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BOROUGH COUNCIL.

A meeting of the Borough Council was held at noon yesterday ; the specific object of the meeting being to elect a Mayor for the ensuing year. The Mayor (Mr Boyle) presided, and all the members of the Council, except Cr Todd, were present. auditor's report. The Clerk read the following report from the Auditors, Messrs Banks and Dairy m pi « :—: — We the undersigned Auditors of the Borough have the honor to report that we have carefully examined the books and vouchers produced to us by the Town Clerk, Wharfinger, and Cemetery-keeper, and have found the same correct, and have certified to the balance-sheet.

We have offered several recommendations to the Town Clerk -with reference to the books which he is adopting, and which will facilitate future audits, and would also recommend that the Council authorize certain irrecoverable rates— viz., in beach properties which have been washed away, and others destroyed by fire, to be written off the books.

With reference to tbe cemetery department we would suggest that a plan be made of the cemetery, and all purchase blocks marked thereon, and which, if placed in the Town Clerk's office, would also be of advantage to the public. We beg to draw the attention of the Council to the great amount of time this audit Las occupied, and the trouble *c have been put to in consequence of the length of time, arrears of rates standing in the books since 1867, and also in hairing to check the returns of the special rate of 1867, and the rates for 1870 being made payable in two moieties, which of itself nearly doubles the work.

We would, therefore, respectfully request the Council to take into consideration the smallness of the sum voted for the performance of these duties — viz., £5 5s each.

The Clerk acknowledged the close and prolonged attention which the Auditors had given to their duties, as worthy of the consideration of the Council.

Cr Macfarlane asked how it was that their duties extended over accounts as far back as 1867. Were not the accounts brought to an issue each year ? Tbe Clerk explained that the bcuks had each year been brought to an issue up to the proper date, but there were arrears which had to be revised.

On the motion of Cr White, seconded by Cr Clarke, consideration of the report was postponed ; as was also a letter from Mr Dalrymple, making inquiry as to the payment of £100 to the Fire Brigade.

THE TOWN HALL. Mr Somcrville, Secretary to the Literary Society, applied for the use of the Town Hall on Monday week, for a ball to be held under the patronage of the Caledonian Society, and for the benefit of the Literary Society's funds. On the motion of Cr White, the application was granted.

WATS AND MEAXS. The Clerk read the following report from the Committe of Ways and Meant : —

Your committee met on the 20th inst., and have the honor to report that the following is an estimate of the moneys required during the ensuing year and the sums available for such purposes: —

LIABILITIES.

£ & <L Unpaid contracts and deposits... 1172 15 10 Harbor and river protection ... 1000 0 0 General drainage of town ... 200 0 0 Forming walks, &a, in Cemetery 50 0 0 Scavenging and repairing streets 300 0 0 Day labor 250 0 0 Salaries 706 0 0 Surveyors' commission, say ... 50 0 0 Printing, advertising, and stationery 100 0 0 Miscellaneous 100 0 0 Subsidy to Fire Brigade 200 0 0 Overdraft at Bank, to date ... 236 1 4 Sundry liabilities 150 o 0 Interest 50 0 0 Miscellaneous public works ... 244 o 0 Paintiug Town Hall 50 0 0 £4858 17 2 ASSETS. £ s. d. Arrears of rates ' ... 684 18 6 Wharfage dues 2200 0 0 Kents 80 0 0 Cemetery Fees, say 150 0 0 Fines and penalties 50 0 0 Lincenses 75 0 o Outstanding accounts ... .. 50 0 0 Deficiency 1563 jg 8 £4858 17 2 Valuation of town properties £29159 10 0 Consideration of this report was also postponed. The Clerk said that, according to a section of the Municipalities Act, the receipts and expenditure, assets and liabilities, should be laid before the Council on that day, and subsequently advertised. The receipts <br the year had been £5786 18s lid, and the expenditure left a balance to the credit of the Corporation of £5. The liabilities up to October 31st were £1881 12s lid, and there had been several accounts paid since then. The a«sets left a balance to the credit of liabilities of £653 7s lid, or about £100 less than last year. On the motion of Cr Macfhrlane, the balance-sheet, as read, was laid upon the table.

ELECTION OF MAYOR.

The Mayor intimated that, according to the Act, it was now the duty of the Councir to elect a Mayor for the ensuing year.

Cr Hawkins suggested that it would be Decessary also to elect the officers of the Corporation. They had only power to elect the officers for one year, and, if the term of their office wa* extended into the next year, it might be held that they were entitled to office for another year, and thereby cause inconvenience, if any change were contemplated by the reduction of the estimated amount for officers' salaries.

Ct White remarked that the officers of the Corporation were not elected, they were appointed ; and their services might either be retained or dispensed with during the year. The matter had not hitherto been considered on tbe day of electing a Mayor.

The Mayor agreed that such was not the practice, nor did he think it was necessary according to the Act.

