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CITY OF BOSTON.
IN BOARD OF ALDERMEN, June 4, 1872. In accordance with an order of the City Council, approved May 14, 1872, the Joint Standing Committee on Legislative Matters, beg leave to submit the following report of their transactions with the Legislature during the present year:
In the exercise of the general and special powers conferred upon them, your committee attended and took part in no less than seventy-five hearings before Committees of the General Court during the session which begun on the first Wednesday in January, and ended on the seventh of May. The value of their efforts appears more, perhaps, in what they succeeded in preventing in the matter of legislation inimical to the best interests of the citizens, than in what they succeeded in obtaining
At the beginning of the session the Mayor presented several petitions to the Legislature, based upon orders passed by the City Council of 1871, asking for the following acts :
1. To change the boundary line between Boston and West Roxbury, so as to include Mount Hope Cemetery within the limits of the City of Boston.
2. To secure a greater concentration of the slaughterhouses in the vicinity of Boston, and provide a system of inspection by which the introduction of bad meat into the Boston market may be effectually prevented.
3. To authorize the Board of Health of Boston to regulate the sale of fresh provisions and perishable produce in this city.
4. To authorize the Board of Aldermen of Boston to construct sidewalks at the expense of the owners of abutting estates.
5. To repeal or modify the statutes relating to the payment of county expenses in the County of Suffolk.
6. To authorize the City of Boston to obtain an additional supply of pure water.
7. To amend the act relating to the Inspection of Buildings.
The following petitions were presented during the months . of January and February of this year, by order of the present City Council :
1. To amend the City Charter, so that a majority of all the members of the City Council shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
2. To settle the question of domicile of voters in cases where a person removes from one town to another in the State, or from one ward to another within any city.
3. To authorize the City of Boston to take sufficient land on each side of Beacon street, at the point where it crosses the Boston and Albany railroad tracks, to enable the city to raise the grade of said street so as to cross the railroad by a bridge.
4. To authorize the City of Boston to purchase or take certain lands bounded by Ruggles street, Tremont street, Ward street and Parker street, for the purpose of abating a nuisance thereon.
5. To authorize the city to assess a betterment on estates abutting on streets in the territory recently annexed, when the streets are graded and opened to public travel.
The first of these petitions on which action was taken by the Legislature was the one relating to the Common Council. When the City Government was first organized, in 1822, the Common Council contained forty-eight members, and the charter provided that twenty-five members should constitute
a quorum for the transaction of business. This provision had continued in force, although the number of members of that branch had been increased to sixty in 1868, by the annexation of Roxbury, and to sixty-four in 1870, by the annexation of Dorchester. By an act approved February 8, 1872 (Chap. 15), it was provided that a majority of all the members of the Common Council should be necessary to constitute a quorum.
It having been provided by Chap. 272 of the Acts of 1869, that the new draw to be constructed in Charles-river bridge, should have a clear opening of forty-four feet in width, an amendatory act was passed, Feb. 28, 1872 (Chap. 55), upon representations made by your committee, reducing the width to thirty-six feet. The facilities for the passage of vessels would not have been improved by the additional width of the draw-way, and the expense of construction (half of which is now borne by this city) would have been greatly increased.
In the latter part of last year the attention of the City Government was called to the peculiarity of the statutes relating to expenses for certain county purposes in the County of Suffolk, by the receipt of a requisition from the Commissioners of Middlesex County for the payment of about forty thousand dollars to cover the expense of laying out a highway in Chelsea. On the petition of the city, an act was passed on the 17th of March, 1872 (Chap. 91), amending the sixth section of chapter seventeen of the General Statutes, by adding the following words : -
'No part of the expenses incurred by the laying out, widening, alteration, discontinuance, building or repair of any highway, bridge, or other way of travel in the City of Chelsea or the towns of Revere and Winthrop, shall be assessed upon the County of Suffolk or the City of Boston.”
As the law providing that annual municipal elections should take place on Monday has necessitated the perform
ance of much work on the Sunday preceding, your committee favored the passage of an act changing the time to the Tuesday following. The act was approved March 23d, 1872, (Chap. 140). It does not take effect until accepted by the City Council.
The petition of the city for authority to obtain an additional supply of pure water met with a great deal of opposition from interested parties. Two sources of supply, Charles River and Sudbury River, were provided in the bill first proposed, but after the opposition had concentrated on the former, the committee accepted the latter, with Farm Pond, as sufficient. The ingenious attempts made to overload the bill with conditions and restrictions which would practically defeat its purpose, or make its execution extremely expensive to the city, are known to the government and need not be repeated here. The act was finally passed substantially as asked for by the city. For the information of the City Council, we give the text in full:
[CHAP 177.1 An Act to authorize the City of Boston to obtain an addi
tional Supply of Pure Water. Be it enacted, &c., as follows:
SECT. 1. The City of Boston is hereby authorized, by and through the agency of the Cochituate water board, to take, hold, and convey to, into and through said city, all the water of Sudbury River, so called, said water to be taken at any point or points within the town of Framingham, or higher up on said river, and the water of Farm Pond, so called, in said town of Framingham, and the waters which may flow into and from said river and pond, and to take any water rights in or upon said river or pond, in or above the town of Framingham, or connected therewith.
Said city may also take and hold, by purchase or otherwise, in connection with the said sources of supply, any lands and real estate necessary for increasing or preserving the purity of the water, or for laying, building and maintaining aque
ducts, water-courses, reservoirs, dams, buildings, machinery, and other structures and appliances, with their accessories, for conducting, elevating, purifying, storing, discharging, disposing of and distributing water; and may also take and hold any land, excepting any in the town of Framingham heretofore taken or purchased by any railroad company, on the margin of said sources of supply, not exceeding five rods in width from the high-water line of said river, storage, reservoirs or pond, so far as may be necessary in the opinion of said Cochituate water board, for the preservation and purity of the same, for the purpose of furnishing a supply of pure water for the City of Boston.
SECT. 2. For the purposes of this act, the said city may make and build one or more permanent aqueducts from the aforesaid water sources to Chestnut Hill reservoir, so called, or to any other reservoir owned by said city, and secure and maintain the same by any works suitable therefor; may connect the said water sources with Lake Cochituate ; may erect and maintain dams, or may increase the height of, and strengthen and maintain existing dams to raise the water above the same, or to form storage reservoirs ; may maho and maintain reservoirs within and without said city; may erect and maintain buildings and machinery for elevating the water, and lay down pipes for conducting the same; may build and maintain filters, or other means of purifying the water. And the said city may, for the purposes aforesaid, carry and conduct any aqueduct, or other work, by it to be made and constructed, under or over any water-course, or any street, turnpike road, railroad, highway or other way, in such manner as not to unnecessarily obstruct or impede travel thereon ; and may enter upon and dig up any such road, street or way, for the purpose of laying down pipes beneath the surface thereof, and for maintaining and repairing the same; and, in general, may do any other acts and things necessary or convenient and proper for the purpose of this act.
Said City of Boston in entering upon and digging up any such road, street or way of public travel, shall be subject to such reasonable regulations as shall be made by the selectmen of the towns wherein such work shall be performed, for the protection of their 'rights of drainage and severage therein.
SECT. 3. The City of Boston is hereby further authorized,