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VALLEY PETTY SESSIONS i

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CARNARVON AND THE ELECTRIC…

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ILLNESS AND DESPAIR

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CARNARVON AND THE ELECTRIC…

CARNARVON AND THE ELECTRIC…

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was very doubtful whether they could have other agreements that would be so favourable to the ratepayers. The other alternative was, to have an Act to legalise the present agree- ments, and the Construction Company ap- peared to be most anxious to do' everything possible to facilitate matters. They did not want to shirk their responsibility in respect to the agreements. The Council and the Com- pany were working most amicably in the matter. After giving the two alternatives their consideration, a committee of the whole Council came to the conclusion that the best and cheapest thing was to go in for a private Act. Of course, the Act would be a very simple one. Nothing would be inserted in it except the fact that they wanted to legalise the agreements made between the Oompany and the Corporation. Supposing the Board of Trade did! not 6ee their way to legalise the agreements; as they now stood, what the Coun- cil now proposed to do was a very simple one, merely to insert an advertisement in two or three papers, which would not cost much. If, for the soke as it were of a half-pennyworth of tar, they refused to insert the advertisements, the opportunity of legalising the agreements would be gone. The Electricity Committee would be most willing to give Mr Carter every information, and he {Dr Parry) hoped that he would see his way to withdraw his motion. COST OF A PRIVATE BILL, Councillor iR. Ranleigh Jones: What will be the approximate cost of the Act? The Town Clerk: About J3450. Councillor R. IR. Jones: And that will come directly on the rates? The Town Clerk: We shall get a loan. It will not come out of one year's rate. Councillor OR/. R. Jones: In which case the ratepayers collectively will have to pay for the luxury of electric light consumers, Councillor J. T. h-oherts That is quite true, but there ia another side of the story which is equally true. If we don't do now what ia proposed, or if the difficulty cannot be got over in any other way, the Corporation—and the poor ratepayers who do not enjoy this luxury—will have to take over the whole under- taking and run the risk of a loss. Which is the lesser of two evils? Have the. agreements legalised and the undertaking carried on by the Company until it was a paying concern, or for the ratepayers_to take it over? If you don't do one you will have to face, the other. I Company until it was a paying concern, or for the ratepayers, to take it over? If you don't do one you will have to face, the other. I suggest that only the preliminary arrangements with regard to advertising be now carried out. Councillor W. G. Thomas I am quite will- ing to accept that. I have hopes that, a private bill will not be necessarv. [BLAMING LOCAL GOVERNMENT IBOARD. Councillor J. Prichard From the discussion that has taken place the outside public may be under a wrong "impression as to the true state under a wrong "impression as to the true state of affairs. No doubt you will Temtmber that when this electric light question was brought | forward our first negotiations were with this .Company. There was a considerable opposi- tion raised to the proposediagreements with the Comnany, but it was twin ted out at the inquiry by the opposition, v. no made cut as strong a case as they could, that they did not think the proposed agreements could be entered into; but in suite of the opposition, and the fact that I the worst light possible was thrown upon the proposed agreements, the Local Govern- ment IBbardJ sanctioned them. Therefore, it is not the Council who are at fault, but really the not the Council who are at fault, but really the iLocal Government Board—(hear, hear)—and that Board having got us into this position ought to help us out of it (hear, hear). Nothing that the Local Government !Board may do can affect our agreements or our borrowing powers to a certain extant. What we want is slightly to exceed that point. We have got to the end of our borrowing powers, and we want addi- tional borrowing powers. I do not think there is anything in it myself, but the rate- payers might be under a wrong impression, aa the result of the remarks made. Councillor W. G. Thomas observed that the Council must, do all they could to meet the Board of Trade. were advising the Council, and the Council must act on their advice. The Board of Trade had; gone to a great deal of trouble, and. were trying to meet the Council, a.nd if they could relieve the Council they would do so. Mr Thomas de- i scribed the agreements with the Company as the best of the kind in existence, and there were many towns which would be only too glad to acquire equally satisfactory agreements. Their agreements were not on all tours with the Sudbury agreements, and that was where they at Carnarvon hoped, to succeed, Councillor Carter said that he could not understand why the Board of Trade did not say distinctly whether the 'Council required a private bill or not. The Mayor: We had ibeen hammering at them foT months, but they were all on their holidays. Councillor Carter said that the Board of Trade had the whole month of October in which to reply, and the Council did not, know now ttfcOY not. He did not wish to brmg the Council together a. seconCl time, and in deference to the wishes of his seconder, he withdrew his motion, but he waa not even then prepared to vote either way. Alderman Parry explained that a reply was received some time ago from the solicitor to the 'Board of Trade stating that the agreements were not legal, but the Council did not accept it, and now they were compelled to go in for an Act. The fact was that the Electricity Committee regarded the answer a6 a lawyer s answer—(laughter)—.and that was. why they did not accept it. ALLEGED CARELESSNESS. Councillor T. H. Edwards said that every member of the Council ought to know some- thing more of the doings of the 'Electricity and! other committees, and Tie asked whether it waa not possible to supply every member with copies of the agreements. He thought it would not be a difficult matter to reprint, them. There was a strong feeling outside the Council that the Electricity Committee had not done its work as it ought to have done, and that the necessity for the bill was the result of carelessness on the part of those responsible for the scheme. If such was not the case the public should know it, and if the blame was attached to the Local Government IBtoard the ratepayers ought to know that it was so. The Mayor said that any member of the Council oould see the minutes of the different committees at any tim«. Councillor W. G. Thomas: Copies of these agreements were submitted1 at the time. They can be seen now at any time. Councillor J. T. Roberts: Every member of the Council has a right to attend a meeting of any committee, although he may not he a member. If Mr Edwards had copies of the agreements he would not be a bit better off. The whole question turns!upon the provisional?; order, which does not contain a transfer clause Eventually, it was .agreed that the preliminary steps with regard to advertising should be taken.