WINFIELD WATER WORKS
Winfield Courier, December 21, 1882. CITY WATER WORKS. An ordinance is before the City Council to charter a city water works company and is being pressed for immediate action. The subject is one of great importance, too great to be hurried through. We have not seen the proposed ordinance, but are informed that it contains two very objectionable features. One is that it binds the city to pay the company $3,000 a year perpetually. The other is, that it grants exclusive privileges to lay pipes in all parts of the city. If such features exist, they must be modified or the city will be placed under the heel of a monopoly. We give Frank Barclay and the promoters of the scheme the largest credit for working up a water-work plan intending to yield very important benefits to the city, but we know from the experience of other cities that the cure will be much worse than the disease, that we shall find ourselves in a fatal trap if this thing is hurried through without being first laid before the people to be considered, discussed, and scrutinized, with plenty of time to determine whether the measure can be improved so that its probable benefits will equal the cost to the people and at the same time leave the city free to do better when it can.
It is thought that the works proposed would certainly not cost more than $25,000, but if it should really cost $50,000 and the city should issue $50,000 in 6 percent bonds and then own the works, the yearly interest would be only $3,000 and this is not necessarily perpetual. Besides if the citizens pay $2,000 per year for water rents with the probable increase up to $6,000, they would pay the cost of running a part of the interest and, in a reasonable time, extinguish the bonds. Thus in a few years the city would own the works clear of debt, with no perpetual $3,000 a year rents to pay. Look into this thing before you jump in the dar. There are precipices around here.
Winfield Courier, December 21, 1882. Water Works. Mr. Frank Barclay is circulating a petition to the Council to grant him the right of way to lay water mains through the streets and alleys of the city. He proposes, if this right of way is granted, to go immediately to work and put in a complete system of Water Works for the city at a cost of not less than fifty thousand dollars. He asks this right of way, and a company stands ready to put the works in at once. Mr. Barclay has purchased the mound east of town, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, where he will locate the reservoir. The water will be pumped from the river into this basin and conducted by mains throughout the whole city. The height of the mound will give the hydrants on Main Street a throwing capacity of sixty-nine feet, which will make a magnificent power for fire protection. The water will be furnished private residences at a cost of not exceeding six dollars per year. We regard this as one of the most important enterprises for the welfare and prosperity of our city ever inaugurated. The fire protection alone will be worth thousands of dollars. As it is now, we are liable at any moment to be swept out of existence, without being able to raise a hand to stay the devouring element. With the pressure Mr. Barclay claims, an ordinary fire could be drowned out in fifteen minutes. Aside from this the works will be of priceless benefit to us for household purposes, for irrigating gardens, grounds, and public enclosures, and make Winfield as attractive as any city in the country.
Winfield Courier, December 28, 1882. THE WATER-WORKS. Address of the Senior Editor of This Paper to the City Council Tuesday Evening, December 26th, 1882.
On Monday of last week, Frank Barclay asked me to sign a petition, asking the city council to pass an ordinance granting him the right of way to lay water mains in the streets and alleys, with a view of establishing a system of water-works. I certainly wanted to give anyone a chance to put in water-works if he would, and signed his petition.
The next day I was informed that Monday evening an ordinance had been presented to the council granting him and associates an exclusive right of way and giving him $3,000 a year bonus for twenty-one years; that it had been pressed vigorously for passage that very evening, and that some of the councilmen had insisted on more time for examination and had caused the council to adjourn to the next Friday evening to consider it further.
The features of $3,000 a year and exclusive right, as reported to me, struck me as fatal objections; and the haste to pass it as a suspicious circumstance.
As the COURIER was to go to press before I could examine the ordinance, I sounded a note of caution, or rather of alarm, in the COURIER, and called for delay and time to investigate and consider. I then obtained the ordinance and read it carefully. I did not find therein that the ninety-nine year franchise given by it was exclusive in terms or necessarily so in any sense, except as a construction of law; but I did find the provision that the city should rent forty hydrants at $3,000 a year and an additional and practically unlimited number of hydrants at $75 a year, each for a term of twenty-one years, with practically no provision by which it could be possible for the city to buy the works and terminate the said rentals until the end of twenty-five years, if ever, as it seemed to me. Yet I felt that I had not had time to fully understand it.
On Friday evening the council met, but the ordinance was not to be found. It was traced into the hands of Judge McDonald, where it was placed by my associate, and what the judge did with it was not known. The council adjourned to the next Tuesday evening. On Saturday morning it was given out that the ordinance had been found and the mayor called a special session of the council for that evening to consider and pass it.
This haste and the fact that it had been falsely charged that the ordinance was found in the COURIER office, the source from whence opposition was expected, tended more strongly to confirm the idea that the ordinance would not bear investigation.
I was present at the Saturday evening meeting to continue to study the ordinance, and if possible, to get to the bottom of it. I think I succeeded to some extent. As the council adjourned before coming to a vote on its final passage I did not obtrude my views on your attention. Since then I have investigated all I could in the limited time, but should need a month to correspond with persons in such business as contractors, and with others, to get a complete understanding of the matter. I have gone far enough however to be positive that this is not the best proposition for water-works we can get, and that if it is, we can far better afford to do without them. So now that this matter is still crowded upon you, demanding immediate action, before you can possibly have found out what others would do the work for, or how enormous a burden this will put upon us, I must now say what I have to say, though none of us can yet fully understand the matter, or it may be forever too late.
I do not underrate the great advantages to this city and its citizens, of a well organized system of water-works; but we must remember that it is possible to make it cost in taxes and water rents so much that it would be a grinding curse rather than a blessing. We must remember that we know too little about this business, to jump into the only proposition before us at this time, without taking ample time to find out whether it is the best we can do, and if it is, whether we can afford to accept it.
The total city assessment this year is $520,000 in round figures. It is a rule of taxation that you must count off one-fifth for losses and delinquencies in the collection of taxes. One-fifth off from $520,000 leaves $415,000. A seven mill tax on this sum produces only $2,905. So it will take more than a seven mill tax to raise $3,000, the very lowest sum which the ordinance proposes to raise by taxation.
This sum, $3,000, is the interest on $50,000 at 6 percent; therefore, the binding of the city to pay $3,000 a year for a long series of years is nearly equivalent to issuing $50,000 of six percent city bonds running the same time. Under the ordinance, every time 600 feet of main is laid, after the first five miles and 40 hydrants, another hydrant will be added and $75.00 per year added to the city tax, which is nearly equivalent to bonding the city $1,250 every additional 600 feet of main.
Now if you will look over the city carefully, and look over the plat which accompanies this ordinance and shows where the first five miles of main are to be laid, you will find that there are more than 24,000 feet of streets, not touched by the first five miles of main, where the owners of buildings, six within 600 feet, can demand and require under the ordinance and in equity that mains be laid at once, within the first year; and this would require the city to pay a yearly rent on 40 additional hydrants at $75.00 each, as well as requiring the company to lay 4-1/2 miles of additional main. It would be outrageously unjust to tax these men heavily to pay the city water rents and then compel them to lay pipes at their own expense to a mainCone or several blocks awayCor be excluded from the use of the water. This would probably double the city tax the first year, raising it to $6,000 a year, or 14 mills, and would be together nearly equivalent to issuing $100,000 of six percent city bonds. If anyone will take the time and trouble to examine the matter, he will find that this statement as to the streets, is substantially correct.
Thus we see that this rather big looking ordinance is a much bigger thing than it looks at first view. Though we might pass by this item of a 14 mill tax to pay $6,000 a year for 21 years, as no killing affair, the taxpayers would soon find out that it was a cursing affair if not a killing affair.
We have not yet gathered sufficient information to determine more than approximately what such works as the ordinance proposes would cost should the city wish to let the contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
Two or three years ago, Russell & Alexander estimated the cost and proposed to put in a system of works for $16,500, but after they had been manipulated some time in the city they raised their estimates to over $20,000. I think the works they proposed were not more than three-fourths as expensive as the works proposed in this ordinance. They proposed to take city bonds in payment. After a considerable talk and figuring, their offer was rejected; and they requested as a particular favor that whenever the city should be ready to go ahead with a water-works system, they should be notified, and would bid against anybody who might propose. I suppose their proposition on this plan could be had in a reasonably short time and that they would put in this works for about $25,000 or $26,000 in city 6 percent bonds.
One Perkins has been figuring on this matter and may have made a proposition. He evidently wants a chance to make one if he has not done so, but I have not had time to look this matter up. I do not doubt that there are many other persons and firms who would like to bid if they had a chance.
From estimates which I have got from Frank Barclay and others, and from my own knowledge of figures, I conclude that the entire cost of work proposed by the ordinance, including engine, pumps, engine house, reservoir, 40 hydrants, and over five miles of main, all complete and in working order, would be perhaps over $25,000, but certainly less than $30,000; and that with an additional five miles of main and forty additional hydrants, the whole cost would certainly be less than $40,000.
If the city can afford to pay $3,000 to $6,000 a year for 21 years as water rents, she can certainly afford to issue $30,000 to $40,000 of six percent bonds to own such water-works and save those rentals.
Let us figure on ten miles of main and 80 hydrants. Under the ordinance this would compel the city to pay $6,000 a year for 21 years, or $126,000; and then it must pay some $40,000 for the works and what the franchise should be worth, or not own the works. The issue of $40,000 in 6 percent city bonds would require the city to pay the yearly interest, $2,400, which would in 21 years amount to $50,400, and also the $40,000 principal to extinguish the bonds. The difference in the two plans is that the ordinance plan costs the city $75,000 more than the bond plan in addition to whatever the city should have to pay for the franchise on the ordinance plan. By the ordinance plan, the city gets no income and pays no expenses except the $6,000 a year. By the bond plan, the city gets the water rents collected of individuals and citizens and pays the expenses and repairs.
