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and disposition of the persons who had to pay for them. In accord-
ance with this opinion, the Committee beg leave barely to suggest for
for the consideration of the Board.

1 st Whether the public concerns would not be better managed
if our system of government was so changed as to restrain the expen-
ditures within the annual amount estimated for each particular ob-
ject.

[177] 2 nd Whether the public would not be benefited, and the
finances of the Corporation improved, if the opening of Streets was
placed in the hands of Commissioners appointed by the Legislature,
instead of being, as it now is, in the hands of Corporation.



488 On- OF NKW YORK 5 Feb. 1821



3 rd Whether the disposing of the public Docks and slips, either
in fee, or subject to an annual quit rent, would not be a saving to
the Corporation, and at the same time leave the public in the enjoy-
ment of all the conveniences they now possess.

The Committee stated in their report of December, 1819. that thciv
was due the State a large amount for arrears of State Tax; but .he
unsettled accounts of the late Treasurer has, "til lately, precluded the
possibility of ascertaining how much of this sum had been received;
and it was therefore deemed expedient to omit the payment to the
State until the Books were finally balanced.

This object has been effected by a compromise with the executors,
and the balance of State Tax. which appeared from the Treasurer's
books to have remained in his hands at the time of his resignation,
amounting to $6,298.14 was directed by your Committee to be paid
into the State Treasury. In an account transmitted by the Comp-
troller to M r Fleming, the present Treasurer, a charge is made for
Interest on arrears of State tax amounting to $7.030. 9. The Com-
mittee doubted the propriety of this charge, and was of opinion that
some consideration [178] was due the Corporation, under the pecu-
liar circumstances in which they were placed by the situation of their
Treasurer's accounts, who was constituted the Agent of the State, in
the receipt of the Tax imposed on this city. It appeared to your Com-
mittee, on examining the act passed the 24 th of October. 1814. that
the Comptroller had not done all he was bound to do in relation to
these arrears ; for he had omitted, for several years, to place the ac-
counts of the Treasurer into the hands of the Attorney General, for
collection : while the act alluded to, directs, that he shall forthwith
deliver said account to the Attorney General to be prosecuted ; and
there is no part of the Act. within the research of your Committee,
that authorises the charge of interest on any arrears that may be due
the State for Taxes.

Under these impressions, the Committee instructed the Comptrolle"
to write to the Comptroller of the State, and to urge on his considera-
tion the above facts and opinions, together with the loss sustained
by the City in the settlement of the Treasurer's accounts, incurred, in
preference of the last resort, a suit at law ; and at the same time to sug-
gest, whether, under these circumstances, it would not be just, that
the State should bear a proportion of the said loss ; and particularly,
whether the charge for interest ought not to be abandoned. To this
letter, the Comptroller returned an answer, in which he states, that
his not having having ordered a prosecution against the late Cham-



5 Feb. 1821 COMMON COUNCIL MINUTES 489

berlain, does not, under the circumstances of the case, vary the ques-
tion [179] of the liability of New York for the balance of arrears.
He admits that there is no direct authority, by statute, to charge in-
terest : but thinks it must be admitted, on our part, that when a debt
is due, it legally becomes chargeable with interest; and therefore pre-
sumes there can be no question as to any part of the balance.

The Committee cannot perceive the justice of the rule laid down
by the Comptroller, as it respects the interest charged on the account
of arrears of Taxes. The Corporation have no intrest in the Taxes
levied by the State ; more than any individual of the community The
State appoints the City Treasurer as their Agent to receive the amount
of Tax as collected, and to pay it over to a particular Bank, selected
to receive their deposites. If the Treasurer omits to pay the money at
a stipulated period, the Comptroller is directed to prosecute him. ana
his sureties, for the balance due. But the Comptroller neglects to
comply with the duty imposed on him by law. of legally demanding
payment of the Treasurer, and in its stead, commences the charge of
an Interest account, and tells you, when you complain of this course,
that his not having complied with the requirements of the statute
does by no means diminish your liability ; and that the debt being due,
he had a right to charge Interest on the amount. The Committee,
with due deference for the opinion of the Comptroller, must be per-
mitted to doubt, both the propriety and justice of this charge for In-
terest : for they verily believe, had the demand for payment been made
in a legal manner, there would now have been no cause for their com-
plaint on this subject : and as there appears no reason to expect a
more favorable result, from any further application to the Comptroller,
they recommend to the Board, that a respectful [180] petition be pre-
sented to the Legislature, praying for relief in the premises.

