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RU T H I N. TOWN COUNCIL. The monthly meeting of the Council was held on Monday, the Mayor (Mr. Ezra Roberts) pre- siding. The other members present were Alder- men R. P. Davies and T. P. Roberts, Coun- cillors John Roberts, T. J. Rouw, J. Medwyn Hughes, Thomas Williams, Francis Dowell, William Jones, T. J. Roberts, and William Williams, with the Town Clerk (Mr. William Lloyd), the Borough Treasurer (Mr. C. E. Jones), the Borough Surveyor (Mr. Pryce Morris), and the Inspector (Mr. John Morris). MR. ROUW AND THE ABOLITION OF TOLLS. The minutes of the last meeting having been read, Mr. Rouw called attention to the fact that it was reported in the minutes that he intended to move a resolution at the present meeting in favour of abolishing the tolls. That was not quite correct, as he was against their abolition. He simply gave notice to bring the question forward. The Mayor I understood you were taking up the motion in the hands of Mr. Byford, which he was disqualified from moving. Of course, you are at liberty to move or vote on the question as you think fit. The minutes were then agreed to. THE FIRE ENGINE. Mr. R. P. Davies asked how long the Fire Engine would be absent ? It might be a serious thing for the town if a fire occurred in the meantime. The Mayor said Captain Rouw told the Coun- cil at its last meetingj that he was making ar- rangements to procure another engine during the absence of their own. Mr. Rouw said he did not exactly say that, but that arrangements would be made for the protection of the town. The brigade had fitted up the engine at the Castle, which would an- swer the purpose. Mr. John Roberts pointed out that there was a very efficient engine in case of emergency at the works of Messrs. Ellis and Son. Mr. Rouw Pardon me, Sir, they have no en- giae. They have a reel carb and several lengths of hose, and we have that ourselves. Mr. John Roberts: They competed with the Fire Brigade very successfully on sevaral occa- sions. The subject then dropped. THE LATE MR. ALSTON. Mrs. Alston, of Plas Newydd, wrote on be- half of herself and her family to express their thanks for and appreciation of the vote of con- dolence passed by the Council on the death of her late husband, Councillor Alston. THE FAMINE FUND. The Mayor said the Indian Famine Fund was not yet complete, but the efforts made to collect subscriptions had so far been very suc- cessful. Mr. Rouw said he was pleased to state that the subscriptions now exceeded £ 50. It was proposed to make. a house to house collection during the week. STORAGE OF CARTS. It was decided to take at an annual rental of £ 10 a stable, shed, and croft, at the bottom of Prior Street, for the storage of carts, and other purposes. MAIN ROADS. The Town Clerk announced that the Main Roads question had now been finally settled, and that he had received the agreement. PRESENTATION TO THE HIGH SHERIFF. The Mayor, referring to the proposed presen- tation of a congratulatory address to the High Sheriff (Mr. E. O. V. Lloyd) said the latter gen- tleman called with him one day stating he would be glad to accept the presentation, but wished to have it deferred for a little longer, the time to be fixed hereafter. He (the Mayor) told Mr. Lloyd that the Council would no doubt be agreeable to abide by his wish in the matter. SWINE FEVER. The Town Clerk said he had wribten to the Board of Agriculture asking them to take into consideration the great hardship imposed upon the Ruthin Petty Sessional division through the Swine Fever Order, and expressing a hope that the division would be exempted for the March Fair. He had received a reply, dated February 22nd, to the effect that inasmuch as there was reason to believe that the disease had not yet been stamped out of the district, the Board would not be justified in with- drawing the order for the present time. FINANCIAL. The Mayor, in dealing with the financial posi- tion of the Council, said that 9520 14s. 3d. were paid during the month, which was the heaviest payment made for a long time. That day bills amounting to £ 47 5s. Sd. were presented for payment, and this with an over-draft of 1:43 8s. 5d. made their liabilities £90 14s. Id. They had paid out of the General Fund in anticipa- tion of the loan about f,200, so that, when the loan came to hand, the £200 would revert to the fund. These figures showed a very healthy state of affairs. In addition to this, the Col- lects reported that the outstanding rates amounted to f,144 7s. 2d., but about half this would be lost in consequence of vacancies, &c., so that they could not count upon receiving more than £60 or £ 70 from the rates. On the motion of Mr. R. P. Davies, seconded by Mr. Rouw, it was decided to call in all bills for the current year before the 25th of March, ia order to start the new year wifh a clean sheet. MEDICAL OFFICER'S REPORT. Dr. W. C. Jones, who had been called away to the country, wrote stating that the condi- tion of the town as regards infectious diseases was satisfactory. Mr. John Roberts asked when was the annual report of the Medical Officer likely to be sub- mitted to the Council ? The Mayor asked the Town Clerk whether he could answer the question ? Dr. Hughes said Medical Officers were al- lowed up to the end of March before presenting their annual reports, and no doubt Dr. Jones Would see that his report would be ^submitted before that date. The Town Clerk said Dr. Jones called at his office and informed his clerk that the report would be presented by the end of the present