Frank Barclay estimates, that with five miles of main, the water rents would start in at $2,000 a year and increase annually. He made that estimate to show us that the water rents to citizens would pay so little that it would be necessary to make the city pay $3,000 a year. I estimate that with ten miles of main, double that on which he estimated, the water rents would be $4,000 a year and increase to $5,000. It is probable, or at least possible, that the running expenses and repairs would not exceed $1,600 a year; at least it is reasonably certain that they would not exceed the excess of the water rents above $2,400. In that case these rents would pay the expenses, repairs, and interest on the bonds, and the city would have absolutely nothing to raise by taxation for the first 21 years, or even after, until she paid the principle of the bonds, after which she would have a net income of $2,400 for general revenue from the rents.
If the city should get the boom which it is predicted the water-works would give it, the water rents would probably increase enough to sink the bonds in the 21 years and give the city the Afranchise, works, and choses in action,@ and all without it having ever cost her a cent, or a mill of taxation; while in the same time the ordinance plan would have cost the city $126,000, all of which would have gone down into the pockets of Frank Barclay, his associates and assigns, and the city would not own a franchise, a work, or a chose in action. There is a wonderful difference in the two ways of getting water-works. There is no wonder that every man wants to be one of the associates or assigns if this ordinance is to pass.
One thing is in its favor. Frank Barclay and all his associates, we believe, are Winfield men and taxpayers.
If this city has such a tremendous franchise to give away, it should be given to the taxpayers of this city that they might put into one pocket what they take out of the other. It is especially important that the owners of buildings, of real estate, should all be in on the ground floor and have a chance to recover from the crushing drain upon them. It would be particularly rough on those who pay taxes on personal property only, but they have a chance to escape. They can get out of here with their property, but the real estate has got to stay and pay taxes. Every real estate owner in the city should be an Aassociate@ of Frank Barclay with an interest in proportion to the amount of taxes he has to pay on his real estate.
All we know of John Worthington is that he is not a real estate owner in Winfield, and that is against him. I do not believe he will ever be an associate or assign of Frank Barclay in this matter. He probably would like to take the contract to put in the works for somewhere from $25,000 to $40,000 and would probably be willing to take his pay in the bonds of Frank Barclay and associates if secured by such gilt edged security as a mortgage on such a franchise and works would be. It would be about as good security as city bonds. There are probably other men and firms in the water-works business who would be glad to do the work and take such bonds in payment.
Much stress is laid on the alleged reduction in insurance rates on goods and other property which would be caused by the erection of water-works.
As the effect would be the same whether the works were built and owned by the City or by Frank Barclay & Co., the insurance question cuts a small figure in this case; but we are informed by insurance agents that there would be very little reduction of rates in any case, and absolutely none unless the city should organize a paid and efficient fire department. The water-works is the engine, but the engine is useless in extinguishing fires without the accessories of a trained organization ready to use it at all times night and day; and it needs all the aids of hose, hose reels, hook and ladder company, etc., that any other fire department does. It must be remembered that all this costs money and taxation, so that what the owners of goods may reduce from their insurance fees they must pay in additional taxes.
We are told that $3,000 or even $6,000 a year is a consideration not to be compared with the dangers of losses from fires. Here we take issue. It is doubtful if all the losses from fires in excess of the insurance, in all the past history of Winfield, would amount to $3,000, much less to $3,000 a year. In calculating the chances of such losses, to put them as high as $1,000 per year in our present condition, would be extravagant. Of course, it is possible that a loss of many thousands should occur in any one year; so it is possible that a cyclone may destroy nearly every house in the city, but these chances are so remote that they do not affect our calculations or probabilities to any great extent and should not.
However, we are not arguing against water-works, but against this peculiar mode of getting them.
I have saved to the last, the worst feature of this ordinance, which I would now present to your attention.
If you pass this ordinance, you give away to Frank Barclay and associates a certain something called the franchise. Whether this something is worth little or much, the city gets nothing for it, and if it is to be worth any certain sum of money in ten years, it is really worth that sum now. If at the end of ten years, you conclude that the city can no longer stand the tremendous burden of taxation which this ordinance imposes, and want to buy the works and end the taxation; you have not only to buy at an appraised valuation the works which have cost money, and the choses in action which have been earned, but you must buy back this franchise at an appraised valuation, which you now donate to the company.
Should Frank Barclay and associates now, on receiving the franchise, mortgage it and the future works and choses in action for $25,000, $30,000, or $40,000, and issue 6 percent bonds thus secured for such amount; by the sale or hypothecation of these bonds, they could raise on them the money to build the works as fast as it was needed, or could contract for the works payable in these bonds, and Frank Barclay and associates, without advancing a cent of money from their pockets, would own the Afranchise works and choses in action.@ Now if their receipts from water rents and from the city should be only sufficient to pay the interest on these bonds and the running expenses and repairs, the franchise would prove of little value and might be appraised at one dollar. If such a condition was probable, neither Frank Barclay nor his associates or assigns would do a thing towards the construction of the works, and you have no means to compel them, no means to collect damages of them for breach of contract, nothing but to wait and see if they will perform. But if the yearly three to six thousand dollars from the city, and two to five thousand from the citizens from water rents are sufficient to pay this interest, expenses, and repairs, and leave an annual surplus of $3,000, the franchise is worth $50,000, for that sum at six percent will produce only $3,000 per year. If this annual surplus should amount to $6,000 ten years from now, it would prove the franchise to be worth $100,000, for the $6,000 net profit would simply represent the interest on the franchise.
Now, as I have already shown, it is highly probable that this surplus will reach $6,000 long before the first ten years expire. With interest $2,400, expenses and repairs $1,600, and surplus $6,000, it makes only $9,000 a year to be raised from both the city and the citizens together, and we have shown that it is highly probable that the city will pay $6,000 and the citizens $5,000, making $11,000 a year, or $2,000 a year more than is necessary to make the franchise worth $100,000.
Then at the end of ten years when the city can purchase, the appraisement will read about like this: Franchise $100,000, Works $40,000, Choses in action $5,000: total $145,000Call of which the city must pay in twenty years in yearly installments with legal interest. Probably $5,000 of this would be the floating debt of the company, $40,000 the company=s bonds, and $100,000 in our city bonds. The legal interest is 7 percent, and the average of the time to run is ten years. The interest on $145,000 at 7 percent, for ten years, is $101,500, which added to the principal will raise the amount which the city must pay in twenty years to $246,500, which is $12,325 each year for twenty years; and the city, after taxing its citizens from $3,000 to $6,000 a year for ten years must raise the yearly tax up to $12,325 per year for twenty years longer or she cannot buy the works; and most of this is to buy back the franchise which it has donated.
I tell you this is a big thing when you look down to the bottom of it. It binds the city hand and foot and loads it down into the mire; and every struggle it makes for relief will crush it in deeper and deeper.
Even if it could be made to appear that this surplus would not be over $3,000 a year and the franchise not worth over $50,000; with the works $40,000 and choses $5,000; the appraisal would amount to $95,000 in all, which with 7 percent interest thereon for an average of ten yearsC$66,500Camounts to $161,500, and must be paid in twenty years or at the rate of $8,075 per year, and you are really no better off. The sum is so large as to make it impossible for the city to buy the works.
There is much that might be said against the ordinance on minor details, but the great points I have elaborated sink all minor matters and make its passage too dangerous to contemplate.
You are making a record in this matter. That record will be a sad one if you make a mistake of such fearful import.
I would recommend that you appoint a committee consisting of yourselves and citizen taxpayers other than Frank Barclay and his associates, to investigate this matter for the next thirty days, correspond with men in the water-works business and others, get estimates, plans, offers, terms, and information, and report by ordinance or otherwise at a meeting of the council not less than thirty days hence, and then postpone this matter to that time.
If you are determined on final action on this ordinance now:
First, amend it so that it shall plainly state in words that neither this ordinance nor the contract therein shall exclude the city from granting like privileges to other parties or from making like contracts with others.
Second, amend it so that the city shall not pay more than $1,600 per year for the rentals of the first 40 hydrants, nor more than $20 each per year for the next 20 hydrants, nor more than $10 per year for each subsequent additional hydrant. This will probably keep the city taxes, for this purpose, down to $2,400 per year.
Third, amend it so that when the city may buy the works it shall not pay a cent for the franchise. Make it clear and certain that the franchise shall then return to the city as freely as it was given.
Fourth, limit the interest that the city may have to pay to six percent.
Fifth, require Frank Barclay and associates, or whoever takes this contract, to give sufficient bond and surety that they will build the works and carry out the terms of this contract.
Give Frank Barclay and associates the first chance at it; but if they refuse or neglect to accept the terms and file the bond in a reasonable time, offer it to others on the same terms and if after thirty days with notice as far as practicable, it finds no takers, it will be early enough to offer better terms, should you then conclude that the city could afford them.
[NOTE. In reading to the council, the introduction and minor points were omitted because of the lateness of the hour. The council then adjourned without taking the vote on the final passage of the ordinance.]
Courier, January 6, 1883. Winfield Courier, January 4, 1883. MORE ABOUT WATER-WORKS. The Only Way to Break the Force of our Figures is Somewhat Personal.
The article in the Telegram of last week on the water-works question, would, we are sure, never have appeared in that paper had its editor been at home. He is, in our opinion, too good a writer and too decent a gentleman, to have written or published such an article; besides, he left the state two days before our article, which it attempts to answer, was written or made public, and had not returned several days after that issue.
Some sneak whom we will not flatter so much as to call him a Acoward, scoundrel, liar, and horse thief,@ in the language of the immortal Greeley, took advantage of the editor=s absence to befoul his paper. One who hides his identity to make a personal attack is so mean that it is impossible to libel him.
He starts off with the statements that Barclay is backed by the Worthington Water Power Company; that this company is financially able, has a wide reputation, and has built and operated more water-works than any other company. There has not yet appeared the slightest evidence of any of these things.
