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COUNTY RATE BASIS. 1\ ADJOURNMENT OF THE QUESTION OF ABATEMENTS. A meeting of the Montgomery County Rate Basis I Committee was held ou Tuesday at the Newtown Police Court, when there were present: Mr A. C. Humphreys,-Owen (presiding), Capt. Mytton, Capt. Pryoe-Jonf-s, Messrs J. Jones, Martin Woosnam, D. Hamer, W. Cooke, R. Lloyd, and G. Morgan; with Mr Winuali representing Mr G. D. Harrison, olerk. THE PRESS. The CHAIRMAN said the first point to discuss was as to wi), ttit r the proceedings of the committee should be open to the Press. Capt. 31YTTON said they had allowed the repre- sentatives of the Press to be present at all other meetings of the committee, and he thought they should con ii.ue to act as they had beguu. He pro- posed th y be allowed to remain present. The CHAIKMAN remarks i that there had been a good deal of leeling ou the question. Two or three members seconded, and the motion was agreed to. DISPUTING THE MINUTES. The CHAIRMAN There is one point upon which I feel a little anxiety, and it is iu regard to the deduc- tions to be allowed on land without buildings. I am not certain as to whether it was agreed that we should aliow 2 per cent, or 71 per ceut. It is quite clear, so far aa the mitiutei go, that 7t per cent. was decided on. At the same time my personal recollec- tions are against that amount, and I think 2i per cent. was agreed upon. Mr H xxEEt pail as tar as his recollection went, he thought the 7i per cent. was withdrawn at the meet- ing of the suo-committee. At the next meeting of the conference at which that was reported he was unfortunately late, and did not hear the report, but he was informed after leaving by Mr John Lewis, who was nnd.r the impression that it was 2i per cent. Ho watched the proceedings, and put a ques- tion to the Chairman with the idea of drawing out the amount, and it appeared to be 2i per cent. Captain PRYCE-JONRS proposed that the report drawn up by the conference be adopted, with the following alterations: Instead of 15 per cent, to be allowed on land and buildings, it be 10 per cent., and on laud, instead of 7i per cent.. put 2!- per cent. By agreeing to his motion they would be deferring this impor.i-.nt question uatit next year, and in the meantime, perhaps, the different unions would take up the recommendations of the County Council if the committee agreed to the report. He had been informed that morning that bffore very long the Vyrnwy Wa erworks would be increased from t8,000 to a very much larger sum. All these increases in the rateable value of properties would help not only one class of the community, but the entire com- munity, the entire class. Mr HAMKR I rise to a point of order. Is it oom. petent for this committee to alter the report of the conference ? The CHAIRMAN No, I don't think it would be; at least, only competent upon notice being given that it was the intention of the committee to rescind its former resolution adopting these proposals, and to again discuss the report of the conference. I don't think we can entertain any motion here to-day in alteration. The other point was not one of prin- ciple, bat one of the accuracy of the minutes. Mr LLOYD: I am quite sure with regard to your recollections that it was 2 per cent. agreed upou. I distinctly rt collect, and I am quite positive, that it was not 7i per cent, i hat proposal was brought np by the representatives of the Newtown and Llanid- loes U ion, and it was withdrawn. Mr UJSOKGK MORGAN said what the joint con. ference had done was with the obj 'ct of making a report to the Couuty Rati Basis Committee, and he presume.! that it was quite competent for them to dtber refu-e the report, or amend it in any way they th"ugh desiiablu, in order tnat the County Council mignt have a report from this committee. The CHAIRMAN Quite so, but the 15 per cent. recommended by the committee was acopted by the committee. The struggle took place not over the 15 per cent. to be allowed on land and buildings, but as to whether 25,30, or 33 per cent. should be allowed on mills. The first part of the report has been agreed to, subj .cti to the inaccuracy which has been men- tioned. Unless you give formal notice to rescind the resolution from 15 to 10 per cent. you cannot do so. Mr JOHN JONES remarked that he should be one of the last to dispute the Chairman's ruling, but he did not think they were bound by what had been done at the conference, but only what had been passed at previous meetings ot the committee. Captain PRTCB-JONES said he fancied a mistake had been made with regard to the eommittee adopting any of the recommendations. Hf was not aware that the committee had come to any decision on any ot the items. Mr LLOYD Can't we come to a settlement over the point whether it shall be 7i or 2-1 per cent. ? The latter was agreed upon, and I move we subsitute 4 per cent. for 7i per cent. as now shown. It has been a clerical error. The CHAIRMAN asked the Clerk to reJod the minutes of the last meeting of the committee. The CLERK replied that he had none down in the minute book. The CHAIRMAN The facts are these. There was a meeting of the conference at which the report was drawn up, and it has been printed and laid before this committee at the rising of the Council last Tues- day and no resolution was minuted as being come to, and the whole