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SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC MEETING.…

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SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC MEETING. FORMATION DECIDED UPON. LOCAL MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS. BOROUGH TREASURER AND REFUSE CONTRACT SCANDALS. TRENCHANT CRITICISM. A BOROUGH AUDITOR ON THE FINANCES. SPEECHES BY MESSRS. J. PREECE JAMES, J. HOWELL, F. E. L. MATHIAS=THOMAS; F. B. MASON AND OTHERS. For the pupose of forming a Ratepayers' Asso- ciation for Tenby a well-attended and successful meeting was held in the Public Hall on Thursday evening last, when as a result of the proceedings, which were of a unanimous and enthusiastic nature, it was decided to form such an Asocia- tion, and before the meeting closed a considerable number of ratepayers of both sexes had signed the register of membership. Mr. A. YEATES, the Secretary of the Provisional Committee, at the outset of the meeting, said the first thing they would have to do that night would be to select a chairman, and he invited the audience to do this. Mr. WATTS (2, St. Davids Cottages) said he would propose Mr Egerton Allen to the chair. (Applause.) Mr. EGERTON ALLEN replied that he might say at once that he had no intention of taking office in that Association. He would say, however, that he had the very greatest wish for its success, and everything he could do to help it he would very gladly do, but he did not propose to take any prominent part in it. Mr. YEATES suggested that Mr Councillor F. B. Mason should take the chair. (Applause.) Mr. EGERTON ALLEN seconded, and upon the motion being put to the meeting it was unani- mously carried.. COUNCILLOR MASON then formally took the chair, and on-the platform with him were Messrs. John Howell (one of the Borough Auditors), J. Preece James (formerly Borough Surveyor to the Tenby Corporation), F. E. L. Mathias-Thomas (soli- citor), and A. Yeates. THE CHAIRMAN, who was received with applause, addressing the meeting, said he had not the faintest intention of taking part in that meeting for the simple reason that he had seen the rules of the proposed Ratepayers' Association, and one of the best of them was that no member of the Town Council should take a prominent part in it. He took the chair because it was their wish, and although he thought there were a number of other gentlemen who could do it a great deal ebtter, yet he was glad to come forward and start the ball rolling. (Applause.) He thought th^t the Tenby ratepayers owed a debt of gratitude to Mr Yeates, who, although a comparative stranger amongst them, had gone to the trouble, care and expense of ascertaining the wishes of the ratepayers as to whether they wished such an Association formed in the town. (Applause.) He (the speaker) be- lieved that Mr Yeates had actually delivered a ballot paper at every house-850 altogether-m which people were asked to say whether they wished a Ratepayers' Association formed or not. Out of that number, as they had no doubt seen from the newspapers, 424 said yes, that they would like an Association. Three hundred never returned their papers at all—it was too much trouble—and a hundred sent in their papers with- out anything marked upon them, whilst only 28 were against the idea. Since then he understood from Mr Yeates that another 24 papers had been returned in favour of the formation of a Rate- payers' Association, which meant that 448 bur- gesses, or just over half the electorate of the town were in favour that an Association should be formed. (Applause.) Several gentlemen had asked what were the objects of the Association. Now, he (the speaker) could tell them what such an Association could do, but at the same tltne he thought he ought to ask Mr Yeates, who had suc- cessfully formed a similar Association in London, to tell them all about this part of it. He would therefore ask him to tell the meeting what was his idea of the benefits that might be derived by a town like Tenby if the inhabitants joined a Ratepayers' Association, and worked together in- telligently and unanimously. Continuing, Mr Mason said he thought there was at present a great incubus on Tenby that ought to be removed (Loud applause.) He had stood a Town Council election, and during his candidature he had gone from door to door canvassing votes, because he was obliged to, as the same thing was done by the candidates on the other side. He had 8one respectable working-men and "ked them for their vote, and some of them had whispered in his ear" I should like to vote for you, and I would vote for you if I dared." That was the state of things he found. ("Shame ) Why should anv decent man in this twentieth century be afraid" to vote as he liked? (Applause.) it was for them, the ratepayers of Tenby, to simply join themselves together, and having done this they might clear out the whole lot from the Council Chamber and put in men who would do their bidding and would make the town prosper, and give fairplay all round, not for the few, but for all. (Applause.) He asked no favour, but honest fairplay for every man. If they as rate- payers would form themselves into an Association —union was strength—they could get what they liked, do what they liked, and Tenby could hold her head up amongst the seaside resorts of the country. (Applause.) Through a Ratepayers' Association they could alter every thing munici- pally and no longer remain in the ditch where they had been all these years. (Applause.) Mr YEATES, at the request of the Chairman, then addressed the meeting