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AGRICULTURE.

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"IN DARKEST BARMOUTH."

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Rev E. Hughes would like them to condemn the Council for doing that. They had had to pay £1,000 compensation for breaking that agreement, but before doing so they consulted the Local Govern- ment Board and the ratepayers, and they gave them the permission. He acknowledged they spenta great deal of money in doing so, but the result would be that in 40 years there would be a saving of 110,000 to the Barmouth ratepayers on the transaction (cheers.) Had they not done something for them (great cheering.)—The Rev E. Hughes would like to see the council condemned for what they had done with regard to Llyndu and for doing their very best to bring chat charming little town into the highest state as regards sanitation. Again referring to the meeting of the previous week, he said that after delivering their uncharitable ad- dresses the speakers saw what the temper of the meeting was that thay were not men of straw; and if Major Best, Mr Allsopp, and Mr Griffith, Glyn, were willing to follow the Rev E. Hughes, the ratepayers did not desire to do so. The majority of the ratepayers were not willing to take their theology, their politics, nor their local acumen from the Rev Edward Hughes. It was all very well to talk of unity. The only unity according to the Rev E. Hughes possible was for him to be the Pope of the place (cheers.) He then referred to the sur- charge and related how the Rev E Hughes and Mr Allsopp sent to the Local Government Board against the council, but how that Board after. wards supported the council by stating that they had completely made their case out, and that they would send to the auditor telling him he had no right to surcharge them (cheers.) He was sorry there were gentlemen in Barmouth who were willing to take their facts from one source. Let them take Major Best. He had the greatest respect for him, and hoped it was not his way to deal with other matters. He would not accept information from Sergeant Williams or P.C. Hughes without their verifying their case, but here was the Major without an atom of evidence—("Shame")—yes, a thousand times shame. He asked where was Major Best three or four years ago when the money of the town was squandered, when thousands of pounds were paid to property owners ? Not a word was then said. Now, when they were trying to pull the town out of its difficulties here he was crying out (shame). Major Best had told the meeting last week that the law-suit could have been settled for z6500. Now he challenged him to prove that statement. They had tried their best to come to an agree- ment, and they were ready to pay from £ 500 to £ 600 to settle the matter, but the reply was that if they offered E700 ir £ 800 perhaps the contractor would consider a proposal of that kind. There would be no union in Barmouth until the affairs of the town were sifted to the very bottom. They were now only at the start. When the money was required the Government would send a man down. That gentleman woald ask what the money was for, and they would say for the water works and the sewage works. Some one, two, or three persons would rise up and object, and tell the inspector all about the matter. All the evidence possible from every source in connection with the outfall sewer would be placed before him (cheers). He could imagine that there would be some that would be singing small then. [Mr Evan Jones Will the same thins: be done with the water works ?I The Speaker: Yes. Proceeding, he said that two statements had all along been made and one side must be wrong as they were diamet- rically opposed. He challenged the Rev E. Hughes to make out his case and appoint three gentlemen to investigate it as against that of the Council, and those men should draw out a report and stand before the ratepayers m that room. The Speaker asked Mr David Davies and Dr Lloyd if the offer he had made was a fair one and they replied in the affirmative. He wanted the case to be written and the minutest inquiry made. A charge had been brought against him of militating against the wel- fare of Barmouth. He used his own judgment and acted according to it. He endeavoured to serve them honestly, and they had the very best he had. He asked them not to believe every rambling state- ment but remember they must be "All-sopp" (great cheering). Councillor R. W. JONES apologised for being unable to go through the figures he had prepared. He was quire at one with his colleagues on the Council, and he stood or fell with them (cheers). The meeting last week was the most remarkable one he had ever attended. It opened in a threatening manner, but at the close the olive branch was offered. He had intended to refer to the great saving in connection with the water works made by the Council. They had saved some thousands, and