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Abergavenny Town Council.I

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Abergavenny Town Council. I The Mayor and the Guardians A Reply. I COUNCILLOR GRAHAM CHALLENGES COUNCILLOR Df FIELD. I The monthly meeting of the Abergavenny Town Council was held on Monday night, the Mayor (Alderman Z. Wheatley) presiding. There were also present Councillors 1'. Telford, T. A. Delafield, W. J. Tong, W. Horsington, Alfred Graham, J. R. Ecckwit-h, W. Meale and H. A. Palmer. Comforts for Welsh Troops. 1 The Town Clerk read a letter from the Mon- mouthshire County Council inviting the co- operation of the Town Council in regard to the provision of comforts for Welsh troops at home and abroad. The Mavor said that each Mayor had been communicated with directly, and lie had the matter in hand. He had had an interview with the secretary in London. Councillor Telford Has the Government failed in its duty of providing troops with the necessaries and comforts they are entitled to ? The Mayor No, they have not failed to pro- vide them with necessaries, but these are extra comforts. It is underclothing that is required. Councillor Telford It is a disgraceful state of tiffairs.thatisalllcansay. The Mayor said he had gone so far as to arrange with Mrs. Pegler to act as secretary, and she was calling a ladies' committee together that week to formulate a scheme of house-to- house collection. He was also trying to arrange for a concert to take place in aid of the funds. Councillor Telford said he did not think it was wise to multiply committees. They already had a committee dealing with comforts for troops, and he thought it would be better to refer the letter to that committee. He believed the Mavoress and the ex-Mayoress and other ladies were members of that committee, and he thought the letter should be referred to them to deal with, or to the Prince of Wales's Fund Committee. Councillor Horsington: Do I understand tlut this providing of comforts is to be altogether different to the scheme which has been carried out practically next door, where ladies for some months have made an almost untold number of shirts and different things ? The Mavor It is quite a distinct thing. It is not the Red Cross work. The Town Clerk These are for Welsh troops only. Councillor Horsington I had it in my mind that that committee was doing very good work. The Mayor They are doing excellent work, but this is different altogether. They want to take a special collection, like they do for Dr. Barnardo's Homes. Councillor Telford proposed that it be referred to the Prince of Wales' Fund general committee. Councillor Horsington said he thought it was work which might be carried out in conjunction -with the present shirt-making committee." The Mavor said he had seen some of the ladies that afternoon, and asked them if they could let him have some things for that object, and they said theirs was Red Cross work. Councillor Tong seconded the proposition of Councillor Telford. The Mayor said the Prince of Wales' Fund committee was nothing. Councillor Telford I rise to a point of order. Let us have your reasons for saying it is nothing. The Mayor If you ask me, the Prince of AVales' Fund Committee is doing no good at all. Nobody has a penny from them. There is reallv no Prince of Wales' Fund Committee, and the Relief Committee set up by the town is a different organization altogether. I don't think it would be advisable to delegate it to this fund. It would be much wiser to delegate it to a com- mittee of outsiders. Councillor < Graham suggested that the matter should be allowed to lie on the table for six months. Let those responsible complete their work. Councillor Tong said he understood there was a committee actually in existence. He did not believe in multiplying committees. Councillor Palmer said that if they delegated the matter to a committee for the specific pur- pose it would meet with comparative luke- warrnness. Councillor Meale said lie was not in favour of the Prince of Wales' Fund Committee at all. It was no good to the working men, and owing to its undemocratic action in the past he could not support it. It would be better to have a fresh committee. Councillor Beckwith said they could not add too many names to the committee, because some of them. wanted a lot of drawing before they would part." If they put on some of the ladies who had such persuasive powers perhaps they could get more than the old committee got. He seconded Councillor Meale's proposition that they have a fresh committee. The amendment to have a fresh committee -was carried. Charity Trustees. The Charity Commissioners wrote that they assented to the appointment of Mr. E. H. Brethertou and Dr. N. R. Phillips to fill vacancies in the position of trustees of Miss Rachel Herbert's Church, Parsonage and Almshouses Charities. FROM REPORT 01 FINANCE AND GENERAL PURPOSES COMMITTEE. (The