Warden’s Address To the rate payers of the municipality of the Town of Dartmouth
Ladies and Gentleman — It is my privilege to report to you the “state and condition of the Town” at the close of this the fourteenth year since civic government, under the Act of Incorporation, began.
Before reporting on the different services under the management of the Council, permit me to congratulate you upon the success attained in the long-contested suit of the Queen vs, Dartmouth, a suit that probably has given the members of your Council in the past more care and trouble than all the rest of the civic services together.
As you are no doubt aware, this suit was instituted to compel the Council to assess certain school rates for the years – 1874 to ’78 and pay the same into the County funds, and after a number of adverse judgments in the Courts of this Province the suit. was heard, on appeal, in the Supreme Court of Canada, and that Court has given a decision in favour of the Town, This decision, inasmuch as it is upon the merits and not upon any technicality, is most satisfactory, and as the judgments-. have not yet been reported, I shall take the liberty of quoting several extracts therefrom, that will shew you what has really been decided.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Gwynne, who delivered the judgment of the Court, says: “And in my opinion, for the reasons above given, the provisions of the Act incorporating the Town are abundantly sufficient to exempt, and do exempt, the ratepayers of the Town from all liability to contribute to the support of any schools outside the limits of the Town, and they are not therefore liable to he rated for the sum now demanded or any part thereof.”
On behalf of the Town it was contended, in addition to the claim of absolute exemption. that the Act of 1877 prevented an assessment of more than 315,000 in any one year, and that the ratepayers of the Town being now quite different persons from those who were ratepayers of the years 1874-8, and upon whom the burden, if any, was imposed of providing a fund to pay for the education of the children of the rate payers of those years. were not liable, and upon these point,- Mr. Justice Gwynne says: “ This Court, in my opinion, has no jurisdiction to compel, by the prerogative writ of mandamus, the levying of an amount in one year in excess of what the law permits;” and as to the levying the rates for the years 1874-8 on the present ratepayers, he says: “Lord Abinger says: “The general inconvenience of retrospective rates has been long known and recognized in the courts of law on the ground that succeeding inhabitants cannot legitimately be made to pay for services of which their predecessors had the whole benefit.” “I can conceive no case to which this language is more applicable than to an attempt to levy on the ratepayers of 1886 sums of money which were only required in 1874-8 to support the schools where the children of the ratepayers of those years were educated, and which sums were wanted for no other purpose.”
In conclusion the learned Judge says: “I am of opinion, therefore, that the defendants are entitled to judgment upon both grounds * * * * and as it is important to all the parties interested that the question of the liability of the ratepayers to contribute at all to the County School Fund should be finally determined as a guide for the action of the Town in future years, and as it is competent for us to decide it upon the present proceeding, I think we ought to do so; and being of the opinion, for the reasons already given, that the ratepayers were not in the above years and are not liable to contribute to the Common School Fund for the support of the schools of the County, and that therefore the County has no right. to recover the amount demanded, or any part thereof, by action or otherwise, I think we ought to rest our judgment upon t-his ground and allow the appeal, and order judgment to be entered for defendants.”
There was another suit to enforce collection of the rates for the years 1879-83, and judgment was given in favour of the Town also upon the same grounds.
The amount the County authorities asked to have assessed for the years I874-8 was $15,976, and for the years 1879-83. $19,359.
Some two or three years ago the Act of Incorporation and bye-laws were revised and consolidated, and last year an Act embodying the revision and consolidation was sent to the Legislature, but owing to the opposition of the County authorities the Legislature struck out that portion of the Act relating to assessment and certain other sections, and, as it was feared that it would not be safe to repeal the original Act of Incorporation, the latter was left as originally passed; and now that the school question has been decided, it is expected that the omitted portions of the amended Act can be passed, unless there should appear to be some reasons rendering such a course inexpedient.
Several changes are made by the Act of 1886, the most important being
lst. Granting to the female ratepayers of the Town the right to vote at municipal elections.
2nd. Changing the time for holding the election for Warden and Councillors to the 1st Tuesday of February, and making the civic year end on 31st December.
3rd. Instead of the voter being required to produce his tax receipt, the Presiding Officer is furnished with a list of ratepayers.
