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FISHGUARD FINANCES. End of Municipal Year. CLERK APPLIES FOR" IXCREASE." At the annual meeting of the Urban District Council, Mr. Levi Evans, J.P., presiding. The late Finance Committee reported that the expenses incurred in connection with the recent Local Government Board inquiry into the Council's application for sanction to raise a sewerage loan had been L2 16s. 3d. It also announced, that, since the last meeting the treasurer (Mr. W. T. Walters) had been paid the sum of £61 10s., and that the balance re- maining in his hands to the credit of the Council was £388 6s. 7d. It had received a communication from the Local Government Board authorising the adoption of the carbon transfer system for the collection of rates, subject to certain conditions, which the com- mittee recommended should be agreed to. A further communication was from the Public Works Loan Board, which announced that iEl,200, less iCl3 2s. 6d. fees, etc., would be paid into the Council's account at the Bank in London on the 20th inst. The committee re- commended that Messrs. Williams and Farley, the contractors for the sewage scheme, be paid iE262 4s. lid., as per the recommendation of the Surveyor (Mr. D. G. Wilcox). The com- mittee amnounced that the Clerk (Mr. A. J. Hodges) had applied that the amount of his salary should be cong;dered, and it recom- mended that the CounJoI. should take the matter into consideration. The Vice-phairman, in moving the confirma- tion of the < committee's proceedings, said an amount of iE77 5s. 6jd. had been collected out ] of a total amount due on the rates of iE97 14s. ljd. and £61 10s. had been paid into the bank, there being still a balance in the hands of the collector of £15 15s. Since that date, however, a certain portion of that money had been paid in, Out of the amount which re- mained to be collected k20 8s. 7d. was irre- coverable. Unfortunately the committee had not had from the collector (Mr. G. Williams), to whom there was a certain amount of fault due, a statement showing where these irre- coverable amounts were placed, but he be- lieved that they were due to houses which had been assessed, but had not been occupied. He added that the public loan would 1>. paid into the Council's account ion London on the following day, and that the Council's cheque inereupon would be honoured whenever pre- sented. Referring to the recommendation concern- ing the Clerk's salary, he said that he did not think there was any necessity for him to deal with the question. He had a fair know- ledge of the amount of work which that official had done duringthe years that he had been in office, and all that he had to say was that any man who would do it for the amount which he was paid would do it for very much less than it was worth. Mr. Llewhelin. seconded the motion for con- firmation. Mr. D. G. Thomas suggested that the com- mittee should recommend a definite amount as an increase. Mr. D. Rees moved, as an amendment, that the minutes dealing with the Clerk's salary should be referred back to the Finance Com- mittee. Mr. Llewhelin said he did not object: he only wanted expedite business. The amendment failed to obtain a seconder, but ultimately Mr. D. G .Thomas seconded for the sake of a discussion. The Chairman opined that it would be much better if it wete referredback to the committee. Mr. W. J. Vaughan enquired if the Clerk had made an application for an increase. That official repli ed in the affirmative. JJir. Jj. ü. Thomas said he had known three weeks ago that he had made an application. That had been one clear week before the elec- tion, so that he could not very well under- stand why, at the last meeting of the old Council, that report should not have been brought up, instead of at that meeting, so that Messrs. 0. D. Jones, Harry Williams, and Vaughan, who had got into office on the pledge of economy, should not be asked to vote an increase. It was most unfair that the Finance Committee had not brought forward a definite resolution at the last meeting. The Chairman called Mr. Thomas to order, remarking that the election had nothing to do with the point. The Clerk caid he would prefer to have the matter definitely decided that night. He*! had brought a few facts before the committee a month ago, and would recapitulate them. Whea he had been appointed two years ago, the salary had at that time been simply ex- perimental, and the work had increased, by leaps and bounds, until it now occupied prac- tically the whole of his time. He did- not think that there was a clerk in any other similar district who was only paid £35 a year. One of the members had last year very kindly volunteered to propose an increase, but, owing to the financial state of tke Council at that time, he (the Clerk) had not pressed the matter. The financial position this year was very much better, with a reduction of 4d. in the rate. The rateable value had