« ПредишнаНапред »
HIS EXCELLENCY W. MURRAY CRANE.
At twelve o'clock on Thursday, the second day of January, his excellency the governor, accompanied by his honor the lieutenant governor, the members of the executive council, and officers of the civil and military departments of the government, met the senate and house of representatives, in convention, and delivered the following
ADDRESS. Members of the General Court of Massachusetts :
In preparing a statement of the financial condition of the Commonwealth I have decided to make it brief, and to deal only with totals, referring those who wish for fuller information to the annual reports of the treasurer and the auditor.
The gross debt of the Commonwealth, actual and contingent, Jan. 1, 1902, was $77,696,635.30. Of this amount, $25,738,223.30 is represented by loans which have been issued for state purposes exclusively, and $51,958,412, the total contingent debt, by loans which have been issued for the benefit of cities and towns, and which will be repaid ultimately by them to the Commonwealth. Applicable to the loans issued for strictly state purposes there are accumulations in sinking funds amounting to $13,278,169.69, making the net actual state debt $12,460,053.61. For the redemption of the loans included in the contingent debt there are accumulations in sinking funds amounting to $3,312,853.17, which amount, applied to the principal of the loans, makes the net contingent debt $48,645,558.83. Of the net contingent debt, $1,101,082.49 falls upon certain cities and towns in which armories have been built, and the remainder, $47,544,476.34, upon the cities and towns in the metropolitan water, sewerage and parks districts.
The net actual state debt for five years is as follows:
Jan. 1, 1898,
ECONOMY IN EXPENDITURES. The receipts of the Commonwealth do not increase in a ratio corresponding to its expenditures, and unless a greater restraint is exercised over appropriations it will not be long before new sources of revenue will need to be discovered. There is no danger that the state will fail in its duty in caring for its educational, penal and charitable institutions. We all desire that they shall be maintained at a high standard ; but poorly considered or merely experimental changes, which add to their cost without increasing their usefulness, are drains upon the treasury which the taxpayers ought not to be called upon to supply. We must keep the Commonwealth progressive and liberal, but at the same time we must not forget that it is our duty to administer her affairs with a scrupulous regard for the strictest economy.
The scale of salaries and wages established by the Commonwealth is fair and liberal, and in many cases, considering the service rendered, even generous ; and I urge that you will scrutinize carefully all applications for increases, and that none shall be authorized except in distinctly meritorious cases.
METROPOLITAN WATER AND SEWERAGE DISTRICTS. Under the act of the legislature of last year the metropolitan water board and the board of metropolitan sewerage commissioners were consolidated, and the board created was called the metropolitan water and sewerage board. The act went into effect on March 20, 1901, and since that date the new board has performed all the duties formerly entrusted to the two bodies of commissioners.
The water board last year called attention to the great increase from year to year in the consumption of water in the district, and its successor has begun extended investigations relative to the excessive use and waste of water. This increase not only necessitates a great increase in current expenses, but it hastens the time when still greater expenditures must be incurred, not only for new sources of supply but also for new pumping facilities, new aqueducts and new pipe mains. There is undoubtedly a considerable consumption of water which is excessive and wasteful and which can be prevented. Some method should be devised by which every city and town, if not every individual water taker, shall be financially interested in the prevention of waste and of the excessive use of water.
The metropolitan water act based the amount of assessment laid on each city and town upon its valuation or upon its valuation and population, and not upon the amount of water distributed within its limits. If for population as an element in determining the measure of its assessment there be substituted the consumption of water, each of the cities and towns affected would be given a direct incentive to prevent an undue consumption within the municipality. This change can be accomplished readily, and I recommend such legislation as may be necessary to carry it into effect.
Meters have been introduced into some municipalities with beneficial effect. It is now worthy of consideration whether the use of meters, wholly or in part, ought not to be compelled, or at least whether some measure may not be adopted whereby municipalities and water takers shall be encouraged in the use of meters by the promise of financial advantage.