The Committee have had under consideration the subject of the
Commissions allowed the Collector of Taxes in this city; and while
the Common Council have reduced the salaries of the officers under
their immediate controul, to the situation of the times, there is no
good reason why the compensation of the Collectors should not be re-
duced also. It appears, that the compensation as now received, was
fixed at a time when the amount to be collected was sixty or eighty
thousand dollars less, and when most articles of consumption were
nearly fifty per cent higher than at present.

It is incumbent on the Board, therefore, as the guardians of the
public interest, to ask the Legislature a reasonable deduction in the
percentage allowed for the collection of the taxes in this City. The



490 CITY OF NEW YORK 5 Feb. 1821

Commissions now received by the Collectors are as follows : for the
1 st 2 nd and 3 rd Wards, three per Cent; for the 4 th 5 tn 6 th 7 th 8 th and
10 th Wards five per Cent; and for the 9 th Ward 6 p r Cent; and the
Total amount of Commission, agreeably, to the returns for 1819. was
$13.560.21. The Committee propose that the Commissions be re-
duced to the following per Centage. For the 1 st 2 nd and 3 rd Wards,
two per cent, for the 5 th 6 th 7 th 8 th and 10 th Wards four and a half
per cent; and for the 9 th Ward five and a half per Cent, which it is
calculated will make a net saving of about v$2000.

It is a subject worthy the consideration of the Common Council,
whether some method may not be adopted by which the City Tax can
be collected with equal convenience to our citizens [181] and at a much
less expense than that now incurred. The direct tax levied by the
General Government, during the late war, was collected by a single
person, and at an expence, nearly seventy five per cent, less than that
paid for collecting the city-tax; and it is believed that several of our
sister cities pursue a similar system to that pursued by the United
States. The Common Council of the City of Charleston possess the
authority of taxing every species of property within their jurisdiction,
not exempted by the Legislature of the State.

The ordinance on that subject enjoins it on the owners or agents
of all taxable property, which is designated by the ordinance, to deliver
a true and faithful return of the same to the Citv Assessor, at his

^

office, with a correct description of the lands and tenements, and the
number, situation and dimensions thereof ; such return must be made
under oath, and subject to a penalty for neglect of ten per cent, on the
amount of tax; and a further penalty of double the amount of tax, for
making a false return. And the City Assessor is enjoined to prepare
a faithful assessment on the property thus returned, and deliver the
same into the hands of the Treasurer; when any person conceiving his
property to be over assessed, may, by making oath to the same, within
a limited time, have the assessment reduced ; and the Treasurer shall
report all such cases to the Common Council. The assessments are
then to be paid to the Treasurer, on or before a fixed period ; and if
any person shall neglect to pay his assessment by the time limited, the
Sheriff shall levy on his goods and chatties, but if the goods and chatties
are insufficient, then on his real estate. The Committee have merely
suggested the foregoing, in the hope that it will meet with a candid
consideration by the Board, and eventually lead to an improvement
[182] of the City finances.

In order that the subjects intended by the Committee to be laid



5 Feb. 1821 COMMON COUNCIL MlNUTES 491

before the Legislature, may be prepared and presented to that honor-
able body, they propose the following resolutions :

Resolved, that the Counsel be instructed to prepare a bill to be pre-
sented to the Legislature at their present session, authorising the Cor-
poration to assess on the real and personal estate in this city, the sum
of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars : and such additional sum,
as will be sufficient to pay the quota of this county for the support of
common schools, together with the insolvent returns of the present year,
and the expense of collecting the whole amount.

