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Mayor Doty's Message

Mayor Doty's Message image
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To the Common Cmincil: Gentlemen: In obedience to customs which I would hesitate to transgress, I have the honor and the pleasure as well, of appearing before your Honorable Body for the purpose of formally inaugurating the work which lies before us as the legislative and executive heads of this municipality. It is needless, perhaps, for me, who have recently come into official contact with the varied and often complex workings of our city ernment, to remind you as individuals of the labors and responsibilities of the coming year. Many of you are already familiar, by long experience, with the minutest details of our civic life. You have seen administrations come into being, buoyant with hope and confident of strength for the performance of the duties they have been called to discharge. You have witnessed disappointments, perhaps, seen hopes deferred and ideáis unrealized, but you can truthfully say that yhatever the errors may have been, ind to err is human, there has never n our history been a lack of honest, patriotic effort, anda steady, dignified and consistent progress towards an ultímate which in everything shall make for the public good. To you who are veterans I would simply say that we, the new recruits, come to you with no request but for the benefit of your ripe experience, no hope, but for the grace and power to do our best, no confidence except that which is inseparable f rom conscious integrity of purpose - and, we trust, with no false pride which shall cause us for an instant to forget that we are the servants of the people and that in us, officially, they have reposed their trust. And so I have the faith to believe that the result of our joint labors will nol be unworthy of the examples of our faithful and competent predecessors, whose wise legislative and prudent, yet public-spirited, executive policy have placed our beautiful Ann Arbor in the front rank of the foremost cities of the state. In this connection, also, it is most appropriate that we render due acknowledgment of the self-sacrificing and onerous work which the several municipal boards of the city are continually called upon to perform. Too much praise cannot be given to those of our fellow-citizens who, at the cali of public duty, have sacrificed their personal convenience and too often their financial gain in the exacting duties pertaining to these Boards. It is therefore in perfect justice to them, for here is their only reward, that we here and now extend to them the thanks of the city for services performed. BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS. I deem it fortúnate for the city that my predecessors were enabled to secure the assistance of the able and experienced men who have administered this important branch of our civic mechanism. Messrs. Hutzel, Schuh and Keech have proved themselves the men for the place, and I deeply regret that the pressure of private business has compelled that faithful official and good citizen, Mr. Herman Hutzel, to ask to be relieved from the service during the coming term. A somewhat hasty and imperfect examination on my part of the various details of the work of this Board during the past year has impressed me with the nanifold nature of their duties and i ;he annoyances and limitations ( ier which they labor. But I can issure you that never before have i youx wishes been more scrupulously ( regarded, your funds more ;iously expended, nor your street md other public improvements l more intelligently conceived and , executed. There are various ( gestions which will be made to you from time to time by this Board looking towards the removal of some causes of complaint which the i Board are powerless to remedy, and for these as for all other Communications of the said Board I bespeak your careful and considérate attention. I am glad tonote in this connection that the expenditures of this Board for the past fiscal year have been only $9,425.24 against $11,437.06 of the year preceding, and it is to be hoped that equally good results with like economy will characterize the work of the coming year. BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS. It has been ray fortune through the courtesy of Messrs. Seabolt and Pond, of the Commission, assisted by Mr. Fred Sipley, their competent and faithful chief, to make a somewhat thorough and exhaustive study of the workings of this Board and of the system under its control. It is to be regretted, for the sake of the department, that a cali to a more extended field of usefulness in the City's service, has severed the immediate connection with it, of him who is now your President, Prof. M. E. Cooley. Very much of the technical and professional excellence which our fire department can justly boast, is due to his efforts and hearty co-operation. We can, however, console ourselves by the thought that the city at large has gained, and in that gain our fire depanment will surely share. The remaining members of the Board, whose long End familiar experience with the duties of their office has rendered their services invaluable, will carry into the work of the coming year that expert knowledge, which is so requisite to their position. I confidently expect that there will be no deterioration in the esprit du corps which is to be remarked in the officers and men under their control. While I wonld in no wise counsel or advise a lavish outlay in this department, yet I feel it my duty to say to you, that in a prudent generosity here, there may be a wise economy. I am confident that the reasonable requests of this important Board will receive a just recognition at your hands. The department will enter upon the year with an increased equipment of trucks and supplies, and judging the future by the past, we may confidently expect the best of work at their hands. The figures which I append, are suggestive of the increasing excellence of our department in the prevention of loss by fire. Losses. Insurance paid. 1889-90 $9,261 10 $7,648 45 1890-91.... 