The quality of the water afforded to the metropolitan district has continued to be excellent, and will compare most favorably with that furnished by the other great water supplies.
The total amount expended on account of the metropolitan water works, beginning with the year 1895, until Nov. 1, 1901, has been $30,044,937.22. Of this amount, $16,287,736.51 has been paid for construction, land, water and business damages and general expenses ; $12,860,180.99 has been paid, principally to the city of Boston, for existing water works; and $897,020.22 for maintenance.
A larger amount of sewerage construction has been carried on than in any preceding year, involving the expenditure of upwards of two and one quarter millions of dollars.
The larger work has been the building of the highlevel sewer, begun in the year 1900, for the south metropolitan district. This sewer is designed to relieve the existing Charles and Neponset river valley systems, and extends through the portions of Boston formerly called Roxbury and West Roxbury, and Hyde Park, Milton and Quincy, to the sea. Six miles of this sewer have been completed, seven miles more are under construction, and contracts will soon be made for the remaining three miles. The appropriation for this work was $4,600,000.
The extension of the north metropolitan system, by the construction of five miles of sewer for the relief of the town of Wakefield and portions of the cities of Chelsea and Everett, has been completed. This system, which provides for the sewerage of the territory north of the Charles river, comprising the cities of Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Somerville and Woburn, and portions of the city of Boston, and the towns of Arlington, Belmont, Stoneham, Wakefield, Winchester and Winthrop, is operated by the metropolitan board, with sewers aggregating a length of fiftysix miles.
The total expenditures on account of the metropolitan sewerage works to Nov. 1, 1901, have amounted to $9,688,305.26. Of this amount, $8,712,591.08 has been paid for construction, damages and general expenses, and $975,714.18 for maintenance.
METROPOLITAN PARKS DISTRICT. During the past year the chief work of construction by the metropolitan park commission has been upon Revere Beach parkway and upon Mattapan bridge, as part of the Blue Hills parkway. The former is nearly ready for travel between Everett and Revere Beach, although a bridge and approaches remain to be built by the Boston and Maine Railroad, under a contract which requires the work to be done in connection with the abolition by the railroad of the highway grade crossing at Revere station. Mattapan bridge will probably be completed during the current year,
The settlement of claims for lands has proceeded rapidly. Fully one half of the claims outstanding a year ago against the Metropolitan Parks Loan, that is, for the reservations, has been adjusted, leaving claims outstanding to an estimated amount of $300,000; while all but five claims, amounting to $4,000, against the Nantasket Beach loan, have been adjusted.
The commission called attention last year to a probable deficiency in the Metropolitan Parks Loan, Series 2, in providing for the balance of claims outstanding against that loan. This has proved to be the case. The amount which now appears likely to be required to meet the deficiency is $450,000.
No part of the loans advanced by the Commonwealth for metropolitan park purposes, now amounting to $9,067,500, has been refunded by the cities and towns which compose the district. The apportionment made in the year 1900 by a special commission appointed by the supreme judicial court is still under review by the court, and until an apportionment has been approved and the district has begun to reimburse the Commonwealth for the loans advanced I recommend that no new work should be authorized by the general court.
For each of the last three years, by authority of the general court, the governor and council have fixed the compensation of the members of the metropolitan park commission. Instead of providing for the salaries of the commissioners annually I recommend legislation to establish them on a permanent basis.
GRADE CROSSINGS. The abolition of crossings at the same level of our steam railroads and our streets and public ways is an important matter, as affecting the safety, convenience and economy of the operation of railroads, and of the use of the streets and public ways. The general law of 1890, by which the policy of the state in respect to the abolition of grade crossings was first established, has practically ceased to be operative. The five millions of dollars, appropriated by that act to defray the proportion of the expense of the abolition of such crossings payable by the Commonwealth and the municipalities, will be all spent in work which has been ordered by decrees of court and special acts of the legislature.