Week. Mr. John Roberts: As the end of the year will have occurred before we meet again, I think it should have been presented here to- day. The Mayor said a special meeting of the Council would be held during this month to insider the rate, and that the report could be received then. It was ultimately decided to leave the matter calling a special meeting to the Mayor and "own Clerk, and it was understood that the fnoual report of the Medical Officer will then be considered. A 'MYSTERY.' The Inspector, in his monthly report, stated ^at the cellar of the Machine Inn was occasion- ally flooded to the depth of seveial inches, but Jhat every endeavour to find out the cause of nuisance had resulted in failure. Coloured fatter had been put through all the sewers drains in the immediate vicinity, but none found its way to the cellar. jv -Dr. Hughes said this was a very serious case. eath from typhoid fever had occurred within short distance of this house, and a case of »j?ry suspicious sore throat had al$o taken j^ace in the neighbourhood. He had been told aj *?.e tenant that the smell in the cellar was in + mes very offensive. He had been called ? attend cases of illness in the place, which 8; "ena,nt thought might be due to the offen- cano 8^e^* any rate, it was enough to K disease, and every effort should be made abate the nuisance without loss of time, afraid Inspector said that Mrs. Davies was Q lor the health of her children and herself. cauJj Roberts asked whether it was ThtiHF sfcructural defects in the cellar ? 8a^ officer had failed to find waere the water came from. The question for them now was whether they would instruct the Surveyor and the Inspector to find out the cause of the nuisance with the aid of the Cor- poration workmen. The nuisance should at once be removed. Dr. Hughes: Have we the right to charge the owner for the work? The Mayor replied that if it was found out that the defect lay in a Corporation drain, the Council of course would have to meet the ex- pense, but if it was the result of structural de- fect and was in the house or cellar, the owner would be responsible. Dr. Hughes moved that the matter be pro- ceeded with forthwith. Mr. T. P. Roberts seconded, and it was car- ried. CAPES FOR CORPORATION MEN. The Surveyor said he had made inquries as to whether waterproof capes, &c., were supplied to Corporation men in other towns. Mr. Adams, the District Surveyor of the County, replied that the men under his charge in the mountain- ous districts, were supplied with oilskin capes, 7s. 6d. each. At Rhyl and Chester, the men were also supplied, but were not at Wrexham. He (the Surveyor) had also applied to several local drapers for tenders, but Mr. Atkinson was the only one that had supplied samples with his tender. Mr. William Jones suggested that the matter be deferred in order to give all the drapers an- other opportunity of sending in their tenders, &c. Mr. R. P. Davies proposed that oilskin capes only be supplied to the men, such capes to cost 7s. 6d. each, and to be of the same description as those supplied to their men by the county. Mi. William Jones seconded. Mr. John Roberts moved, as an amendment, that the tenders already received be opened. It was decided, however, to defer the ques- tion in order to receive further tenders. THE QUESTION OF TEAM LABOUR. The Surveyor pointed out that the contract for team labour was about to expire, and sug- gested that if the Corporation bought a horse and cart for their own use, it would mean a great saving in the course of a year. The Mayor said this was an important ques- tion for the Council. The expenditure on team labour now came to about jE92 per annum, whereas the figures made out by the Surveyor showed that a horse and cart could be main- tained at a much less cost. A horse could be kept at 12s. a week, which would come to JE31 per annum the wear and tear of the harness, &c., had been put down at 2s. per week, or £10 8s. per annum the employment of an extra man from November 1st to March 1st, at 13s. a week would amount to E14 8s., making a grand total of f56 2s. as against the JE92 now paid. Mr. Dowell asked whether one horse and cart would be enough ? Two or three horses were some time engaged within the Borough. The Surveyor said that if the Corporation had a horse of their own, they could easily arrange for the cartage of stones to the roadsides dur- ing the summer months. The extra cartage done by the present contractor was very small. Dr. Hughes said that horses sometimes felt inclined to die (laughter), and this was an emer- gency which they should take into considera- tion. If the horse died, that would entirely upset the calculation put forward by the Sur- veyor (laughter). Mr. R. P. Davies said this question had been considered before, and it had always been de- cided against the purchase of a horse. More- over, it would be a very objectionable thing, in his opinion, to cart stones to the roadside when they were not wanted. They were thrown into people's fields, and scattered everywhere. Taking all things into consideration, he was forced to the conclusion that it would be better to contract for team labour as heretofore. The Mayor pointed out that the figures given included the keep of the horse for a whole year, and not merely the time during which it was at work. Mr. T. P. Roberts said the initial expense of buying the horse, the cart, the harness, &c., would be very great. This had not been calcu- lated. Mr. Thomas Williams said that he had gone carefully into this matter, and found that a horse and