CATSKILL SUPPLY AQUEDUCT HELD UP.
Comptroler Metz has declined to ratify an agreement between the New York city board of water supply and the Cranford company for borings and surveys under the Hudson river at the estimated cost of $450,000. He contends that the contract should have been made by public letting and referred the question to the corporation counsel. The comptroler insists that not even the board of estimate has the right to conclude such an arrangement without first advertising for bids. I bis agreement was executed on February 23. and provides for borings and shafts to determine the character of rock under the Hudson river at Little Stony point, where the commission desires to bring the aqmduct for the Cat skill water supply for New York city under the river. It may be added that, since it has been in existence, the new board has contracted liabilities under its special agreements of nearly $1,500,000, and the question is now raised as to whether—if Comptroler Metz is right—the entire amount has not been spent irregularly. The water supply board asserts that, under the special law by which it was created, it was impowered to make “special agreements” to any amount it might see fit in making the surveys for the line of the new aqueduct. The borings in the bed of the Hudson, the commissinners claim, come under that head. The eon tract was awarded more than a month ago by the board, purely on its own initiative. Another feature of the undertaking that has only now developed is that the plan of stripping the ground to a depth of eighteen ins. over the entire area of the Ashokan reservoir at an estimated cost of $4,000,000 or $5,000,000, may be entirely abandoned, and, in place of it, the lxard is likely to plan to establish a system of aeration for the water. It seems that stripping the soil from the surface is necessary in many instances, on account of the nature of the ground, and in order to insure the continued purity of the water. This was done by Boston. An equally satisfactory and much cheaper way, it is said, is to aerate the water by running over cascades and waterfalls. Commissioner Chadwick has said that the latter plan would cost about $800,000. and that the city would save perhaps $4,000,000 by the change.
For Chief Archibald to allow each fireman one day off in each five, as has been provided for by an ordinance of the city council of Cincinnati, would leave him dangerously short-handed. It cannot be done at present.