Water-Works Franchises.

Water-Works Franchises.

IT is amusing to read the paragraphs that come to our notice week after week expressive of flippant opinion and judgment concerning the value of water-works franchises. One would think all that a town had to do after a difference of opinion regarding rules and regulations between the water company and the town council occurred that the company must at once sell out to the town. If one would stop to think for a few minutes what a franchise means, perhaps rational judgment would prevail. Does any man of common sense think that capital will be invested in an enterprise that at any time may be swept away by vote of the people? Not much.

This common law declares that the legislative power alone can only set aside a franchise, and they cannot do it until it is proven that the provisions of the franchise have been violated. A franchise from the State is valuable because it guarantees the protection of the State. No capital would be invested in railroads, telegraphs, banks, gas companies or water companies if it were possible that the franchises could be dissolved by the vote of the people. It is plain to be seen that a franchise in itself, in order to secure capital invested, must be backed up by legislative authority, which represents the power of the State through the vote of its people.

Under these conditions exclusively can protection be guaranteed. If the people of a community feel that the time has come in their experiences to acquire the franchise of a water-works company, and before the franchise expires, the best thing they can do is to seek to do it without prejudice of opinion. It only creates a cloud of misrepresentation and obscures the view of dispassionate judgment. Meanwhile do not force or attempt to force a water-works company to do what their charter does not compel them to do. It is enough for the municipal authority to be busy in the effort to keep the water company up to the line of its duty according to the provisions of their franchise.

A good many water-works companies need watching. The difficulty among quite a number of city councils is that their watchmen are poor hands at the business.

Water-Works Franchises.

Water-Works Franchises.

IT would seem, in view of the frequent occurrences of litigation between water-works corporations of a private character and the towns that conferred the franchises upon said private corporations, that a good measure of advice would be found in the way of towns bonding themselves to raise money sufficient to erect water works and place themselves in the hands of competent engineers qualified to prepare plans and specifications to govern the construction of water-works sufficient in capacity to supply present and future requirements. There is not a day passes but what we are called upon to review the proceedings of some court that has been called upon to determine the legal aspect of contracts made between private water companies and the city or town which they have contracted to provide water for. It would seem that in view of these facts, that already sufficient experience has been demonstrated to certainly warrant any town council to take the matter in their own hands, and proceed with the work of owning and running the water-works in the interest of the people, rather than confer a charter upon a private corporation that will not under any reasonable conditions fulfill contract requirements unless compelled to do so by the order of the courts. The principal trouble seems to be that when a difference of opinion arises between the private water company and the people, that it is necessary to go to the judiciary to find out what is the true meaning of the contract under which the private water company provides water for private and public uses.

Is it not time that reforms of a radical character began to inaugurate itself in the matter of private water-works franchises.

TAKEN all in all, the “Glorious Fourth ”of 1892 was productive of no very great disaster resulting from fire. An unusually large number of accidents and fatalities, however, are recorded, a fact due to the introduction of more violent and noisy explosives, such as dynamite, ellenite, tube powder and the rest. That there were no very extensive fires is due to the vigilance of the fire departments in the various American cities and towns, which not alone establishes the firemen’s concern for the safety of the community, but also their appreciation of their duty as public servants and firemen.

DURING a speech delivered by judge Griffith of Troy, N. Y., during the corner-stone exercises at Hudson, he said that Troy would undoubtedly present the name of O. S. Ingram for president of the State Fireman’s Association at its Niagara convention. This is taking a new departure from the policy pursued since the organization of the State Association. But since the organization of the “Trustees of the Firemen’s Home ” many singular and novel acts have been found necessary by these gentlemen. The election of Mr. Ingram to the presidency of the association practically secures its machinery to the trustees. And what will then take place ?