cart, with a man to look after them, could not possibly cost less than £94 a year. Dr. Hughes was in favour of adhering to the present system. Mr. T. P. Roberts proposed that tenders be invited as heretofore. Mr. R. P. Davies seconded, and it was car- ried. A WATER CART WANTED. THE WATER SUPPLY. The Surveyor advised the purchasing of a water cart, at the same time stating that the wat6r supply was insufficient to meet the com- fort of the borough. He also suggested the fixing of a standpipe on the Square for the use of the top of the town, and that water be sup- plied to Mwrog Street, Borthyn, and Park Road. Mr. John Roberts asked what practical use a standpipe would be when there was no water for domestic purposes? It would be no use going to the expense of putting up a standpipe as suggested. It was left to the Mayor and Surveyor to in quire, and to make a suggestion. APPLICATION BY THE CORPORATION MEN. The Surveyor said that he had received an application from the men under his charge to leave off work at one o'clock on Saturdays. Mr. T. P. Roberts thought the application should be granted. All other labourers in the town left off at one o'clock, and it would be cruel for the Council to refuse the application (hear, hear). The Mayor said some arrangements should be made to have the town swept in order to have it clean for Sunday. This would have to be done, and it was a question whether the men would do the work every other, and to be paid extra for it. Mr. T. Roberts said that could easily be left to the Surveyor. Mr. John Roberts said the application was so very reasonable that he would suppoit it. The men were prepared to start work an hour earlier on Monday morning, and to work through the dinner hour on Saturday. The ap- plication was certainly a very reasonable one, and should not be refused. The Mayor then read the application. The men-eight in number—stated their willingness to start work at 6 a.m. on Monday, so that if their request was granted, it would only mean one hour less in their time. Mr. T. J. Roberts, in supporting the applica- tion, said the Council should not only be model landlords, but model employers also. Mr. Rouw said any question of detail such as the sweeping of the streets, should be left to the Surveyor, and the men, no doubt, would be glad to meet his wishes. A resolution to the following effect was then agreed to :—' That the application be granted, and that the arrangements as to the sweeping of the streets on Saturday afternoon be left in the hands of the Surveyor.' THE FIRE BRIGADE. The annual report of the Fire Brigade was presented, and Mr. John Roberts said it could not be considered, under the standing orders, as it was not mentioned in the agenda, but the Mayor ruled that it could bel presented. Mr. Roberts then moved that it be presented at the next meeting, after a copy had been sent out to each member. Mr. Rouw said he would also send copies to those who had subscribed to the funds. At the present time the brigade was practically not one penny piece in debt. Mr. R. P. Davies said they would be treating the officers most shabily if they did not hear the report, and the report was then read as follows :— CHIEF OFFICER'S REPORT, For the Year ending December 31st, 1896. To the Mayor and Corporation ot Ruthin. GENTLEMEN, I have the honour to present the Report of the Brigade for the year ending December 31st, 1896. i Five calls to fire were received during the year:—Four within the Borough, and one in the outlying district. The total loss and esti- mated property at risk is shown in Table C. The Brigade attended the May Day Proces- sion at Denbigh, winning the first prizes for the best Four-in-hand and best Exhibit in the Procession. A Team of men also attended the International Fire Tournament at the Royal Agricultural Hall, London, in June last, and gave some exhibitions of Life Saving. For these services the Brigade received two Diplo- mas. The attendance at Drill has been very satis- factory. I have arranged for the complete overhauling of the Manual, the cost of which will be de- frayed from the proceeds of a Sale of Work and by Subscriptions. The thanks of the Brigade are due to those who have so generously contributed to the Funds during the past year. Statements of Receipts and Expenditure for the past year are ap, 'ied (Table A. and B.). I am, Gentlemen, Your obedient Servant, THOEDORE Rouw, Chief Officer. Mr. R. P. Davies moved that the best thanks of the Council be presented to the valuable officers of the brigade for their excellent ser- vices during he past year, and he was sure it was by their diligence and great assiduity that the brigade had been brought to its present high state of efficiency. The services of the officers and men were honorary, and the least the Council could do was to express their apprecia- tion of them. Dr. Hughes: I have great pleasure in secon- ding that proposal, and I hope they will carry on their benevolent work for ever, for reasons which I need not explain (loud laughter). The Mayor, when the laughter had subsided, said, in his opinion, the motion was a very pro- per one indeed, especially in so far as it re- ferred to the captain, who took a great deal of trouble, and it was no doubt largely owing to his individual skill and diligence that the bri- gade had got to its present high efficiency. Mr Roberts I have great pleasure in sup- porting, especially the latter part of what Dr. Hughes said (laughter). The motion was carried. TOLLS. On the paper appeared a notice in the name of Councillor Rouw, in favour