A paragraph was published in FIRE AND WATER of February 22 which, it appears, was inaccurate as regards the financial condition of the waterworks of Nashville, Tenn. James M. Head, mayor of the city, says: “I inclose you herewith a statement compiled by the recorder of our city as to the operations of our waterworks system for the years 1890-1900 inclusive; also, his report of the receipts and disbursements for the past year. You will see from these statements that the waterworks not only ftir nish the city with all the water used for public purposes—fire, sprinkling, public buildings, charity, etc., free of cost, but is a revenue producer to the city besides.”


The following are the reports of the recorder which show the exact financial condition of the water department, and the net gain of $55,0,36.47 for the past year. In the report of 1900 Recorder Byrne states: “The following summary of the entire receipts and expenditures for the waterworks, since 1834 to 1900 inclusive, are taken from the official records on file in my office, and are given for future reference: Total amount paid for land, construction, improvements, and operating, including interest on bonded debt, from 1834 to 1900 inclusive, $3,397.907.90; total receipts from all sources from 1834 to 1900 inclusive, $3,297,499.98; excess of expenditures over receipts, $100,407.92; waterworks bonds outstanding, $1,497,000; net cost, $1,597,407.92. In making up this statement I have not allowed anything for the use of water furnished the fire department, schools, and other public buildings and places during the sixty-seven years of its existence, which is shown farther along in this report. In order to arrive at a fair basis for the value of the water used for public purposes I have examined the rates paid by Indianapolis, Ind., Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham. Ala., San Francisco, Cab. and San Antonio, Tex. These five cities were selected from a large number examined, because their reports were more complete in details than the others, all of which buy their water from private companies. The average amount paid for water for all public purposes per capita is 55 and ten one hundredths for the five cities above named. Applying this basis to Nashville, with her present population of 80,865, I find its value to be $44,556.61 per annum. For a more convenient and comprehensive summary of the value of the plant to the public, I herewith submit the following exhibit: Receipts from 1890 to 1900 inclusive. $1,407.763.51; value of free water for same period, $490,122.71: total, $1,897,886.22: operating expenses, including interest on bonded debt, $1.332,848.04—net profit in eleven years, $565,038.18.”

From the recorder’s report of 1901: The following tables of receipts and expenditures for the waterworks is submitted for reference and for the information of those who may desire to know something about the total cost and operation from year to year: Total cost for plant for land, construction, improvements, and operating expenses, including interest on bonded debt, from 1834 to 1900 inclusive, as shown in my last annual report.—Disbursed, $3,397,907.90; 1901, $140,380.43—total. $3.538,248.33; receipts, $3,297,499.98; 1901, $150,320.27—total, $3,448320.27.

In answer to the question, often asked, “Does it pay the city to own it?” I submit the showing for 1901, as follows:

This showing is certainly satisfactory and proves that, with an annual charge for water for public purposes, the relative expenses of operating and receipts would leave a large credit balance in favor of the water department.

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