Resolved, that he prepare a clause to the aforesaid bill, authorising
the Collectors of the several wards to retain in their hands the follow-
ing per centage, and no more, as a full compensation to each of them
respectively, viz. for the 1 st 2 nd and 3 rd Wards, two per cent ; for the
4 th Ward four per cent ; for the 5 th 6 th 7 th 8 th and 10 th Wards four
and a half per cent, and for the 9 th Ward five and a half per cent.

Resolved that he be further instructed to prepare a respectful peti-
tion and memorial to the Legislature, praying that an act may be passed,
authorising the Comptroller to relinquish the claim he has set up for
interest on the arrears of tax for the years 1815. 1816. and 1817. on the
Corporation paying into the State Treasury the balance of said arrears
amounting to $22.362.95.

Respectfully submitted,

(Signed) B. Crane. Stephen Allen.

S. P. Brittain. Samuel Tooker.

J. Hammond.

[183] The Street Committee to whom was referred the petition of
Waters Furman and Charles Dobbs p[r]aying some abatement on their
contract for street manure reported.

The Street Committee to whom the annexed petition was referred,

Respectfully report, that they have given the subject due consid-
eration, and are of opinion that it would be improper to grant the
request of the petitioners, therefore beg leave to submit the following
resolution.

Resolved, that it is inexpedient to grant the prayer of the petitioners.

Asa Mann.

(Signed.) Isaac Emmons.
S. P. Brittain.
Shivers Parker.

Which [was] approved and the resolution adopted.



492 CITY OF NEW YORK 5 Feb. 1821

The same Committee on the petition of T R Birch reported.

The Street Committee to whom was referred the annexed petition,
Respectfully report,

that they have carefully examined the subject, and are of opinion that
the petitioner is not entitled to relief.

The owners of property on the Collect grounds must be aware that
a settlement will continue to take place for some time to come, and
that the pavements of those parts of the streets that cross that ground
cannot retain [184] its position for any length (of time) before it must
be relaid.

In the year 1818 the intersection the intersection of Collect and
Leonard Street was paved, when the petitioner was charged $32.6 and
which pavement was so sunk, that when the remainder of Collect
street was paved last season, it was found necessary to repave this
intersection, and the expense thereof in front of the petitioners prop-
erty is $26.48.

Your Committee would also observe that whenever it becomes
necessary to relay any intersection of a street that is connected with
one that is paved by an ordinance of this Board the expence is included
in the assessment, and is laid on the adjoining property. But in com-
mon repairs the expence of repairing the intersections do not amount
to a sum worth the trouble and expence of laying an assessment, and
is therefore paid by the Corporation.

They therefore submit the following resolution,

Resolved that it is inexpedient to grant the prayer of the petitioner.

Robert Swartwout
(Signed.) Asa Mann

Isaac Emmons.

Which was approved and the resolution adopted.

The Committee on assessments to whom was referred the petition
of Edward P Livingston reported.

The Committee on Assessments to whom was referred the petition
of Edward P. Livingston stating that he had been [185] called on by
the Collector of the 1 st Ward for the payment of personal Tax assessed
on him, at N 10 Greenwich Street, at w r hich place he resides only a
short time each year, that his usual place of residence is in Columbia
County (Clermont,) where he has been uniformly assessed for his per-
sonal estate, and that he has paid the Tax for 1820. already in that
County, and prays to be relieved from paying the amount assessed on
his personal property in this City.



