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RATE PAYERS'ASSOCIATIO N DEFENDED. HAS IT1 JUSTIFIED ITS EXISTENCE. At, the weekly meeting of the St George's Literary Society, held in the Church House, Trinity Street, on Thursday, Mr J. Higginbottom replied to the attacks made upon the Ratepayers' Association, of which body he is a member of the Exe- cutive Committee. Mr Roger Dawson presided at the outset, but routine business having been disposed of, said that, being a member of the Execu- tive of the Ratepayers' Association, it was not night that, he should preside over the debate. Mr J. H. S. Stevens was there- upon voted to the chair, and called upon Mr Higginbottom to read his paper. Although all the members of the Council had been invited to the meeting: only two, Messrs F. J. Sarson and 8. Chantrey accept,ed the invitation, and the lattetr did not arrive until Mr Hp-gginbottom had concluded. THE! CASE FOR, THE; ASSOCIATION. M- Higginbottom gave a, resume of the work of the Association since its formation in March, 1900, showing that the Asso- ciation was formed jn that year on account of the alleged extravagant expenditure of the Council^ resulting in rising rates, with the object, of 'bringing about a, drastic re- forms in the management, of municipal .affairs. It, was also the intention of the Aso'ciation at that time to advocate re- form and improvements, select, and sup- port candidates for Council honours, and watch over the interests oif the town generally. The Speaker then went on to detail the part played by the Association to tha,t, end, the instances selected going to provie, his contention that the Association was a most useful one and capable of doing much good work. Among the principal items men- tioned were the admission of ratepayers to Council meetings granted in 1902, its op- position in that year to the proposed in- corporation of the town; in 1903 the Council was urged to petitiion for increased representation on the County Council and the Conway Board of Guardians (both being subsequently obtained); 1904 it protested against the commencement of Glodda,e,th Avenue and the widening of the Happy Valley Road until the following: year, and sent, a deputation for that, pur- pose to the Council, and were again suc- cessful; in 1906 it took the part of the ratepayers and leaseholders in St. Mary's Road and Claremont Road in a successful appeal against a special Sewer's ratei for that district; in the same year the Gover- nors of the County School were appealed to to allow press representatives to attend their meetings; and the Council was asked to issue a return of 'attendances prior to instead of after the annual election. In 1907 also the Association supported the efforts of the Council to get a speed limit for motor cars using the principal streets of the town, and the efforts to get Glod- daeth Street Su'b-Post office made a, full branch one. During the present year the Association had been very active in con- nection with the proposed .charter of in- corporation, the free library scheme, and several other matters. In concluding, Mr Higginbottom main- tained that there had been a great awaken- ing to the importance of taking an active part, in municipal affairs by ratepayers generally since the Association was formed in 1900, and in that awakening the Asso- ciation had been the prime factor. The question they were debating was not whether the Association was perfect, but whether it had justified its existence. He maintained that it had, and that those members of the Council who had served on its executive had received practical train- ing in the conduct of municipal affairs. They were told by some. people that members of the Council should not form part, of the executive, but, to that he would reply that as a rule the minutes of the Council were very brief, and even mis- leading to an outsider. It was therefore necessary that there should be at least one member of each committee' on the Execu- tive of the Ratepayers' Association if in- telligent consideration was to be given to the proposals contained in the minutes. The Association had proved itself to be essential to the efficient, government of the town. It had not made protests to the Council, or any other body, in any carp- ing or vexatious spirit, but to' further what n the Association believed would be the best interests of the town.—'(Applause.) Mr F. J. Sarson was called upon to open on the opposition side, and said that although he was alone he was not afraid of facing the music.—(Laughter.) He was supposed to be a member of the. Associa- tion, and also of its executive, but he had not attended its meetings for over twelve, months. He had absented himself because at one of the monthly meetings of the Association a certain question had been discussed, and he was asked to take the lead at the next meeting1 of the Council' an opposition to. the recommendation of the Works Committee. Other councillors in the room promised to support him, but when it came to voting in the Council Chamber he was left alone on the rocks. After that case of desertion he had re- solved to have nothing more to do w. h the Association. Another matter he might mention was that, of the. yacht moorings. When they were originally laid down the Association did not object, but when the accounts came before the, Public Auditor Mr Price came and objected to them. Mr Price: I did not. Mr Sarson, continuing, said that later on the GouDed were advised to remove the mooring for safe storage during the winter, and d'rl zy fit a very small cost.. Then the Ratepayers' on passed a resolution of protest. Why, he did not know, for if there was one class of people wanted more than another at Llandudno it was yachtsmen.—(Hear, hear.) In objecting to the expense the Association had strained: at a gnat and acted in a pettifogging manner. He also complained that the Association had not helped in .'BaEas/ I getting the beach chairs concession, and felt that it, was a, great pity it did not widen its scope of representation, for as' at present constituted it was not broad enough to be effective. Mr Chantrey, who, came in just after Mr Sarson had commenced to speak, was ask- ed to give his views, but said he. knew absolutely nothing about what had been said. As a, Councillor he took very little notice of the resolutions they sent in from time to time. Personally he did not think that members of the Council should sit on the Executive of the Association Mr A. M. Flash expressed 'the opinion that the Association acted generally in a pettifogging manner, that if he was a Councillor he would have felt very in- sulted. Mr Sutton Jones reminded the mem- bers that they were going very wide of the polint at issue, which was whether the Association had justified its existence or not. Speaking as a new-comer to, the town he did not. know anything about the Association, but he realised that as far as the debate had gone the weight of evi- dence was overwhelmingly on the side of the Association. Mr Wm. Price was invited to take part in the debate, but said he had already been a target for the wind bags of Craigy- don, so would say nothhrg for the time being. Mr J. E. Hornsby thought it. had been proved that the Association was a, very useful one and did good work. Mr Roger Dawson said that although the Association was a good one, but as they were spots on the sun so there were spots on the Association. He was aware that there was not a spotless angel on the committee, but he maintained that. the combined wisdom of its members had re- sulted in good to the town, and that it had even prevented disaster on more than one occasion. The members had done the best according to the light, they had. If the Association was deprived of the members of the Council it would be deprived of a great deal of its usefulness. He estimated the saving to the ratepayers effected through the instrumentality of the Asso- ciation to be equal to £2.00 per annum, and that the town got better value for its money. After some further debate the Chairman summed up, and said that the evidence was entirely in favour of the. Association, and that nothing had been brought for- ward in reply to the claims put forth by Mr H, Higginbottom. No vote was taken, but a, hearty vote of thanks Was accorded to Mr Higginbottom for the trouble he had taken in compiling his paper. Next week Mr A. lVI. Flash will read a paper on the "Emancipation of the Jews."




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