Mayor, chairman). Sub-Post Oihce A letter was read from the Surveyor, G.I'.O., in regard to the question of extending telegraph facilities to Cross-street sub post office, stating that it is not practicable to alter the decision already communicated. > The Town Clerk was instructed to communicate with the Postmaster General on the matter. The Mayor proposed and Councillor Delafield seconded the adoption of this report. Postal Matters. Councillor Horsington Has anything further been done in regard to the Post Office in Cross- strcH ? The Mayor Nothing further. The Town Clerk said he had sent a letter to the Postmaster General. Councillor Palmer said that in addition to this matter there was a real grievance in regard to the late morning delivery and the suspension of the evening delivers- of letters, which was an inconvenience and embarassment to the general public, who had to go to the Post Office in the evening tor their letters and wait till they were sorted by a meagre Post Office staff. He thought this matter should be coupled with the other matter in any communication with the Postmaster General, and the representation should be in no half-hearted way. The- should beard the lion in his den," because, owing to the barriers of red tape, communications did not reach the proper quarter, and they did not get the views of the Postmaster General himself. Temporary labour could be obtained to deal with the delivery of letters if a real, serious effort were made to obtain it. Councillor Telford said there was an improve- anent in the delivery of letters from that day. Councillor Graham's Suggestion. I Councillor Graham, referring to the accounts, said they would .notice that small accounts were being continually paid month after month to the same firm. Was it not possible to buy in large quantities ? They got a multiplication of small accounts, and this meant paying out small cheques, which increased the expenditure with- out adding to the revenue. They might buy in large quantities to advantage, instead of each committee acting entirely on its own responsi- bility, One committee bought articles in small quantities, and another committee bought the same kind of thing. Would not it be possible to systematise the work better ? Further, they had had bills two or three years old coming in, and it was impossible to check them. Councillor Horsington strongly supported. He did not like to see bills coming in, as they had done, with account rendered across the top, and they had trouble in getting the details. The Mayor said that one of the committees was recommending that all accounts should in future be sent direct to the Town Clerk. The Mayor's Reply. The Alavor said they would remember that Counc ilors Beckwith and Palmer ra.sed a dis- cussion at the last monthly meeting as to the rates, and in answer to Councillor Beckwith he (the Mayor) said he believed one reason why the rate was heavier this half year than last was that the Guardians had not demanded 7500 which the}- should have done last half year. He stated the amount in round figures. It was stated at the Guardians' meeting that the "gentlemen who spoke about these figures did not know what they were taking about. He was not going to quarrel or argue with a public body who were undoubtedly doing their best. He simply pointed out the reason the rate was higher than last hall year. He had gone into the matter very carefully, and lie found it was necessary that a rate should be made at a certain period. lu the month of April their rate collector, or assistant overseer, Restall, I applied, as was his usual custom, to Mr. Scanlou, the Clerk to the Guardians, for his estimate of the requirements of the Cuardians and. County Council for the ensuing half yeai. Mr. Scanlon informed the assistant overseer that it would be is. 5d. in the for the county rate, and Md. for the common fund. The rate was prepared on these figures, as was usual, and was signed on the 4th of May and duly published on the church doors on the following Sunday, the loth of May. On Monday morning, the nth of May, a post- card was sent by Mr. Scanlon, dated the oth of May and bearing the Newport postmark, the loth of May, to the assistant overseer, stating that the countv rate would be is. yd., a difference j of 4d. in the 1. Whose fault it was he was not going to say. It was impossible for the over- seer' to call upon the assistant overseer to issue a rate for is. od., as the information came too late so that instead of there being £ 5°° less collected last half year the total was f724 6s. iod. That £ 700 odd had to be collected this half vear, which accounted for the rate being 3s. 2d. in the £ He thought it was only ngnt mat I the Council should know the actual facts, j (Hear, hear). Councillor Craham said he could raise a serious point on this matter, but in the interests of the county and probably in the interests of the overseers it would be better to let the matter