and explained the objects of the proposed Ratepayers' Association. He said they all knew what was the object of the meeting that evening. It was to see if they could carry out the idea of forming a Ratepayers' Asso- ciation, and follow up the excellent results obtained from the ballot which had been taken respecting its formation. As a result of this ballot there were 450 ratepayers in favour of such an Associa- tion being formed, and 113 who did not express their opinion. Several ratepayers signed their papers, and these had been seen personally with the result that they were behind the Association. There were only 28 people who voted directly against the formation of an Association. The general result, he considered, spoke well for the town, and was a sign that it wanted a change. (Applause.) In forming a Ratepayers' Associa- tion they were doing nothing out of the way. They 'were simply banding themselves together to protect their interests. It was done in other places, and why should they not do it in Tenby ? The speaker then referred to the waste of public money going on in Tenby, and said the great object of the Association would be to promote the best interests of the ratepayers of the town, and the creation of a more intelligent and permanent interest in its municipal affairs. Everyone should take an interest in their town, and try to stop the waste of money that was going on. One object was to bring influence to bear upon the Town Council, Board of Guardians, and other public bodies with the view of keeping the rates within reasonable limits, particularly by the prevention of extravagant and unnecessary expenditure. (Applause.) People should join the Association in order to see that the rates did not go up, and that no money was thrown away. He thought that was a good object. There was also another object in view, to watch every legislative measure which might affect the interests of the Association in its relation to municipal affairs. The Associa- tion would keep down unnecessary expenditure. It would not only act as a watch-dog over the finances, but greatly assist as to the way in which public money should be spent. Surely some good must accrue from the formation of such an Asso- ciation. Why was it that every little village had now-a-days its Ratepayers' Association? There must be some good in them, or they would not be formed everywhere. Fishguard had just started such an Association, and the Chairman of it had said that they must keep a watchful eye on public expenditure. lIe (the speaker) thought they should have a Ratepayers' Association in Tenby, so that they might have fairplay and justice in municipal aflairs. (Applause.) He would advise every ratepayer to join the Association. It was all very well making a promise, but they must follow it up. It would not do to promise and then take no further interest in the movement. He appealed to all present to join that night. He had a register ready, and at the close of the meeting ratepayers were invited to sign their names in it as members. THE CHAIRMAN thought Mr Yeates had very lucidly explained the objects of the Association, which many of them, himself amongst the rest, wished to see formed in Tenby. He (the Chair- man) did not know where to begin as to tne bene- fits which would accrue from the forming of a -Ratepayers' Association, but he would just refer to the matter very briefly, and at the same time would be glad to answer any questions which might be put to him at that meeting. In the first place, if they formed a powerful Ratepayers' As- sociation they would get a fair and square election without the intimidation of voters. (Applause.) Secondly, if they had such an Asso- ciation they would not continue paying JE200 a year to an absentee Borough Treasurer. (Hear, hear.) As ratepayers they did not know—neither did he as a councillor—what this money was being paid for every year. When, in the Council Chamber, he demanded to be told why the money was being paid, he was told by the Mayor of Tenby that he should not know, and that he knew all he was going to know. ("Shame!") This mystery of JE200 per annum to an official who had left the town was one of the things which a Rate- payers' Association would very soon discover. (Hear, hear.) The next thing which the Associa- tion would get would be fairplay in the case of tenders when received. (Applause.) He then referred to the refuse removal contract scandal, in which a respectable and old inhabitant's tender, although it meant a saving of JE75 a year, was rejected in favour of the former contractor. At present a man had not the faintest chance of getting fairplay in this direction. When he (the speaker) at a Corporation meeting proposed that the lowest refuse removal tender be accepted he could not even get a seconder. (" Shame! ") Another matter to which the speaker next called attention was the South Parade Improvement, which was being carried through without its being first ascertained how the cost was to be defrayed. The Corporation had pulled down six cottages worth JE10 a year rent, or £60 altogether, and had agreed to give an Alderman of the Council a sum of JE250 for a coalyard which was not worth more than £100. ("Shame!") Well, they had pulled these cottages down, cleared and layed out the site, put down a concrete pavement and erected iron railings without as far as he knew any orders being given officially in the Council. This was the kind of thing that went on, but could be put a stop to by a strong Ratepayers' Association. The speaker then referred to the thousands of tons of sand taken away by the