He then says that the ordinance before the council is framed in accordance with a proposition from Worthington, which compels Barclay=s company to purchase twelve acres of ground on the mound; compels them to purchase three acres of Shenneman by the river; and compels them to lay ten inch pipe from the river to the mound. These statements are false. We find no such provisions in the ordinance.
Our figures of last week were so completely invulnerable and unanswerable that the only thing he could do to break their force, is the following, which we clip entire from that Telegram article to give our readers the whole argument against our petition.
AWe do not wish to tire the patience of our readers with a tirade of senseless trash like that advanced by the senior sage of the COURIER at the last session of the council, and which may be seen in this week=s issue of that old fogyish and antediluvian production. Our people are too well acquainted with Father Millington=s rule of figures, and can see at a glance that the same rule was applied when he, in his owl-like wisdom, sought to tell our people how to sell railroad stock and buy up our railroad bonds. His >lesson in figures= cost the taxpayers of Cowley County the locking up of over $7,000 in the county treasury and paying 7 percent interest thereon. It is there, waiting our railroad bonds to rush in and be reduced (?). He has made use of the same old slate on which he figured St. John=s majority. The fact of the matter is the old man is in his dotage and he won=t progress worth a cent. Every citizen knows him to be an unmitigated, uncompromising old crank, opposing every proposition that has ever come up for the advancement of our city and county, and well our people know that had it not been for the push and enterprise forcing the old man to the wall every time, he would today be publishing a little old musty 8 x 10 sheet in some slab-boarded shanty on one of the by-streets or alleys of our city.@
The person to whom Aeverybody@ attributes that article, declares to us by all that is good and great, that he did not write or instigate it in any way. We take his word for it, but as we know that he was busy on the street for three days before it was published, disseminating the ideas in about the same language, and has since repeated similar language in the city council, it is impossible for us to properly reply without apparent personality to him, but we will avoid it as much as is possible without weakening our argument.
We have some reason to think that we are as big a fool as he represents, for we have in the past ten years spent of our time and money, ten dollars to his one, in working up and carrying out schemes for the general benefit of this county and city and in all this work, expense, travel, time, and writing to promote several railroad and other schemes and to head off jobs; we have never received or hoped to receive, one cents worth of slush, or reward in any way which was not shared alike by the general taxpayers and people of the community, and the result is that we are in about the same financial condition as we were when we came here and, as would appear from the above, we have failed to secure enough respect to shield us from a gross personal attack; while he, who has never in all these years touched a thing without the expectation that there was money in it which would stick to his hands, who has squeezed greenbacks and coin out of everything he has taken hold of until the sum he brought here, similar in amount to ours, has been multiplied by twenty and though he is not a millionaire, he is traveling rapidly in that direction.
He at least, is not a fool. While he slurs our figures on taxes and interest to be taken out of the city, he double discounts us on figuring interest, as all his borrowing debtors can testify.
He slurs us about the sale of the east and west railroad stock and the purchase of the county bonds. We are loaded on this question, but as it cuts no figure in this water-works business, we will hold our fire until another time, and content ourselves now with a mere retort.
Coler & Co., a firm of sharp New York brokers, put up a job to buy Cowley County=s stock for three to five thousand dollars less than it was worth, and to sell the county bonds for three to five thousand more than they were worth. We opposed it and Agot beautifully left.@ He supported it and having money, influence, power, and oily persuasion, he beat us out of sight and had things about as he wanted them. The result, whatever it is, is chargeable to him, and not to us in any sense. If Coler & Co.=s most powerful aid, succeeded in buying from Coler & Co., for the county $35,000 of bonds at $1.02-1/2, which were not worth in the market over 94 cents; and succeeded in bulling the market so that other holders of similar bonds would not sell for less than $1.02-1/2, it is his fault and not ours.
He supported the proposition to vote $180,000 bonds to the Santa Fe road. We with three others opposed it so strongly that we got the limit cut down to $140,000. He put in his oar, and got it raised to $144,000. Believing then that this was necessary to get the road, we supported it and did much more to secure the road than he did. He got pay for his work to that end. We didn=t. Since then we have been convinced that we yielded too much to him and that the county could have got the road if its citizens had insisted on a limit of $100,000.
We mention this, not because it cuts a figure in the water-works question, but to show that we have not been Afogyish@ and Auncompromising@ whatever these terms above applied to us may mean, and that we have opposed jobs when he supported them.
Now comes the biggest and most dangerous job of all; and as heretofore, we oppose and he supports.
Besides his wealth, power, and influence, he is gifted with unflagging energy, wonderful tart, and persuasive eloquence in conversation. He can convince the average man that black is white. It is little wonder that he succeeds in most which he undertakes. If we should assert that six times six equal thirty-six, and should support the assertion by the most unassailable demonstration that figures are capable of; he could go upon the street and in half a day convince his satellites and a host of others that though our figures might look plausible on their face, they were cranky, that the product of six by six is no definite sum; probably not more than fifteen, but certainly not more than eighteen.
He says our opposition to this water-works scheme is simply personal or a bank fight. We are sorry to say that we have too little in any bank to afford to fight for it. On the contrary, it is greatly to our personal interest to be on good terms with our neighbors and patrons, particularly with one so strong financially, politically, and popular socially, so agreeable as a companion, so polite and gentlemanly, that when he figures you out of your money, you thank him for taking it. So we have carefully avoided saying in this article anything that should be personally offensive to him, aiming only to break the force of his objection to our figures so personal to us.
But we are the publisher of a newspaper; a kind of watchman on the walls; and how could we answer to our conscience, to our citizens, and to posterity; if seeing an octopus approaching to fasten itself upon our city, we failed to warn our citizens of the danger which besets them?
Winfield Courier, January 4, 1883. CITY COUNCIL MEETING. A New Water-Works Proposition.
At the session of the City Council, on Monday evening, a new water-works proposition and ordinance was presented by Ed. P. Greer. Before expressing our views on that document, we wish to state that we are not entitled to the least credit in connection with that proposition. Without our assistance or instigation in any way, Ed. Worked up his material, took it to Leavenworth, consulted with one of the best hydraulic engineers in the country, who knows as much about the business as Frank Barclay, consulted with the men who are putting in a $250,000 water-works in that city, found out what they would do and what he could do, got all the points and essential differences between his ordinance and Barclay=s in good shape and better expressed, came home, and with such assistance as he got from bright young lawyers here, perfected his ordinance without any of our assistance and advice.
It is, in our judgment, a better expressed document than the Barclay paper, except that certain sections relating to the plan of the works, the location of the mains on the streets, and the water rates, were copied from the Barclay ordinance.
So far as the works and the backing is concerned, there appears to be no difference. Neither Barclay nor Greer has the means of his own to build the works. Barclay says one Worthington, unknown here, will furnish the money, or build the works, on the security of his ordinance, if passed. Greer says he has similar assurance on the basis of his ordinance, from men as well known here. There is no doubt that either would get a plenty of money-backing. Either would be magnificent security for the investment.
The only points to determine are:
First, is either of the two propositions the best the city can get? If yea, then can the city afford to secure water-works at the expense in taxation which either of them would fasten on the city for at least twenty years? If yea, again, then which would burden the taxpayers of the city the least? On this point there can be no controversy. Barclay=s plan requires that the city shall pay a rental of $75 per year for 21, or perhaps 99 years, on every hydrant which the city council may require, in addition to the 40 hydrants at $75 yearly rent each, in the original plant. The city would have to pay $1,500 in rents for each and every hydrant which should run 20 years. Greer=s plan provides that the city may put in as many hydrants as it pleases, in addition to the 40 on the first plant, and one on each additional 600 feet of main at actual cost of putting in and keeping in repair, which could not certainly exceed $75 each for the whole 20 years, a saving to the city of at least $1,425 on each such hydrant.
Now we showed so conclusively last week that no one has attempted to point out an error in our calculations, that Barclay=s ordinance would compel the city to raise by taxation $6,000 a year after the first year, or two at most, to pay rents on eighty hydrants.
By Greer=s ordinance, probably thirty of such hydrants would not tax the city for rents. These, at $1,425 saving each, would save to the city the very large sum of $42,750 in twenty years, and would reduce the taxation for rents $2,137.50 per year, making the probable limit of taxation $3,862.50; instead of $6,000.00, as by the Barclay plan. This is a startling difference, and worth looking into.
But if such were not the fact; if it did not reduce the taxation at all, the right it would give the city to have more than one hydrant to six hundred feet of pipe, without the $75 yearly tax each, would be an additional benefit to the city which is inestimable.
Competent engineers tell us that a force which would throw water sixty feet high, directly from the main, would not throw water ten feet high through three hundred feet of hose, and that the shorter the hose the higher it would throw. It is then of the greatest importance as a fire protection that the hydrants be near together, and that they be much oftener than six hundred feet apart along the mains. The right to put in two to every block along Main street, and one to every block where pipes are laid on other streets, might double the value of the works for fire purposes, yet not cost the city over $75 in all for each extra hydrant, instead of $1,500 each, as under the Barclay ordinance.
The Greer franchise expires in 21 years, but the Barclay franchise lives 99 years, and this is a very essential and important difference in favor of Greer=s plan.
Under the Barclay ordinance, the city could never buy the works, for as we showed last week it would cost the city a taxation of $8,000 to $12,000 a year for twenty years to do it and that would be impossible. Under the Greer ordinance, the city can buy the works at value at the end of 21 years without paying $100,000 or $50,000, or a cent for the franchise.
With these important differences in favor of the Greer ordinance, there is not a single point in it which is less favorable to the city than the Barclay ordinance.
Now we are not in favor of passing even this. Though we consider that it would tax the city at least 25 percent less than Barclay, it will yet tax us largely too much. Baclay=s may tax us 14 mills a year; Greer=s may tax us 9 mills. We are in favor of no ordinance that can possibly tax us more than 6 or 7 mills, and that is largely too much. In Leavenworth the tax for water purposes is limited to two mills a year. Here it should be limited to five mills at most.
