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Furniture, equipment, officers' and attendants' buildings_
It is desired to increase the capacity of the Boston quarantine station so as to accommodate a total of 2.400 persons. The present accommodations are for 600 persons. At present three medical officers are living in one building in very cramped quarters, and with the increased capacity it is contemplated that additional officers will be stationed at the place. The present attendants' quarters are barely sufficient for the force, and increased capacity will be necessary for the additional force required when the station is enlarged.
A boarding and disinfecting vessel at $40,000 is requested to supplement and eventually take the place of the present tug Vigilant. The Vigilant was built in 1886, and has now reached the stage where continued repair is of questionable economy. In the summer of 1916 the vessel was condemned by the local steamboat inspection service, but was patched up and was continued in use. It was appraised at a value of $13.000 upon purchase from the city of Boston, and has been in use thus for somewhat over two years. Supplemented by another vessel it is probable that considerable service can still be gotten from the Vigilant for some three or four years more. If all the work at the station has to be performed by the Vigilant it will continue, as it has in the past, to break down at intervals. The vessel at Boston is used not only for boarding, but also for the fumigation and disinfection of vessels at the quarantine station, and at the wharves at different parts of the port. It is necessary to have a vessel of some power to operate in the winter, when the harbor fills with ice, for the transportation of supplies from the city to the station. One vessel in first-class condition might be sufficient, but when sole dependence has to be placed on a vessel as old as the Vigilant, which is apt to break down from time to time, quarantine administration is bound to be seriously handicapped. The small launch Relief, purchased from the city of Boston in 1915, at an appraised value of $2,000, has recently been condemned by a Coast Guard officer as unfit for further use and has been disposed of, after having been in use two years.
The foregoing items contemplate increased quarantine facilities at only four stations on the Atlantic coast. In addition there is requested an item of $15,000 for the purchase of 250 hospital tents, 12 by 14 feet, each to accommodate four persons. These tents could be shipped, as required, to the various smaller stations on the Atlantic and Gulf seaboard for the purpose of supplementing the station capacity.
MONDAY, JULY 16, 1917.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
STATEMENTS OF MR. LOUIS BROWNLOW, COMMISSIONER, AND GEN. JOHN G. D. KNIGHT, ENGINEER COMMISSIONER.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION-INCIDENTAL EXPENSES.
The CHAIRMAN. "Public Utilities Commission: For incidental and all other general necessary expenses authorized by law, including the employment of expert services, where necessary, fiscal year 1916, $352.03."
Mr. BROWNLOW. That represents audited certified vouchers in the auditor's office, and includes a balance due the Kelly Printing Co. for printing the annual report, $334.81; Western Union Telegraph Co., $7.49; Adams Express Co., 28 cents; Postal Telegraph Co.
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). How did you happen to spend more money than you were given?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Those small items came in late, and as to the printing item, was on account of a change in the estimate. We contracted for this printing under the law; and under the District contract, which is based on the measured setting of the type and tabular work, the estimate exceeded the appropriation, and we have not been able to pay it. That is the item of $334.81. That has been here once before, but came too late to be considered by the committee.
Mr. CANNON. When was that—before the war or since?
Mr. BROWNLOW. It was before the war; it came too late for consideration at the time of the last bill.
Mr. CANNON. The expenditure was made before the war?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes; the expenditure was made before the war.
CONTINGENT AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES.
METAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER TAGS FOR VEHICLES.
The CHAIRMAN. "Contingent and miscellaneous expenses: For purchase of enamel metal or other metal identification number tags for horse-drawn vehicles used for business purposes and motor vehicles, fiscal year 1918, $5,500."
Mr. BROWNLOW. That is a prospective deficiency caused by a change in the law, in the District of Columbia appropriation act which was approved March 3, 1917, requiring that all identification tags and automobile license tags should expire on January 1, 1918. This is the first time we have had the annual licensing of automobiles, and the appropriation for the other tags, the current tags, will be very nearly exhausted, and would not be available for these new tags; so it is necessary to have an appropriation to purchase those tags.