Great Western Railway Company, for which the town never got a single penny, though it was true that the Corporation now got a trifle for sand and shingle removed from the Beach. If they liked to form a strong Asso- ciation, and gave their minds thoroughly to it, they could get what they pleased. Their elective members could be told what they (the ratepayers) wanted done, and it would be carried out. If they would only take, as burgesses, an intelligent interest in the town's affairs Tenby would soon recover its prosperity. (Applause.) But if they wanted to starve, then he could starve with the best of them. (Laughter.) Mr. J. PUEECB JAMES, who next addressed the meeting, said he was on that platform because he believed that a Ratepayers' Association for Tenby would do a deal of good. An illustrious speaker had been advising England to wake up, but it looked, judging by the presence of so many there that night, as if Tenby were waking up to the need of a change as regards the extravagance which was going on in that town. (Hear, hear.) He had been in Tenby fifteen years, and remem- bered when he came there first that the lease of the Gas Works had just fallen in. No doubt they all remembered that time; and he believed that if the matter had been handled in the proper way the ratepayers would now be receiving the benefit of the 10, 12, or 15 per cent, which at the present time went into the pockets of a few men. (Hear, hear.) With regard to the Water Works, some years ago Mr Mansergh, a well-known engineer, was had down from London to advise the Cor- poration as to a new scheme for supplying the town with water, and when he came down he was taken up to Precelly, a scheme altogether beyond the town. For the advice which Mr Mansergh gave the Corporation on the subject of a water supply he was paid JE:540, in connection with which he (Mr James) did the best part of the work for nothing. Then, again, another engineer was brought to Tenby, also in connection with the water supply, and sent up the St. Florence Valley. He (Mr James) being Borough Surveyor at the time, was told to go up with him, and did so. He (Mr James) condemned the pipes there, but the engineer engaged by the Council said, from in- structions received, that these pipes would do. Corporation men were accordingly sent up to the Valley to make these pipes water-tight. He (the speaker) said they would never do it, and as a Consequence he was never sent up there again, H°vpever, men were sent to patch up these water- pipes, but in less than a fortnight they burst, but the engin^er who had said that they would do was paid £150 his gervices. In spite of all this heavy expenau^re Tenby was still without a proper water sup^y^ There had been nothing but extravagance in t-egard to water schemes, and at the present day the town was none the better off. He had often been a.aked bv medical officers of health and others when goiQg ^bout the country what the Tenby Town Council had done in the matter of a water supply, and when he had replied that there was no difference, and that the same state of things existed, they had said "You will never have visitors at Tenby till you have a pure water supply." Proceeding, the speaker said that Mr Mason had mentioned about the improvement of the South Parade, but he (Mr James) did not know that he was altogether struck about the £10 per year rent part of it. Possibly the open space was quite as well as pitting a pavilion on it, but at the sa.me time he did protest against the way in which the work had been carried out without the ratepayers, or even councillors themselves, knowing which way it had been arranged and how it was to be paid for. (Hear, hear.) He referred to the letter which the Council had received from the Local Government on the subject, but they had practice finished the work before com- plying with the requirements of the Board and arranging fOr the payment of the expense. This was the sort of extravagance that was going on and was likly to go on unless some effort was made by the Ratepayers to stop it. (Hear, hear.) Mr James next dealt with the South Sands drainage and culvert. In regard to this im- portant matter, they all knew that the repre- sentatives of the late Mr George Chatterton, engineer, Westmi^g^ had been paid the sum of thirty-five guineas for advising the Corporation on the plans. Mr Chatterton condemned part of Mr Moss Flow,ers' scheme, aud also con- demned his (Mr J&Ujgg') proposal as to the use of concrete, but since then the Corporation had been told that concrete w°1.1}d do. If Mr Moss Flowers' scheme was carried °1.1t the ratepayers would have to pay JE11,000 or £12,000; but it could be done very much cheaper tliQ.n that, and just as effec- tively. There were, continued Mr James, many things besides those he had mentioned, upon which he might speak, because he knew what had been going on in the UOl.