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HAVERFORDWEST RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. THE MAIN ROADS. COUNTY COUNCIL TO BE APPROACHED. Mr. W. G. James brought up a report and recommendations from the special committee appointed to inquire into the main Toads in the county of Pembroke. The committee met at the board-room of the council on Wednes- day, February 6, when the members present were:—Messrs. J. S. Roberts, W. Lewis, W. George James, and the Rev. W. H. Walters. The committee had arrived at the following conclusions:— 1. The present financial administration of main roads is thoroughly unfair to some of the districts, in consequence of the system now in vogue of gramting subsidies to equalise the expenditure in the different divisions of the county, irrespective of mileage or the amount of public traffic on the roads. 2. That under the present system of subsidies it is a misnomer to term any road in Pembroke- shire a main road. They are district roads managed by the County Council. 3. Subsidies are partly responsible for the inequality of the rates in the various districts; for instance, in 1906, Pembroke road rate, Is.; Narbetrth, Is.; Llanfirnach, 10d.; Saint Dog- mell's, Is.; Haverfordwest, 2s. 4. No other county throughout England and Wales grants subsidies to main roads, but the main roads are, without exception,, maintained out of the county funds. 5. That all the main roads ought to be wholly maintained out of the county funds, and each division should be furnished with a mileage of main roads based on the ratable value of each district and the requirements of the public traffic. If this was adopted an additional 38 would be granted to the Haver- fordwest District Council. 6. The committee strongly urge the council to appoint a deputation to interview the County Council and to point out the great injustice the Haverfordwest district is suffering under the present system of subsidies and the inequal division of main roads throughout the various districts of the county. Mr. James said that report was agreed to unanimously by the sub-committee, and he need not say much in support of the recom- mendations. They strongly urged upon the council, in the interests of the ratepayers, to take immediate action and endeavour to put the maintenance of the main roads upon a fair and equitable basis. He continued:— Some members contend that it is a mistaken policy to have our district roads mainedonthe ground that the County Council is extravagant in the management of the county roads. I do not bnow whether these members have taken into consideration that, although the average costs of district roads is low per mile and county or main roads is P,50, that when you take the average of district roads at £ 18, there are in every parish nearly half the mileage that only cost from P.4 to L7, leaving the other part with traffic to cost firom E30 to F,50 per mi. The cost of the county roads is so high, not because of extravagant administration, but through all main roads having a heavy traffic. In the Haverfordwest district at the present moment there is over 70 miles of district roads that cost over £50 per mile. The, subsidies are no remedy but a positive loss to our district, unjust and untair m every respect, and i oe- lieve we can go further and say illegal. In my hand is a return from nearly all the coun- ties of England and Wales, and what does his return prove. They grant no subsidies to main roads. The roads once taken over are maintained by county councils without refer- ence to cost or outlay. The deficiency of main roads amounting to forty miles, together with the granting of subsidies, is to a great extent responsible for the inequality of the road rate in the various divisions of this county. We now pay double any other division. Some members present may have about a month ago read the speech of the secretary to the Board of Agriculture, in which he pointed out the heavy burden taxation im- posed upon land compared with personal property of all description, and the one remedy that suggested itself to him was to transfer the cost of main roads to the Imperial fund. Surely this would be a proper course, for do not business people and monied people use the roads equally with farmers and land- owners. The report in my hand shows that the counties in England and Wales are doing th'r utmost to main the roads to be ready for this possibility. In some of the English counties nearly every mile is main. The result will be that if county roads are transferred to the Imperial fund those counties will have no district road Irate, whilst we have in the rural, and certainly a hundred miles of that quality, through the heavy traffic costs us over k50 a mile. Mr. James concluded by moving that the recom- mendations of the committee be adopted. Air. Keppel Palmer seconded this with very great pleasure. Mr. W. Howell Walters said he did not in- tend to raise anything of a contentious nature, but a good many of them when first the County Council was constituted tried to get the main roads put on a satisfactory basis, but they failed. One reason was that then nearly all the coaching roads led up towards Hobb's Point, so that the bulk of the main roads were in the south of the county. The rate to maintain these roads had they been taken over by the County Council would have been levied over the whole of the county, and in the north of the county they alleged that it was unfair to collect rates from them to maintain main roads which were chiefly in the south. That was one reason why they could not carry it then, and a second was that the district councils were unwilling to sur- render the control over their own roads. He did not believe they were much more disposed to do so to-day. He was quite sure that we ought to have a much larger mileage of main roads. The pre- sent state of things pressed very hardly upon the Haverfordwest Union. He was in favour of seeding a deputation to the Main Roads Committee which would be formed by the new County Council. Mr. Samson Williams wanted to know what they would save by transferring the roads to the County Council, and out of whose pockets would the money come for maintaining them? In his opinion the roads would cost them more under the County Council than if they were managed by themselves. The Rev. W. H. Walters said the sub-com- mittee felt very strongly in the matter of subsidies. In the Haverfordwest district they had to pay a 2s. Tate, while Is. was paid else- where, and that was an instance of the unfair incidence of taxation which prevailed under the present system throughout the whole of the county. What they wanted was that rates should be levied right throughout the county on the same basis, but tho system of subsidies did not do that. He supported the resolution. Mr. G. Harries thought this matter required further consideration, and that it should be deferred. Mr. Vincent Johns supported the resolutiq)Vl, and paid a high tribute to Mr. James, who haa' devoted many months to getting up this re- port. Mr. John Reynolds said he was not in favour of extending the main roads. On the resolution being put to the vote it was carried unanimously. Other business was chiefly of a routine char- acter.

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