question WAS adjourned. ll'o Capt Pryce-Jones 1 am sorry I mar'e that mistake.] Mr D. HAMER seconded Mr Lloyd's resolution. The CHAIRMAN How cun we amend the minute of the conference? We can pass a resolution stating that in oor opinion the allowance of 7t per cent. on lan < is erroneous. Captain MYTTON What is the present deduction on land ? The CHAIRMAN 2t ppr cent. Mr J. JONES t-aid he took it the last ruling of the Chairman made it competent for the members of the committee to discuss each item of the printed report. The CHAIRMAN Yes, the wholo thing is before us. Mr J. JONES regarded the proposed resolution as being rather misleading. He suggested it should be, "That the committee adopt 2l per cent. as deduction for land without buildings." Captain PRYCE-JONES said it was rather unfair upon the officers who had put down 7t per cent., whereas he was under the impression that 7-21 per cent, was agreed upon. Mr GEORGE MORGAN said he knew the 7t per cent was mentioned. If the deductions on land "nd build- ings was 10 per cent., it was the feeling of the oom- mittee that the deductions on land only should be raised. It was certainly the opinion of the confer- ence that if one item was altered there should be an alteration all round. He did not think they had looked closely into the question of deductions, as th-y at first determined to do it, and simply to make deductions according to the evidence laid before them in dealing with every class of property in the county (hotr. hear). The CHAIRMAN With rezard to the point raised by Captain Pryce-Jones, our officers. are quitd as likely to be correct as our recollections. Mr Humobreys-Owen then referred to Captain Pryce- Jone" letter on County Rating, which appeared in the Express and Times last week. He remarked that he had not had ume to thoroughly read it through or analyse his figures in order to appreciate them. He did not think it was possible for the committee to get a uniform standard for the alteration of the County Rate Basis in time for the next assessment of the County Race. Mr LLOYD But it is very important that we should have a new County rate basis in time for the next county rate, or els the Newtown and Llanidloes and Forden Unions will have a great burden cast upon them, while Llanfyllin Union will be relieved. Mr JOHN JONES: How is that? Mr LLOYD repeated his former observations. Mr GEO MORGAN seconded Captain Pryca-Jones's motion. He thought it would be better for the ques- tiou to be adjourned for two or three mont hs, and in the meantime for a committee of three or four to be appointed to go into the whole question of the deduc- tions to be allowed to the various property s of the county. He would like Captain Pryce-Jones to add to his motion that a small committee be appointed to tak exidence as the deductions which the owners of each c'ass of property were entitled to t-othat when they met again to discus4 the county rate basis they might bo finally able to settle the question. Mr WOOSNAM submitted Captain Pryce-Jones's motion as being out of order. The CHAIRMAN I do not think it is out of order. It is open to discuss the whole thing and move amendments. I don't s^e anything out of order m that. You may argue against it, that it is very iu- conv,e,lient. Mr HAMER expressed his regret that he was called aw -y fr,tii the committee meeting held on Tuesday last, and therefore he had not the pleasure of listen* in to the speech delivered hy Captain Pryce-Jones. It s fpmed that he had aone into print, and thus had giveu them -tri opportunity of reading what he said. On reading through his letters, which appeared in the Mniiif/omery-hire Express Mr J JONES asked if it were in order for a member to deliver a speech on a letter which appeared in the paper of that day, and which fcoine of the members i had not seen. The CHAIRMAN said that Mr Hamer no donht wished to answer Captain Pryce-Jones, and as this was an adjourned meeting he was perfectly in orde-. If it w,>ro a meeting of th3 Council the objection! would stand. Mr HAMER, continuing, said on looking through the statements made in tne lettgr, it seemed to him that the writer had proved too muoh and so had' spoilt his case. When he saw ha proved that the de-1 duction upon farm houses was 70perc<;nt., he eaid to | himself that it must be a fallacj, and the fallacy was contained irt the statement. He took the rural p irt of the parishes of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn upon which to make his calculation*, and thus he had been wrong from the commencement. The two parirhes mentioned were the only parishes in which be could find anything upon which to substantiate the case he attempted to make out. The rating of the farm houses in those two parishes was an anomaly. It was an illegal thing.. It had not been done by a properly constituted rating authority, but by the members of the Local Board, who were not a rating authority. It had been done by a number of tradesmen without any farmer being amongst them, or only one, and that one was told that io was bound to be done by law. Where that law was bo had never discovered, although he had been searching several years for it. It was an uncommon law, and he thought perhaps it was "Cooke's law" (loud laughter.) By that expression he (lid not wish Mr W. Cooke to take offence. for he did not use the words disrespectfully. He