¡ncil ever since he had been here. He. thought it was time for the rate- payers of Tenby to wake 1.1p and forru this Asso- ciation, so that they coui^ have a say in the management of the affair* of the town. More than that, the Local GovetQment Board would listen to a body of men whilst they would not listen to one individual. Let the ratepayers form this Association, and then it the Town Coun- cillors did not do their duty they could turn them out. (Hear, hear.) He woulq like to ask any member of the Council If he carryon his own private business in the sn,tjae way as the business of the town was carried 011 in the Council Chamber? No! If he did he >v0uld be bank- rupt in a very short time. (Hear, i10ar Those were some of the reasons why he ^ag |n favouv of a Ratepayers' Association, and he believed that if one were formed it would do a lot of good and benefit to Tenby. (Applause.) THE CHAIRMAN, alluding to Mr Jamea.g remarks with regard to the South Parade Improvement, said his complaint was that the CorPotation in- curred a loss of JE60 a year rent, and a liability of J212 10s. as interest on the capital reqmre(j to purchase the coalyard before they ha<j made proper plans as to what they were to do with the site, and how they were gomg to get the money with which to pay for it. He agreecf with Mr James that JE10 per annum for a Pavihon was not so serious a matter. Mr. JOHN HOWELL then addressed the meeting He said he was glad to find that it was a perfectly free and open meeting. He had not been pre_ viously asked to come and speak that night .11 fact, he did not know until he arrived that he should be on the platform. He, however, sym- pathized very strongly with any attempt which might be made in Tenby to invite the ratepayers to ^safeguard their own interests and those of the town. (Hear, hear.) He was glad to see SO many present, for he recollected a few years ago, when a public meeting was called in that hall for the purpose of making a protest against some action of the Town Council, it was difficult to get anybody in through the door. (Laughter.) There were very few present on the occasion to which he referred, and it was certainly a healthy sign for Tenby that so many should have turned up that night to hear the objects of a Ralepayers' Association presented to them. He thought him- self that if they could succeed in getting the rate- payers interested in municipal matters the whole question would be settled, and if the purpose of that Association—and he understuod from what he had heard that night that it was-was amongst other things to educate the people to take an inte- rest in municipal affairs, then that would be a great boon to the town apart from any good which might come, because men aud women would look into things. (Hear, hear.) He had had to look into things twice a year for the last few years in connection with municipal affairs at Tenby be- cause he had the honour to represent the rate- payers as one of their Elective Auditors. Conse- quently, everything which transpired as far as the financial concerns of the Corporation went he had had an opportunity of seeing; and he only wished that the men and women of the town had a like opportunity. Certainly they would find that it was time for a Ratepayers' Association to be interested, to say the least, in municipal matters. (Hear, hear.) The safeguards which the ratepayers had at the present time were not sufficient in themselves to safeguard the interests which were involved in a town like Tenby. Some people said to him You are in a minority in the town, but you have the Local Government Board at your back; you can appeal to them." But, continued Mr Howell, his experience of Tenby was that the Town Council took very little notice of the Local Government Board. He could give them case after case where the Tenby Corporation had been ordered by the Local Government Board to do certain things and had never done them, things of the utmost importance to the welfare of Tenby. They should never have it said of this glorious little place that they had the sewage of the town flowing out on the South Beach. (" Shame ") They ought never to have that said, yet it was perfectly true that such was the case. In his innocence he had at first supposed that it was nothing but a clear stream of water which flowed through that culvert on the South Sands, and when visitors had asked- him Is that your sewage?" he had answered "No," until he took the trouble to find out for himself and made en- quiries, when he found that it was the sewage of the town which came out upon the South Beach. (" Shame ") That such a state of things should exist in these days of sanitation, when people took so much care about health and were not in- clined to take any risks, was enough to damage Tenby as a health resort, and prevent visitors who came once from coming another year. If he thought that the removal of this evil would alone bo the result of the formation of a Ratepayers' Association in the town he would go strongly for it. (Hear, hear.) People had said, when talking about the finances of Tenby, that the ratepayers had their own auditors, but in reply to this he would say that the auditors were very help less indeed. All they had to do was a little arithmetic twice a year; that was about all. (Laughter.) As long as the Corporation could show the Borough Auditors a receipt for the money they had spent they (the auditors) had absolutely nothing which thoy could say to them. On one particular occasion ere bank interest case] the Borough Auditors of Tenby did call the attention of the Corporation to certain sums of money which were being illegally spent, and which had been declared illegal by the law. The auditors referred the Council to this fact, but that was all they were able to do in the matter. Whilst the auditors were able to declare the Cor- poration accounts arithmetically correct they could not vouch that they were legally correct; and the matter was left at that. Elective Auditors had no power to surcharge and do other things as had a Local Government Board auditor. There was a great difference between the one and the other. He could tell a Local Government Board auditor a few things. (Hear, hear.) He maintained that the safeguards for the protection of the interests of the ratepayers in regard to financial matters