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Outlines of Local Government

Detailed Lists, Results and Guides

Outlines of Local Government ii. County Districts (Urban and Rural). (3) Duties applicable to Rural District I Councils only, viz. (a) Public Health (Water) Act, 1878, expressly requires Rural Authorities to see that every occupied house in their district, has a proper supply of wholesome water. That Act does not apply to Urban Authorities, but the latter may be invested with powers and duties thereunder by order of the Local Government Board. (Maxwell). (b) Power of delegation of sanitary duties to Parish Councils. The Parish Council may ask the Rural District Council to appoint a Parochial Committee," and to make the Parish Council, that Committee, with, per- haps, the addition of the District Councillor for that district. Then the Parish Council (besides all its own powers) may exercise within its own parish nearly all the powers that the Rural District Council possesses, if they are delegated to the Parish Committee. The expenses for sewage and water supply will be kept separate, and will be charged on the parish in the poor-rate; but for other matters they will be shared over the whole district; just as if there had been no Parochial Committee, unless the Local Government Board confers powers specially for one parish. These Parochial Committees, meeting in the parishes themselves, practically carry on the government, giving their orders direct to the rural district officials, and making formal reports to the Rural District Council, which are usually confirmed. (c) Such urban powers as may be granted under Provisional Order issued by the Local Government Board. The Local Government Board may grant the powers of an Urban Council, to the Rural Council, on the appli- cation of the Rural Council itself, or of one- tenth of the ratepayers (calculating according to net assessment) of the district or village for which the application is made. (d) Parish Council, if co-extensive with a parish. Sometimes it happens that there is only one rural parish in a poor law union, in which case a Rural District Council of five act as Parish and District Council, and no Parish Council is elected, unless the County Council order otherwise. (2) Power to apply to County Council to become an Urban District Council. Officers of District Councils. I There are some officials whom every sani- tary authority must appoint, others whom an urban authority must appoint, but whom a rural authority need not, and others whose employment is optional with either class of authority. The chief officials of District Councils are;— (1) The Chairman. Neither sex nor mar- riage disqualify for election. Every chair- man of a District Council is an ex-officio Justice of the Peace for the county, but a chairwoman enjoys no privilege. (2) The Medical Officer of Health, who is an essential official of every sanitary authority, must be a legally qualified medical practitioner, and his special qualifications are now prescribed by Statute. (3) The Inspector of Nuisances, likewise, is essential both to the urban and the rural authority, but the functions of Medical Officer and Inspector of Nuisances may be combined in one person. (4) The Surveyor, whose appointment is only incumbent on the urban authority, and even here the same person may unite the offices of Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances. Appointment of (2) and (4) subject to approval of Local Government Board. The Medical Officer of Health is the sanitary adviser of the Council. He makes an annual report on the health and sanitary conditions of his district to the Local Government Board, and to report specially in the case of any epidemic outbreak. If his reports are pro- perly made, one-half of his salary and of that of the Sanitary Inspector will be repaid to the District Council by the County Coun- cil out of their Exchequer Contribution Account. (5) The Clerk, who is specially appointed only by an Urban Council. In the case of the rural authority, the person who acts as Clerk to the Guardians acts also as Clerk to the sanitary authority, and may receive an extra allowance on that account. The Clerk is the returning officer at elections of Coun- cillors, unless he declines to act. No pro- fessional qualification is necessary by law for tha office, though, of course, some experience of that kind is advisable. Even when he is not a solicitor he is entitled to appear for the Council in a court of law. (6) The Treasurer, who, similarly, is specially appointed only for the urban dis- trict, the Treasurer of the Guardians, as in the case of the Clerk, acting in a double capacity. No individual may in any way, wholly or partially, combine the duties of Clerk and Treasurer of a local authority, (7) Collector in urban districts only. (8) Such others as the Council consider necessary. Expenditure of Urban District Councils. Into the General District Fund is collected the general income from all sources of an Urban District Council. The sources of its income are very vanous:- (1) Property. Rents of land and houses, market and bridge tolls, harbour dues, water and gas rents, &c. (2) Treasury Subventions, received through the; County Council. (3) Penalties. Fines inflicted and penal- ties imposed by the courts of summary juris- diction for breaches of bye-laws. The General District Fund is, however, in the: main replenished from the proceeds of (4) The General District Rate, which must be made by the Urban District Council under its common seal. It may be made for the purpose of covering expenses incurred or to b incurred; but in the former case the liability must have arisen within six months before the making of the rate. It is assess- able on all property assessable to the poor rate, and is to be assessed on the full net annual value of such property, except in the case of agricultural and railway land within urban limits, which is only to be assessed one-fourth of its net annual value. The poor law valuation is usually taken as the basis. Occupiers, not owners, are the persons gene- rally rated; but the Council may, if it chooses," rate the owner instead of the occu- pier, where the annual value of the premises does not exceed £ 10, and the premises are let out to weekly or monthly tenants. (5) A Private Improvement Rate, which is imposed upon the occupier or (if none) upon the owner of premises in respect of which the expenses which the rate is designed to meet have been specially in- curred. A common example of a Private Improvement Rate occurs when a new street of houses is built upon what was formerly a field, and the owners of the houses do not properly make the roadway, which is there- upon completed by the Council, at the ex- pense of the owners. The Private Improve- ment Rate may be payable by instalments, and it remains a charge upon the premises until it is paid off. I Borrowing Powers. Any District or Borough Council may borrow money for the purposes of their work under the Public Health Acts, wit the con- sent of the Local Government Board, subject to certain regulations, some of which are the following:- (1) A loan may only be raised for paying the cost of permanent works. (2) The total loans outstanding must not exceed two years* assessable value of the district. (3) If the total sum outstanding will ex- ceed one year's assessable value of the dis- trict, the Local Government Board will hold a local inquiry before consenting. (4) No permanent loans are allowed. The loan must be arranged to be repaid within a period of not more than sixty years, fixed by the Local Gopernment Board. The loans form a charge on the General District Rate. In order to secure the tenders, special provisions for the repayment of loans and the due payment of interest are made by the Local Loans Act, 1875. As a result, local authorities can generally obtain money on very easy terms. Any Council may borrow money for the purpose of electric supply independently of the ordinary restrictions as to loans (Electric Lighting Act, 1909, s. 21). Councils may also raise loans beyond the limit named in (2) for libraries and museums, and for buildings under the Housing of the Working Classes Acts." Expenditure of Rural District Councils. A Rural District Council has no power I directly to levy its own rates, except in the case of Private Improvement rates. The sum3 which an urban authority would raise by direct levy, the rural authority obtains by precepts addressed to the overseers of the separate parishes comprised in its district. All its expenses, other than private improvement expenses, were divided by the Public Health Act, 1875, into general and special ex- penses. General expenses are those charge- able on the district at large, such as the salaries of the officers of the Council, the expenses of the establishment, of disinfection; special expenses are those chargeable on the parish or contributory place in respect of which they have been incurred. General expenses are paid out of a common fund raised equally from each contributory place in proportion to its assessable value; special expenses are met by a special rate, similar to a poor rate, but levied only on the particular parishes benefited. Accounts and Audit. I Accounts are made up in the case of:- (1) Urban Districts, yearly to 31st March. (2) Rural Districts, half-yearly to 31st March and 30th September; and both are audited by the District Auditor of the Local Government Board.

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Ammanford Police Court.