5 Feb. 1821 COMMON COUNCIL MlNUTES 493

Report, that on examination of the case they find that the petitioner
is owner of the House and Lot N 10 Greenwich Street, that it is
assessed to Robert L Livingston, as is the personal property also. The
Collector conceiving that there had been an error made by the assessors
in the name, and knowing the petitioner to be the owner and occupant
called on him for payment. The Committee are satisfied that the usual
place of residence of the petitioner, is in the County of Columbia, and
that he is assessed and pays on personal property in that County, on a
much larger amount, than that on which he is assessed in this city, and
are therefore of opinion that the request of the petitioner ought to be
granted and respectfully submit the following Resolution.

Resolved, that the Collector of the 1 st Ward be instructed to decline
collecting the Tax assessed on the personal property of Robert L.
Livingston at N 10 Greenwich street for the year 1820. and that he
return the same in the List of errors and Insolvencies of said Ward.

Charles Town. Ch n
(Signed.) Thomas Bolton.

Thomas S Townsend.

John P Anthony.

[186] \Vhich was approved and the resolution adopted.

The same Committee on the petition of Daniel Boardman reported,

The Committee of Assessments to whom was referred the petition
of Daniel Boardman, stating that for four or five years last past, he
had been rated by the Assessors and had regularly paid Tax on $15,000,
personal property in the third Ward, and that for the year, 1820, they
had increased the amount to $50.000, That he left the City in the
early part of the summer, and did not return until the time for ex-
amining the book of Assessment had passed, consequently knew noth-
ing of the increase until called on by the Collector for the payment of
the Tax.

He applied to the assessors to know why they had rated him at that
sum, they repHed " they had been informed he had received a large sum
of money from the General Government " which he says was true, but
that it had been applied in building three large and expensive houses
in the 3 rd Ward, and the purchase of 16.000 Acres of land with the
buildings & c on all of which he is rated and pays taxes, leaving his
personal property not to exceed $20.000. on which he is willing to pay,
and praying that it may be reduced to that sum.

Report, That they have given the case a careful examination, and
being satisfied of the correctness of the particulars as set forth in the
petition, are of opinion that the prayer of the petitioner ought to be



494 CiTr OF NEW YORK 5 Fdb. 1821

granted, and respectfully recommend the adoption of the following
resolution ;

[187] Resolved, that the Collector of the 3 rd Ward be instructed to
receive from Daniel Boardman One hundred dollars in full for personal
tax for the year, 1820, and that he return the Balance in the list of

errors and Insolvencies of said Ward.

Chas 1 own Cn.

(Signed.) Thomas Bolton.

Tho s S Townsend.
John P. Anthony.

Which was approved and the resolution adopted.

The Special Committee to whom it was referred to enquire what
would be the expence of enlarging the Park reported,

The Committee to whom it was referred to enquire what would be
the expence of enlarging the Park, Report,

That according to the best estimate which they have been able to
make, the whole amount of enlarging the Park, by adding to it all the
ground between Ann Street, Nassau Street and the present Park, would
be about Three hundred and thirty four thousand dollars.

*/

That there might be assessed upon proprietors of land benefited by
the improvement about the sum of Two hundred and eleven thousand
dollars, leaving the sum of one hundred and twenty four thousand
dollars to be paid by the Corporation.

That in the above estimate is included the sum of thirty four thou-
sand dollars for widening Nassau Street and for Contingencies : so that
if this sum be stricken out there will then remain ninety four thousand
dollars to be paid by the Corporation.

[188] The Comittee being instructed only to report facts, have
not thought it their duty to recommend any resolution upon the sub-
ject.

All which is respectfully submitted.

P. A. Jay.
(signed.) Sam 1 Tooker.

Gerard DePeyster.
Chas Town.

Which was read and directed to be filed.

The Finance Committee to whom was referred the petition of the
French Benevolent Society reported.

The Finance Committee to whom was referred the petition of the
French Benevolent Society praying for a donation in support of that
Institution. Report,



5 Feb. 1821 COMMON COUNCIL MlNUTES 495

That the respectability of the applicants would induce the Com-
mittee to recommend a compliance with their petition, were they not
perfectly satisfied, that the measure would be improper.

