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Prayer was offered by Rev. C. B. Elder, after which the mayor delivered his inaugural address.
After the prayer and inaugural address, Jerry P. Wellman was elected city clerk, and Daniel H. Dickinson, city messenger, and the city councils then adjourned until 7.30 o'clock.
At 7.30 p. m., the common council organized by the choice of Fred E. Howe as president, and Herbert O. Wardwell, clerk.
THE MAYOR'S ADDRESS.
Gentlemen of the City Councils:
In accordance with law and custom we enter today upon the duties of the offices to which we were elected on December 8th last. It is desirable that we begin our work with a fair knowledge of the present condition of the affairs of the city, its immediate needs and its prospective wants, so far as they may be reasonably anticipated. I will, therefore, as my honored predecessors have done on like occasions, call your attention briefly to the state of the city finances, the condition of the various departments, and make such suggestions and recommendations concerning them as seem to me to be pertinent and proper.
The financial condition of the city I believe to be very satisfactory, yet this fact should only stimulate us in the exercise of care and good judgment, to the end that we may show an improvement at the close of the municipal year.
The following is a comparative statement of the total and net bonded indebtedness of the city as it stood December 1st, 1890, and December 1st, 1891 :
It will be seen by the foregoing statement that our net funded debt was increased the past year about $42,000, there having been $1,300 of water bonds paid, and $45,000 of bonds issued. This increase was incurred by the councils for the purpose of reconstructing a large part of our water mains. For full information as to the character, extent and cost of the work of reconstruction, I refer you to the report of the special committee having the matter in charge.
A comparison of the assets as reported December 11th, 1891, with those of December 12th, 1890, shows a gain of about $22,000, but $7,000 of the amount reported in the hands of the Treasurer, December 11th, 1891, was not available for general city purposes, as it was ordered into the sinking fund by a resolution passed December 5th. It would be more business-like and less misleading to take these assets as they stand at the close of the fiscal year, November 30th, rather than at any other time.
The sinking fund shows a gain in interest the past year of $1,795.08, and the addition of $7,000, deposited January 1st, brings it up to more than $48,000, which, with accumulations at 4 per cent., will exceed the amount required to retire the obligations for which it was created.
maturing this year, $4,000 Those which matured Jan
There are $13,000 of bonds January 1st, and $9,000 July 1st. uary 1st were provided for by funds in the treasury, and the committee on finance have recommended that the $9,000 due July 1st be included in the annual appropriation. If, however, you adopt some of the recommendations I shall make further on, I think it will be well to take a portion of that amount from the sinking fund, so as not to increase the tax rate.
A greater portion of our taxes are not paid till December, while large sums of money are needed in the summer and early fall for the various departments, particularly the highway department. The necessity for borrowing money for the city at such times, will, I think, be obviated by the allowance of a small discount on taxes paid at some stated time in the
There was expended last year for repairs in this department, $11,313.59, and for building three new roads, for which special appropriations were made, $374.63. A separate appropriation of $5,000 was made for macadamizing, of which sum $4,236.82 was expended on Court street, 3,832 square yards having been there laid, at a cost of $1.101⁄2 per yard. The special committee which had charge of that work estimate that a road of this sort can now be laid for $1.00 per yard, owing to better facilities for quarrying the stone.
Good highways are of the greatest importance. No department of our city government more deeply concerns all of our citizens, or is more subject to their daily observation and criticism. The thrift, enterprise and intelligence of communities are in no way more clearly shown than by the maintenance of good roads and sidewalks.
Our system of concrete walks, gradually extended each year, has proved very satisfactory, and our sidewalks, as a whole, will compare favorably with those of other cities and towns. We have, however, not yet adopted any satisfactory general system of road building, and until we do we shall not attain the results reached elsewhere.
Experts claim that macadam roads are best for general travel, and stone pavements are most suitable for heavy teaming, and the gradual adoption of both kinds in proper places seems desirable.
I recommend distinct appropriations for general repairs, macadam roads, and stone pavement. The localities in which we may decide to construct the two classes of roads named should be carefully considered.
Our water works have been greatly improved and strengthened during the past year by the extensive substitution of iron pipe for cement lined pipe, our system being now substantially all iron save the Court street main above Cross street. cost of maintenance has decreased $818.04 and the net earnings have increased $1,495.76.
It will not probably be necessary or expedient to expend a large amount for new work during the coming year.
The superintendent recommends the abolition of certain dead ends, and the laying of new pipe on several streets. His most important recommendations should, I think, be carried out.
By the death of Chief Engineer Haines, the city lost an officer who performed his duties with faithfulness, promptness