increased by a thousand pounds, and the work had in- creased1 enormously. He did not think that any individual member, except the chairman, knew the amount of work that had* to be done. He had to call many committees several times in order to get a quorum, and he had had to get assistance in the office, which took away a great deal of. the salary. In a month he had written as many as 53 letters, and sent out 85 notices. In addition he had had nine committees to attend, and their minutes to write up, besides attending to matters aris- ing out of them. He wished the councillors to deal fairly with the ratepayers, and also with its officials. They were mostly employers of labour themselves, and payed their em- ployees what they were entitled to, and he thought that it was only fair that they should deal with the official of the Council as they dealt with their own officials. The work had increased enormously, and the salary paid was not adequate to the amount of the work in- volved. Mr. D. John suggested that the matter should be finished that night. Mr. Llewhelin, in view of the lateness of the hour, suggested that the Council be adjourned. The reason why the recommendation had been deferred was in order not to do Mr. D. G. Thomas any harm. Mr. Thomas: It would do me no harm, be- cause I would speak straight out. It must be admitted that, however deserving an official is, an increase of salary is never popular with the public. Proceeding, he said he would ftke to make his proposition perfectly clear. At the last Finance Committee the estimates were con- sidered, and it was then that the committee had been in a position to know whether it would estimate for an increased salary or not. The estimates had now been prepared, and they had that night, sanctioned the rate. He did not know whether or net the estimates were elastic enough to allow of that increase. The Clerk: Yes. The Vice-Chairman: Hew much is itt Mr. Thomas: I don't know: I move a shilling per annum. Mr. O. D. Jones, in a maiden speech, said he was quite in sympathy with Mr. Rees' amendment that the minute should be referred ,back in order that the Finance Committee should suggest a definite sum. The Vice-Chairman asked why it should be referred back to the Finance Committee, which was \but one out of three, for each of which the Clerk worked for? Why should the onus be thrown on one committee alone? Cer- tainly it was a matter of finance, but it was a question for every committee and for the whole of the Council to consider. When the Council had decided it would be sufficient time for the Finance Committee to decide whether or not it would be able to meet the demands made upon it. The Clerk was the clerk to the Council as well as to the com- mittees, and the Council as a whole should determine. Mr. Llewhelin said his object in seconding the motion for the confirmation of the com- mittee's proceedings, had been to push for- ward the business. If the Council had adopted the committee's report, it would then have been quite competent for him to have moved an adjournment. He quite agreed with Mr. T. Lewis that the smallest section of the Council (the Finance Committee) ought not to decide. Mr. D. G. Thomas said that the Finance Committee brought up the matter, and ought to make a definite resolution. They had the example set when the Surveyor had applied for an increase. His duties concerned the Highway Committee, and it was that body which had brought forward the recommenda- tion. The speakers maintained that the Clerk's duties predominantly concerned the Finance Committee. He had seen other matters re- ferred back in the past for definite reports. Upon a division being taken the amendment was defeated by seven votes to five. Mr. John moved, and Mr. Rees seconded that the Council should consider the matter that night. Mr. Llewhelin moved that, owing to the late- ness of the hour, the consideration of the matter be deferred to an adjourned meeting. This was seconded by Mr. Francis George, supported by Mr. W. J. Vaughan. Mr. D. G. Thomas: Finish it now: you're not afraid I The Clerk: Why should you be? Proceeding, the Clerk said the work in connection with that Council Wjas equal to that for whioh many clerks were paid £ 160 a year, but he would be satisfied with an additional &CIO. Mr. Rees argued that the Council should not consider it that night because there was 'no notice on the agenda. Mr. John withdrew his motion. Mr. D. G. Thomas pointed out that, under the Standing Orders, it was necessary for Mr. Llewhelin's motion to state the date to which the meeting would be adjourned. After further desultory discussion, it was agreed, on the motion of Mr. John, seconded by Mr. Harry Williams, to adjourn the con- sideration of the matter until the next ordinary meeting. Mr. D. P. Lewis remarked that the rateable value would not permit them, so far, to vote for an increase. The subject then dropped.


Reportorial Reminiscences.