j drop. There was a point which had not escaped the attention of certain members of the public as well as members of that Council. < GAS COMMITTEE. I Councillor Delafield proposed and Councillor I Graham seconded the adoptfon of this com- I mittee's report. Iron or Lead? I Councillor I-Iorsitigton Is the scrap iron being tendered for, or how is it being disposed of? Councillor Delafield The Manager, in the usual way, will obtain the best price. Councillor Telford Is it scrap iron ? Councillor Delafield Some of it is scrap iron and some of it is lead. Councillor Telford said that a short time ago he saw a load of scrap iron coming from the-Gas Works, and he hardly thought there could be another load already. He was given to under- stand that it was not scrap iron, but lead. Councillor Graham said that, as a member of the committee, lie knew nothing about scrap iron. There was a quantity of scrap lead at the Works which had remained there some time. He asked what it was doing there, and suggested, from a business point of view, that they should sell it, as it was a favourable time. The com- mittee adopted the suggestion and tried to get the best price for it. He did not know anything about iron having left the Works or being there for disposal. Some light was needed on the matter. Another Error. Councillor Telford asked if the chairman of the Gas Committee could give them some information as to why the concession was made to the contractors for pitch. Councillor Delafield said it was a question of Hobson's choice." If the committee had not consented to the recommendation they would have placed themselves in a position of difficulty later oil. Councillor Telford What was the difficulty ? Councillor Delafield We might have a lot of tar and liquor on our hands, and might not be able to dispose of it. These people might not take it at the time we wanted to get rid of it. Councillor Telford But it is pitch. Councillor Graham It is tar. Another error. Councillor Telford You won't have much difficulty in disposing of it later on when our new dyeing plant is put in by the Government. (Laughter). Public Lighting. I Councillor l'almcr said he would like to call the chairman's attention to the desirability of re-arranging the street lamps. It must be apparent to anyone that they had some dark spots in the town, and this might be remedied by a re-arrangement in the method of extinguish- ing the lamps, so that", even if an additional lamp were fixed there need be no increase in the consumption of gas. In Penypound, opposite Park-road, there was a very dark spot, and he had seen some very narrow escapes from an accident there. Councillor Delafield said the question of public lighting had been dealt with very ex- haustively in the past, and they were bound by a resolution passed by the Council. He quite agreed that a lamp was necessary opposite Park- road, and if the Council agreed he would see that it was done. Any suggestion would be con- sidered by the committee. Councillor Graham's Challenge. I Councillor Graham, referring to a discussion at the last meeting, said he challenged the right of the chairman of the committee (Councillor Delafield) to answer a certain question raised by himself (Councillor Graham). The question was in reference to the contracts by the Gas Committee for the maintenance of burners and mantles at a certain rate per month. The statement was made that it was 3d. per month per burner. It was 2d. per month, and it had now been raised to 4d. The point he raised was that the chairman should not answer the question because he was benefitting from such a contract. Councillor Delafield's reply was that he was not benefitting any more than a person was by pur- chasing gas or coke. The point, however, was that the existence of such contracts was not generally known and no steps had been taken to make it known. that the public could enjoy the same privilege. He wished it to be known that there were only seven people who had taken advantage of this privilege supposed to be ex- tended to the public. Of these seven, one was the chairman (Councillor Delafield) himself, I two were his direct relatives, another was a member of the Council, and there were two other people. If it was an advantage to the ratepayers and to consumers of gas, why was it not made known ? It was not the place of one who was receiving benefit to answer questions on the matter. Now the price had been raised to 4d. it was hardly likely that anyone would want the privilege, because the general public could get it done by local tradesmen cheaper. When it was an advantage, nothing was said. On the statement of the official responsible for the Gas Works, they made a profit of 8d. a year on these contracts-a penny on each customer. He maintained that there was something radically wrong, and it not only needed in- vestigation but a vote of censure on the chair- man, who did not move to make it known to the