Probably before the first meeting of the council in February, there will be other propositions and perhaps much better, but not touching the real issue. The bulldozing style of argument has no terrors for us.
Arkansas City Traveler, Wednesday, October 3, 1883. The water-works at Winfield are completed.
The Caldwell Journal, September 20, 1883. The water works at Winfield were completed last week, and the papers of that enterprising village are in ecstasies over an exhibition of their power to throw water in any quantity desired.
Winfield Courier, January 4, 1883. Council Proceedings.
COUNCIL CHAMBER, CITY OF WINFIELD, DECEMBER 23, 1882.
Council met in special session on call of the Mayor.
On motion, it was resolved to consider the proposed ordinance in relation to water works.
The proposed ordinance offered with the petition in relation to water works was then taken up for consideration by sections, with the following result: Sections 1 and 2 were adopted as read. Section three was amended and adopted. Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were adopted as read. Section 9 was amended and adopted. Section 10 was adopted as read. Sections 11, 12, and 13 were amended and adopted. Sections 14 and 15 were adopted as read.
Adjourned to Tuesday night.
DECEMBER 26, 1882.
Council met pursuant to adjournment, Mayor Troup in the chair. Present, Councilmen Read, Wilson, Gary, and McMullen, City Attorney and Clerk.
The proposed water works ordinance was again taken up for consideration. Sections 16 and 17 were amended and adopted, Sections 18 and 19 were adopted as read.
It was then moved that Section 1 be reconsidered. The vote upon the motion was a tie. The Mayor voted in favor of such reconsideration. It was then moved to amend Section 1 by adding the following:
AProvided, That nothing in this ordinance shall be deemed or held to give to said Barclay or assigns the exclusive privilege to construct, operate, or maintain a system of water works in said city.@
The vote upon such motion was a tie, and the Mayor voted against such motion to amend. It was then moved to adopt Section 1 as originally adopted. The vote upon said motion was a tie, and the Mayor voted in favor of such adoption.
A motion was carried to reconsider Section 19. The following was adopted as Section 19.
ASection 19. That the said Frank Barclay, his associates, successors, or assigns shall be required under the provisions of this ordinance to do the business pertaining to their said water works company within the corporate limits of the said city of Winfield.@
Former Section 19 was then adopted as Section 20.
The Council then adjourned without taking final action in the matter.
M. G. TROUP, Mayor.
Attest: L. H. WEBB, City Clerk.
Winfield Courier, January 18, 1883. Water Works. The tedious waterworks question was settled on Tuesday evening by the Council accepting the Barclay ordinance as amended, which amendments embodied substantially the self-same provisions contained in the proposition originally offered by Ed. P. Greer. While Mr. Greer=s ordinance was not accepted, it at least had the effect of giving to the city one of the best propositions under which waterworks have ever been put in by a private corporation in any town of like size in the country, and while he feels that his efforts in the matter might have demanded more consideration at the hands of the Council, the matter is a personal one with them alone. We have neither time nor space to treat the matter as it deserves this week, and will attend to certain points at another time.
Winfield Courier, January 25, 1883. THE WATER WORKS QUESTION SETTLED.
Job Reduced But Still Big.
Last week we went over east with Joe. E. Conklin on business in the interest of Winfield and her citizens, and in our absence the water works question came up before the city council on Monday evening, and as we expected, was not concluded by the passage of an ordinance. We further expected that the matter would go over to the next regular meeting, by which time it could probably be determined whether a better proposition could be obtained than either of the two propositions before the council. Contrary to our expectations the council adjourned to Tuesday and then to Wednesday evening and rushed the matter along, finally passing an ordinance substantially that offered by Ed. Greer with his amendments, but giving the contract to the originators of the Barclay ordinance, contrary to all rules of justice and fair dealing. Instead of giving the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, it was given to the highest bidder on the condition that he should accept the terms proposed by the lowest bidder.
This was an outrage which admits of no excuse, and we believe that no one pretends there was any excuse for it. Ed. had the backing of at least as much Winfield capital and character as had the parties to whom the job was awarded, and in addition he had the indorsement of one of the strongest water works builders in the country who promised to build the works if Greer=s proposition passed; while the parties to whom the award was made, had no outside backing at all, and now boast that their pretended backing, John Worthington, has been dead two years.
Such an outrage could not have been perpetrated by councilmen Read and Mayor Troup alone. One other councilman was necessary to complete the job. Councilmen Wilson and McMullen could never have been inveigled into such a measure. Councilman Gary was their only chance. He had been the most stubborn opponent to the Barclay job and held that the city could not afford to go into any plan of water works which had been presented or was likely to be presented. Wilson and McMullen were in favor of water works on the best terms the city could get. Read and Troup were as certainly in favor of giving as big a job as possible to Barclay=s assigns, viz., Read=s Bank. How they managed to win Gary to their side is a matter on which our citizens will all have an opinion, but we need not state ours. Some circumstances, however, will not be overlooked. In the first place, it seems that only Read=s Bank was in the scheme. It becoming necessary to have a good talker and a lawyer, Hackney was enlisted, either on a fee or with a share in the job. We have too much regard for his shrewdness to suppose he went in without either. The job did not rush through as suddenly as was expected and Hackney had to go to Topeka. Several outsiders tumbled to their racket, probably without pay or shares, but simply because their souls belonged to Read=s Bank. But they did not count for much. Greer had put in an ordinance that would favor the city at least $55,000 over the other ordinance and something had to be done or the original job would be beaten. They must have a lawyer and a shrewd talker. They selected J. Wade Macdonald, probably on similar terms to those on which Hackney was engaged, and because it was claimed that Wade had Gary in his vest pocket. But somehow Gary did not tumble at once. He promised Ed. that he would vote for his ordinance unless the other fellows should present something a great deal better, that he would never vote to allow any other to take the job on Ed=s bid. There was still a hitch in the matter and other arguments had to be used on Gary. Other parties were taken into the ring to help out. We did not hear the new argument which was presented to Gary, but whatever it was it brought him down. On the first test vote, Gary went over to the enemy. He even refused to support Wilson=s motion to reduce the rents on additional hydrants from $75 to $65, according to Greer=s offer. This showed that Ed=s ordinance would certainly be passed and given to the other fellows, and Ed. wilted and gave up the fight. Believing that it was necessary to have water works and that the matter was reduced to the best terms the city could get, Ed. urged Wilson to vote for the measure with Read and Gary and thus settle the question. Had we been present we would have continued the fight for two weeks longer if possible, with the expectation of getting, within that time, a much better proposition for the city than that which is now saddled upon us.
We consider that Ed. has succeeded in his main point, that of saving the city a large sum of money by compelling Robinson & Co., to accept a franchise not worth one-half as much as that which they would have got but for his efforts.
Under the original ordinance, which would certainly have passed but for him, the City would have had to pay rents on at least eighty hydrants after two years at most at $75 per hydrant per year to the end of the 99 years, amounting to $6,000 a year, and if the City should require 20 more, or 100 hydrants in all, it would cost the city $7,500 a year.
Under the ordinance as passed, it will cost the city $3,000 a year for the first 40 hydrants, $65 each per year for perhaps 20 more, and the other 40 hydrants to make up 100 may be free of rent to the city, thus possibly costing the city only $4,300 a year rent for 100 hydrants, a possible saving to the city of $3,200 a year. As this sum is simply interest on the franchise, it reduces the value of the franchise by a sum which would produce $3,200 a year at 6 percent interest.
But we hold that this ordinance ought not to have passed, simply because the city cannot afford it, and because the city could have established and maintained the same kind of works with less than half of the expense, and possibly with no expense at all after two or three years; by issuing $50,000 six percent bonds and letting the individual water-rents pay the running expenses, repairs, and interest on the bonds and creating sinking fund to extinguish the bonds. Because too, as we are now informed, a proposition would soon have been made, on the same basis as the one passed, in all respects except that no hydrant should cost the city more than $60 per year, which would be a further saving to the city of about $700 a year.
But we have not got altogether a sure thing on the savings of $3,200 a year on the ordinance as passed, over the first ordinance as presented. It depends upon the structure of our future city governments. If the persons who own this franchise should be allowed to control the city legislation as in the past, they will make their stock pay, Ayou bet.@
The only way to preserve what we have gained is to always elect mayors and councilmen who are not interested in this stock. Even with the closest care we are liable to elect persons who are secretly stockholders or who may be bought.
The grand objection which we urged against the City building its own water works, was, that it would make a big hubbub and quarrel at every city election in the struggle between parties and individuals to get control of the water works offices. We have got the same troubles or worse ones fastened on us with this ordinance. At every city election there will be a struggle and bad blood to determine whether water works men or other citizens shall fill the city offices.
Winfield Courier, February 1, 1883. THE TRUE AINWARDNESS@ OF THE PETITION TO HACKNEY.
The original petition is drawn in the hand writing of M. L. Robinson, the originator and principal member of the water-works scheme. That measure entails a heavy tax on the citizens, of which its projectors will have their portion to pay, besides this tax is likely to create a prejudice against the originators. It is said that there are three men who are willing to pay three thousand dollars a year each for the privilege of opening and running saloons in this city. This three thousand dollars a year, with a probable increase after the first year, would be about enough to pay the water rents saddled on to the city. Besides, Read=s Bank is supposed to hold Frank Manny=s paper to a large amount, which would be largely enhanced in value if Frank could get to making money in selling intoxicating drinks.
So to help out the securities of the bank and to provide a fund for paying the water rents without taxation, these hitherto ultra prohibitionists have become the most ultra advocates of saloons and breweries we have. For the sake of paltry dollars, they are anxious to open up the flood-gates of drunkenness and debauchery upon our city and county. Hackney has an interest in the water-works stock, and judging him by themselves, they concluded that by fortifying him with a tremendous petition, he might be won over to help them in their schemes. It was an insult to him, and he has duly resented it in his answer in this paper.