4th. The original bye-law regulating the Annual Meeting of the Ratepayers was repealed, and your Council passed another, which has been duly advertized.
By Chapter 53 of the Acts of the Local Legislature, 1866. it is enacted that “In any case in which a person interdicted as a habitual drunkard has been elected a member of a Municipal or Town Council, the Council shall by resolution declare such election null and void and SHALL declare the office vacant, and shall appoint a time and place, not less than fifteen days after, for holding an election to supply the vacancy.”
The attention of the Council having been called to the fact that Mr. Donald Fraser, who had been elected a Councillor for Ward Three, was an interdicted person, and evidence of this having been produced, and this fact being admitted by Mr. Fraser, the Council, acting under its legal adviser, who instructed them that the provisions of the Act were compulsory, by resolution on the 24th day of August last declared Mr. Fraser’s election null and void, and the office of Councillor, held by him, vacant, and appointed a time for holding an election to fill the vacancy thus created; but there was no nomination and consequently no election, and as there was some question as to whether an election could be held after the expiring of the fifteen days, the office was allowed to remain vacant.
On the 16th December last Mr. Fraser obtained an order removing the interdiction and claimed his seat as Councillor, but your Council was advised that such removal did not restore him to that office, and consequently refused to recognize his claim.
Chapter 66 authorizes the Commissioner of Works to charge against this Town the expenses of all pauper lunatics who have obtained a legal settlement in the Town, and that the Town shall not be chargeable with the expense of any other pauper lunatics; and that hereafter the County shall not charge the Town with any portion of the expenses of paupers confined in the Asylum; and that the apportionment of County rates shall be amended accordingly.
The amount assessed for street purposes was $2,500, and the amount expended was $2,375.75, including the cost of the improvement in Ochterlony Street. The streets of Dartmouth, from their number and length, and the number of hills, are particularly hard to keep in repair, and the amount assessed for this service is barely sufficient to effect the necessary repairs, and wholly inadequate to provide for many permanent improvements.
Last winter a considerable supply of broken stone was procured, which was all put upon the streets, and it is expected that a further supply will he obtained this year for that purpose.
The most important improvement was the straightening of Ochterlony Street at the Canal Bridge.
Tenders were asked for this service but the Street Committee under the authority of the Council had the work performed under the supervision of the Committee, and thereby effected a very considerable saving in the cost of the work, the same being done for less than the amount tendered for.
For some years the title to the extension of Maple and Myrtle streets through Mr. Fraser’s property has been in dispute, and Mr. Fraser in consideration of the Town’s relinquishing its claim to these streets, gave the greater portion of the land necessary to effect the above improvement Mr. Duncan Weddell with commendable public spirit presented a portion of the land required for this purpose.
The amount at the disposal of the Street Committee has been economically expended and the streets as efficiently repaired as the amount at the disposal of the Committee permitted.
At the beginning of the year there were 47 lamps, and four new ones have been erected during the year, and there are still several places where new lamps should he added. The amount assessed for this service was $500: the amount expended,” $503.48.
By Chapter 3 of the Local Acts of 1886 a great change was made in the mode of licensing the sale of intoxicating liquors, and under this Act and an Act in amendment thereof last year, there were but two licenses issued in the Town, and for the ensuing year, for the first time since the Town was incorporated. there will be no licenses issued, there being no application therefor within the time prescribed by the Act.
Mr. Elliot was appointed License Inspector, and has efficiently carried out the duties devolving upon him as such officer. Under the provisions of this Act the Inspector has deposited the license fees and amounts received for fines in the Halifax Bank, and there is to the credit of this account the sum of $211. At the end of the license year the balance remaining will he paid into the general funds of the Town.
POOR AND PAUPER LUNATICS
By recent legislation the Poors Asylum has been transferred to the City of Halifax, and your Council have arranged to have the paupers chargeable to this Municipality kept at that institution at the same rate as those chargeable to the City.
The amount assessed for this service was $800, and the amount expended, $515.28, and there are at presentin the Poor Asylum nine persons that are a. charge on this Town.
As I have before stated, the pauper lunatics who have a settlement in Dartrnouth are now directly chargeable to us, and your Council has paid to the proper authorities one quarter’s charges for this purpose.