public. While enjoying the privilege, and knowing that there was no profit, he got up in the Council to defend himself, though he was benefitting by the contract. Councillor Horsington said lie was astounded at being told a deliberate lie across that table. He asked the price for attending to the mantles, and he was told 3d. He had been told two lies across that table in twelve months. It was wrong to mislead anyone who asked questions. The Gas Manager, in reply to questions, said that the price to consumers who had 12 or more burners was 2d. per burner, and to those with less than 12 burners, 3d. per burner. Now the price was increased to 3d. and 4d. per burner respectively. Councillor Horsington said it had gone forth to the public that the price had been 2d., and now to be told that it was 3d. was a thing he strongly objected to. At the last meeting he said this business had been carried on at a ridiculous price, and here was absolute proof of it. He expressed surprise that this business had been going on, and now that it had come to the light of day it would be a surprise to the general public as well. The Mayor Let the chairman reply, and then let it go back to the committee to be discussed. Councillor Telford The chairman cannot reply he is an interested party. I propose that this matter be referred to the committee to be dealt with in a strict manner. Councillor Graham If the chairman replies, we have no further voice, and the statements may be refuted. The chairman is challenged on his past statements, and if he is to reehallenge these statements we shall have to go through it all agiin. The Mayor The wisest, quickest and easiest way would be to let it go to the committee to bring up a report at the next monthly meeting. This was agreed to. Councillor Delafield Shall I be allowed, as chairman, to deal with the question on the committee ? Councillor Graham Decidedly not. The Mayor Your committee will discuss that. FROM REPORT OF SANITARY AXD WATER COMMITTEE. (Councillor P. Telford, chairman). I Water Charges The Town Clerk has been directed to obtain particulars in reference to charges for water from several of the neighbour- ing towns.—Castle Meadows The yearly tenancies of the Castle meadows expire on 2nd February. The committee authorised the Town Clerk to renew all the tenancies on the same terms as last year where tenants are wishful to renew.-Scarlet Fever; Letter received from Clerk to Monmouthshire County Council asking for steps to be taken to close the schools in the. town, owing to epidemic of scarlet fever. The committee, through the Medical Offier of Health, had previously taken all necessary steps to deal with the matter, employees The Borough Surveyor reported that one of the old employees was away from work through illness. This being a case where the man is too old to benefit under the National Insurance Act, the committee have granted him sick pay on the same scale and for a like period as if he was insured under the Insurance Act.—The committee considered Messrs. Allcott & Wilson's further offer of it) for rent of warehouse, stables, &c.. Mill-street. The committee inspected the premises, and re- solved that same be offered to them for iio per annum, all repairs to be executed at their ex- pense. The Borough Surveyor was instructed to clean out the warehouse. I Councillor Telford proposed and Councillor Tong seconded the adoption of the report. I I FROM REPORT OF STREETS, BVII.DIXGS AND I I IMPROVEMENTS COMMITTEE. (Councillor Alfred C. Graham, chairman), j Union Road Improvement Messrs. Foster I and Hill have written that they are prepared to meet the committee on the site to discuss the iiiat ter. -Accotiiits The committee ordered I that all accounts for goods supplied or work done should in future be sent in to the Town I Clerk's office, so as to facilitate the payment of same. The present arrangement of rendering I them to department concerned causes delay in oavment. I FROM REPORT OF MARKETS, ToWX I INGS, CASTI.E AND PARK COMMITTEE. (The Mayor, chairman). Stage Flap Letter read from Mr. Yyvian Thomas asking for slight alteration of the stage, as at present it is impossible to set full-sized scenery. The Borough Surveyor estimates the cost to he about £ 3, and as the alteration has been before the committee on several occasions, they agreed to carry out the work.—Castle Grounds Letter read from Mr. Yyvian Thomas asking for permission to book high-class concert parties at the Castle grounds this season Re- solved that permission be granted, subject to the Corporation taking id. for each admission, season ticket holders to be admitted free, pro- vision for reserving certain days for fetes, etc., and Mr. Thomas to provide chairs, pay for gas, fittings, &c.- -Cattle Pens Mr. Montague Harris auctioneer, made application for an additional row of sheep pens and an extension of his present cattle pen. The committee agreed to the ad- ditional row of sheep pens, Mr. Harris to pay y 2 1 os. per annum for same.