Instead of 300 names on the petition as stated in the Journal, and other papers, there are just 209 only. These names are the owners and employees of Read=s Bank. Mayor Troup and Councilman Gary, about a dozen fellows whose souls are not their own, all those who wish to run or patronize saloons, all the anti-prohibition element, and besides this, a very considerable number of respectable businessmen or citizens, who evidently signed without thought or consideration, merely to please the person who presented it. Many of these have stated that they signed under the explanation that the petition was to ask that laws be passed that would enforce the prohibitory law in the large cities of the state as effectively as it is enforced hereCa construction which the ambiguity of the petition may well bear. Others say they never signed it nor authorized their names to be attached. We do not believe that one half of the signers are in favor of saloon here, or would have signed if they had understood that such was the meaning of it. We consider it a fraud upon its face, starting out as it does with statements which are well known to be false and concealing its object under ambiguous language.
It is well known here that the prohibition law has been better and more effectively enforced than the dram-shop act, which preceded it, ever was; that the sale and use of intoxicating drinks have been very largely decreased, though not entirely suppressed; that drunkenness has become ten times more rare than under license, and that the moral and business interests of the community have been greatly enhanced.
Some of the businessmen whose names are on this petition have told us that their business has been greater and better the past year than ever before, and much better than it could have been but for the prohibition law.
Winfield Courier, February 1, 1883. WINFIELD DON=T WANT SALOONS.
On looking over carefully the list of signatures on the petition to Hackney, we find a considerable number of names of persons who live in the country, and many more whom nobody knows. We find only 101 names, less than half of those on the petition, who are known as citizens of Winfield. Less than half of these probably understood what they were signing, and are in favor of saloons. It is presumable that the originators got all the names of prominent Winfield men they could by any kind of representations; and, considering all these things, the petition is not so very formidable after all. But it is enough to give our city a bad name, and give a severe stab to the cause of prohibition. The Kansas City Journal=s Topeka correspondence says that the names of all the prominent men and business firms of Winfield are found on that petition, except one bank and one hardware store. We notice that the following Winfield firms and names are conspicuously absent from the petition.
COURIER Office, Winfield Bank, S. H. Myton, W. E. McDonald & Co., W. C. Root & Co., Hughes & Cooper, J. W. Johnston, J. S. Hunt, A. B. Arment, D. F. Best, F. M. Friend, C. E. Steuven, N. M. Powers, H. D. Gans, T. R. Bryan, C. Farringer, McGuire Bros., A. H. Green, T. J. Harris, Wm. Newton, Jacob Nixon, Curns & Manser, T. B. Myers, L. B. Stone, Frank Jennings, Henry E. Asp, G. H. Buckman, H. H. Siverd, Frank Finch, J. Wade McDonald, T. H. Soward, Ed Bedilion, J. M. Dever, Bliss & Wood, W. P. Hackney, P. H. Albright & Co., R. C. Story, Youngheim Bros., E. S. Torrance, Mr. Tomlin, Brown & Son, H. Brotherton, E. T. Trimble, W. A. Lee, A. B. Robinson, A T & S F R R STATION, Holmes= Packing House, K C L & S R R Station, C. Trump, Dr. W. G. Graham.
Besides all the clergymen of the city and more than four hundred other businessmen and voters of the city. It does not show up [?? NOT SURE OF LAST WORD??] big when we remember that but a very small proportion of the 650 voters in the city signed the petition.
Winfield Courier, February 1, 1883. SOME PERTINENT ITEMS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCE NO. 167, WHICH I DO NOT PROPOSE TO TYPE ENTIRELY....
SECTION 1. That the right of way along the streets and alleys, and the privilege to construct, operate, and maintain a system of Water Works within the corporate limits of the City of Winfield, for supplying the City and citizens with water for domestic, sanitary, and other purposes, as well as for the better protection of the City against disaster from fires, be and is hereby granted to Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, J. Wade McDonald, W. C. Robinson, J. B. Lynn, W. P. Hackney, and M. L. Robinson, of the City of Winfield, Cowley County and State of Kansas, their successors and assigns for the term of ninety-nine (99) years from the passage of this ordinance.
SECTION 2. That the right of way as held by the City of Winfield be granted to said Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, J. Wade McDonald, W. C. Robinson, J. B. Lynn, W. P. Hackney, and M. L. Robinson and their successors and assigns for the term of ninety-nine (99) years to lay pipes in any and all streets, lanes, alleys, roads, or other public places within the corporate limits of said City, and to extend the pipes, and to place, construct, and erect hydrants, fountains, conduits or such other useful and ornamental structures as may be necessary for the successful operation of the said water works.
SECTION 3. That the general plan of the works shall be, an engine house built of either brick or stone and roofed with metal, not less than twenty-four  feet by forty  feet, and divided into two apartments to be known as pump and boiler rooms; attached to the boiler room, a coal shed built of stone or brick and roofed with metal, of sufficient size to store twenty-five  tons of coal.
The pump to be capable of pumping through the connecting main one million U. S. Gallons of water into a reservoir one hundred feet higher than Main Street, in twenty-four hours, the said reservoir capable of storing not less than two million gallons of water; the boiler of sufficient size to make with easy firing ample steam to supply the pumping machinery; the original pipe system to be not less than five miles and twelve hundred and seventy feet of main, composed of standard iron water pipe and to vary in size from ten inches to four inches in diameter; the hydrants to be what is commonly known as six inch post and two and one-half inch double discharge with frost jackets with four inch connection.
SECTION 16. That the location of the mains provided for in section 3, shall be as follows, to-wit: Running from the pumping works to Ninth Avenue on Walton street, 740 feet; from Walton street to section line on Ninth Avenue, 4580 feet; from Ninth to Twelfth Avenue on Mansfield street, 1100 feet; from Seventh Avenue to Riverside Avenue on Menor street, 2670 feet; from Ninth to Sixth Avenue on Manning street, 1100 feet; from Sixth to Twelfth Avenue on Main street, 2220 feet; from Ninth Avenue to Blanden street and from Seventh to Eighth Avenue on Millington street, 1870 feet; from Millington to Loomis street on Twelfth Avenue, 370 feet; from Twelfth to Riverside Avenue on Loomis street, 740 feet; from Main to Andrews street on Eighth Avenue, 1500 feet; from Millington to Maris street on Eleventh Avenue, 2150 feet; from Ninth to Tenth Avenue on Fuller street, 370 feet; from Fuller to Andrew street on Tenth Avenue, 370 feet; from Ninth to Fifth Avenue on Andrews street, 1480 feet; from Andrews to Fuller street on Seventh avenue, 370 feet; from Ninth to Eleventh Avenue on Maris street, 740 feet; from Ninth to Seventh Avenue on section line 740 feet; from section line to reservoir 3220 feet; from mains to 40 public hydrants 1340 feet, making a total of 27670 feet.
SECTION 17. That the following maximum rates shall be annual and become part of this franchise:
Bakery, each oven: $8.00 to $20.00.
Bar Room: $10.00 to $80.00.
Barber shops, first chair: $5.00.
Barber shops, each additional chair: $2.50.
Bath, private: $3.00.
Bath, hotel or boarding house, each additional tub: $6.00
Bath, public: $10.00 to $30.00.
Brewery, special: _____.
Billiard saloon, each table: $3.00.
Boarding house per room, 1st opening 5 rooms or less: $6.00.
Book bindery: $8.00.
Brick work per m. Laid: $.12-1/2.
Brick yard each gauge or table per season: $20.00.
Candle factory, special: ____.
Candy manufactory: $8.00 to $40.00.
Cigar manufactory, per hand: $1.50.
City officers, free.
Cows, each: $1.50.
Distilleries, special: ____.
Drugstores: $8.00 to $10.00.
Dyeing and scouring: $15.00 to $30.00.
Fountain, 2 inch jet, not exceeding 6 hours per day, during season: $7.50.
Fountain, 1/16 inch jet, not exceeding 6 hours per day during season: $5.00.
Fire protection, to individuals special: ____.
Forge, first fire: $6.00.
Forge, second fire: $2.00.
Halls and theaters: $10.00 to $20.00.
Hydrant supply 1 lot 50 ft. Front: $6.00.
Hydrants supply each additional hydrant supply: $5.00.
Hotel, special: _____.
Ice cream saloon: $8.00 to $50.00.
Laundry: $$15.00 to $100.00.
Locomotive, each engine out per day: $.75.
Locomotive, each switch engine out per day: $1.50.
Office or sleeping room: $3.00.
Packing house, special: ____.
Photography gallery: $10.00 to $30.00.
Plastering per sq. Yd.: $0.001/2
Printing office, special: ___.
Residence of six rooms, one family: $6.00.
Residence, each additional room: $.50.
Residence, any connection: $6.00.
Saloons: $10.00 to $30.00.
School fire protection, special: ____.
Sprinkling, private garden, special: _____.
Sprinkling, public garden, special: _____.
Stable, livery, board or sale including carriage washing, per stall: $2.00.
Steam boiler per horse power, ten hours per day: $.20.
Stone work per perch: $.05.
Stores: $6.00 to $40.00.
Two public drinking and watering fountains, to be erected by the city, free.
Water-closet, public, each seat: $8.00.
Water-closet, private family, special: $1.00 to $3.00.
Meter rates 10,000 gallons and over per day per 100 gallons: $.02.
Other, special: ______.
Motor, special: ______.
Factories not enumerated, special: ___.
Winfield Courier, March 1, 1883. The Water Works Company have begun work on the well near the river. They propose to have it twenty-five feet in diameter. Work will also be begun on the mound as soon as the surveys can be made.