of the total abolition of the tolls upon horses, cattle, and pigs. The Mayor said the question was postponed because they did not know what their powers were under the Charter. They had got the Charter, but it was in meditval Latin, and full of contractions, and it had been given to the Rev. J. Fisher to translate. Until they had the Charter translated, they would not know their position upon the matter. Mr. John Roberts asked if the reason for the postponement of the proposition was,'ttiat it was originally in the hands of a member who had no power to move it ? The Mayor said that was the case, but the original reason for postponing the matter was the uncertainty of their position under the charter. Mr. T. P. Roberts said that when the ques- tion was put he did not think they would find two members who would support it. It was the opinion of the town that they had ne right to do anything of the kind, and the best plan was to take the vote of the Council and let the matter drop (hear, hear). Mr. Rouw said he would formally move the resolution, but he should vote against it, for he was not for abolishing the tolls, and at the last meeting, when he undertook to bring the ques- tion forward, he only did so in order that the member who was not in order might have it discussed. They had privileges which were possessed by few other towns in Wales, andthey should retain them as long as they could, and, moreover, he did not believe that the abolition of the tolls would affect the fairs a bit (hear, hear). Mr. T. J. Roberts seconded the motion, with the same notification that he would vote against it. After some words by Mr. R. P. Davies, Mr. John Roberts moved, as an amendment, that tenders be invited for the farming of the tolls during the financial year of 1897 and 1898, such tenders to be submitted to the Council at a special meeting, the highest or any other tender not necessarily to be accepted, and the person or persons whose tender may be accepted to enter into a contract to pay the amount by 12 monthly instalments, and to give satisfac- tory security for its due performance; also, that one month's notice be given to Mr. G. F. Byford to determine the contract entered into with him for the acceptance of a lump sum in lieu of the tolls levied upon the animals ex- hibited at his auction mart. He had been for a considerable time in favour of the farming of the tolls. He was not at all satisfied that such an amount of supervision was exercised over the collection of the tolls as would be exercised if they were farmed, and he mentioned an in- stance which came under his notice the pre. vious week, where some fowls were sold in Castle Street, and when he went to the collec- tor at the market he found that the toll upon those cattle had not been paid. The collector as soon as he could went to the place and col- lected the toll. He was of opinion that a great many fowls, and other articles, upon which toll should be paid, were sold upon the confines of the borough, and that the tolls were thus evaded. The adoption of the amendment would not bind them to accept a tender, but if they got a tender which was satisfactory they could accept it. and if not they could go on as be- fore. Mr. Rouw seconded the amendment with very great pleasure. The Mayor You are the mover of the resolu- tion (laughter). Mr. Rouw: Well, I can vote for it anyhow. Mr. Thomas Williams said he would second it. It was only changing to their old practice. The Council divided, and there were eight for the amendment, and none against. for the amendment, and none against. Mr. R. P. Davies: I wish it to be understood I that I do not vote for it. Mr. John Roberts Not as against the mo- tion ? The substantive motion, in favour of asking for tenders for the farming of the tolls was then put, and was carried by six votes, Alder- man Davies voting against it. Mr. R. P. Davies said that the Council had lost money before by the farming of the tolls, and the present system worked satisfactorily. Mr. John Roberts said he had guarded against any further loss. The losses they had sustained had been through the want of supervision of the thenjmembers of the Council. POSTAL FACILITIES. Mr. Rouw said the Council had received a request from the Town Council of Flint that they should join with that place in a petition to the Postmaster General in favour of the mail train stopping at Flint at a certain fixed hour. It would be much more to the advantage of Ruthin if they asked the Postmaster General to have the mails from Ruthin conveyed by train, and not by coach as at present, and he moved that a petition be sent to the Postmaster Gen- eral to that effect, on the understanding that the mails should be received earlier and des- patched later than at present. Mr. Dowell seconded, but he also made the suggestion to Mr. Rouw that he should include in his motion that the Sunday delivery of let- ters be done away with. Mr. T. P. Roberts, and others, objected to the proposal of Mr. Dowell, and Mr. Rouw said he could not accept it. On the question of the advantages to be gained, Mr. William Jones said it would give them two extra trains earlier and later than those now running. He was in favour of that, but he was not so sure as to the Sunday trains. Mr. T. P. Roberts remarked that he would vote for the motion including the Sunday. Mr. T. J. Roberts opposed, and pointed out some advantages of the present arrangement. Ultimately, the motion was carried by six votes, no one voting against it. The Council rose at seven o'clock, after a three hours' sitting.