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their houses. It becomes the duty of the Committee on Paving for the present year to comply with the order of the City Government as directed. In this they have met with no little embarrassment, principally through the indisposition of owners to assume any part of the expense incurred. Some are desirous to sell at rates so exorbitant as to preclude the possibility of being accepted by the Committee, while others are willing to sell at a fair advance upon the valuation of the Assessors. In one instance the owner wishes to exchange for a house in the same street, which is the property of the City. The unfinished state of the work seems to have created in the minds of some persons an idea that the City is obliged to complete the operation at any cost, and they are thereby released from any contribution to assist, as others have done. There is also reason to believe that among those whose buildings have already been raised, the opinion exists that the City will be unfaithful to its contract with them unless the work is vigorously prosecuted to its conclusion.
The expense of the Dover Street improvement will not exceed the original estimate, viz: $100,000. There has been already expended the amount of $86,101 63. Deducting from this sum $33,000 for the purchase of five houses by the City, leaves the actual expenditure made up to this period in Dover Street only the moderate sum of $53,101 63. Two of the houses have been sold for $14,000, and three are yet unsold. For a minute account of the expenditures and other details of the operations of last year, the Committee would refer with much pleasure to the able and elaborate Annual Report of the Superintendent of Streets.
Under the adverse circumstances which attend the labors of the Committee, in renewing bonds, or attempting to negotiate with abutters, when the idea is prevalent that the City is compelled to do the raising for them, or be subjected to claims for damages from those whose houses have been already raiscd, it is plain that but little progress can be made
in that direction. After much deliberation upon the matter and careful consideration of the interests of the City, the Committee incline to the opinion that it is advisable to purchase such of the houses as may be offered at reasonable prices. This would lessen the number of claims for damages occasioned by change of grade, and perhaps if one or two purchases were made at fair rates, others might be induced to accept the same, rather than contend with the City after a liberal proposition had been made.
It would seem to be a hazardous policy to complete at once the grading and paving of the street, thus leaving the twelve estates in question so far below the grade as to excite the owners to combine in litigation against the City. The uncertain and protracted result which almost invariably attends all cases where the City Government is concerned, would tend to prevent improvements of this nature being made in other streets. A regard for the welfare of the City, and justice to all citizens, irrespective of wealth or condition, should be the governing motives in all dealings with private interests.
The Committee are unanimously of the opinion that a loan should be negotiated of sufficient amount to allow the purchase of one half or the entire number of houses, if it shall appear for the 'City's interest so to do. The money thus expended will soon return to the Treasury, while, if the Committee are unsuccessful in making arrangements with abutters, the cost will probably be much greater than the average amount paid for work of the same description, already performed. They therefore recommend the passage of the accompanying orders.
For the Committee.
GEO. W. PARMENTER, Chairman.
Ordered, That the Committee on Paving be authorized to exchange the three houses now owned by the City of Boston on Dover Street for three houses in the block of twelve houses which remain to be raised on said Dover Street, between Emerald and Suffolk streets, if the Committee on Paving deem that the City's interests will be promoted thereby in settling claims for damages.
Ordered, That the City Treasurer be and he hereby is authorized to borrow, under the direction of the Committee on Finance, the sum of ninety thousand dollars, the same to be appropriated for the raising of the grade of Dover Street.