Winfield Courier, March 22, 1883. The Waterworks Company has changed its location for the pumping house and purchased ground near the Santa Fe depot on which the works will be erected. This will probably necessitate somewhat of a change in the piping system. Aside from this, that location is entirely impracticable on sanitary grounds. The water must and should be taken from the river above the cityCabove the slaughter houses, hog lots, and wash of the town. The original location as designated in the ordinance was above all this sewerage. The new location gives the water the seasoning of two slaughter houses, and numerous pig pens and garbage-dumping grounds, aside from the fact that all the drainage of the city naturally tends that way. When the managers of the Company were awarded the contract, it was with the understanding that the water would be taken from above the city. This is one of the most vital points in the health and well being of the community and will be guarded with a jealous care. We hope the Company will reconsider its action on this matter without further trouble as it will be compelled to do in the end.
Winfield Courier, May 3, 1883. The contract for building the Water-works has been let to Russell & Alexander and the workmen will be put on next week. The water will be taken direct from the river above Bliss & Wood=s Mill.
Winfield, Kansas, May 7th, 1883. To the Honorable Mayor and Council of the City of Winfield, Cowley County, Kansas:
GENTLEMEN: You are hereby notified and requested to proceed with all practicable dispatch to have condemned in the name of the City of Winfield, the right to perpetually divest from the Walnut River, at a point thereon northwest of the north end of Walton Street, of said city, all such quantity or quantities of water as may be necessary to enable the Winfield Water Company, its successors or assigns, to supply the said City of Winfield and the inhabitants thereof, with water, in pursuance with the provisions of ordinance numbered 167, of said city.
This notification and request is made in pursuance with and under and by virtue of the provisions of section 14 of said ordinance, numbered 167.
The Winfield Water Company by M. L. ROBINSON, President.
Attest: CHAS. F. BAHNTGE, Secretary.
And thereupon upon motion of Councilman McMullen it was ordered by the mayor and council that the city do forthwith, by Joseph O=Hare, Esq., city attorney, present, in the name of the city, a petition to the Honorable E. S. Torrance, judge of the district court of the County of Cowley, State of Kansas, requesting the appointment of three commissioners to lay off and condemn to the use of the city the right to forever divest from the Walnut River at a point thereon northwest of the present north end of Walton Street of said city, so much of the water of and from said stream as may or shall be or become necessary to forever supply from day to day and from year to year said city and the inhabitants thereof with an abundance of water for the extinguishment of fires and for domestic, sanitary, and other purposes as specified and provided for in and by ordinance numbered 167, of said city.
Winfield Courier, September 6, 1883. The Water-works engines were started up Saturday, several hydrants opened, and Main Street flooded with water. Everything seemed to work nicely.
Winfield Courier, September 6, 1883. James Conner has the contract for putting in the reservoir for the Water-works company. It is to be completed by November first.
Winfield Courier, October 11, 1883. The water works company has a large force of men at work on the mound east of town, building their reservoir. The work is under contract by James Conner, who expects to complete it by November first.
Winfield Courier, December 13, 1883. THE WATER WORKS. The Waterworks Company have notified the mayor and councilmen that they have completed the works and require a test to be made on or before the 15th.
This has raised the questions, whether the works are completed as the ordinance requires; what is the intent and meaning of the ordinance; and what test is required. The discussion of these questions has raised the points whether the city is bound to pay the hydrant rents whether water is furnished the city or not; whether the holders of the company=s bonds can compel the city to pay the interest on the bonds though no water is furnished the hydrants after the test is made, whether the test is satisfactory to the council or not.
We paid some attention to the ordinance when it was first before the council and were satisfied that it then protected the city=s interests in these respects. A week before the passage of the ordinance, we left for the east part of the state on railroad business and when we returned, the ordinance had been materially changed in many important particulars and had passed.
We have not scrutinized it since, until now, but have had no doubt that the intent and meaning of the councilmen in passing that ordinance was: that unless the company should furnish the required quantity of pure wholesome water, taken from a point where the drainage from the city and cemetery could not contaminate it, well filtered through an abundance of gravel; unless the works stood the test by reservoir pressure only and without pressure from the pumps, the council should not accept the works and that no hydrant rents should accrue until all these conditions should be accomplished; that in case there should afterwards be a time when any of these conditions were not maintained, the rents for hydrants should cease to accrue during such time as such deficiency existed, and that the bond holders could not get from the city any interest in excess of what had thus accrued as due from the city.
But it is now claimed that it cuts no figure whether the water is pure or not; whether a sufficient reservoir is constructed or not. The company can compel the test when they choose and if the force of the pumps proves sufficient to throw six streams from six hose of fifty feet each through inch nozzles to the height of sixty feet for one second only, the council is compelled to accept the work and the hydrant rents will commence to accrue from that date; and that no failure to supply pure water, or to supply any water at all; no failure to keep the works in repair; no failure of the reservoir; no failure in any direction, will release the city from the payment of the interest or any part of it on the company=s bonds, or in any way interrupt the accruing of the rents of hydrants against the city. That from the moment the test is made, the city is bound to pay the full sum of three thousand a year and sixty-five per year for each other hydrant in addition to the original forty, and pay to that extent the interest on the company=s bonds; and there is no escape, whatever the delinquencies of the water company. We are told that the company Adon=t care a continental@ whether the city council accepts the waterworks or not, for Athe company have got the city foul@ and it cannot help itself.
This kind of talk has called our special attention to the ordinance and after scrutinizing it carefully, we find a great many specious insertions and omissions which seem to bear the construction which the water company puts upon it. It has been fixed up by sharp men and shrewd lawyers in such a way as to conceal the claws of the animal, the tricks to catch the city, and at the same time, the words to protect the city are as speciously omitted in such a way as to leave the impression that they still remain. So while the ordinance has words that seem to bear the construction which the company now place upon it, there is nothing which openly denies the meaning which the council believed they were voting for, and there seems to be only two ways for the council to act; to surrender to the waterworks company all they claim or to test the matter in the courts. Of course, we are decidedly in favor of the latter course.
We find from the ordinance that the company agrees to build an engine house according to certain specifications; provide a pump capable of throwing a million gallons of water into a reservoir one hundred feet higher than main street in twenty-four hours; a reservoir capable of storing two million gallons; a boiler; five and a half miles of pipe with certain specification; and forty hydrants. The works, when completed, to be capable of throwing six streams sixty feet high through 50 ft. of hose and inch nozzles; to extend mains and build additional hydrants when required by the city council; to make a satisfactory test as to the capacity of the pumps and the throwing of fire streams; and to keep said works at all times up to the standard of such tests; to lay the pipe in certain streets; to leave the streets in as good condition as before if practicable; to charge consumers not exceeding a certain schedule of rates for water; to keep the said works always in operation and supply the city and its inhabitants with an ample quantity of well settled and wholesome water; and to do their business in Winfield.
The above in substance is absolutely all that the company agreed in words to do. It is provided that in case any hydrant shall remain out of repair more than one day after notice, ten days rental of that hydrant shall be deducted for each day it remains out of working order through the fault or neglect of the company. This is the only penalty for not fulfilling, prescribed in words. It is provided that the hydrants rented by the city shall be used exclusively for extinguishing fires, drill practice, and flushing gutters.
The city grants the company the right of way in the city for ninety-nine years and agrees to condemn for the company such property in and out of the city which they require. The named consideration for this is, Afor supplying the city and its citizens with water for domestic, sanitary, and other purposes as well as the protection of the city against disaster from fires.@
The city agrees to pay three thousand dollars a year for the use of forty hydrants, sixty-five dollars a year for each hydrant in excess of 40 up to a hundred, $60 for each in excess of a hundred up to 150, $50 in excess of 150 up to 200, and $25 in excess of 200; and out of which to pay the interest on the company=s bonds to the extent of the amount due the company for hydrant rents but not in excess of such amount. The named consideration for this is Athe benefit that will accrue to the city of Winfield by the construction of such a system of water works as contemplated herein.@
It is provided that the city may locate the mains and hydrants; and may buy the works at the end of ten years and every five years thereafter at the appraised value of Athe works, choses in action, property, and franchises belonging or appertaining to said water works.@
The above is substantially all there is in the ordinance, certainly all that bears upon the questions in dispute. All else is left to implication and any question not settled by the words of the contract, in our opinion, must be settled by the meaning and intent on which the councilmen intended when they passed that ordinance; if indeed, the ordinance is not void altogether. So while the ordinance is very weak on the part of the city, we do not think it quite certain that the water company have yet gobbled up the whole city and all it contains. We do not quite see that the company has got the city so foul that she cannot help herself. We are not quite convinced that the city must pay three to six thousand dollars a year anyhowCwhether any water is supplied or not.
We hold that the city council cannot see a satisfactory test of the water works until everything that the company have agreed to do is complied with. We do not doubt that the pump is sufficient to throw water sixty feet high from six hydrants and that alone may be satisfactory to the company, but not a satisfactory test to the city council. It must do it by reservoir pressure alone first. They should not take part in the test or accept the work at present.
The ordinance does not require the city to make the test or take part in it. Neither does it require the council to accept the work in any contingency. It should never take part in any test and should never accept the works until the whole works are completed according to contract; until reservoir pressure is sufficient; and until they supply an ample quantity of well settled and wholesome water. And further, they should take no part until it is determined authoritatively that the city will not be holden to pay hydrant rents in interests on the company=s bonds, or in any other way for such time as the works are not maintained up to contract thereafter.
No councilman ought to be satisfied with any test until all these things are tested and satisfactory.
It is a notorious fact that the reservoir does not hold water well and there are strong doubts if its strength is sufficient to hold two millions of gallons. It is a notorious fact that the water supplied by the pumps is foul, that it is not well settled and filtered, not wholesome; that it is taken from a place in the river where it takes the drainage from the north part of the city and from the cemetery. These must certainly be remedied before there can be a satisfactory test. Then the council should get the best legal advice and have the question of the city=s liability to pay the rents for such time as the works are not maintained up to test settled judiciously before the test can be satisfactory. If as it is claimed, it makes no difference as to the city=s liabilities whether the test is made by the council and the works accepted or not, the council will do no harm by keeping their fingers out of it, and if it would make a difference, in the interest of the city, the council should now take no part in it.