1,844 74 1,655 57 and I respectfully suggest to those interested that a continuation of this excellent work ought to bring about a lower rate of insurance on the part of the companies doing business here. BOARD OF PUBLIC HEALTH. Important as are the functions of the foregoing boards, I note as last, but by no means least, the less notable, but in my opinión even more conserving and indispensable services of the Commission. For what shall it avail us as a city if we reach the summit of perfection in the care of our streets and bridges, our public buildings and other material interests, if the pestilence which wasteth invades the humble cottage and the lordly palace? Wh'at our' wealth, our civic pride or grandeur, if death decimate our populace and bring sorrow and despair to happy households, whose healttf injbody, is well as in purse, it is our duty to :arefully defend? It was her robust and sturdy citizenship who were the walls of ancient Sparta. So in these later days, the great republic must secure its perpetuity not by piles of brick and stone, not by wealth and ostentatious magnificence, but by due regard to the bodily health and physical perfection of its manhood and womanhood. Only in the health of the body can the really healthy mind do its perfect work for the perfect state. In this connection I would cali your favorable attention to the following extract from the message of the Hon. S. W. Beakes to the first Covncil under the present charter. "No nuisances liable to prove detrimental to the public health, should for' a moment be tolerated, and the Council ought by the passage of effective ordinances and in every way in its power to aid the Board of Health in keeping the city the healthful town it has always been." I take this occasion to thank Messrs. Breakey, Moore and Clark for their efficiënt services on this board during the past year, and I think you will find in the low average of mortality which here exists, and in our comparative freedom from epidemie disease, the best evidence of the excelle'nt system of sanitation which the board has striven to enforce. PÓLICE. I approach this subject with some hesitation, for it is, perhaps, in the popular estimation, more intimately connected with the executive functions than any of the preceding departments. I shall not attempt any argument upon this question,kneither shall I attempt at this time to outline an elabórate policy, perfect in all its detail, relative to the morale and efficiency of the force. It will suffice me to say that we shall endeavor to secure and preserve the peace and tranquility of all our citizens and yet at the same time it is but just to say that the efficiënt policing of so large a city as ours with its miles of territory , its widely scattered business interests and places, its complex population, its daily growing 'metropolitan customs and accessories is not perfectly possible with a force of one man for day duty and two for night patrol. 4_f J. I am satisfied af ter diligent inquiry and personal observation, that the forcé has faithfully labored to perform its duty, yet if cause for complaint has arisen I ask leniency in passing judgment and promise for the foroe their best endeavors for the public tranquility in the year to come. As an indispensable requisite to this consummation I also entreat our citizens who, I know, are as law abiding, peaceable and industrious as the state can boast, to aid and assist, by their example, in the maintenance of a decent respect for law and constituted authority. It is only thus that we can hope to continue in the future, as in the past, among the quietest, safest and most virtuous of the larger cities of the state. And it is for our material interest that we should so continue, so that many an anxious parent who ;ommits a child or children to our ;are, and that of the great institution af learning which is here, will rest unshaken in his confidence, despite the voice of detraction in which it pleases some to indulge. In conclusión, it is well for us to remember that while we are continually enhancing the beauty and attractiveness of our city, we are at the same time under increasingVobligations of courtesy and hospitality. Thus, the press has informed us that during the month of June, the convention of the State Bund of the Arbeiter Verein will assemble here. This great association has in its ranks the foremost -citizens of the state, and all of us who are at all terested in the work of beneficial societies, know the grand good work to which they are devoting themselves. There will undoubtedly be a large attendance of delegates, and I trust the Council at the proper time will see to it that all due courtesies are extended to our distinguished' guests. At a later date thestate encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic will assemble herè, and I am sure that when the time comes we shall be ready and anxious to give a cordial greeting to the war-wórn veterans who will honor us by their presence. And, finally, while we are continually taking on more and more the duties and responsibilities of an active modern city, let us at the same time exercise a zealous care to keep our expense at a mininum consistent with a judicious economy. Let it be ourwatchword to lighten as much as possible the burden of taxation and thus maintain the enviable reputation for municipal economy, which our city has so long and so justly enjoyed. Mayor.