« AnteriorContinuar »
cates of tbe late board of audit of the District of Columbia,, and the settlement of certain claims against said District." These claims are for outstanding certificates, and claims not acted upon by the late board of audit, for work done under the present Commissioners since the fifth day of February, eighteen hundred and seventy-six, under contracts, or moditications or extensions of the same, of the late board of public works, and for súms heretofore found due to contractors but retained as security for the performance of their contracts; claims audited and allowed but not finally passed on by the late board of audit, and for which certificates of that board were not issued; and for work done, tbe measurements of which have been made by the District engineer, but not transmitted by him to the board of audit, comprising all work completed to date of cancellation of contracts, pursuant to joint resolution of Congress, approved March 14, 1876.
The amount of these claims, as estimated by the engineer, is $1,043, 429.84, subject to reduction on account of errors and overpayments of the indebtedness reported by the board of audit, which will be ascertained when each account is audited and closed by the comptroller and auditor of the District, who are directed by the bill to examine and audit for settlement all said claims not audited by the board of audit, and issue to each claimant a proper certificate for the amount of the claim allowed by them, signed by them and countersigned by the District Commissioners, and keep a proper register of the certificates, which shall be deposited in the comptroller's office. No claim can be allowed after the expiration of four months from the passage of the bill; and the acceptance by any claimant of the certificate provided for, shall bar him in respect of any action or supposed right of action upon his claim, except as otherwise provided in the bill, and no action or suit shall be maintainable against the District of Columbia or the United States upon such certificates.
For the payment of said certificates and outstanding certificates of the late board of audit, convertible on their face into 3.65 bonds, but the conversion of which is prohibited by law, amounting, as reported by the board of audit and sinking.fund commissioners, to $758,238.53, the bill pledges all assessment certificates for special improvements, after paying therefrom the principal and interest of the certificates of indebtedness, commonly called "greenbacks," issued under an act of the legis. lative assembly of the District of Columbia, approved May 29, 1873, of which there are outstanding at this date, as reported by the commissioners of the sinking-fund, $998,700. The surplus of the special improvement assessment certificates that can be so applied is estimated, by the engineer in his report, to amount to $1,689,844.74. The account will stand as follows: Estimated amount of assessment-certificates for special improvements, after paying outstanding “green backs”...
$1,689, 844 74 Estimated amount of clairns covered by Senate bill 850.
1,043, 429 84 Surplus of assessment-certificates ..
646, 414 90 The claims provided for by this bill are meritorious and should be paid. The Commissioners are without authority to pay any of them out of the District treasury or otherwise. They earnestly hope the bill may become a law during the coming session of Congress.
The accompanying reports will inform Congress in detail of the receipts and expenditures of the District government during the last fiscal year; of the operation of the engineer's department; the condition and wants of the public schools; the fire and health departments; the results of the assessment of personal property and new improvements for taxation under the act of July 12, 1876, and of other matters of interest connected with the administration of the District government the past year.
The secretary's report embraces copies of certain orders of the Commissioners of a general nature, explanatory of their administration in respect of the matters covered by their orders,
The revenues of the government of the District of Columbia for the year ending November 30, 1876, including 'unexpended appropriations and balance on hand at the date of our last annual report, are $2,551,872.11, as follows: Appropriations...
$936, 545 15 Taxes and revenues from other sources
1, 465, 326 96 Anticipation of taxes by loan of Riggs & Co., act approved August 16, 1876.....
150,000 00 Total receipts to December 1, 1876........
2, 551, 872 11 The expenditures during the same period are $2,128,888.06, as follows:
Paid on accountOf District offices..
$160, 421 73 Of water department.
128, 861 45 Of metropolitan police...
130, 364 57 Of fire department.
101, 312 34 Of board of health, including garbage-service, and medicines, and medical attendance to poor..
43, 868 39 Of sinking-fund commissioners, for interest on public debt and redemption of bonds...
535, 727 38 Of police court.
16, 633 59 Of board of audit...
10,174 67 Of late District government.
1,413 48 of public schools...
376, 434 29 Of charities and corrections and Washington asylum.
66, 887 29 Of markets.....
56, 584 65 Of street lamps and gas..
145, 532 68 Of improvements and repairs
344, 614 92 Of redemption of tax-lien, and tax-sale certificates, and refunding erroneously-paid taxes.....
62, 628 09 Miscellaneous accounts..
48, 805 75 Interest on 3.65 bonds, (joint resolution approved March 14, 1876).. 198, 622 79 Total expenditures.
