade. Last year this brigade cost the council about £1100. He spoke with some diffidence upon the matter, but he certainly thought the insurance companies should pay a part of the cost of maintaining the brigade, and in all the 20 odd reasons they gave agaiust it he failed to find ono that was just or sufficient. It seemed to him mean aud beggarly in the extreme for the companies to have discontinued the small sum of £200 which they had subscribed towards the brigade for somo years, and if returned he should do his best to bring them to a proper frame of mind in this respect. During the last summer the water supply, as they knew, was not equal to the demand upoii it, and it would be necessary as soon as possible to do something towards augmenting it. Two schemes found favour— one to acquire the riparian rights of the Water-of-Leith, and the other to extend the Silverstream. Since talking the matter over with competent persons, he had come to the couclu.-ion that it would be much better to extend the Silverstream. Large reservoirs in thu ueighb mrhjod of the city should always be avoided if possible, and it would not do, seeing the anxiety the residents of Woodhaugh had been feeling on account of tho supposed leak in tho present reservoir, to construct another one on the same watershed. Besides, the scheme was not sufficiently elastic —not capable of the same degree of extension. Ho was pleased to say that now, after the largo amounts paid, the waterworks were beginning to reduce their debit balance, and it was expected in a very short time to be wiped out altogether. With regard to the gas question, a chauge had taken pi. cc, aud not only had we now better, but cheaper g*s. In 1832 their debit balance on the gas account was £3G93, while last week there was a credit balance of £6000, and about £0000 had been spent iv improving and udding to the works. In that day's Daily Times he was pleased to see au article upon gas affairs, for it was noticeable that newspapers often forgot there wero important matters at home which should be touched upon. With regard to the municipal account, statements showed that in August 1882 the overdraft wns £4694; in 1883, £9643 ; iv 183-1, £11,678; in 1885, £19,860; and in 1886 no less than £26,684.

Mr J. B. Thomson : It is improving as you go on.

Mr Robin was extremely sorry to say it was improving the wrong way, and was causing himself and his fellow councillors the gravest anxiety. It had been yoiiig back at the rate bf about £6000 per annum, aud had gone back at the same rate during the last year although siuking fund to the amount of about £1800 had been hypothecated. People cried out against retrenchment, but he thought those present would agree that they must either retrench or put on an extra late, and he would not like to be the councillor to propose in these depressed times an extra rate of 6d, which would be required to make up a deficiency of £6000. Some people attributed this fulliug away to the Dowling street accident; but it had beeu going ou for the last six years, so much so that eveu when Mr Ross was mayor a proposal was made for an extra sixpenny rate, and only lost by a narrow majority.. Few subjects were more difficult to deal with than retrenchment, as was proved by the fact tbat notwithstanding the crying need for it in New Zealand no Government, however strong, had dared to face it, and the manner iv which the council had been handled rendered it more difficult still. How were they to approach the question V It was easy enough to find fault, but tho Daily Times was the only organ that had pointed out an alternative course; and lhat course they would hive to follow —viz., not ouly to cut down salaries, but to stop all new works, no matter how trivial, until times changed and the councU was in a better financial position. The speaker went on to pay a high tribute to the officers of the corporation, whose salaries they had been compelled to reduce, but defended the actibn of the council upon the ground that it was only right and jui-t that employes should share the burden of the bad times which so seriously affected everybody else around them. There was oue other matter to which he wished to draw attention. The Government some time ago, in the desire to extend local government, introduced the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Bill, nud subsidised the various bodies throughout the country. This, he thought, was effected ou a very inequitable basis, aud the amendment made in the act this session in no way remedied the injustice to Dunedin. Dunedin at first was subsidised to the amount of £1800, and paid £1400 in contributions—leaving them £400 to the good. By the alterations the subsidy was not increased; but instead of paying £1400 as contributions, they would have to pay £2855, thus causing another drain of £1000 per annum to the city. If all the country was dealt with in the same manner he would not grumble. But he might take as au example one suburban borough. This borough receiyed as subsidy £360 and paid in contributions to ho-pitals and charitable aid only £140. Was that a proper state of things? He pledged himself if returned to do ali he could to remedy this; and the only way he saw wai by getting a conference of representatives of all tho centres of population—to be held, sty, at Christchurch or Wellington—in order to hiing pressure upon the Government for a fairer system of subsidies!—^Heir.) Mr Sligo took the opportunity of remarkiag that it seumed to him a rascally thing that the Government should give for thi-s purpose of charitable aid any subsidy which could possibly be devoted to any, other purpose. Mr Ron w agreed, and said it was all the worse because the fmid from which theso sub -idies were drawn was most extensively contributed to by the larger centres of population. Mr XV. M. Bolt proposed a vote of thanks to Cr Robin, ami remarked that ;m attempt was boiug m.wle now to briug out so-called leading citizens for municipal office-, presumably ou the ground that the preseut co tneillorii had not done their duty. He did not kuow who these leading citizens might be; but if they were secretaries of finance companies or managers of mortgage or loan agencies, a little reflection would tell tbem that such leading citizens must be kept out if the^e was to be any honesty or integrity in municipal matters.