—Sale of Cycles A letter was read from Messrs. Allcott & Wilson with reference to the sale of cycles by auction in the Cattle Market, and asking the committee if they propose! taking any action in the matter. The committee, after consideration, decided to increase the charge on each cycle from is. to is. 3d. I An Old Employee. I Councillor Palmer referred to the paragraph in reference to the granting of sick pay to an old employe. He should like to know why they had so many old employes ineligible for the benefits of the National Insurance Act. It seejued to him that the Corporation was the dumping ground for old employes, and in order to be generous to this old employe they were spending other people's money and incurring a liability they ought not to incur. Was this man employed after 65 years of age ? The Mayor I think he has been in our employ for 30 or 40 years. Councillor Telford said this man's case was brought before the committee by the Borough Surveyor. The man had been working for the Corporation for at least 35 years, and the Borough Surveyor gave him an excellent character as a workman. He was a man who could always be depended on and who attended to his work. He was too old when the Insurance Act came into force, and it would have been very hard-lines on him if they had given him the sack simply because he was too old for the insurance scheme. The committee took a humane view of the circumstances and decided to still employ him, as he was quite able to do his work. He was over 70 years of age, and when the case was brought forward the committee decided to recommend that he receive the same benefits, for the time being, as if he came under the National Insurance Act. He (Councillor Tel- ford) had heard since that the man had applied for an old age pension, as he would not be able to do any more \vork, and the matter wtJuld be dealt with again by the committee. Trouble About a House. I I Councillor Beckwith said he fully expected to hear a letter read from Mr. Spillane with regard to his house in St. Helen's-road, He (Coun- cillor Beckwith) had previously stated that the matter had been on for years, and he was dis- believed. He had seen Mr. Spillane since and asked him when the present job which was being done to the house was started, and he was told it was commenced two years and four months ago, and it had not been completed yet. Mr. Spillane also mentioned the various committees that had visited the house from time to time. When he visited Mr. Spillane he found that he (Mr. Spillane) could not get through his front door, and he had to go through his neighbour's on account of this particular work. The time had arrived when they as a Council should do something for a most conscientious man. It was their duty to do it, and they should not shirk it. The Mayor said there was no letter that night, but there was one for the committee on the following night. This was the first time that he (the Mayor) had had to deal with the matter. Councillor Telford, the Town Clerk and himself visited Mr. Spillane's house about a fortnight ago and tried to make a suggestion to Mr. Spillane which they thought would have met him. Mr. Spillane promised to consider it and send in a letter, but the letter was quite different to what they had ben led to expect. They suggested that Mr. Spillane should make them an offer as to what he would sell them the house for, provided they put it in repair, and also the price if they did not put it in repair. They wanted to consider the value of the house and what it would cost to put it in repair. They went so far as to say that they would do all they could to allow Mr. Spillane to have the use of the house as long as he lived, or they would sell him the house back at a figure to be agreed upon. What they wanted was a final settlement. It was no good going on year after year with it, but if they did the work which Mr. Spillane wanted them to do there would be no finality at all about it. The same thing might occur again in six months or a year. He appealed to Mr. Spillane to make them an offer to sell the house or to give them some definite proposition so that they could say yes or no to it. Councillor Telford I ask Councillor Beck- with to give Mr. Spillane this message, How much will you take to settle the matter ?" and the Council would be prepared to meet him. Councillor Beckwith (to the Mayor) If you had a house—as I daresay you have, or the worth of a good many (the Mayor laughingly dis- sented)—and your family had been brought up in it, why should you sell it if you did not wish to ? The Council is responsible for the defects which have occurred all the time. We have done a certain amount of damage, and you ask him to sell the property. If it was mine, I should not sell it. Even the road is giving way as well as the house. Councillor Tong said one point needed clearing up. He