2, 428, 888 06 Recapitulation. Total receipts to December 1, 1876
$2,551, 872 11 Total espenditures to December 1, 1876, including warrants issued and not presented
2, 428, 888 06 Balance......
122, 984 05 Less deficit in account of James S. Wilson, late treasurer, fully secured. 10, 041 83 Balance cash on hand December 1, 1876 ...
112,942 22 Subject to payment of outstanding obligations, not matared, for which this sum has been set apart...
$22, 658 69 And for payment of loan of Riggs & Co., due January 5, 1877
150 000 00 Total ..:..
172, 658 69 Deficit......
59, 716 47 This deficit will be promptly made good from receipts of taxes which were not payable under the present tax-law until the first instant.
For an itemized statement of the above receipts and expenditures reference is made to the report of the auditor and comptroller.
Economical considerations induced the Commissioners to unite the
duties of the two offices of comptroller and auditor in charge of one officer, to abolish the office of deputy comptroller, and to discharge forty employés.
The commissioners of the sinking-fund renew their recommendation for the transfer of their official functions to officers of the United States Treasury Department, and report the operations of their office as showing a satisfactory steadiness in the financial affairs of the District, economy in the management of its affairs, and a gradual approximation to that sim. plicity of financial method which should, in their opinion, characterize the transactions of this District. They give a detailed exhibit of the public debt at this date, showing the old funded debt to be $8,405,576.21, (a reduction of $35,537.22 since the 1st of December, 1875,) and $13,743,250 outstanding 3.65 bonds; in all, $22,148,826.21. They esti. mate the amount required to pay the interest for the next fiscal year on the old funded debt at $516,895.57, of which $348,600 is coin and $168,295.57 currency.
In respect of the interest on the 3.65 bonds they submit no estimate, as it is paid directly from the Treasury of the United States, as ordered by Congress, and they recommend that permanent provision be made for the payment by the Secretary of the Treasury of the interest on these bonds as the same mature.
They report $998,700 of outstanding special assessment 8 per cent. bonds, commonly called “greenbacks," and have as security for their ultimate redemption and extinction assessments amounting to (exclu. sive of the interest due on them) $755,087.98, to which add $481,669.72 of bills recently issued and remaining unpaid, for which certificates will be deposited with them, making in all $1,236,757.70. We take pleasure in inviting
attention to the intelligent report of the board, and to the satisfactory exhibit they make of their administration of the District finances intrusted to their care.
The collector reports as the receipts of his office from December 1, 1875, to November 30, 1876, as follows: From general taxes for the year ending June 30, 1876
$631, 191 11 From taxes in arrears
235, 677 88 From licenses....
120, 624 99 From miscellaneous sources, including $71,977.27 for general and personal taxes for year ending June 30, 1877...
139, 097 16 Total receipts from all sources
1, 126, 591 14 The treasurer reports by itemized statement the amount of moneys received in his office from December 1, 1875, to Vorember 30, 1876, inclusive, to bave been $2,372,855.39.
Since August 16 last, the date of the transfer from the collector to him of the issuing of licenses, he has issued seven hundred and forty licenses.
The superintendent of assessments and taxes reports the assessment on real property in the District as follows: In Washington City.....
$81, 246 847 In Georgetown....
5,953, 932 In Washington County, (approximated)
8,784,433 Total amount
95,985, 212 Showing an increase over the last annual assessment of $2,532,538.
The personal property assessment is $14,251.426, making the total assessment of taxable property in the District $110,236,638.
The superintendent refers to embarrassments in his office caused by the late passage of the tax-law at the last session of Congress, and respectfully urges the importance of Congress passing the tax-law for the next fiscal year at an early period of the coming session, so that ample time will be given his office to prepare the tax-books for the collector; and he recommends, also, a resurvey of Georgetown and the making of a new plat of that city showing each square and lot, the ex. pense of which, he thinks, would be soon repaid from increased tax. revenue from that city.
The assessors report $14,251,426 assessment of personal property, inclusive of $310,973 penalties, as follows: Personal assessment in Washington.
$12,011, 569 Personal assessment in Georgetown
1,785, 688 Personal assessment in county..
14, 251, 426
They report assessments on real property as follows:
342, 175 Value of land in county not heretofore assessed.
10, 223 Total value of real property not heretofore assessed......... 3, 178 423 Deduct, on account of appeals and old buildings toru down and removed .....
