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accounts for the year the absence of the latter sum from the City Treasury discloses a deficit amounting to $828,325.61, whereas had this money been returned to the City by the State, as required by law, there would have been a surplus shown of $893,217.48. Repeated demands upon the part of the City Treasurer to the State authorities, urging the payment of this money, have been made, but up to this time without avail. From the reports of the State Treasurer it is shown that there is a balance in the banks of deposit of over four millions of dollars. There may be some reason for this delay in payment, but up to this time it has not been shown. The law under which the City pays this money to the State requires that immediately upon payment by the City, the State shall remit the proportionate share to which the municipality is entitled.
In the matter of the loan of $11,200,000 that was pending for some time before Councils and defeated, it may not be out of place to refresh our memories and take a retrospective view of the past two years.
In 1896 an ordinance was passed providing for the creation of a loan of $8,000,000 for miscellaneous purposes, and subsequently an ordinance for the creation of another loan of $3,000,000 for the improvement of the water supply. At that time the expenditure of money under the items of these loans was considered of the utmost importance, in so far as the welfare of the City was concerned. There was little, if any opposition to the contemplated improvements, and preparations were at once made by the authorities for the placing of the loans. The question was raised, however, by certain parties who contemplated bidding for the same, as to the right of the City to increase her indebtedness under the law, it being contended that she had reached the limit of her power to borrow. To have attempted at that time to place the loans, with this doubt in the minds of the people would have resulted in either the City receiving too little in the matter of premiums, or perhaps, no bids at all.
By reason of this condition of affairs, a Bill in Equity was filed by certain citizens in the Court of Common Pleas No. 1, asking that the City be restrained from the creation of these loans. After argument the Court held that the City had not reached the limit of her borrowing capacity and therefore had the right to increase her indebtedness to the amounts named in the ordinances. It was of the utmost importance, however, for the credit of the City, to have this question passed upon by the Supreme Court and an appeal was taken thereto, and in May last that Court handed down an opinion deciding that the question would have to be submitted to a vote of the people before the City's indebtedness could be increased. This necessitated waiting until the election in the following November and at that time, the question having been submitted to a popular vote, the City, by a majority of 17,475 votes, was authorized to increase her indebtedness in accordance with the items enumerated, to the extent of $11,200,000. From that date up to a short time since, Councils had this Loan Bill under consideration. For upwards of three years the matter received the attention of the people, and authority came from them in November last, virtually directing the enactment of an ordinance authorizing the increase of the indebtedness to the amount of $11,200,000 for the improvements provided for under the several and distinct items of the bill. In the meantime a measure introduced into Councils and known as the Schuylkill Valley Water Company's bill stood in the
way of the passage of an ordinance authorizing said loan.
It has been contended in some directions, that the passage of the bill authorizing the creation of the loan would carry with it an appropriation. It is useless to say that this is not so; the bill simply provided for authority to increase the indebtedness of the City to the amount of $11,200,00, and such authority would not have carried with it in any way an appropriation, or power to expend one penny under any of the items enumerated. If this Loan bill had passed, separate bills providing for appropriations under the different items would have been introduced and referred to the proper committees and unless favorably reported by them and acted upon favorably by Councils, the appropriations and expenditures could not have been made.
The most urgent and important item under the said bill was of course, that of $3,700,000 for the improvement of our water supply ; this matter is referred to, however, under the distinct head of the Bureau of Water. The other items of the so-called Loan bill provided for the improvement of suburban roads, the completion of the Boys' High School and the erection of new school buildings, for building main sewers and the completion of the Aramingo Canal Sewer, for the building of a new almshouse, for the abolition of grade crossings on the line of the Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad, for the equipment and building of the Philadelphia Museums, for the building of an art gallery, for a library site and building, for the extension of Fairmount Park, for the repaving of streets, tramway streets and intersections and underground work incident thereto, for the building of bridges, for the improvement of public parks and squares, for the purchase of ground and the building of fire and police stations, and electrical and underground construction, for grading and repairs to paved streets, curved curbing, resurfacing asphalt streets, repairs to bridges, repairs to sidewalks, repairs to ditches and sluices, and for repaving with an improved pavement small streets, 40 feet or less in width from house-line to house-line and underground work incident thereto.
A careful reading of these items, I am sure, must convince every fair minded and progressive man in this community, that money expended in these directions would bring great results in so far as the health, safety, comfort, convenience and enlightenment of our people are concerned.
In order that this measure might receive popular support, I called about me a Citizens Advisory Committee composed of experienced, progressive business men representing every interest, and taken from every walk in life. This committee held many meetings, consulted with members of Councils (for the committee was appointed to advise not only with the Executive but the Legislative branches of the City Government), and they have loyally given their time and thought to the consideration of this important bill in its every feature, as affecting the interests and the welfare of the City.
It was contended a short time since, while this bill was pending in Councils, that it contained several objectionable features and that many members who were willing in every way by legislation to assist in the improvement of the water supply, could not vote for the bill in its entirety, and to meet this objection, I submitted a message to Councils calling upon both branches to disregard all factional considerations and acting singly for the welfare of the City, to consider alone that item providing for the improvement of the water supply, but even then the measure was defeated. I now call upon your Honorable Bodies to take up, at the earliest possible moment, the consideration of a loan bill, following in every particular the features of the original bill. There should be no opposition to the improvement and filtration of the water supply, to the improvement of suburban roads, to the completion of the Boys' High School, the erection of new school buildings, the improvement of our sewer system, the abolition of grade crossings, the extension of Fairmount Park, the common pleasure ground of the people, the repaving of our streets, especially the small streets, with im
proved pavements, the abatement of the Aramingo Canal nuisance, the equipment and building of the Philadelphia Museums, an institution that has already given to our City an international reputation, nor to the building of an Art Gallery and a Free Public Library. These last two are not mere luxuries, as has been intimated in some quarters; they are for the improvement, refinement and education of our people and may be a beginning that will ultimately make our City the art centre of this continent. Public spirited citizens who have devoted their wealth and time to the collection of pictures and works of art stand ready, whenever the opportunities are offered, to present to the City donations of immense value. Such collections will call to our City strangers from all over this continent and also from foreign countries. Even if we are to consider these matters from the most selfish standpoint, an appropriation made in these directions will bring ample financial return.,
No city can stand still. She must either advance or lose her position. Philadelphia in the past ten years has pro gressed marvellously and to halt her now in her career would be most disastrous.
I cannot refrain at this time from calling attention to a gift that has recently been made to the city by a publicspirited citizen of his beautiful residence on North Broad street, to be used as a branch of the Free Library. The gift is to be coupled with a donation of pictures representing the best examples of American art, amounting in value to the sum of $400,000.
If the city be generous and broad in her liberality in the support of such institutions, she will induce generosity upon the part of her wealthy citizens. These are questions that should rise above all selfish or personal considerations, and I appeal to your Honorable Bodies not to deprive this City