Under an Act of last year the City of Halifax has prepared a portion of the Poor House for the reception of harmless insane idiotic and epileptic persons, and your Council is negotiating to have several such persons chargeable to this Town removed from the Asylum to the Poor House, as it is expected that they can be supported there ate. much less rate than that at present paid for them. There are at present nine persons in the Insane Asylum for whose support this Town is responsible.
Dartmouth has ever been fortunately rarely visited by the devouring element, and the year past has been no exception t-o the rule. there having been no serious fire during that time.
This service has never been more efficient than at present, and the thanks of the ratepayers are due to the several members of the various branches of the service for their gratuitous labours.
The steam and hand engines and hose are in first class order, and no material addition or repairs to these will he required during the ensuing year.
The Axe Company have long had to put. up with an oldfashioned hard running ladder cart, and they should at once be supplied with one of more modern pattern and of greater usefulness.
The Engine and Protection Companies participated in the tournament held in Halifax, and the appearance of the members and their appliances was certainly second to none that took part in that event.
The amount assessed for the Fire service was $520, and the amount expended, $541.75.
It affords me much gratification to inform you that of the assessment of 1835-6, there is at present less than 1 1/2% per cent. uncollected, and that of the assessment of 1886 there has been collected all but the small amount of 12 1/2 per cent, and this in nine months, being 3/4 per cent. more then was collected during the years 1885-6, and I doubt whether any other Municipality not having a lien law and without resort to undue severity by sale or distress, can present as satisfactory a statement. It clearly indicates a fair amount of prosperity, and a praiseworthy effort on the part of the ratepayers to support their municipal institutions. ‘
During the past year, or rather nine months, there has been received from all sources the sum of $17,189.68, and expended $16,528.85, leaving a balance on hand of $660.83 at the beginning of the year 1887.
The amount assessed for all purposes for this period was $12,948, and of this the amount received was $10,785.87, and the discount and exemptions were $522.13.
The amount assessed on property within the Town was $12,150.35.
There was a balance on hand at the beginning of the year of $860.51, and the incidental revenue received, including overdue taxes for previous years, poll tax, Government school grant, court fees, etc., amounted to $5,543.23
For the year 1885-6 there was assesed $2,000 for County rates, and no part of this was paid over; this year $3,000 was paid, and this, together with the sum of $410.47 paid for pauper lunatics, will probably cover the amounts properly chargeable to this Town for County rates for that period. There are accounts due, not received at the end of the year, amounting to some $600.00.
The Auditors’ report, submitted herewith, shews the details of the receipts and expenditures.
Since 1874 the amount assessed for County rates has only been what your various Councils could approximately estimate, the County demanding a sum covering County and school rates: and giving no details separating these items ; and now that the non-liability of this Town for school rates has been determined, arbitrators under and in accordance with the provisions of Sec. 101, Chap. 56, Revised Statutes, should at once be appointed and the indebtedness of this Town, if any, for County rates for all these years be adjusted and fixed, so that next year an assessment. can be made of a sum sufficient to settle the same, as it is manifestly undesirable to have the amounts longer unsettled.
By Chapter 27, Local Acts 1886, provision is made for fixing, by arbitration, the valuation of property in the Town and County, and for the adjustment and proportion of County Municipal expenditure from which this Town derives no benefit; and it will be the duty of the incoming Council to appoint an “Arbitration Committee” for this purpose and adjust the amount to be assessed on this Town for County rates for the ensuing year.
I may add that the valuation for assessment purposes of property in this Town for the year 1886 was $1,215,635, an increase of $20,510 over the year 1885, whilst the valuation of all the rest of the County for like purpose, except the City of Halifax, was only $2,053,709, and the increase in valuation in 1886 only $10,624 over that of 1885, a state of affairs clearly showing the necessity of some more equitable method of valuation of property taxable by the County authorities.
The various buildings owned by the Town have been kept in good repair, and it is not expected that any great expenditure for this service will be required for the ensuing year.
From enquiries made it is evident that the amount provided for the purchase of a new Cemetery (33,000) is inadequate for that purpose. for no suitable lot can be procured for that sum. The matter has received the attention of the Council, but up to the present no lot suitable in location and price has -been found. Further enquiries and searches will be made. and when a suitable lot is found it will probably be necessary to have an application made to the Legislature for a larger sum than at present provided.