The CHAIRMAN. You want to issue the new tags under the new law?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILLETT. When does the automobile year run out?
Mr. BROWNLOW. It has been continuous heretofore.
Mr. GILLETT. I know, but I mean now.
Mr. BROWNLOW. It will begin the 1st of January, 1918, and expire the 31st of December, 1918.
Mr. GILLETT. I was just wondering whether my license was still good?
Mr. BROWNLOW. It is good until the 1st of January.
The CHAIRMAN. This is to provide tags that must be issued the first of this coming January?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. About what do those tags cost? Have you any idea?
Mr. BROWNLOW. We are now paying 13 cents, Mr. Donovan tells me, but I think the new contract was 20 cents; the price has gone up and the new contract is 20 cents.
Mr. CANNON. This is a deficiency, so-called, of $5,500?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes.
Mr. CANNON. Is that for the current year, the past year, or both? Mr. BROWNLOW. That will be for the current year. It will be necessary to have the tags on hand by the 1st of January, 1918, which
is the middle of the current year. Of course, the expenditure will have to be made before we get the tags.
Mr. CANNON. Have you contracted for those tags?
Mr. BROWNLOW. No.
Mr. CANNON. Then you have made no contract or expenditure that is not appropriated for?
Mr. BROWNLOW. No, sir.
Mr. CANNON. This is to be in the future?
Mr. BROWNLOW. That is to be entirely in the future.
Mr. CANNON. And for the current year?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. "For postage for strictly official mail matter, $1.000."
Mr. BROWNLOW. Since this estimate was submitted in May the amount has been exactly determined, and it is $254.30. But we paid for that from the emergency fund, the $8.000 emergency fund, because it was absolutely necessary to get out the mail matter and we had to have the postage.
CONTINGENT EXPENSES, CORONER'S OFFICE,
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "For purchase and maintenance, hire or livery, of means of transportation for the Coroner's office and the morgue, jurors' fees," etc., $715?
Mr. BROWNLOW. The amount appropriated was $4,400, and the appropriation has been entirely exhausted; $715 is estimated will be required to meet the charges for autopsies and reporting the findings of coroner's juries at inquests.
The CHAIRMAN. Those fees are fixed by law?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And this is the amount it is estimated will be required?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. On page 17, in the item for contingent and miscellaneous expenses, you strike out the words "in the District of Columbia." Why is that done, because we usually carry these deficiencies in the language of the original appropriation?
Mr. BROWNLOW. That was just an inadventence, sir; there was no reason for dropping out those words; we did not intend that.
The CHAIRMAN. "For general advertising, authorized and required by law, $2,000."
Mr. BROWNLOW. The advertisements that were required by law cost more than the appropriation that was available. All of the bills are not in yet, so it is not possible to change this estimate of $2,000 to the exact amount of the deficiency, but it is within the $2.000. These are certain advertisements required to be made by
law, and this year they exceeded the appropriation made for the purpose.
Mr. CANNON. Were you authorized to make this deficiency?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes, sir; we are not authorized to proceed without the advertisements; there are certain advertisements that we are required to insert by law.
Mr. CANNON. You had no appropriation for it?
Mr. BROWNLOW. No; we had an appropriation for advertising, and then the law requires us to insert certain classes of advertisements from time to time; it is mandatory, and we are required to do it whether the money is appropriated or not.
CAR TICKETS-TRANSPORTATION OF TUBERCULAR CHILDREN.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is, "The limitation upon the amount that may be expended for car tickets during the fiscal year 1918 is increased to $6,000."
Mr. BROWNLOW. That represents the limitation upon the amount that may be expended for car tickets during the present year, and we ask to have the limitation increased to $6,000. The limitation heretofore asked for and granted was $5,000, but in another part of the appropriation bill $1,000 was appropriated for the transportation of children to tubercular schools. Now, under this limitation we can not use any of that $1,000 for the purchase of car tickets.