knew that when the Clerk to the Newto>vn Local Board was a-ked a question he answered straightforwardly and to the point at once. It was said that it had been ordered to be done by an auditor—Mr F. R. Southern, an auditor who had left the district for some years. Mr Hamer was understood to say that the auditor had said that it was not legal to rate the houses anct laud in a lump. Continuing, he said that the amount of expenditure was such that they certainly ought not to have less than a 15 per cent. deduction. He had not tested the figures iu the letter, because he found the super-structure was built on a fallacy. He stated that the farm houses were of a certain value, and the land so much, but the land was no good with- out the buildings, and the buildings useless without the land. He knew landlords had to spend ten times as much on buildiugs as on the farm houses, which were sound in structure, but the buildings were liable to get broken down and out ot repair. He contended that Captain Pryce-Jones had brought nothing to gnbstantiate his fig-ares as representing the two values of the rural portions of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn parishes. He had misled himself, and also attempted to lead others astray. No doubt it waa an oversight, and occasioned by too much haste. He agreed with the adjournment of the ques- tion, and proposed that the question of the county rate should be proceeded with, and only the question of the deductions adjourned. In the meantime they would probably receive more light, and agree to take the matter up in a more generous spirit than seemed to be prevailing at present. Mr W. COOKS spoke in favour of adjournment. Mr LLOYD seconded Mr Hamer's amendment. Mr WOOSNAM supported toe adjournment, and hoped in the meantime the spiritless display would have calmed down. Mr GEO. MORGAN pointed out that he was in per- fect agreement with the amendment, and he should be in favour of combining it with the motion. Mr J. JONES heartily supported the motion. In the course of a discussion the CHAIRMAN suggested the following resolution as one which might bring the members together:—"That in the opinion of this committee the Union assessments should be adopted as the county rate basis, provided a uniform scale of deductions is arrived at, that for the present the existing scale of deductions be retained, and that a small committee be appointed to further consider the question of deductions, and report thereon in time for the next revision of the county rate basis." Mr HAMER mentioned that he thought the allow- ance of 2t pe cent. to woodlanus was also a clerioal error. Mr "W008NAM suegested that the question of deductions would be debarred if Capt. Pryce-Jones's motion were carried. C»pt. PRYCE-JONES Oh, HO. Mr WOOSNAM That ii my way of looking at it. Capt. PRYCE.JONES: I will alter it to meet you, if you wish. Air HAMER thought in the preparation of the new rate the existing deductions should remain in torce. Capt. PRYCE-JONES seconded tue Chairman's motion. Mr LLOYD said if they did not adopt the present assessments as the new county rate basis, Newtown and Llanidloes and Forden Unions would lose considerably, while Llanfyllin Union would derive an advantage. Mr WOOSNAM asked if it were possible to appoint a small committee to over-ricle the standing committee? The CHAIRMAN said the committee could appoint a sub-oommiitee. Mr J. JONES said that if they took the paroohial assessments it would mean that every assessment in uhe county would have to be analysed, as there were certain deductions in each class of property. Unless they had a uniform deduction he thought they were bound to separate the assessments. Mr GEO. MORGAN said it appeired that the com- mittee were ail agreed upon adjourning and pro- ceeding with the new county rate basis, and he asked the Chairman to prepare a resolution which would bring the committee together. Capt. PRYCE-JONES said when he question of deductions were discussed, he should advocate a rn-valualion of the property throughout the county. With regard to Mr D Hamer's remarks upon his letter, there was no occasion to refer to them. Mr Hamer had merely contradicted his figures, and it was only an assertion, while the facts set forth in his letter were backed up by reliable figures, and they were yet not confuted. Mr WOOBNAM said there were two things for them to do. They either had to accept the lists sent them by the different Unions of the county, or decide to have a separate county assessment. If they had the latter it would entail considerable expense, and he questioned whether it would not be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. He was as radical as Capt. Pryce-Jones in regard to the inequality of rating in that county, and would go heart and soul with him for a re-valuation. But they must first of all adopt the principle upon which they were to go, and he did not see how they were going to do that without adjourning the question. The following resolution was ultimately agreed to, That the existing Union assessments ba adopted as the revised county rate basis. That the committee adjourn the queatiou of the deductions, and also the question of a separate county assessment to be made on all mansions, railways, canals, &c." The committee then rose.





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