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be accomplished. At present there are but two ways provided for reducing the debt; one is by raising by taxation $60,000 per annum, and appropriating it to this purpose, and the other by appropriating in like manner the proceeds of the sales of the public lands. Experience has proved that notwithstanding the appropriation of $60,000 annually to the reduction of the debt, not only this sum, but all the proceeds of the land sales, are insufficient to keep the debt from increasing. The cause of this increase is the necessity of annually undertaking enterprises which are not anticipated at the time when the annual appropriation bill is passed, and for which, consequently, special loans must be authorized; and also of providing for those permanent works which appear to be proper subjects for loans rather than for immediate taxation. To suspend these works would be a calamity greater than an increasing debt; and the proper policy undoubtedly is, to avoid alike too much parsimony and too much extravagance by making suitable provision for the public convenience and comfort at the necessary cost. The $60,000 per annum are raised by virtue of the ninth section of the Ordinance on Finance, which requires that a sum equal to three per cent. on the capital of the city debt shall be thus annually appropriated. This ordinance has always been interpreted as applying to the city debt proper, and not to the water debt, upon which latter nothing is raised for this purpose. I com
mend to your consideration the expediency of so changing the ordinance as that the requirement of three per cent. annually, or some less rate, to be paid by taxation, shall apply to the consolidated debt, instead of to the city debt only. Another means of remedying the evil of an increasing debt, would be to make special provision for the payment of all extraordinary works by instalments to be raised at intervals by taxation within specified periods from the time they are undertaken. Care should also be taken that the appropriations annually made are amply sufficient for all the purposes which can be anticipated, and that, so far as is practicable, the expenditures in each department shall be kept within its specific appropriation.
The great necessity of additional street enlargements continues to impress the minds of our fellow-citizens, and to form one of the most important items of municipal labor. During the past winter, application was made to the legislature by the city, for the enactment of a law authorizing the assessment of estates for a portion of the benefit which they may derive from street improvements; which application was unsuccessful. I have nothing to add to the argument which has already been presented upon this subject, but I have failed to hear any satisfactory reason assigned why individual property
holders should be allowed on the one hand, to delay or frustrate important public improvements, or, on the other, to share largely and immediately in the advantages of such improvements without contributing proportionally to their cost. The amount of appropriations and expenditures during the past year, for widening and extending streets, and building and repairing bridges, has been $407,922; and yet improvements of this class are demanded by the public convenience, and if temporarily suspended, must be more vigorously prosecuted thereafter. In many of the older streets prospective widenings have already been projected, and will be gradually accomplished, through a series of years, by the process of rebuilding. There are other places where widenings should be undertaken as early as practicable, and on a scale of some magnitude, if the additional expense arising from increased valuation by delay would be avoided. But until such an act can be obtained as shall afford some relief to the city without being burthensome to the estate holders, I recommend that few of these works be undertaken, unless the abutters evince a readiness to coöperate in their accomplishment. Among this latter class, and one worthy of special consideration and endeavor, is the opening of a new avenue from the central to the southerly section of the city. The great increase of business in the vicinity of Milk, Federal, Congress and Pearl streets, with the prospect of a similar increase in Franklin,
Summer, and other streets at an early period; the enlarged communication with South Boston,—one of the most flourishing sections of our territory,―together with the prospective opening and extension of Albany street, and the constantly increasing business of the great lines of railroads which terminate on the South Cove, render necessary some relief to the thoroughfares between these two sections. Various proposals have at times been suggested to this end, prominent among which has been the opening of Chauncy street, which has been accomplished; and connected therewith the wid ening of Hawley street from Summer to Milk street. This scheme is now rendered impracticable by the erection of an expensive structure on the corner of Hawley and Summer streets. The widening of Arch street has also its advocates. But in seeking a new avenue in this direction, it is desirable to open it not only where it may be done at the least expense, but also where it shall be most convenient and most direct from point to point. Among all the routes yet suggested, no one seems to possess more claims than the following:- Commencing at the square in Summer street, from which radiate Summer, High, South, Lincoln and Bedford streets, pass through Winthrop place to Franklin street, cross Franklin street, and widen Odeon avenue to Milk street, and Devonshire street to Water street, thus forming a direct line from State street to the Worcester railroad, and thence by the
collateral streets east of the railroads, to South Boston; and by way of Winthrop and Otis places, and Kingston and Albany streets, to the Neck lands and Roxbury. This improvement, besides affording additional street accommodations, would bring into use for business purposes a large amount of property now otherwise and less profitably employed. I have reason to believe that should this measure find favor with the City Council, they will be met in the spirit of great liberality by the merchants and property holders along the line of the proposed improvement, and that the whole may be speedily accomplished at a cost which will warrant the undertaking. Another improvement which appears to me of great importance is the widening of Tremont street from Boylston to a point beyond Pleasant street. The great increase in population within the city proper must naturally be expected in the extreme southerly part of the city, where the lands are not already fully occupied. Such has been the increase for several years past; and added to this must be the immense increase of travel to Roxbury, and Brookline, creating the necessity of additional means of communication with the heart of the city from that direction.
The City Council, several years ago, with enlightened forecast and liberality, established the width of Tremont street, from Dover street to the Roxbury line, at one hundred feet, rendering it one of our finest avenues. Washington street, between these two points, is