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MERTHYR RATEPAYERS' ASSOCIATION.

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Rhannu

MERTHYR RATEPAYERS' ASSOCIATION. ANNUAL MEETING. GREAT INCREASE IN THE COST OF EDUCATION. The annual meeting of the members of the Merthyr Borough Ratepayers' Association was held at Davies's Restaurant, High-street, Mer- j thyr, on Tuesday night, Mr. John Mann, pre- sident, presiding. In resigning his office, the President review- ed the year's work, specially referring to the part which he took in appearing before the Auditor with regard to' the payment of JB50 to Mr. Gilbert Evans, assistant overseer, as a gratuity in connection with the work of pre- paring the valuation list, and also in connec- tion with the Incorporation expenses. He pro- duced a. large bundle of letters showing his cor- respondence with the Auditor, and said he hop- cd the' result of his efforts should bear good fruit in the future The President referred to ( the increased cost of education in the borough. In 1898, he said, the total salaries of elementary teachers amounted to £17,677, and a total, in- eluding all charges, of £28,157 17a 7d., where- M. in 1903, the total salaries came to £:25,470, ap increase of closa on £8,000, while in 1908 the salaries of elementary teachers alcne amounted to £ 36,04^ 19s. 7d., more than double the cost as compared with ten year a.go. He said he siue that many schools in the bor- ough were overstaffed, and there waa a tremen- dous amount of work for the Corporation to do to put the schools upon a proper h'ts':?,. Last year the total expenses upon education, includ.. mg salaries, loans, etc., amounted to £53,14 13a. 6d. They could not, ho urged, go on very much longer at that rate. Be said he had received correspondence from all over the coun- try upon the stand he had made before the Auditor, and some papers had copied the re- ports which appeared in the press of his inter- views with the Auditor. "I am not a Mer- thyr boy," concluded the President.' but there have been too many 'boys' on the Merthyr Cor- poration, and I should like to have some men there" (laughter). ANNUAL REPORT. Mr. J. L. Cunningha.m, secrol ary, presented the annual report, which was as follows:— "In presenting to you the report of the opera- tions of the Association for its third year, it is very satisfactory to find that the interest in the Association is maintained, and we are again able to record another year of useful work. It may be said that we have not taken as active or as prominent a part in the affairs of the town a« we may have done, but when all the facts are taken into consideration, in addition to the work accomplished, it will be freely admitted that, as a result of our actions, much good has been done, and that the influence of the Asso- ciation has done much towards the better, more efficient, and economical government of the town. One of the first questions that had our attention this year was the application of the Merthyr Tydfil Corporation for sanction from the Local Government Board to borrow £7,650 for the purpose of erecting workmen's dwel- lings at Danyderi, Merthyr Vale, and upon in- quiry into the circumstances by our Association, it was found that private indviduals were anx- ious to acquire the site that the Council propos- ed building upon for the very same purpose of building workmen's cottages. The question was considered by us, and it was decided to oppose the application, as it was felt that the Coun- cil had no right to interfere with private en- terprise in this way. An Inquiry was held by the Local Government Board in April, 1908, and your Association was represented by Mr. F. P. Charles, who made out an exceedingly strong case for the opposition. In face of all the evi- dence a.nd a guarantee by certain gentlemen that in the event of the application being re- fused, they would undertake to build the houses themselves, the application was granted, and the Corporation proceeded to advertise for ten- ders, the lowest of which was £850 in excess of the loan granted. The Council accepted the lowest tender, subject to the approval of the Local Government Board. Your Association thereupon wrote the Local Government Board ) urging them to compel the Corporation to alter their plans and specifications, so as not to re- t quire an additional loan. The Local Govern- ment Board fell in with the views of your As- sociation, and the Corporation had to advertise for fresh tenders. TOWN CLERK'S SALARY The very much delayed question of the Town Clerk's salary has at last been settled. When the matter came before the Association it was pointed out that the