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[WHY THE POOR KATES ARE HIGH IX THE TOAVYX PARISH. A SKlilOUS MATTER FOR THE RATEPAYERS. [SPECIALLY CONTRIBUTED.] L TÍlr8 i" nothing that touches the rat"pavol" tnoro acutely than the question of the ratus. They are at all times readv to assert that the rutc& are unreasonably high and that a sufficient surveillance is not kept over their interests by ther representa- tives. Sometimes this assertion is true aud some- times, it is not. My object this weik is to eudeavour to show that the ratepayers of i he Towyn parish are not fairly treated by the Machynlleth Guardians, to arouse the ratepayers to a sense of their duty in face of this injustice, and, if possible, to originate an agitation with the view of having tilu parish separated altogether from the Machvn- lleth Union. The particulars in regard to which I shall write Are to be seen in the abstract of accounts for the year ending March 25th, 1899, which has just been published in book form. In t fie first place it may be of some interest for the ratepayers to know who are their representatives on the Board, aud for that reason the subjoined list is given of the members for the parish Messrs Wm Jones, corn merchant, Aberdovey; Richard Morgan, contractor, Brvncrug; John Owen, farmer, PcnUyn, Towvn Meredith Jones, farmer, Caethle Humphrey Jones, farmer, Cae Ceiuach, Pensal; and J Hughes Jones, Aberdovey, as an additional Guardian. Of the above Messrs Hughes Jones, John Owen, and Meredith Jones, are members of I the Assessment Committee. On glancing at the general rules adopted by the Guardians, 1 find they havi been carefully drawn out and, if strictly adhered to, they afford protection for the ratepayers. The following rule is an excellent one: That the relieving officers shall furnish the Guardians of tho respective parishes three days before the meeting of the Board with a !ist of the cases in each district, to be considered thereat." I should like to know if this rule is faithfully complied with, not only by the relieving officers, but by the Guardians. The objecL of the rule is to afford the Guardians suffici- ent time to make the necessary inquiries into the circumstances of the paupers seekiug relief, but do the Guardians make inquiries in all cases or are their efforts on behalf of the ratepayers confined to the Board meetings ? The financial statement shows that a scm of £1676 18s 6d was contributed by the parish of f Towyn last year towards the funds of the Board. This sum was spent in the following way £ 132 went to clear off the balance against the parish at the commencement cf the year; X804 5s 3d was devoted to common charges; 955 to separate charges; 110 4s 8d to workhouse loan and interest repaid; £ 562 3s 9d conuty rates; and there is a sum of zCll2 17s 25rd balance in favour of the parish at the eud of this year. Let us now see how much the poor receive from the large sum raised in rates. In the parish of Towyn the number of paupers last year was 71, and they received the total sum of 1507 4s, not one-third of the contributions paid during- the year. How- ever, out of the total zCl,676 18s 6d certain deductions have to be made for expense? connected with the administration of the relief, and this brings down the total sum contributed by Towyn parish for out-door relief to £799. It will thus be seen that as long as Towyn parish contributes zC799 towards out-relief and only receives zC507 4s it pays a sum of £ 291 16s towards the support of paupers from other parishes with which this parish has nothing to do. For the year ending March, 1898, the Towyn parish contributed X244 6s 2d in excess of what its out-door paupers J received. Where does the money go ? This is an interesting query, but let us before proceeding find if there are other parishes which pay more than they receive. I find that the following parishes have a similar grievance, but not to the same extent I as the Towyn parish :—Caereinion Fechan £ 2 4s in I excess, Darowen £ 2 10s 3d, Llanwrin zE24 12s, Scuborycoed, £ 1 5s, and Uwchygarrog £ 58 8s 6d. 1 he following parishes receive in excess of their contributions the following sums :—Cemmes £ 37 8s. contributions the following sums :—Cemmes £ 37 8s. Is3garreg £ 26 18a 8d, Llanbryamair CI53 13s 9th Machynlleth £ 31 19s 5d, Penegoes zE76 12s 6d, 1 ennal £46 6s 7d. The title usually applied to paiishes unable to maintain themselves is pauper parishes," and there sperns to be a very large number of them in the Machynlleth Union. In the year 1898 it was also found that these parishes had to be supported by other parishes, £ 244 6s 2d being taken from the ratepayers of Towyn parish. The worst sinner in this direction is the parish of Llan- bryumair, which receives no less than £ 159 13s 9d. The rich parish of Machynlleth has to be supported to the extent of nI 19 5d, whilst the previous year it received ;E59 Is 2d. Surely a town of the size of Machynlleth ought to be able to maintain its own paupers. On reference to the statistical statement it is found that the cost per head of out. door paupers in Towyn palish is £ 5 5s 8d. whilst at Machynlleth it is only £4 7s 91d. If Towyn was fairly treated the figures would give quite a different complexion, for in the comparatively small district of Machyn- lleth tho number of paupers is 82 as against 96 in the whole parish of Towyn. It is high time that each parish should be mado to maintain its own paupers and justice done to the ratepayers through- out the Union. If a motion in favour of justice all round was brought before the Board I fiutt that the totai number of votes possible is 22. If all the members for the parishes which have a grievance supported a motion for every parish in the Union to maintain its own poor I find that 11 votes would be recorded for the motion. If all the others voted against the motion there would be 11 votes includ- ing that of the chairman. But if the chairman did not vote there would be a majority of one for the motion. In the statistical statement I find that the rate- able value of Machynlleth has decreased from £ 7,103 in 1898 to C7,096 in 1899, and the assessable value front zC6,344 to £ 6,337. As regards Towyn it has increased from £18,200 to X19,144, and the assess- able value from X14,478 to £ 15,441. IViti, the exception of Towyn nearlv all the parishes show a decrease in their rateable value. Where there is an increase it is of a few pounds, but in the parish of Towyn-tbl" parish which distributes its money all over the Union—there is an increase of nearly £ 1,0C0. Have no new buildings been erected at Machynlleth, or, indeed, have some of the dwelling houses there been closed ? It is high time that the representatives of this parish should wake up and lay the whole case plainly and seriously before the Board. Great complaints are made in this district that buildings are assessed too heavily and that our representatives do not stand up for the ratepayers at the Assessment Committee but go against them. To me it is evident that the rates in other parishes should be increased and thoie in the parish of Towyn decreased. One more complaint against the members for the Towyn parish and I shall c!o.e my remarks for this week. Would it not be better for them to sacrifice a whole day at Machynlleth instead of a bait day in order to try and see this matter rectified. As soon as the relief list for the parish of Towyn is gone through, the Towyn members I leave the Boardroom to the rest of the members of the Board who are allowed to do as they like HI fact, it is a general complaint at the Board that the members for the parish of Towyn leave the room before the relief list is completed. I trust that in future trore watchfulness will be shown towards the interests of the person who has to pay the piper."