Winfield Courier, December 13, 1883. Water was turned into the reservoir Friday and about four feet pumped in when it sprung a leak. The water was then drawn off and the breaks are now being repaired. During our limited career as a Ahydraulic engineer,@ we formed a theory that a successful reservoir must be constructed something on the order of a wash basin. At least this is the plan upon which nature constructs her reservoirs, and nature is an excellent authority.
Winfield Courier, December 13, 1883. The leak in the reservoir was repaired Tuesday and about a million gallons were pumped in Tuesday night. The water is now about five feet deep, and the basin holds well.
Winfield Courier, December 20, 1883. Water Works Test. The Water Works were tested Monday in the presence of a large crowd of people. Six streams were first put on with reservoir pressure and the streams were thrown to the height of the Post Office. Afterwards the reservoir valve was closed and the pressure from the pumps forced the streams to a height of seventy or eighty feet. The committee appointed by the council examined the pumps and reservoir on Saturday and made measurements of the streams on Monday. The reservoir test of the throwing capacity did not come up to the expectations of many who witnessed it. One or two of the six streams with reservoir pressure alone would not do execution on a two story building. The fact that the reservoir was less than half full of water when the test commenced perhaps had a depressing effect on the force of the streams thrown.
Winfield Courier, December 27, 1883. More Water Works.
At the council meeting last Friday evening, the special committee on water works made the following report.
To the honorable mayor and councilmen of Winfield.
The undersigned having been appointed by his honor, the mayor of said city, as a committee to inspect and report on the condition of the Winfield water works, respectfully submit the following.
We find the engine house and coal shed required by section 3 of Ordinance No. 167 to be of the required capacity, of good material, and well constructed.
The works were submitted to the tests required by sections 3, 4, and 12 of said ordinance on the 17th and 18th days of December, 1883, with the following result, viz: The pumping capacity of the works were tested by measuring the depth of the water in the reservoir and after two hours pumping, measured again, when there was found to be an increase of depth of five and one eighth inches, which indicates a pumping capacity of one million and twenty-five thousand gallons in 24 hours. Said reservoir being 103 feet higher than Main street and capable of storing two millions one hundred thousand gallons of water. The boiler is of sufficient size to make with easy firing ample steam to supply the pumping machinery.
By actual test and measurement by triangulation we found the works capable of throwing six streams through fifty feet of 2 2 inch rubber hose and one inch ring nozzle sixty-five feet high from six of the highest hydrants on Main street.
We believe that the pipe system is of the required length and capacity, the pipes are of good quality and properly laid, and that the hydrants are such as are required by ordinance.
The meaning of section fifteen is somewhat ambiguous. If practicable, simply means passable, then no doubt the section has been complied with, but it would seem that the present condition of the streets and alleys might be considerably improved.
We believe that the works throughout are thoroughly constructed and if maintained in their present condition will furnish the city and citizens with an ample supply of water for all necessary purposes.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
T. R. BRYAN, S. C. SMITH, CHARLES SCHMIDT.
The committee, having failed to report on whether the water was Apure and wholesome,@ Aand the reservoir capable of storing@ two million gallons of water, the report was referred back to them for a report on these points and the mayor instructed to appoint two additional members to the committee, one of whom should be a physician. The members of the original committee say they have reported all they can in the matter.
It seems to be the strong sentiment of the council not to accept the works until it is ascertained whether or not the reservoir will store two million gallons, and the city fully protected on all sides.
Winfield Courier, January 31, 1884. WATERWORKS ACCEPTED. The city councilmen at their meeting Monday evening accepted the waterworks, Messrs. Kretsinger, McMullen, and McGuire voting aye; Mr. Wilson and Mayor Emerson opposing. This was hastily done while the reservoir had never been filled to test whether it was strong enough to hold two million gallons of water as required by the ordinance and while the question of whether the company had a right to the water from the Amill pond@ was pending in the court. Since the acceptance the court has decided that the company have no right to use the water, thus leaving the city with a dry, water less waterworks on its hands and $3,000 a year tax. We expected Kretsinger would vote for an acceptance whether there was any water in the reservoir or not, but we were surprised beyond measure when McMullen went over thus early and McGuire with him, while we honor Mr. Wilson and the mayor for their conservative and prudent course in the interests of the city. We do not mean to reflect on the motives of the gentlemen who voted for acceptance. We give them credit for doing what they considered just and proper in the case, and we hold them in higher respect, but we think they have made a mistake.
Winfield Courier, January 31, 1884. Council Meeting. The following resolution, accepting the Water-works system, was presented by J. Wade McDonald, attorney of the Water-works Company, and passed by the Council after considerable discussion.
Be it resolved, by the Mayor and Councilmen of the City of Winfield, That the system of Water-works constructed in and adjacent to the city, by the Winfield Water Company, in pursuance with provisions of Ordinance No. 167, be, and the same are, hereby accepted; and the contract embodied in said Ordinance is hereby ratified and confirmed unto the said Winfield Water Company as the successor in interest and assignees of the rights of Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, W. P. Hackney, J. B. Lynn, W. C. Robinson, J. Wade McDonald, and M. L. Robinson, the grantees named in and by said Ordinance No. 167 of the said city; and that the hydrant rentals mentioned and provided for in and by said Ordinance shall accrue from said city to said Water Company from and after the 17th day of December, A. D., 1883. This acceptance is subject to all the requirements on the part of said Water Company, in said Ordinance contained.
The city attorney was instructed to submit a written opinion as to the liability of the city under such acceptance, and the city clerk was instructed to spread the same upon the minutes of the meeting.
Winfield Courier, January 31, 1884. Bliss & Wood brought action against the Water Company to have it restrained from taking water from their Mill pond. The demurrer was argued at last before the court last week, by McDermott & Johnson for plaintiff and Wade McDonald for defendant. On Monday the Court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. The Case will go to the Supreme Court.
Winfield Courier, February 7, 1884. THE WATER WORKS DECISION.
Following is the full text of the decision of Judge Torrance in the water works case, in which Bliss & Wood are plaintiffs, and the Winfield Water Company is defendant.
STATEMENT OF CASE.
The decision of this case arises upon a general demurrer interposed by the plaintiffs to the defendant=s answer. The petition in the case, in substance, alleges that the plaintiffs are owners of a mill pond on the Walnut River, in this county, and of lands adjacent thereto, upon which they have constructed a valuable flouring and grist mill, which they are operating by means of the water power furnished by said mill pond; that the defendant is a private corporation created under the laws of this State, and that it has constructed and is operating a system of water works in the city of Winfield, for the purpose of supplying said city with water, and for that purpose is diverting large quantities of water from the plaintiffs= said mill pond. The petition prays for a perpetual injunction. By way of defense to the cause of action stated in plaintiffs= petition, the defendant in its answer, alleges that it is a private corporation, duly incorporated under the laws of this State, for the purpose of constructing and maintaining, adjacent to and within the city of Winfield, a system of water works for the purpose of supplying said city with water; that said city of Winfield is a city of the second class, duly incorporated as such under the laws of this State; that the Mayor and Councilmen of said city duly passed an ordinance granting to Frank Barclay, J. L. Horning, J. Wade McDonald, W. C. Robinson, J. B. Lynn, W. P. Hackney, and M. L. Robinson, and their assigns, the privilege of constructing, operating, and maintaining, for the period of ninety-nine years, a system of water works within the corporate limits of said city, for the purpose of supplying its inhabitants with water, and for the better protection of said city against disaster from fires. This ordinance invests the grantees named therein with full power, for the period of ninety-nine years, to lay pipes in the streets, alleys, and other public places within said city, and to extend such pipes, and to erect hydrants, fountains, conduits, or such other useful and ornamental structures as may be necessary for the successful operation of such works. The ordinance further provides that at the expiration of certain specified periods, after the completion of the works, the city shall have the right to purchase the works from the grantees named in the ordinance, or their assigns, upon terms and conditions expressed in the ordinance. The ordinance in terms provides that it shall constitute a contract between the city and the grantees named therein, and their assigns, and shall be binding on all parties upon the acceptance of its provisions by the grantees named therein, or their assigns. In section 14 of the ordinance, the city expressly agrees as a part of the franchise and contract embraced in the ordinance, that it will, upon the request in writing of the grantees named therein, or their assigns, proceed without delay to exercise its right of eminent domain in the condemnation of any lots, parcels, or pieces of ground, or of water or any water privilege, that may be necessary to the proper and convenient construction and maintenance of the system of water works provided for in the ordinance, provided the said grantees, or their assigns, shall pay all costs and expenses incident to such condemnation proceedings, including the cost of all property so condemned. This section also provides that the right to the free and exclusive use and enjoyment of all property so condemned shall vest and remain in said grantees, and their assigns, so long as the franchise and contract provided for in the ordinance shall remain in force and effect. The answer of the defendant further alleges that, after the passage, and due publication of said ordinance, the grantees therein named duly assigned to the defendant corporation all the right, title, and interest granted to and vested in them, under the provisions of said ordinance; that afterwards the defendant notified said city of the fact of such assignment, and that as such assignee it accepted the franchise and contract granted by and embodied in said ordinance, and that the city of Winfield thereupon assented to such assignment, and accepted the defendant in the place and stead of the original grantees named in the ordinance; that afterwards, and in pursuance of section 14 of said ordinance, the City Council of said city proceeded to condemn, and did condemn in its own name, the right to forever divert from the said mill pond of the plaintiffs, sufficient quantities of water to operate and maintain a system of water works, and to supply the inhabitants of the city of Winfield with water therefrom. These condemnation proceedings were had under the provisions of an act of the Legislature of the State entitled, AAn act authorizing cities to construct water works,@ approved February 27th, 1872, and a subsequent act of the Legislature, amendatory thereof, approved March 8, 1883, and the proceedings seem upon their face to be regular and valid. The answer further alleges that the defendant corporation afterwards constructed the system of water works provided for in said ordinance, and that it is now operating the same, and is diverting from the plaintiffs= mill pond, by virtue of such condemnation proceedings, only such quantities of water as are necessary for the operation of its works in the supplying of the city of Winfield with water.