The CHAIRMAN. What we ought to do, then, is to amend that provision. That is the general provision affecting all appropriations? Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes; all appropriations; this limitation affects all appropriations, and if you increase the limitation from $5,000 to $6,000, then the appropriation that we have of $1,000 for the transportation of tubercular children to these schools can be expended in the most economical manner-that is, to purchase car tickets; otherwise we would have to pay cash-5 cents, the straight fare-instead of buying six tickets for a quarter.
The CHAIRMAN. You say this is for the transportation of tubercular children?
Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Where?
Mr. BROWNLOW. To the new schools that are established for tubercular children.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you send those children on the street cars?
The CHAIRMAN. Is it not dangerous?
Mr. BROWNLOW. I do not suppose there is any more danger than there is in having anybody suffering from tuberculosis riding on the street cars.
The CHAIRMAN. You take the precaution to establish certain schools for these children, yet you transport them on the street cars? Mr. BROWNLOW. Yes; but in the schools they are in rooms for a considerable number of hours and in close contact with the other children. Of course, there is no regulation here that excludes tubercular people or people suffering from such communicable diseases from the common carriers.
IMPROVEMENTS AND REPAIRS.
PLANS FOR CALVERT STREET BRIDGE ACROSS ROCK CREEK.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "The appropriation for preparation of plans for construction of a bridge to take the place of the existing Calvert Street Bridge crossing Rock Creek, fiscal year 1917, is hereby continued available until the end of the fiscal year 1918.” Gen. KNIGHT. With reference to that. Mr. Chairman, a contract has been entered into for the preparation of plans for that bridge; there are other plans incidental to the work in connection with these plans, and the plans have been delayed somewhat. They have recently been considered by the Fine Arts Commission, and to prevent the possibility of this work being carried beyond the fiscal year and that balance of $1,000 lapsing, it is asked that the appropriation be continued to the end of the fiscal year.
The CHAIRMAN. The balance is about $1.000?
Gen. KNIGHT. Yes. I am speaking as of last year, when this estimate was submitted, in May, and the request is that it should be continued available this year, it lapsing June 30 of last year. There are no additional funds asked for.
VIADUCT AND BRIDGE ON BENNING ROAD.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is "For an additional amount for the objects set forth in the appropriation contained in the District of Columbia appropriation act for the fiscal year 1915, for constructing a suitable viaduct and bridge to carry Benning Road over the tracks of the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington Railroad Co., fiscal year 1918, $50,000."
Gen. KNIGHT. That is a case of bids exceeding the estimate. There was one set of bids submitted which exceeded the estimate, and then there was a readvertising. In the meantime the cost of materials and labor went up, and the second set of bids was higher than the first. So that the original appropriation of $110,000, which was made in the appropriation bill for the fiscal year 1915, has been exceeded by this set of bids. A comparison of prices of materials shows that cement, which cost 94 cents a barrel, has more than doubled; steel plates, which were $1.10 per hundred pounds, in 1915, are nearly six times that amount now: steel shapes are a little over four times as much as they were; and steel bars are between three and four times their cost in 1915. That explains the excess of the bids over the estimates.
The CHAIRMAN. Are we paying one-half of this expense?
Mr. BROWNLOW. $110,000 was appropriated for the fiscal year 1915, but it was not expended then because we could not-——
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). I am asking you what proportion
of the expense we are paying?
Mr. BROWNLOW. One-half.
The CHAIRMAN. It might be better to wait until prices come down. Mr. BROWNLOW. Mr. Fitzgerald, my own opinion about that is, and it was shared by Col. Kutz, that I have some doubt about the reasonableness of appropriating this total of $185,000 for a bridge which was originally estimated to cost $110,000, because it has