The Kansas City Water Supply.
The noted letter written to the Mayor of Kansas City, which notified his Honor that the National Water Company would cut off the city’s supply of water, is given herewith:
KANSAS CITY, MO., November 17, 1893. Hon. W. S. Cowherd, Mayor of Kansas City, Mo.:
Dear Sir—The National Water-works Company has received yours of the 11th inst., in answer to its inquiries of the 6th inst., whether Kansas City desires its services after the 15th inst., and if so what arrangements the city proposed to make in the premises. Your answer is entirely unsatisfactory. As the city has not purchased the works, and has alleged in its cross bill, and in many other ways, that it does not propose to, your reference to section 4 of the contract is utterly foreign to the point. However, we fail to discover any provision, even in that clause, that the company is to furnish water without being paid.
You say that “ the city desires and expects your (this) company to supply it with water,” and that the city is not only willing, but is also liable, to pay a fair compensation therefor.” It therefore only remains to fix the terms under which we are to serve you. The city owes us hydrant rentals from January 1, 1892, to November 15, 1893, amounting to about $145,000, and interest thereupon properly computed. The city has used water without objection and has never paid or offered to make any payment on account thereof, not even to the extent that you admit its obligation to pay. On the other hand the company has kept its contract in furnishing this water, despite the city’s wrongful refusal to keep its agreement to pay for the same, and in the face of an avowed purpose to embarrass the company financially and thereby to coerce it to accept such terms as the city might choose to dictate. As a result the company has been operating at a loss and has been compelled to incur large indebtedness to cover the deficiency.
Were it ever so willing the company could not continue to furnish water to the city without pay. The company is willing to supply water to the city in the same manner observed during the life of its contract.
First—If the city will make payment on account of water heretofore used by it, to the extent of eighty two per cent of the amount due, with interest.
Second—If the city will provide, by proper appropriation, for the monthly payment of rentals hereafter to accrue.
Third—-Such rentals to be fixed in accordance with the provisions of the contracts heretofore existing between the parties.
Under the view most favorable to the city, the testimony of its own witnesses, Messrs. Hermany and Holman, based upon the data furnished by City Engineer Donnelly and Assistant City Engineer Mitchell, makes the extreme limit of the deduction you could claim eighteen per cent. The overwhelming weight of the testimony is that the company has furnished even more than its contracts called for. But there is not even a suggestion in your letter that you are willing to pay the eightytwo per cent confessedly due.
It therefore only remains for me to say, that unless the city will pay this admitted indebtedness of eighty-two per cent with interest, and arrange to pay for the future supply, leaving the balance to be litigated between us, the company will, on Saturday, the 25th day of November, 1893, cease to supply Kansas City with water.
It must be distinctly understood, however, that as matters stand we shall continue to supply water to private consumers, and that we do not desire in any wise to prejudice or affect the rights of the city in other respects. This is a mere matter of paying an indebtedness justly due, and we are constrained to give you this notice with deep regret that it should be necessary to do so and only because your course in the premises makes it impossible for this company to do otherwise.
G. E. TAINTOR,
President National Water-works Company.