The Star. SATURDAY, SEPT. 12, 1874.
» ■ — . A ~eew months ago the subject of street lighting was brought prominently before the Christchurch City Council, and the Gas Company was communicated with respecting a reduction in its charges for supplying the city lamps, in view of a considerable increase, in the number of the lamps, and of private business consequent on the extension of the mains; to them. The same question has lately engaged the attention of the Nelson Municpal Council, coming before it, however, in, a totally different manner to that in which it came before the Christchurch City Council. The Christchurch Council, as is well known, has simply to negotiate with a private company ; the Nehion gasworks, on the contrary, are public property, at present under the management of the provincial authorities, but likely before long to be handed over to the Town Council. It appears from a statement recently made to his Council by the Mayor of Nelson that the gasworks there were not paying; in fact, that there had been a loss in connection with their working of £152 6s in seven months, but tbat, notwithstanding these circumstances, the provincial authorities have lowered the price of gas for reasons expressed in a note, to which we. shall presently refer, and which was drawn from the Manager of the gas works in reply to sweeping charges of mismanagement made by the Mayor when making the statement to which we have alluded. It is scarcely necessary to, point out that, had tbe Mayor of Nelson proved that the cost of the production of gas had been greater than it should have been, such a fact would only have demonstrated the necessity of the adoption of a more economical system of management instead of being an argument in favour of the maintenance of a high price to the consumer. From a careful perusal of his statement, and the manager of the gasworks' reply thereto, we have arrived at the conclusion that the Mayor signally failed to prove the charges he had advanced, and that the real ground of objection to a lowering of the price of gas lies in the fact that tbe Mayor and Town Council would have no objection to the works yielding profit, to the augmentation of the municipal revenues. In a communication made to the Provincial Secretary, in reference to the charges made by the Mayor, the Manager, after pointing out that he had failed to show where improvement in management could be made, gave the following as his own opinion as the reason of the works not paying, which it will be seen is altogether in support of the course adopted by the provincial authorities in reducing the price of gas. He says: — "As to the works not paying, I think the Mayor a little to blame in not allowing the price of gas to be reduced when recommended by the manager, and which is the cause of the falling off iv the receipts in July; and if the present price is still to be charged, it will cause a much larger reduction in the receipts, as a number of consumershave stopped burning until the charges are lowered, and which I would recommend to be done at once.' • I beg to show you the actual receipts, and to collect, of June and July— For June, £203 10s 9d; and for July, £165 Os 2d, showing a total falling off in July in the receipts of £38 10~ 7d. This falling off, Sir, is not the cause of mismanagement, but the high price charged and limited number of consumers, over which the manager has no control. I also would beg to inform the Mayor that the working expenses of the Nelson gasworks, salaries and wages, are less than any other works in the colony. The yearly working expenses of Hokitika works are, £1018 ; Grreymoutb- £768 ; Thames (Auckland) £702 16a 7d ; Christchurch, £1236 9s; Hobart Town, £2732 19s ; Launceston, £1644 17a Gd ; Nelson, £562." The reduction in price made in Nelson amounts to 2s 6d per 1000, i.e., from 16s to 13s 6d, with v further reduction of Is per 1000 on accounts paid within ten days of the first of each month ; and this, it should be remembered, is made on the assumption that the extension of business expected to be attendant upon it will render the works profitable, instead of unprofitable, as they have proved to be under the high tariff previously charged.
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The Star. SATURDAY, SEPT. 12, 1874., Star, Issue 2033, 12 September 1874
The Star. SATURDAY, SEPT. 12, 1874. Star, Issue 2033, 12 September 1874
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