for this they were under great obligations to their consulting engineer, as his advice had been most valuable. They would be glad to hear that the water works were nearly completed, and according to the report of the engineer the work had proceeded satisfactorily. He was sorry that so few had gone up to see the darn, as he believed it was a credit to the contractors (cheers). Mr O. W. MORRIS said he believed it better for him to lay a few figures before them, and if anyone disputes them he should only be too pleased to assist them to see for themselves. They had heard the Council had borrowed every penny available, but as a lot of other things said that was not true, most of the money borrowed was upon the water works. There were four different loans, in con- nection with the water works. First there was one E-6,663 198 3d principal and interest Cl90 6s 3d due half-yearly; another loan of X2,629 16s 4d principal and interest £ 240 4s 7d due half-yearly this is the loan for the cost of the Act of'Parlia- ment, which in four and a half years hence will be all paid up. This loan C9915 lis 6d principal and interest £ 283 18s 4d due half-yearly fourth loan £ 8233 principal and interest X215 16s lOd. The first loan was in 52 instalments and was payable in half-yearly instalments, first payable, 10th February. 1897; the second loan, 12 instalments, first payab'e, 21sr, September 1896; I h1 third, 52 instalmeai-s, first payable, 10th February, 1897; the fourth, 60 intalments, 10th February, 1897. The total of the water works loan would therefore be £ 27,442 7s Id, principal and interest due half- yearly t930 16s Od. The loans on the general district r-ite are Ell,152 3s 2d, and £ 1.17' 8s 7d total, £ -.2.323 Ils 9d; which were in 48 and 52 insfcalrne respectively, payable on the l,t and 10th Feh nary, 1897, respectively, of which the principal and interest were C326 8s Od, and 133 10s Od, making a total of n69 18s lOd. The total amount of the loans therefore amounted to zC39,765 18s 10d, and the total principal and interest £1,300 14s lOd. As most of them were aware the total amount of the boirowing power of all towns was a sum equal to twice its rateable value. The rateable value of Barmouth in round numbers was zCll,000 which meant that the total available borrowing powers of Bar- mouth was £ 22,000. The local authority had already borrowed Cl2,323, so that they yet had a margin of £ 9,677. The meeting would therefore see that matters were not accurately stated by the rev. gentleman who spoke at the meeting held at that place on Wednesday week. He stated that the Bank overdraft of the Council wa, 23,000, but he did not mention why it had reached that figure (hoar, hear). He (the R v E. Hughes) did not mention that cheques were drawn to pay water- works to the amount of £ 902 5s. 4d., and in con- nection with Mr Abraham Williams's case of £ 965 12s. 3d., and another small sum, all of which amounted to a total of £ 1,906. Therefore, it was not right that the General District Rate should be burdened with this sum—this extraordinary expen- diture. By deducting this sum, the genral district rate overdraft proper would be only £ 1,400. Mr Morris then explained the position of the late Local Board and of the present Council from 1893 to this year. In the general district rate account the L'cal Board had a balance in hand of Cll3 13s lid in 1893 in March, 1894, they had an overdraft of 1885 2s 9d, and at the end of their last financial year, ending 31st March, 1895, their overdraft was £1,408 5s lid. At the end of the first financial year for the Council the overdraft was £1,205 16s 5d, and in 1897 zCl,637 19s 9d. The reason of this heavy overdraft was accounted for by several heavy payments, viz., R137 to tie solicitor of the Penny Bank, and P,400 to the firm who procured the money, which made a total of X537. From the figures he had given the ratepayers would see that the state of the town was not so bad as had been stated at a previous meeting. The amount of rates 1897-8, with arrears, amounted to X5,190; of that they had collected already C2,932, and they had still uncollected the sum of X2,251, There was due from the County Council in respect of roads about X150, bringing- up the total to £ 2,408. Deducting instalments of loan to be paid in March £ 1,300, there would be left another £ 1,108, in round numbers, to meet current expenses (cheers). Mr JOHN ADAMS said they had heard a great deal of the official capacity of the raw youths of Barmouth. He wondered if they had received such clear statements from the great financier (cries of no and cheers). He believed that the cause of the present difficulty was the outfall sewer, and he was sorry that Dr. Lloyd prevented him from entering into the figures at the last meeting, but he might say that be was better prepared now than he was then. Here, said the speaker (taking from his pockets a big bundle of papers) was the evidence of E. Hughes, David