The demurrer in the ease of the Plattsmouth Water company against the city of Plattsmouth has been argued before Judge Munger in the United States Circuit court. A bill of exceptions had been filed in a special plea in the case, and it is the demurrer to this special plea that is being argued. The suit grows out of the action of the city of Plattsmouth by ordinance of its city council, declaring the franchise of the water company forfeited. Judge Munger has taken the case under advisement.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.
At Grand Rapids, Mich., the United States Circuit court has handed down an order discharging the receiver for the Grand Rapids Hydraulic company. This means that the company, which has been tied up in the courts, for a long time, may now go ahead to improve its plant and do it chooses towards coitfpeting with, the city in supplying water to the people of Grand Rapids. Thomas J. O’Brien was appointed receiver of this company in 1893 and has ever since acted in that capacity. He was appointed as the result of a foreclosure suit brought by the American Loan & Trust company of Boston, one of the creditors of the corporation. The effect of this decision will be to put the company on its feet again, after many years of fighting. T he city in its attempt to bring about conditions which would leave it alone in the field as a supplier of water, succeeded in getting the last legislature to repeal the charter of the company The hydraulic concern immediately countered by declaring that they held perpetual charter, and that the act of the legislature which sought to kill them as a corporation was null and void. T his was the first intimation that the city had that there was to he a fight. The hydraulic company has water mains in many of the principal streets.
The board of water commissioners of Altoona, Pa., invited bids for the construction of a storage reservoir on Burgeon’s run. Only $500,000 h as available out of this year’s appropriation, and the completion of the work would most likely require more than double that amount. Bidders were notified that bids would be compared and based upon the approximate quantities of work to be done under the appropriation of 1906, and a schedule of such approximate quantities was furnished. The form of the contract to be entered into by the successful bidder contemplated that he should do the entire work. No bidder offered to construct such approximate quantities for $.too.ooo. The lowest round sum bid was that of the plaintiff’s, $425,555. The contract was awarded to Whitmer & Cocco, in accordance with their bid at a meeting of the board of vat£r commissioners on August 2, 1906, and’ they were notified to procure a bond in $75,000 within a week. They procured one; but, when they came to Altoona with it, they were notified that the board had reconsidered the matter. Plaintiff’s bid on embankment per cubic yard was fortythree cents. IX F. O’Rorke on the same item bid fortVrCight cents; his round sum bid (which was next lowest to that of the plaintiff’s) was $450,770.57. The estimated quantity of embankment to be constructed out of the appropriation of 1906 was 540,000 cu. yds. With the embankment item eliminated from the bids, O’Rorke was the lowest bidder, as he was lower than the plaintiff’s on a number of other items. The water commissioners discussed the question as to whether this matter of embankment could not be postponed until the completion of the work. The minutes of the meeting of the water commissioner-. of August 6 contain the statement that the amount of embankment to be built under the present appropriation was a small amount. No action was taken at the prior meeting; but at a second the engineer, C. W. Knight, stated, among other things, that, “in computing the two bids” on the unit hasis and assuming that but a small amount of embankment would be constructed this year, under the actual amount of work which could be accomplished under the $500,000 loan, Contractor D. F. O’Rorke was unquestionably the lowest bidder on all the necessary preliminaries. such as tunnel, flood channels, roadways, etc., and he would be able to accomplish more in the way of building the embankment than Whitmer & Cocco under their bid. The board then rescinded and annulled its action in awarding the contract to plaintiffs and awarded it to D. F. O’Rorke, on the ground that his bid was to the best interest of the city. The plaintiffs asked that the mayor and city officials should be restrained from entering into any contract with O’Rorke, and that they should be awarded the contract. It was, claimed that the plaintiffs being only unsuccessful and disappointed bidders could not invoke the aid of a court of Equity for relief. This was admitted by the plaintiffs; but it was argued that the present case was an exception, because, first the water commissioners, in awarding the contract, varied or altered the basis on which bids were prepared; second, that, after acceptance, there can be no reconsideration or rescision of the contract. The first court decree was in favor of the plaintiffs; on appeal the injunction was dissolved.