were not, under the existing system, sufficient. If they formed a Ratepayers' Association, at an enquiry by the Local Govern- ment Board the Association could be represented by some one from amongst its members; or, it being a strong, flourishing Association, they could brief some one to represent them at the enquiry. (Hear, hear.) An individual could not do that sort of thing, but a strong body of ratepayers could. Besides that, a strong Ratepayers' Asso- ciation could approach the Local Governnent Board and call their attention to things and appeal to them to enquire into the way which public money was being spent. Whilst the Local Government Board might not listen to a single in- dividual it could not very well refuse to notice a strong Association, which would make all the difference. (Hear, hear.) He hoped that as a result of that meeting they would form a strong Ratepayers' Association composed of all parties in the town. If they had such an Association party politics should be kept absolutely outside of it. (Applause.) Party politics should have nothing whatever to do with a Ratepayers' Association. (Hear, hear.) Not the faintest sign of any party or political bias should be shown in such a matter. What they wanted in Tenby was a Ratepayers' j Association apart from their politics. What had their politics to do with the welfare of the town ? What they wanted was to see Tenby rightly governed, and that all parties should have justice without any individual, or clique, or party having all the gains at the expense of the other rate- payers. (Applause.) Let them remember that in doing this business they were doing it for the sake of Tenby itself and in the interests of the ratepayers. In conclusion, Mr Howell referred to the ballot which had been taken to ascertain the feeling of the town as to the formation or otherwise of a Ratepayers' Association. He said a question had been raised as to the number of people who voted for the forming of an Associa- tion. Doubt was thrown upon the accuracy of the figures, but he might say that he was present at the counting of the ballot papers, and he thought that almost every paper that came in passed through his hands; and he had no hesita- tion in saying that the figures given were abso- lutely correct. (Loud applause.) Four hundred and fifty ratepayers had decided that the state of the affairs of the town were such as to require looking into, and if these 450 ratepayers were banded together in an Association they could put right the wrongs under which the town of Tenby had suffered so long. (Applause.) THE CHAIRMAN thought that they ought to feel very grateful to Mr Howell for the very clear and careful explanation which he had given them with regard to the Association and local affairs; what he had said was worth their earnest attention. He (the Chairman) would refer to one of the principles of the proposed Ratepayers' Associa- tion, and that was that it should have no political creed. (Hear, hear.) No politics whatever were to be introduced into the matter. The whole and sole purpose of the Association would be to try and get fairplay for Tenby, and money fairly and successfully expended. (Hear, hear.) The Tenby Corporation had an estate bringing them in an annual income of JE1600, and with anything like proper management the town ought never to be in the hard up position it was now. Proceeding, the speaker said he should like to give one instance of the manner in which the members of the present Corporation protected the ratepayers' interests by spending public money. He (Mr Mason) went away on a certain occasion for his usual holiday; he was away about a fortnight, but upon his return he found that the Town Council had borrowed JE500 and got thirty men at work laying drains up to the Jubilee Cottages and the Lawrenny Estate on the New Road. There was no outfall for this sewer except to land it on the South Beach; and when he returned and found what was going on he begged the Town Council, in the best interests of Tenby, not to oblige him to connect his cottages with this new drain. He appealed to them, he begged them— for a wonder he was not rude to them (laughter) —not to do this thing, but not a single member in that Council Chamber would support him in the matter. (" Shame ") There were members of the Corporation in the meeting that night who were present, and he challenged them to contradict what he said. It was an eternal shame and disgrace to Tenby that this sewage should be landed on one of their beautiful beaches. The houses which were connected might just as well have gone on using their earth-to-earth arrange- ments, which would have been infinitely better than turning sewage into a drain for which there was no outfall. He instanced the case of Mrs White, who was ordered by the Council to remove the cesspool from her house on the New Road, yet a few weeks afterwards Mr Brookman was given permission to construct a cesspool in con- nection with his new house on the same road. (" Shame! ") This was the sort of conduct which did the town such harm. It was hopeless for one man against fourteen or fifteen to carry his objection; but if they could get the votea of 300 or 400 ratepayers there would be a different aspect in the case in a very short time, (Ap- plause.) If 400 ratepayers strong would only give their votes to the candidates of the Association would guarantee that it would not be long before every respectable working-man in Tenby got fairplay. Every tradesman who had not got fairpla.y now would get it then. All that was wanted was to get the ratepayers to take an intelligent