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MAYORAL REMUNERATION. PUBLIC MEETING AT CHESTER. ANNUAL GRANT CONDEMNED. A public meeting of ratepayers, convened by the Chester Ratepayers' Association, was held on Thursday evening in the Newgate Assembly Room to oonsider the proposal recently made in the City Council by Mr. J. D. Siddall that a 3urn of £ 250 should be annually voted to the Mayor. Mr. J. M. Hawkins, president of the association, pre- sided over a numerous gathering, and was sup- ported on the platform by Messrs. Robt. Grrffiuiie, Hugh Miller, Charles Wright, M. Kennedy, E. Yates and Beresford Adams (secretary to the association). The Chairman, in explaining the object of blic meeting, said the ratepayers were under a deep I debt ot gratitude to Alderman Lamb for having accepted the office of Mayor for a third year. it must not be assumed that he had asked ior, or would be willing to accept, a grant; and the ques- I tion would be discussed upon broad, generai grounds, the association being simply desirous of obtaining the opinion of the ratepayers. i Mr. Robert Griffiths moved the following reso- lution :—" That, while it may be advisable to con- tribute a sum from the rates for any special occa- sion as heretofore, it is not desirable to attaoh an annual grant to the position of Mayor of Chaster. ¡ He paid a tribute to the Mayor and councillors for the seif-sacrifioe with which they devoted them- selves to the inunioipal affairs, especially the Mayor, because, in addition to his work as a councillor, he had other duties thrust upon him which were constantly increasing. The obliga- tions attaching to the Mayor were increasing year by year, and while they all admired tho generosity of well-to-do citizens who had filled that positron, they must remember that there we many other members of the Council who were not in the same fortunate position. (Hear, hear.) Such gentlemen made it very difficult for those who were not so fortunately placed to follow in their footsteps. When Mr. Siddall in the Council pro- posed to make a grant of £ 250, another member suggested that the amount should be L500. Thie sufficiently indicated the danger of fixing any grant, for he believed it would not be long before the figure would increase to £ 1,000. The proposed grant was not for the purpose of entertaining the citizens, but rather for the purpose of entertaining important visitors to the city, and he for one would be quite willing to shew hospitality to im- portant strangers who visited the city from time to time. But it was not their duty to inflict the cost of doing it upon the gentleman who happened to be the Mayor for the time. If the city ex- tended hospitality to any visitors, the city ought to pay for it, but the placing of a lump sum every year at the disposal of the Mayor was quite a different. matter, and specific sums should be voted whenever visitors had to be entertained. He would like to &c,- a small committee appointed to undertake the duty of providing for such enter- tainments. In conclusion, Mr. Griffiths said if they once named a specific figure and allowed it to grow, it was extremely unlikely that it would ever bo reduced to its original amount. Mr. E. T. Hallmark seconded the resolution, and remarked that if they granted £ 750 per annum for the mayoralty every Mayor would think it his bounden duty to spend that sum. He would not like to see any gentleman qualified to fill the office excluded from it because he had no money in his pocket. Every honest man had as much right to aspire to be Mayor of Chester as a millionaire. Mr. J. D. Siddall said if anything had been needed to justify his proposal in the Council it had been furnished by the remarks of the pro- poser and seconder of the resolution just heard. As to the feeling expressed that the sum lie had mentioned to be placed at the disposal of—not neces- sarily given to—the Mayor would be increased, he thought it was without the slightest justification. It was a perfectly unworthy suspicion to entertain of any Mayor. He knew, perhaps better tuan anyone else outside the Council, the difficulty that had been experienced in getting a citizen to under- take the office of Mayor for the ensuing year. He had not the slightest notion that the present Mayor, who had made an id-eal Mayor—(hear, hear)—was prepared to accept offioe again, other- wise he would not have moved a resolution in the Council. Still, he thought the opportpnity was a good one for making such a proposition. They were all anxious to widen the circle of posi-ib'e Mayors of Chester. (Hear, hear.) Seeing that this difficulty existed, and knowing there were certain men in tho Council who were willing to be made Mayor but were debarred from holding office for pecuniary reasons alone, he thought the time was opportune when one might submit to the Council the very moderate suggestion he made there. He consulted the prominent officia!s of the Corporation, and was assured that at least JE250 was necessary for the entertainment of outside visitors. People wrote to the Mayor to say they were coming to Chester, and they took the rest for granted; and if hospitality was not. forthcoming the talk would be "Stingy city; stingy Mayor!" Then there was that large entertainment, the Mayor's At Home," which put into circulation a largo amount of money, at least £ 1,000, in addition to the JB300 which the function cost the Mayor. All this went among the tradesmen. In common honesty it was due to the Mayor that some such sum as he had suggested should be placed at his disposal. He had no occasion to use it unless he liked. He hoped they would approve of the Council affirming the principle, for it was a disgrace that the office of Mayor should have gone a-begging until Alderman Lamb once more stepped into the breach and agreed to take it, but told them plainly that he would not have the "hat" poked at him as often as before. He read them a very salutary lesson in the Council when he accepted office, and charged the members with lack of patriotism in not accepting it. Mr. Siddall concluded with an enumeration of several cities and towns oomparable to Chester where a mayoral allowance was granted. Mr. C. Wright referred to the oath taken by the Mayors on their election, in which they custom- arily swore that they were possessed of £ 1,000 after their debts were paid. If such was the case it seemed to him that £ 250 was not required. It I was not necessary to give the large parties which were a feature each year. Mr. Hugh Miller doubted whether a grant of JB250 would remedy the evil of which Mr. Siddall complained. He suggested that every alderman should be required on his appointment to pledge his word that if called upon he would accept the office of Mayor. Mr. Clarke, a tradesman, spoke in support of the proposed grant. If it were true that the office of Mayor was going a-begging he would rather it were filled by the youngest member of the Council than that they should seek outeide the Council for a likely gentleman. In his opinion they ought not to allow the office of Mayor to be degraded by asking him to preside at bazaars and attend all sorts of functions, at whlioh he was expected to spend generously. Mr. Yates moved an amendment in favour of leaving the matter in the hands of the Town Council It was the duty of the citiacms. he said, to advertise Chester, and, if they could db so for the sum of £ 250 through Mayor, they would be doing it exoeeding-Iy cheaply. He ven- tured to say that their £ 250 would be returned! to the city with a hundred per cent, profit by to the city with a hundred per cent. profit by the extra trade it would brmg to me city. Mr. F. Moody seconded. Mr. Beresford Adams hoped the decision of the meeting would not be interpreted as a dicta- tion to the Town Council. The object of the meeting was simply to indicate to the Council the state of public opinion in the city upon this question. The amendment, on being put to the meeting, was lost. Mr. G. E. Oldmeadow spoke in support of Mr. Griffiths's resolution. Mr. Griffiths, replying to the debate, said he did' not think there was a great difference of opinion between Mr. Siddall and himself. Mr. Siddall told them the expenditure of the Mayor during the last few years had been 21,000 per year. If that were go, what was the good, of voting £ 250? The statement afforded the best proof of his contention that if a specified. sum was granted to the Mayor each year, it would before many years had passed increase to £1,000. There were plenty of men with sufficient means within the Council who ought to step into the breach, but why was the office going1 a-begging? Simply because there was £1,000 a. year to be spent, and however much the men loved the position, they loved their money more. (Laughter and hear, hear.) He agreed that they should not allow the Mayor to pay the eost of entertaining distinguished visitors to the oity. Mr. Siddall had helped them immensely that night. The resolution was then put and carried with only three dissentients.