NEWARK, OHIO, AND ITS WATERWORKS BOND ISSUE.
The city council of Newark. Ohio, recently passed an ordinance authorizing a four per cent, bond issue of $300,000 for a city waterworks system. There is already a waterworks system in the city, whose franchise does not expire for nearly two years. The reason for this haste on the part of the city council is that the statute under which it acted will he repealed by the new code. Therefore, to pass the ordinance to sell the bonds now will save all that has been done. The city solicitor has reported that its proceedings were legal, and this opinion was shared by two of the most eminent attorneys in the city, while another thought some question might arise as to the effect of the ordinance, which declared that the council did not intend to issue the bonds until after the expiration of two years. The four opinions were submitted to a bond-buying concern and by it submitted to a firm of corporation lawyers in Cleveland who agreed with the city solicitor and the first two of the three attorneys already mentioned. They suggested, however, that, as the validity of the bends was concerned, the matter should he cleared up by a judicial decision. Towards this end the ordinance to sell the bonds was passed and the council has arranged to have the issue enioined so as to have all the legal questions decided quickly and cheaply. By its own action, therefore. the council shows that it does not intend to sell the bonds and at the same time has prevented all delay on the part of others who might wish to enjoin the issue and so carry it beyond the time when the money will he needed for waterworks purposes, thereby tying the hands of the city when the present contract with the waterworks company should expire. The city claims that, in that event, it might he forced into another twenty-year contract on the waterworks company’s own terms.
It is held by some that in thus authorising the issue of $300,000 four per cent, bonds for a municipal waterworks system, the city council lias violated the pledge the members gave, by which they bound themselves not to build, a waterworks system in Newark for at least two years after March, 1902. Others, however, express the opinion that they have not only not done so, but have adopted a wise and prudent course that must inure to the benefit of the city. A clause is incorporated in the ordinance providing that the proposed bond issue shall not hear interest for two years from last March, which, it is asserted, is all that the people asked for when it demanded that action he deferred for two years. It is held that what the people wanted was to have the bonds issued at the required time and not before. It seems to have been feared that some effort would he made to stop the building of the municipal system, and that delays would thus arise, against which the council has now guarded. The legal proceedings will all have come to an end by the time the work on the new plant is to be begun, and the existing contract with the city will also have expired.