OPINION OF THE COURT.
The power of eminent domain, or the right of the public to appropriate private property to public uses, is one of the attributes of political sovereignty. This power remains dormant, and is unavailable even to the State itself, until legislative action is had, pointing out the occasions, the modes, and conditions under which it may be exercised. The Legislature may at once by direct legislative enactment, appropriate property; or it may delegate such authority to some public or private agency to be exercised by it upon the occasions, and in the mode and under the conditions specified in the act conferring the right. But no person nor corporation, either public or private, however pressing may be the public necessity therefor, is competent to employ the power of eminent domain unless such power has been expressly vested in said person or corporation by an act of the Legislature; and then only in the mode and under the conditions and for the uses expressed in the act. This legislative delegation of the right of eminent domain partakes of the nature of a personal appointment or trust, and the authority thus conferred cannot be delegated to another, or in any manner transferred or assigned, by the person or corporation clothed with the power by the act of the legislature. It seems to me that the principles of law thus far stated are clearly supported by the text writers upon the subject, and by the adjudged cases. The question now arises whether a city of the second class, empowered to exercise this right by the act of the legislature above referred to, for the purpose of supplying its inhabitants with water, has the power to contract with a private corporation, organized under the laws of this state for the purpose of supplying such city with water, to condemn the necessary lands and water privileges to enable such private corporation to construct and operate its waterworks, and in pursuance of such contract lawfully condemn the lands or water privileges of third persons for the benefit of such private corporation. It seems to me that this is a correct statement of the question of law raised by the demurrer to the defendant=s answer. It is true the city of Winfield may in one sense be benefitted by the use of the water proposed to be furnished by the defendant corporation. It is also true that when a private corporation is duly empowered by the legislature to take private property for the construction of works of public utility, the fact that it has a pecuniary interest in the construction of such works does not preclude it from being regarded as a proper agency in respect to the public good which is sought to be promoted. Under our statutes, however, a private water corporation has no authority delegated to it by the legislature to exercise the right of eminent domain. So it seems to me that the contract of the city of Winfield to secure the necessary condemnation proceedings was primarily, and in the just sense of the term, for the benefit of the defendant corporation. The ordinance itself provides that the exclusive use and enjoyment of the property condemned by the city shall vest and remain in the grantees therein named, and their assigns. The act of our legislature under which the condemnation proceedings were had in this case is entitled, AAn act authorizing cities to construct waterworks.@ This act grants to cities of the second class full power and authority, on behalf of such cities, to contract for and procure the construction of waterworks for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of such cities with water for domestic use, the extinguishment of fires, and for manufacturing and other purposes. It provides that the city council shall have power and authority to condemn and appropriate, in the name and for the use of the city, any such lands or water privileges, located in or out of the corporate limits thereof, as may be necessary for the construction and operation of such waterworks. It further provides that when the council shall determine to condemn any land or water privilege for the purpose aforesaid, it shall cause a petition to be presented in the name of the city to the judge of the district court of the county in which said city is situated, setting forth the necessity of the appropriation of lands or water privileges for the erection and operation of waterworks, and requesting the appointment of three commissioners to lay off and condemn such lands or water privileges as may be necessary for such purpose, and to make an appraisement and assessment of damages. The act provides that the subsequent proceedings shall be governed by the provisions of the statute relative to the condemnation of lands by railroad corporations (with but one exception), so far as the same are applicable. It also provides that upon the completion of the condemnation proceedings the city shall be vested with the right to perpetually use the property condemned for the purpose of such water works. The act also empowers the council to issue the bonds of the city to defray the cost of such water works, after the question of their issue has been determined in the affirmative by a majority of the electors of such city. The act further empowers and makes it the duty of the council to fix the rate of water rents to be paid by consumers, and to ordain such rules and regulations, with appropriate penalties for the violation of the same, as the council may deem proper for the regulation and protection of such water works, and, lastly, the act authorizes the council to appoint such engineers and other officers to superintend and operate such water works, both during and after the construction of the same, as may be necessary, and to do all acts and things for the erection, operation, alteration, and repair of such water works as may from time to time, in the judgment of the council, be necessary. It is evident, both from the title and body of this act, that it was the intention of the legislature to empower cities of the second class to construct water works for their own benefit and at their own expense, and to have the exclusive control and management of the same. And to this end the act authorizes the city council to exercise the right of eminent domain in the condemnation and appropriation of such lands and water privileges as may be necessary for that purpose, in the name and for the perpetual use of the city in the maintenance and operation of such water works. The only warrant which the city has is to be found in this act; and the only authority conferred by the act is the appropriation of property for the benefit of the city alone. When the property of an individual is sought to be divested against his will by authority of law, courts should not permit the authority conferred to be extended by intendment beyond the fair import of the language used, and should require a strict compliance with the provisions of the law by which the authority is delegated. If the legislature had intended that the power of eminent domain should be invoked in aid of water works to be constructed by private water corporations, it would have delegated the right to exercise such power to such corporations themselves, or to some other agency empowered to act on their behalf. The fact that the legislature has omitted to do so is satisfactory evidence to my mind that it did not intend to delegate the power in such cases. I have had but little time to examine the law bearing upon the point involved in this demurrer, and I would be very loth to thus hastily decide this case if I thought there was any probability that my decision would finally determine the rights of the parties. I thought it proper however, as the matter to be determined was of some general interest to the citizens of this city, to reduce the reasons for my decision to writing. In my present view of the law I am of the opinion the demurrer should be sustained, and it is so ordered.
E. S. TORRANCE, Judge.
Winfield Courier, Feb. 14, 1884. Before we had spoken or printed a word against the original water-works proposition, and while we were beginning to look into and investigate the proposition; the originator of that scheme offered us an equal chance with himself in the company if we would support it. We answered that we would consider and look into the scheme and give him our answer in a day or two. Two days thereafter he came into our office for his answer and we told him the scheme was Atoo big a job and we could not support it, that on the contrary we would oppose it unless it was modified so as to make it very much better for the city.@ It was after this that we commenced our opposition, a record of which appeared in the columns of the COURIER.
Our investigations had convinced us that the passage of that ordinance would amount to giving the water company outright $100,000 at the expense of the city and that we could just as surely get the water-works with a gift franchise not worth one-fourth of that sum. We did not interfere with Ed. Greer=s proposition in any way. He spent his own money in traveling and visiting other water-works and water-works builders, and secured such aid and backing as would have enabled him to get the water-works put in on the terms of the ordinance he presented to the Council. We examined his ordinance and concluded that it would be a good thing for him and perhaps save the city $75,000 or more in taxes and otherwise if it should be adopted instead of the original Barclay-Robinson ordinance, which we concluded would be adopted unless something better for the city was presented. So we let him take his own course and shoulder the whole fight. The result was that Robinson had to come down very nearly to the terms of Ed=s ordinance in order to get his proposition through, and Ed=s work saved the city a considerable sum in yearly rents and made it possible for the city to buy out the plant in ten years at a cost of perhaps $75,000 less for the gift franchise than it would otherwise have been. We doubt not that Ed. will get the credit of this as he is entitled to it. The story about Ed. offering a councilman ten thousand dollars in stock for his vote for his ordinance was fabricated to tone down the appearance that a Councilman sold out. That Councilman was all along so stubbornly opposed to the original scheme and so warmly in favor of Ed.=s ordinance when it was presented that Ed. considered his vote certain for him and of course did not offer to buy what he already had or felt sure of.
What we concluded then and what we still think is; that if the city was bound to have, and could afford to have water-works, the best and only sensible way was to take a vote of the people on the issue of bonds for that purpose to the extent of $50,000, six percents, if needed, thus giving the people a chance to decide the question. If carried, let a contract for building the works for the City payable in the City=s bonds. For that sum we should have got at least as good a system as those now put in and the bonds not issued or draw interest until fully completed and tested. The interest on those bonds would be limited to $3,000 a year, equal to the rent now running but not subject to increase to $6,000 or more a year as the rents are; then the City, owning the works, franchise and all, could lease the works to M. L. Robinson=s company or some other, with a limited schedule of rates to consumers as in the ordinance, and get, after a year or two, more rents from the company than sufficient to pay the interest on the city=s bonds; sufficient to pay for repairs and extensions and to create a sinking fund sufficient to sink the bonds in ten years, or twenty at the outside, when the city would own the works and be out of debt without it ever having cost her a cent not returned or having levied a cent of tax on her citizens on account of it. This was our plan, but it was not adopted. Instead, the city is bound to pay $3,000 in rents the first year, to be increased year after year to $6,000 or more, and when we get tired of this heavy tax besides paying our individual water rents, say after ten years, the city must buy the works at cost and pay probably as much more for the franchise, possibly twice as much more, and issue its bonds for at least $100,000 to pay for them, paying $6,000 a year interest. But that will be the best thing to be done at the end of ten years, for then the city can probably lease the works for near enough money to pay the interest and save from a half to the whole of the taxes that must be raised until then.
This is what we get by granting subsidies to bloated bondholders and conscienceless monopolists.
Winfield Courier, February 28, 1884.
Mr. D. L. Kretsinger has been appointed superintendent of the water company with entire charge of its business and property. He will take hold of the matter actively at once. Mr. Kretsinger is one of our most energetic citizens and will handle the liquid supply of the city in first class shape. The position entails a good deal of responsibility and work on his shoulders, but he is fully equal to the emergency.
Winfield Courier, March 27, 1884.
The litigation between Bliss & Wood and the Winfield Water Co. over the water privilege has ended in a compromise, the water company paying ten thousand dollars for a water franchise of ninety-nine years.