Town Clerk was engag- ed at an inclusive salary of £530 to perform all the duties, including all Parliamentary work. For the last three years ending De- cember, 1908, he had received emoluments amounting to about £200 a year. It has been contended by our Association all along that these fees should have been paid into the bor- ough fund, and the recommendations of our Association were at last acknowledged by the Corporation, when, in January last, they fixed the Town Clerk's salary at £600. rising by an- nual increments to £700, thus admitting that he was not entitled to the emoluments. The purchase of the Cyfarthfa Castle and Grounds came under consideration by our Association, and the scheme met with the entire approval of the members. The question of the appoint- ment of a Chief Constable for the Borough Po- lice was also considered, and our Association recommended the appointment of a person who was also a qualified Inspector of Weights and Measures, so as to avoid the necessity of an- other appointment. The appointment, there- fore, of Chief Constable Wilson was in accord- ance with our suggestion. Briefly referring to the Council houses at Twynyrodyn, a dispute arose between the Contractor who built the houses and the Corporation with regard to an amount claimed by the former for extras, and although the houses were completed a consider- able time before October 31st, 1908, the Con- tractor was not-according to some absurd sti- pulation in the contract—compelled to hand over the houses beiore that date. Our Associa- tion wrote to the Corporation pointing out the loss it was to ratepayers in not receiving the rents of the houses, and urging them to get im- mediate possession of the houses Ultimately poasessibn was obtained. The November Elec- tions passed off very quietly as far as the As- sociation was concerned, it being decided, after consideration, not to take any active part in the support of any candidates. THE LAST AUDIT. Iti January last our President, Mr. John Mahn, appeared before the Auditor at the Audit of the Corporation Accounts, and object- ed to many alleged illegal and duplicate pay- ments in connection with the cost of the Char- ter of Corporation, emoluments to the Town Clerk, Borough Surveyor, and other officials, A full report of the Auditor's report of his Audit was published in last week's 'Express.' The Auditor, however, only made one surcharge viz., JS50, against the Overseers, being the amount paid Mr. Gilbert Evans for preparing the new valuation list, the Auditor holding that Mr. Evans was a full-time officer, and that pre- paring a. new valuation list is part of his ordin- ary duties as Assistant Overseer. With regard to some of the witnesses' costs in connection with the Charter of Incorporation, the Auditor, although admitting that a strong case had been made out for a surcharge, thought it sufficient to recommend that certain amounts be refund- ed to the Borough Controller by the Councillors overpaid, and it is to be hoped that the recom- mendation will be acted upon." Councillor Isaac Edwards moved the adoption of the report, and said that the Chambers of Trade were taking up the matters mentioned by the President, and exercising a useful super- vision of the spending powers of local authori- ties.—Mr Kenshole seconded the motion, which was agreed to. OFFICERS. On the motion of Councillor Isaac Edwards, On the motion of Councillor Isaac Edwards, seconded by Mr. Thomas, all the officers were re-elected en-bloc, it being felt that it would be unwise to change the President at the pre- sent moment, viz.:—President, Mr. J. Mann; treasurer, Mr. A. J. Howfield; secretary, Mr. J. L. Cunningham. The financial statement showed a balance in the bank of £33 7s. 8d. Mr. H. W. Southey, Mr. J. Mann, and Mr. Kenshole were elected to join the committee appointed by the Corporation to consider tho question of inducing new industries to come into the borough. Mr. T. J. Rice had given notice of motion to move a resolution for dealing with the purchase of Cyfarthfa Castle by the Corporation, but he wrote that he was unable to attend, and as the Council had bought the property, it would be futile to interfere. In his opinion the Corpora- tion seemed determined to rule the town. Votes of thanks to the officers terminated the meeting.

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DOWLAIS.

I Dowlais Whit-Monday -Eisteddfod.

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ABERCWMBOI.

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. Rhymney Valley Miners ;…

Plans for Houses at Giffach.

. Caerphilly District Council.

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