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about 12,000,000 gallons per day; yet, on several days in the last month, the consumption exceeded 15,000,000 gallons, and on one day it reached nearly 18,000,000 gallons. During the continuance of this extreme waste, all the reservoirs of the city are entirely drained, and the residents of the higher parts of Beacon Hill, and of East and South Boston, are without water. In their last report, the Water Commissioners estimated that of the whole amount of water brought into the city, at least one-half is absolutely and unprofitably wasted. It is apparent that this waste must be materially checked, or recourse must be had to the alternative of constructing another main to the Brookline Reservoir, the cost of which would be some $400,000.
The construction of this main would, of course, destroy the equilibrium between the interest and the income, and render hopeless, for years to come, the prospect of reducing the capital of the debt from the receipts of the department.
In the remarks which I submitted to the City Council last year, upon the subject of our County expenses, I called attention to the heavy and unequal burthen imposed upon the city by the Act of the Legislature establishing the Superior Court of the County of Suffolk; and I then stated that by that act the entire expense
of the newly created Court, and of the Municipal and Police Courts, about two-thirds of which had heretofore been paid by the Commonwealth, would thereafter be required of the city of Boston, thereby adding to the amount which it had paid for the support of Courts and the administration of justice, the sum of fifty thousand dollars annually, or thereabouts; and imposing upon it, as representing the County of Suffolk, a burthen which was imposed upon no other county in the Commonwealth. These remarks were predicated upon a construction given to the act by those most active in procuring its passage, and which, so far as my information extends, had been universally acquiesced in by the legal profession and by all whose duty had led them to interpret it. The apparent inequality and hardship of this legislation was so great and so unreasonable as to lead to a careful and critical examination of the whole subject, with a view to adopting proper means of relief. I am happy to be able to say that such examination has resulted in the removal, to a considerable extent, of the grounds of complaint which were then supposed to exist. By the just, and as it now appears, obvious construction of that act, the Commonwealth will continue to pay the same proportion of the expenses of the administration of the criminal law in this city which it has heretofore paid; and the only inequality to which this statute subjects the city, is in requiring it to pay all the expenses of the Superior Court of the
County of Suffolk, and at the same time to contribute to the payment of the expenses of the Court of Common Pleas, which now renders no service whatever in this county, to the same extent as it contributed when that Court held almost continuous sessions here, and its Justices were, ex officio, Justices of the Municipal Court. This inequality, however, is relieved, in part, by the surrender to the city of that portion of the fines, forfeitures and costs accruing in the several courts in this city, which were formerly paid to the Commonwealth. The amount of these fines, &c., varies from time to time, and depends upon too many contingencies to be accurately stated. While it cannot be expected to be large enough to defray all the additional expenses imposed by the act establishing the Superior Court, yet it may be hoped that so much may be derived from these sources, that the balance shall not be burthensome to the City Treasury.
In other respects our county expenses have assumed no new aspect. The city of Boston continues to defray, from its own treasury, all the charges upon the County of Suffolk, leaving the towns of Chelsea, North Chelsea and Winthrop in the full enjoyment of all our county institutions, without contributing to their support; while, according to the ratio of population, more than ten per cent. of these expenses should be borne by them.
With these considerations, gentlemen, assume with you the duties and responsibilities of another year of municipal labor; and I invoke to our councils the spirit of harmony and mutual regard, giving you, also, the assurance of my constant and cordial coöperation in all measures which shall promote the honor and prosperity of our city, and enhance the happiness and sustain the reputation of a liberal, refined and progressive people.