Davies, J. Evans, and H. Owen, and he believed they might sing. All we like sheep will follow our shepherd." Mr Adams went into the details in regard to the inquiry at Barmouth. He said that a resolution had been passed by the old Board on the 14th of November, 1894, by five against two, to the effect that Mr Abraham Williams's offer to accept a sum of £1,000 without interest in full satisfaction of his claim in the contract for the construction of the outfall sewer, subject to the resolution being sanctioned by the Local Govern- ment Board and their sanction being obtained to enable the Board to borrow a further sum to pay Mr Abraham Williams the sum agreed upon be- tween Abraham Williams and the Council. An amendment to that resolnticn was proposed by Mr David Davies and seconded by Mr Edward Williams, chat Mr Williams be paid the balance of the original contract, and that before making any further payment the Board ascertain whether they were justified in doing so. If that far-seeing amendment had been carried that day Barmouth would not be in the mire it was at present—but they did not acknowledge that Barmouth was in a deep mire. At the inquiry at Towyn there were two members of the old Local Board who heard its late chairman denying the accuracy of bhat re- solution, and one of them said, not so quietly, "That's a devil of a lie." But let them turn from that, and ask if these gentlemen knew what they were doing when they consented to pay A. Williams. Did they know that they were 138 yards short ? The engineer had testified in the evidence at Towyn that there were only a few pipes short. The speaker maintained that according to the agree- ment (clauses 6 and 7) everything was to be supplied by the -ontractor for the carrying on of the work, but they found that a bill had been put in for X465 for barges and other things made the total up to 1601 12s. 6d., which were in the bill sent up to the Local Government Board, and all this was done in spite of Clauses 6 and 7 which did not call upon them to provide any of them. He maintained that the work had also been indifferently done. Blocks of stone were to be on both sides with an iron bar to keep them together. They could see for themselves that the stones had been properly fixed. The speaker maintained that it was the five persons who passed that resolution to pay Abraham Williams that were responsible to the town at the present time (cheers). Why did they not pay ? Because they never thought there was a law in the land that would compel them to pay for work that had not been done. He referred to the 138 yards by which the sewer was short. They were told the town was in a disastrous position, but the town was not. so bad as it had been represented. Let them remember that the Council had saved them C3,000 on the waterworks which made up for whatever sum they would lose over the law suit. He believed the sum would not exceed £1,500 (great cheering). Alderman LEWIS LEWIS said he had expected to get from the gentlemen who were on that platform the week previous some feasible scheme for bring- ing the town out of its difficulties. But they had received nothing but abuse of the eight members of the Coun-il. That meeting was like Bridgnorth election—one-sided. They had two sides—(Major Corder We do not want any sides in the town.)- Alderman Lewis agreed, but said that the meeting the previous week was not properly conducted. He nad pleasure in moving the following resolution, which was read in both Welsh and English:- "That this meeting, represen'ing ratepayers of all classes, desire to confirm the declaration of confi- dence in the Urban District Council which was made in the ballot box by the almost unanimous vote of the ratepayers seven months ago, and nothing since has happened to shake our confidence in every member of the Council. We sympathise with th ill in their efforts to lift up the town from the quagmire they found it in three years ago, and rejoice that they have succeeded in completing the waterworks which they found at a standstill when they came to office." Councillor JOHN EVANS seconded. The Rev P. JONES ROBERTS said the two reso- lutions were not exactly the same It was evident the English one was not a translation of the Welsh. He objected also that it was a vote of confidence in every member of the Council He thought they could hardly be expected to agree with everything done by every member of the Council. Alderman LEWIS then struck off the words "every member" from the resolution, and with the con- sent of the seconder the amendment was put to the meeting in its amended form and Carried. The CHAIRMAN having stated at the commence- ment that questions could be asked at the end, seveial questions were now aske(I.-Alr M. J. Morris (a member of the old Board) asked if anyone of the members of the Council would give a fair statement of how the affairs of the Board stood when the Council entered into office. Also how the loans on the water works had gone from 117,00,) to £ 27,000. —Another person at the back of the room shouted that that was just what was wanted.