Mr J, B. TnoMSOX second the motion, remarking that he would scarcely like to go so far as Mr Bolt; but iv most largo towns iv the old country municipal affairs were administered by the tradesmen of the town, and he thought those who had taken an interest iv such matters here would compare quite favourably w;th any citizens in the old country.

The motion was carried unanimously and the meeting closed.

DUNBDIN RATEPAYERS' ASSOCIATION.

A meeting of citizens convened by circular was held ia the band room of the Garrison Hall last evening. There were present :—Messrs R. H. Leary (chairman), G. P, Farquhar, K. Ramsay, A. C. Begg, R L. Stanford, Edmund Smith, C, R. Chapman, D. M. Spedding, F. Mallard, G. Fenwick. R. E. N. Twopeny, G. Mitchell, C. Darling, J. Thomson, H. Guthrie, H. E. Shacklock, 3. Oi Cameron, M. Siuclair, M. Cohen, J. W. Jago, J. F. JI. Fraser, F. Fitchett, F. Fulton, W. Wright, MAdam, T. M Wilkinson, Jas. Richardson, n Wishart, G R Wost. A. H. Shelton. C. White I. Isaacs, Drs Hocken, Brown, Colqu * _bo.ni, de Zuuehe, Maedonald— ihe secretary (Mr Hastings) read apologies for non-attend-ance from Messrs A. Lee Smith, C. Moore, B. Hallenstein, and G. Esther, all of whom expressed sympathy ivith the object of the meeting. The Chaiiuian explained that a few citizens met on Tuesday evening to take into consi'lrration the present state of corporation affairs. They were of opinion that the present unsatisfactory state of municipal matters was mainly owing to the indifference shown by the ratepayers for several years past. He referred to the fact that for the past few years there had

only beon ono or two contested elections for tho ofiice of councillor. Thoso prosent at tho meeting previously mentioned thought some effort should bo made to iufuso new blood into the council, and thnt an association should be formed to ovoko nnd sustain some, interest in corporation affairs. Ho understood that tho provisional committee's views were embodied in a circular, which ho rend,

Dr Coi.tjuiiouN, nt the request of the chairman, addiessed the meeting, lie suggested that those present should form au association and pledge themselves to secure (he return of capable men to the City Council. In nn article which appeared in tho Daily Times n week or two ago, he said tho citizens wore informed among other things that tho City Council had the spending of £10,'),000a year. It was obvious that in tho handling of such a largo sum of money cither a very great deal of good or a very great deal of harm could be done, and that the qualities required for the management of such a lnrgo income were tho qualities to ho found amotig their very best citizens.

On the motion of Mr G. Frmwick, seconded by Mr A. O. Beou, tho following proposals were adopted:—(l) That an association bo formed on tho lines indicated in tho memorandum read by the chairman, to be called " Tho Dunedin Katepayers'Association." (2) That those present be enrolled as members of the association. (3) That additional members Do elected by the general committee. (4) That each member of the association pay an annual subscription of per annum. (5) That the general committee shall consist of tho wartl committees.

After considerable discussion it was resolved that the subscription fee bo 2s (id per annum.

Ward committees to solect suitable candidates for the vacancies in the City Council were chosen as follows:—

South Ward : Messrs Shacklock, F. Fulton.O. P. Farquhar (convener), T. Brown, K. L. Stanford, D. 81. Spedding, H. F. Hardy, Drs Brown, Colquhoun, Miicrlonalil.

High Ward : Messrs B. Hallenstein, A. Leo Smith, R. Chisholm, A. O. Begg, R. H. Leary (convener), Mackerras, Fenwick.

Bell Ward: Jlessrs K. Ramsay, F. Fitchett. Bartleman (convener), H. Guthrie, S. Jacobs, JI. Sinclair, Jack, O'Driscoll, Wishart, Ziele, Drs Hocken and de Zoucho.

Leith Ward: Messrs Wright, J. C. Cameron, M. Cohen, C. Simpson, C. White, A. Thomson, A. Shelton, W. P. Street, J. W. Jago, G. Mitchell, I. Isaacs, James Richardson (convener). Mr A. Bartleman was elected treasurer. It was resolved to call a public meeting of ratepayers on Monday evening, the place of meeting to be decided to-day.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS., Otago Daily Times, Issue 7653, 28 August 1886

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2,398

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS. Otago Daily Times, Issue 7653, 28 August 1886

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