2, 885, 697
Total assessment of personal property and real property not here-
17, 137, 123 The engineer accompanies his report with reports of the water registrar, surveyor, parking commission, inspector of buildings, overseer of repairs, superintendent of property, and the overseer of lamps, giving details of the operations of their respective offices; also tables of contracts of the board of public works and of board rates, being the rates at which work was done under those contracts, and tables of cost for cash contracts, and showing the reduction of expenses by the organization of the force under his direction. He calls attention to the expediency of filling the old canal, the necessity for repairs of wooden pavements, the organization of a board of engineers, experts, to consider the subject of water supply for the District, and a change of the rates of assessments of private property for special improvements, especially in respect of improvements of alleys, to which the favorable attention of Congress is invited.
The inspector of buildings reports the erection of 1,261 new buildings and additions during the last year, and the total value of improvements for the year $4,155,177 against $3,655,500 for the preceding year, wbich is a gratifying evidence of the prosperous condition of the District, especially in view of the general depression of the business interests of the country.
The report of the attorney for the District shows the extent and character of the litigation to which the District is a party. Most of the litigation is due to the numerous changes of the law within the last six years. Several important cases noticed in last year's report have not been reached for trial. Some decisions rendered by the court are reported. The number, character, and disposition of the cases in the police court are also shown; and that, with a few exceptions, all the appealed cases have been tried. The attorney reports the system of licensing the sale of liquors as not effective, either for regulation or revenge, and suggests an increase of the tax for license, and a grant of power to the police to seize upon the proofs of unlicensed sales. We invite attention to the parts of the attorney's report relating to the laws for abolishing nuisances; to the responsibility of the District for damages caused by the non-repair of avenues, streets, &c.; to the building regulations; to the litigation growing out of the exemptions of church and school property from taxation; to the necessity of revising the leg. islation on assessments for local improvements; to the claims of contractors, either not audited or evidenced by board of audit certificates, and to the wharf front and wharfage regulations.
Edwin L. Stanton, who faithfully performed the duties of, resigned the office of attorney for the District on the 1st ultimo, and William Birney, who has served as assistant attorney since the organization of the present commission government, has been appointed his successor.
The commissioner of the Washington Asylum calls attention to the pressing importance of tearing down the old jail and the building of a new one near the asylum, for which a bill was introduced in Congress at its last session, but did not become a law. We recommend its early passage. He recoinmends, also, the erection of a penal and reformatory institution for women, and reviews his recommendation made in his last annual report for placing the charitable institutions within the District under the charge of a commission, to be appointed by the District authorities, to which we have invited the favorable attention of Congress
The coroner reports 169 deaths certified by him during the year ending September 30, 1876, as follows: suicides, 6; from accidents and negligence, 91; homicides, 4; from disease, 66; infanticides, 6.
He estimates the expense of his department, including his salary for the year ending June 30, 1878, at $2.500.
The trustees of the public schools report the number of youth of school-age in the District, according to the United States census of 1870, white, 21,177; colored, 10,494; total, 31,671. The number enrolled in the schools for the year ending August 31, 1876, was, white, 12,953; colored, 6,676; total, 19,629. The number in daily attendance in the schools during the same time was, white, 9,867; colored, 5,040; total, 14,907. The number of teachers employed for the school-year was, in white schools, 200; colored, 107; total, 307. The total expenditures for the support of the schools for the school-year was $389,178.53, and the total payments for school-purposes, including payments of debts due on account of expenses of previousyears, was $405,828.53.
The estimated expenses for the support of the schools for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1878, are $113,400.
They call attention to the inadequacy, and, in many instances, the unfitness of the accommodations provided in rented rooms for the white children of Washington, and to the insufficient accommodations for the colored schools in the second school district of Washington, and to the fact that some of the rented rooms have been condemned by the board of health as unfit for school-purposes, and must be abandoned at the end of the present school year. The trustees renew their application for an appropriation to pay the proportionate amount of school-fund, $20,346, due the colored schools upon the expenditure of $51,865 for the erection of the Georgetown public school building, to be expended in the erection of a school-building for colored children in that city. We commend, as we did last year, this request to the favorable consideration of Congress.
We regret the limited means of the District, based on our careful estimate of revenues from all sources, compelled the appropriation for school-purposes, during the current fiscal year, of a less amount than the expenditure for like purposes the preceding year, but we trust sucb additions will be made to the District revenues, by congressional appropriation, as will enable the trustees to keep the schools open the ordinary full school-year.
The commissioners of the fire department report its expenditures for