Tbe Clerk read the clause of the Act, which did not specify any limit to the power of the Council in the appointment or discharge of officers ; and Cr Hawkins did not insist upon his proposition. Cr Macfarlane proposed Cr Higgin for election as Mayor. It was, he said, usual in such bodies for the members of Council to occupy the Mayor's seat, not perhaps in rotation, but severally as circumstances arose. At the present time, although he would have liked well enough to have their present Mayor continue in office for a certain time, looking at the matter from another point of view, it might be as well to have the chair otherwise occupied. He had, therefore, much pleasure in proposing Cr Higgin. Cr Jack seconded the motion. Tbe only objection he had to Cr Higgin was that he continued in a condition of "singleblessedness." (Hear, hear.) It was possible, however, that by the end of his term of office circumstances in that respect might be altered. (Laughter.) Cr White: Is there anything in the Act requiring the Mayor to be a married man? The Clerk gravely shook his head. The Mayor : Is there any other gentleman to be proposed ? Cr Hawkins said he thought there were several other candidates to be proposed— Cr Clarke for one. [Cr Clarke made a remark in reply, which was inaudible.] If he (Cr Hawkins) should fo far forget himself, he hoped Cr Clarke would have no objection to being nominated. He would ask Cr Clarke if be objected to be nomi-

nated. If not, he (Mr Hawkins) was prepared to propose him. Mr Clark : I think our friend is a shingle short to-day —a shingle short. I really think he is. (Laughter.) Cr Hawkins : I was about to propose Cr Clarke, but as he deemed it out of order for me to do so, I had better hold my tongue. The Mayor said he had great pleasure ill supporting the motion which he had to put to the ( ouncil ; and, on the motion being put, it was unanimously carried. The Mayor thereupon said that he had much pleasure in intimating to Cr Higgin that he had been elected. He took the opportunity also of thanking the members of the Council for the support which they had given him as Mayor. During the last year, the Council had had many difficulties to contend with, but by their good management of matters connected with the Borongh, they had been able to overcome all these difficulties. The Baroughs of Hokitika and Greymoutb had difficulties to contend with such as did not exist in the case of other municipalities of the Colony. They had drives and wharves to protect, while in other places that duty devolved on the several Provincial Councils. He was glad to say, however, that, financially, the Borough was in a satisfactory condition. At that date last yea**, the Borough had an overdraft of £1300, whereas at the present time the overdraught wo--£-236. This was due to the good management of the Council, and to their endeavors to be as careful as possible in entering into any contracts. He had now great pleasure in leaving the chair to conduct Cr Higgin to it as Mayor. The Mayor elect thanked the Council for ths compliment shown to him by their placing him in his present position. He hoped, by their assistance, to be able to command that respect which should be associated with the occupation of that chair. He was, indeed, satisfied that they would afford to him tbat assistance which they had rendered to the late Mayor. It was very gratifying to find that, during the year past, tbe business of the Corporation had to a great extent been conducted in a satisfactory spirit. The liabilities of the Corporation were considerably less now than they were at the end of last year, notwithstanding that during the previous year it had received £14,000 or £15,000. Though their income had been less, they had succeeded in reducing their liabilities. It was necessary, however, to remember for the ensuing year they would have to exercise great economy in their official expenditure, and in tbe aportionment of the limited amount of funds at their disposal. He had no doubt that that care would be exercised, and that tbe result would be a< satisfactory to the ratepayers as during the year past. It had at one time been considered necessary to raise a loan, in consequence of the imminence of damage to the town by encroachments of the river, but arrangements had been made by which contractors had been able to carry out the necessary works, and he did not think tbat any such danger would again threaten them. He thought that a good channel would be established alongside the wharf, and that tbe expense in the management of the river would not be so great as hitherto. No doubt it would be necessary to extend tbe present protection works, and this would be done as the necessity arose. He did not anticipated that it would be necessary to lay out any large amount of money on the formation of streets. Hokitika was already very well furnished in that respect. Facilities of approach were afforded to nearly every part of the town where a large population was collected, nnd drainage had also been provided to a considerable extent, but that was the subject which, next to the river, would require most attention. Without dwelling any longer on matters which were so well known to them,, he would repeat his hope that they would give him their support, and that they would unitedly discharge their duties in such a manner as to warrant the maintenance of that condence which the ratepayers had indicated on the occasion of the last election of members for the Corporation. Before concluding, he desired to express his sense of the fair and impartial manner in which Cr Boyle had discharged the duties of the Mayor's chair. Whatever variety of opinions might exist among them, they were bound to accord to him an expression of their estimation of the manner in which these often difficult duties had been discharged. Cr Boyle, if not out of order, desired to thank the Clerk to the Corporation, Mr Lazar, for the efficient assistance he had given to him as Mayor. From the careful manner in which Mr Lazar had conducted the business, his successor would, he was sure, find the duties greatly lightened. He begged also to thank the Town Surveyor, and Mr Clayton for his assistance in connection with the wharf.

Mr Lazar acknowledged the compliment, and the courtesy and consideration which he had at all times received from the Mayor and the Council.

Cr White moved a formal vote of thanks to Cr Boyle, for the zealous and impart ml manner in which he had discharged tbe duties of Mayor. Cr Macfarlane seconded the motion, and it was carried unanimously, and ncknowledged. The Council was then adjourned until Friday evening, but there was an informal and friendly meeting at the Empire Hotel, where the incident of the day was " dewly" commemorated.

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Bibliographic details

BOROUGH COUNCIL., West Coast Times, Issue 1633, 22 December 1870

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2,206

BOROUGH COUNCIL. West Coast Times, Issue 1633, 22 December 1870

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