-?Vfr Griffith Edwards, Pensarn, walked on the platform and asked why were the rates collected this year once, whilst last year they were collected twice, and if by collecting them twice they gained one thousand half-crowns. His other question was—Mr R. W. Jones had said that the consulting engineer had done his duty so well that he had saved a large sum of money to the town. If so, why did they dismiss such an able official, and appoint a surveyor and consulting engineer whilst they had an eni gineer P-Afr Edwd. Williams asked who suggested the appointment of a working man to the post of surveyor ? He also asked how much the water works had cost to that day. —The Chairman (as Mr Williams was leaving the platform): Are there any more questions, so that we may take them in one hatch ?—Mr Williams: You have a very hard batch to answer (long and hearty laughter).—The Chairman of the Council said that all the questions were fair ones. In reply to Mr Morris the only way to get at the figures was to go to the office and look into them.—Mr Morris: They are in the room to-night.—Mr Davies showed that the collection of the rates twice a year was done with the best intention. They asked for the largest part in the busy time and part when the business was slack. However, they found it was better to col- lect once a year, which saved increased salary, ad. ditional books, &c.-With regard to the dismissal of Mr Blackburn; he was not dismissed. There was a chuse in the agreement that he should give his whole time to this work. He had not done so, and they could not continue to engage a man who was passing his own plans. If that was not a sufficient explanation they would accept their condemnation —Mr E. Jones desired to ask a question, and ap- peared on the platform with an umbrella in his hand, which he freely handled, to the amusement of those present.—The Chairman, however, ruled that he did not ask his question at the proper time. —Mr David Davies asked the permission of the Chairman to reply to Mr Adams. He had person- ally attacked him.—The Chairman Why did you not come up at the proper time.—Mr Davies was heard to say that he was not asking a question, but wished to say a few words in reply to Mr Adams. —The Rev P. J. Roberts said the meeting was a public one, and he thought when an attack was publicly made on a man he should have au opportu- nity of replying to the same.—It was then decided to let Mr Davies reply at the close.—Mr O. W. Morris rose to reply to Mr M. J. Morris. As a member of the old Board he should know that the first and the third loans he had mentioned were the loans of the old Local Board. The first one was £ 6,663 19s 3d, the other loan was one of £ 10,000 or to be more accurate C9,915 lis 6d, and the last loan he had mentioned ( £ 8,233) was the one the Council had. In making his figures he had counted to the end of the financial year of the old Board and not to December as Mr M. J. Morris had done. The following resolution was proposed by Mr Dd. Owen, and seconded by Mr Griffith Evans, and carried:—" That this meeting representing all _1_ _E .J-II1 'IT?':n1-. J. "I-r>.l"'J. 1- -t. Classes U1 laitjpttywia vvion LJV in uuv UIU:;lI emphatic manner against the studied insult offered by the Rev Edward Hughes and two or three of his supporters to a large body of industrious, intelligent, and respectable ratepayers viz., the working men of Barmouth, by convening a so-called public meeting at an hour viz., three o'clock in the afternoon, with the object, no donbt, of depriving the working man of his just right." Mr Dd. DAVIES, Beach Road, then went on the platform and said that Mr Adams had insinuated that he was against the ratepayers at Towyn. He had been in the court of arbitration, in the County Court at Dolgelley, in the High Court in London, and other places, but he was sorry to say that the Urban District Council of Barmouth through listening Mr Adams had proved themselves practical fools (cries of turn him out and cheers, followed by laughter).—Mr Owen Evans moved the following resolution, and Mr J. M. Jones secodded:- That this meeting of the Ratepayers of Barmouth desire the members of the Urban District Council to accept the suggestion made at the meeting held on the 3rd inst., that they should meet the eight gentlemen named at the said meeting with the view of consulting as to the best means of coming out of the difficulties that Barmouth is placed in at present, providing that the scheme of the said gentlemen be previously sent in writing for con- sideration of the Urban District Council. The CHAIRMAN of the Council said he was glad the mover of the resolution had included the last paragraph in his resolution. It was of no use for the eight elected men to meet the Council without having some practical suggestions to give. The meeting then terminated.