understood that there was a resolution passed by that Council that the work should be done. It was started and had never been finished. He thought it was due to the Council that the resolution should be unearthed and they should understand what was to be done. The Mayor said it would be dealt with by the committee the following night, and he thought they would carry out the work which Mr. Spillane asked for. Councillor Meale said they .were prepared, as a committee, to repair these premises, but they were not going to be always liable. They did not want this thing on for another five years. They were prepared to put the house in repair, if Mr. Spillane would give them a clearance. If he would not, they were prepared to buy the property. It was no use beating about the bush. I- Obvious Nuisances. Councillor Palmer asked what system the Surveyor employed with regard to the finding out of nuisances. The lavatories and urinals attached to some of the licensed houses were in an abominable condition, which was highly objectionable, and it should be as obdous to I the Surveyor as it was to other people. Every- j thing humanly possible should be done to remedy the present state of affairs. Councillor Meale said he would bring the matter before the committee the following f night. I Councillor Beckwith substantiated Councillor Palmer's remarks, and said there was enough to do about the nuisance in connection with the keeping of pigs. I Council Houses for Abergavenny. Councillor Beekwith, referring to the Housing 1 and Town 1'lanning Conference, said he was glad to note that his friend, Councillor Graham, was I one of the deputation. He thought the day had arrived, orPncarly, when this town planning scheme should be put into operation in Aber- gavenny. His attention had been drawn to a certain landlord in Park-street who had raised his rents 37s. per year on the plea of the rates. God speed the day when the housing and to'.vn planning scheme was put into operation and they as a Council supported the building of Council houses for the poor to live in. Councillor Graham said the conference had been held, and if it was the wish of the Council lie should be pleased to give them a report on the matter, as it was certainly instructive, and lie hoped it would be beneficial to all the Councils which sent representatives. He thought a report should be. given, or else what was the good of sending representatives ? Too often they sent delegates and heard no more about it. Councillor Palmer said he anticipated that they would have had -a report without asking for it. He had been hoping that something would have been done, but the national crisis which had occurred spragged the wheels of progress in many directions, and he took it that no local bodies would embark on the perilous enterprise of town planning at such a time. Councillor Graham said that a certain amount of money had been set aside for this very I purpose of town planning, to provide aga nst unemployment. I Scavenging Complaints. I Councillor Meale called attention to the system of clearing the streets. He had seen the Council's workmen in some parts of the town every morning, and he was informed that they only went to Tudor-street once a weekon Saturday mornings, before it was light. He went there one day and found the road, for 40 or 50 yards, covered with ashes tipped off the carts. It was a perfect disgrace to any town. He thought that Tudor-street should be cleaned as well as oilier streets in the borough. Councillor Graham said that lie, as chairman of the committee, was not the administrator. Councillor Meale was forestalled, because lie (Councillor Graham) a fortnight ago took the Surveyor there to show him the state of affairs. Whether the landlords or tenants were re- sponsible, something would have to be done to compel the providing of proper receptacles. Councillor Telford asked if the Castle grounds, which was to be let to Mr. Vyvian Thomas, would be reserved for Bank Holidays. The Mayor Yes. Shelters for Young Stock. I Councillor Horsingtoli said he noticed an announcement in the Chronicle about the farmers starting a subscription towards the erection of shelters in the Cattle Market. Had anything been done by the committee to meet them ? The time of year when these sheds were of use was passing away. The Town Clerk said that a deputation was appointed by the Farmers' Union to meet the Markets Committee, but there was no quorum. The matter was postponed, and since then no action had been taken. Councillor Telford Will you bring it up before the Markets Committee ? The Mayor Yes. The Joint Hospital. I A precept was received from the Joint Hospital Committee for the sum of J'102 15s. 2d., and a cheque was ordered to be drawn. Councillor Telford remarked that they as a Sanitary Committee were responsible, but they did not get any opportunity of discussing this matter. +

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