The assessment for this service like that of all others. except. the streets, was for nine months instead of a year, that is from 1st April to 31st December, and amounted to $5,800. The expenditure was $5,742.95.
One new department was added in the past year, making fifteen now as against fourteen in 1885. The number of teachers employed was fifteen, and there were five Grade B teachers, as against two in 1882, and ten Grade C teachers; in 1885 there was one Grade D teacher.
The number of pupils enrolled was 943, and in 1885 the number was 861. There were 466 male and 477 female pupils, and there were 931 under fifteen years of age, and twelve over that age. There were 190 new pupils enrolled during the year.
The average attendance during the year was better than that of last year, being 69 per cent, as against 68 1/2 per cent and the average cost per pupil was $6.09, which is less than the Provincial average.
No department of our Civic Government is of so much importance as this, inasmuch as no services requires so great an expenditure, and none has such lasting effect on the future of our Town.
The teachers at present in the service of the Town are well qualified to perform their duties and devoted to their calling.
The only litigation in which the Town has been engaged «luring the year besides the “school case” was a suit brought by Miss Scott for salary alleged to be due her for services during the year 1885. Under the advice of the Recorder her claim was settled for $170; and this appears in the Auditors’ report as legal expenses.
From the great increase in the number of pupils attending‘ the schools it is clear that increased school accomodation will soon be necessary.
PUMPS AND WELLS.
The amount assessed for this service was $200, and the amount expended was $104.l0. Now that the “school case” has been decided in favour of the Town and that impending burden thereby removed, it is worthy your consideration whether the time has not arrived to carry out the long projected introduction of a water supply.
I suggest the matter to you, leaving it entirely in your hands, only adding that if you shall decide at any time hereafter to go on “with this improvement your Council will be prepared to give the matter their earnest and best attention.
During the approaching Summer it is proposed to hold in Dartmouth a School and Industrial Exhibition, somewhatsimilar to the one held in the Town Hall in 1885, but of course on a more extended scale.
If this project is carried out, Dartmouth will have the honour of being the first town in the Dominion to hold such an exhibition; and it is hoped that the matter will receive the enthusiastic support of all our citizens, for nothing can bemore important to us than the education of our youth; and, dependent as we are, largely upon our mechanical institutions, no education can be of so much value to our children as that which combines the industrial and mechanical with that heretofore given by our schools.
All portions of the British Empire will this year celebrate the fiftieth year of Her Majesty’s reign, and surely no more fitting celebration could be held in this Town than that proposed above.
The following are the estimates for the year 1887-:—
|Pumps and Wells||$150|
|Allowance for non-collection and discount||$500|
|Fire School and Widows’ exemptions||$400|
|Less incidental revenue||$4,740|
|Amount to he assessed||$13,445|
The increase in item ” Fire Department” is to provide for a. new ladder cart and shed therefor; and in “Salaries” is to provide for pay of boy employed in the Town Clerk’s oflice, his salary having hitherto been charged to Police account.
In conclusion I have to say that the various Civic services have received the careful consideration of your Council and the paid officers of the Town have faithfully and diligently performed their duties. I have the honor to be, Ladies and Gentlemen, Your obedient servant, B. A. WESTON, Warden.
To HIS honor the WARDEN AND COUNCILLORS or the Town or DARTMOUTH:
We have audited the books, vouchers and accounts of the Town Clerk and Treasurer for the year ended Dec. 31st, 1886, and beg to report the same correct.
Herewith you will find in Schedules A. and B. a statement of the Assets and Liabilities of the Town as shown by the Ledger Accounts and sundry documents submitted for our inspection.
Schedules C. and D. show a statement of the accounts against the Town, audited and unaudited by the Finance Committee to date.
By the accompanying statement will be seen that the receipts for the year amounted to $16,549.17, and the expenditure to $16,537.85, still leaving a balance of cash on hand and in the bank of $871.83, which we have examined. All of which is respectfully submitted.
A. C. Johnston, Francis H. Pauley, Auditors
Dartmouth, January 15th, 1887