interest in their own business as regards municipai affairs, and when this was done there would he a great change for the better in the town. (Loud cheers.) Mr F. B. L. MATHIAS-THOMAS was then called upon to submit the following resolution:—" That this meeting should form an Association for the purpose of bringing to bear upon the Town Coun- cil, Board of Guardians, and other public bodies, with the view of keeping the ratos within reason- able limits, particularly by the prevention of extravagant expenditure." In moving the resolu- tion, Mr Mathias-Thomas said he should like to mention that the whole movement of a Ratepayers' Association, as they bad already been told, was entirely disassociated from party politics. The idea of the Association was based upon the prin- ciple that every ratepayer should bestir himself and interest himself in the welfare of his town— (hear, hear)—and do bis very utmost to bring the dear little town of Tenby into a prosperous and flourishing condition. After the eloquent speeches to which they had listened that evening he thought they should all know what were the objects and aims of the proposed Ratepayers' Association, and what a need their existed in Tenby for the forma- tion of such an Association. The ratepayers of the town by banding themselves into an Associa- tion would, as far as he could see, only be doing what any business man in the world would do in their own affairs, that was to keep a watchful eye upon their employees. (Applause.) The resolution was then formally put to the meeting, and the same was carried without a single hand being raised against it. The CHAIRMAN then invited those present who wished to join to sign their names in the register at the close of the meeting. If any man, he said, who joined the Ratepayers' Association that night found as a result of his doing so that his work, employment or business were affected, it should not be his (Mr Mason's) fault if he did not get reparation. (Applause.) He did not hold that out as a threat, but he thought the time had come in this twentieth century when every man able and willing to sign his name as a member of such an Association should be allowed to do so if he wanted to without being intimidated or threatened with consequences. (Loud applause.) Let the ratepayers join mutually together and they would very soon find what a difference it would make and what a change it would bring about. (Applause.) Mr HOWELL said that a good many friends who sent in ballot papers wrote remarks and sugges- tions upon them. He (the speaker) whilst engaged at the counting of the votes noticed several of such papers, and amongst others there was a suggestion that thase who joined a Ratepayers' Association should have a perfectly free hand at a general meeting of appointing their own committee, their own president, and, in fact all, the officials required by the Association. In connection with this mat- ter he (the speaker) thought it ought to be made perfectly clear that all who joined the Association would at its first general meeting have the oppor- tunity of carrying out this suggestion. The friends who in the first instance had set about the promotion of a Ratepayers' Association in the town had, of course, to form themselves into a committee to start with, but it was perfectly understood that after the Association was formed those who had joined would have an absolutely free hand in the appointment of the different officials. He wished to make that very clear, as several people had written asking about this on their papers. He mentioned this matter in justice to the temporary committee, and also in justice to those who wished to join the Association, provided it was made clear as to the election of the com- mittee and officers. He understood from the Secretary that he was quite correct in saying that at the very first meeting of the Ratepayers' Association a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and committee would be appointed. THE CHAIRMAN said he was much obliged to Mr Howell for this statement, as the matter was a very important one for those who joined the Association. All who signed the register became members of the Association and would themselves appoint their officers. The present meeting was only a preliminary canter to put the Association on the right road. (Applause.) Mr. YEATES explained that the preliminary or provisional committee disbanded themselves that night, and that new officials and committee would be elected at the first meeting of the Association. He had the register with him, and he invited anyone who wished to join to do so. Mr. CHARLES THOMAS enquired where ratepayers could sign their names as members of the Asso- ciation. THE CHAIRMAN—Here and now, sir. There is no time like the present. Mr. WILLIAM PHILIPPS (grocer, Frog Street) said he should be very glad to have the register at his shop for people to sign, an offer which was at once accepted by the promoters. The register was then produced, placed on a table below the platform, and ratepayers invited to come forward and sign same. There was an immediate response, quite a queue of intending I members iorming up and waiting to take their turn to sign. As they signed they put down their annual subscription (sixpence), and at the close the promoters of the movement had the satis- faction of knowing that a Ratepayers' Association was formed with a strong nucleus, and every prospect of becoming a strong and powerful lever in local municipal affairs.

MR. CECIL WILLIAMS'S CONCERT.

LOCAL |L NOTES. ....

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