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Force Measures Will Not Do

Force Measures Will Not Do image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
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The Argus lias been requested by a taxpayer to throw a little more light upon the astounding proposition of the city attorney that the council cannot repair the damage to the streets by the recent flood, but must appeal to the people first and should board up the streets until such time as the people vote au extra appropriation sufficient to defray the expenses. The city attorney may possibly have some excuse for making sueh an astonishing statement. He was evidenty of the opinión Mouday night that jeople must be made to conform to his views, at least the people must be made to vote a larger tax levy and the supervisors must be made to pay the county's just share Of the paving on Ann street. It was currently reported that the of $25,000 for repairing the damage caused by the flood was the city attorney's own estímate. The people sat down upou it with great vehemence. Undoubtedly it was galling, but nevertheless tlïis furnished no excuse for an atternpt to niake the taxpayers vote as they did not see fit to vote. It certainly must be evident to anyone who keeps an ear to the ground as to the drift of public opinión, that that opinión, if force measures are attempted by the city attorney, will be more emphatically rendered than before. Xhere are two funds which can be used to repair the damage done by the floods, both of which are immediately available, the city attorney's august opinión Dot withstanding. These two funds are the Bridge, Culvert and Cro'sswalk fund, for which $18,000 Ís being raised, and the Street fund, for whieh $17,000 is being raised. Thus funds amounting to ?35,000 can be drawn upon to pay for the much needed repairs. It is true tliat the $17,000 in the street fund is much needed for woik outside of Alleii's creek. It is also true that the $18,000 in the Bridge, Culvert and, Crosswalk fund was wanted for other purposrs. Hut the Argus states "it As a matter of law, wttiout fear of contradiction by competent lawyers, that the council has no legal right to use the Bridge, Culvert and Crosswalk fund for 'the purposes the mayor and city attorney had in view when they procured its levy, and that the council can be enjoined from so using it. In other words the council has no legaj right to transfer money from this particular fund to any other fuud. To make this contention plainer it inay be stated that section 171 pt the charter provides that the aggregate amount of tax the council may raise shall not exceed one-balf of one per cent. Section 172 provides that the general tax thus levied shall be divided nto the following funds: Contingent, Fire Department, Street, Water, Pólice, Poor, Cemetery and such other funds as the council may 'próvido. It should be remembered that the tax ievy for the funds above mentioned I was up to the limit allowed by law. It must also be remembered that the Bridge, Culvert and Crosswalk fuiid is not incHided in these general city funds, but is raised, under the charter provisions, but under a state law passed to enable cities, villages or townships to provide for just such emergencies as the floods in this city. And the amount of tax levied for this finid is in excess of the one-half of one per cent the council is allowed by the charter to raise. Section 172, which enumerates the city funds, and which does not include this special state law Bridge, Culvert and Crosswalk fund, eontains the only charter provisión which enables the council to transfer money from one fund to another, and the only funds from whicfc transfers are authorized to be made are the enumerated funds. In fact the provisión contains the words "the above íunds," and the Bridge, Culvert and Crosswalk íund is not one of them. The argument may be carried stlll farther. The Bridge, Culvert and CrossWalk fund was created under a special law to provide a way in which damages caused by the sweeping away of bridges, culverts and crosswalfcs could be repaired by a tax Ievy in excess of that allowed to be made by charter. The law provides for what this money shall be spent. There is no lawful right anywhere to expend the money tlms ralsed for pólice, fire, cemetery or other city purpose. It is releed for one purixise and must be spent for that alone. If this were not true then the charter provisión limitlng the amount of tax that might be I lias no virtue whatever for the council could raise what further amount it wants In this fnnd and other funds. If I y wiïl tliink a little about this and will put aside personal pique, lie will see that the people were riglit in saylng, use this $18,000 in building bridges or culverts, the only lawful way in whieh it con be expended. If funds are short, ask for I the money needed in those funds for the purpose for which it is wanted. When the people of Ann Arbor have been appealed to in a frank, straightforward way and told why money was needed, they have almost without exception voted it. OBut they cannot be made to vote an extra appropriation when there is money immediately available for the purpose wanted, simply because some one wishes to use that money to reinforce ottier funds. We hope we have thrown the added Hght on this subject tbat our taxpayer friend desires.