The Committee have on former occasions given their reasons
why, in their opinion, the distribution of the public Charity should
be solely made by the Commissioners of the Alms House, and they
deem it unnecessary now to repeat them, and they therefore propose
the following resolution.

Resolved, that it is inexpedient to grant the prayer of the petition.

Respectfully submitted,

J. Hammond,
B. Crane,

signed S P Brittain.
Stephen Allen
Sam 1 Tooker.

[189] Which was approved and the resolution adopted.

The same Committee on the petition of Henry M Van Solingen and
others reported.

The Finance Committee to whom was referred the Memorial of
Henry M Van Solingen and others, requesting the privelege to commute
the quit rent on a grant for land fronting on Cortlandt and West
streets, Report,

That the grant alluded to is dated the 6 th day of February 1804, and
is subject to an annual rent of $80.42. That the quit rents on all grants
issued prior to the year 1804, as well as the commutation for such
grants, are reserved by law to the Commissioners of the sinking fund,
and that the grant held by the Memorialists, being issued subsequent to
the time limited, is not entitled to the privelege of commutation, except
by a special law for that purpose.

That a good portion of the resources of the Corporation is de-
rived from their rents, and the Committee are unwilling to recommend
a depreciation of those resources by commutation, and they therefore
propose the following resolution.

Resolved, that it is inexpedient to grant the request of the Memor-

iallsts - Respectfully submitted

Stephen Allen,

(Signed.) Samuel Tooker.
B. Crane.
J. Hammond

Which was approved and the resolution adopted.



496 CITY OF NEW YORK 5 Feb. 1821

[190] The same Committee presented the following communication
on the subject of the fees allowed to the Peace Officers for taking
vagrants to Bridewell.

The Finance Committee beg leave to inform this Board that on the
17 th of November 1817, a resolution passed the Common Council, al-
lowing to every officer 62 l / 2 Cents for bringing to the Police on process
a prisoner that shall not be bailed, but who shall be committed, and
afterwards discharged from Prison, or convicted.

The sum formerly allowed for these services was Z\ l /2 cents and
it is presumed by your Committee that the sum was raised to 62 l /2.
Cents in conformity with the then price of living in this city; but as all
the articles of consumption have fallen in price since the passage of
the aforesaid resolution, and as the Corporation have reduced the pay
of all the officers over whom they have controul, the Committee are of
opinion that in this particular charge a reduction ought also to be made
and they offer the following resolution accordingly,

Resolved that hereafter the sum of fifty cents and no more be al-
lowed to every officer who shall bring to the Police Office, on process,
a prisoner that shall not be bailed, but who shall be committed and
afterwards discharged from prison, or convicted, and that this sum be
charged in the Book of accounts kept in the Police Office between the
officers of that Court and the Corporation

Respectfully submitted.

Stephen Allen.
Samuel Tooker.
(Signed.) J. Hammond,
B. Crane
S. P. Brittain.

[191] Whereupon the resolution proposed was adopted,

The same Committee on the subject of extending the Iron fence
round the Park, reported,

The Finance Committee to whom was referred a resolution in-
structing to enquire into the expediency of extending the Iron fence
from its present termination to the lower end of the Park, on Broad
Way, and to report an estimate of its expense, Report,

That the resolution above recited was adopted by the Common
Council on the 24 th day of July last, and although the Committee was
sensible that a fence of some description would soon be necessary
in consequence of the decayed situation of that which now encloses the
Park in front of this Hall thev nevertheless knew that the situation of



5 Feb. 1821 COMMON COUNCIL MlNUTES 497

the Finances would not permit the expenditure during the present
year, and they therefore concluded to omit reporting until the estimate
for the present year was completed.

The subject which was referred to the Committee, only included
that part of the Park fronting on Broad Way; but the situation of the
whole line of fence is in such a state of decay, that the Committee have
concluded to recommend to the Board that an Iron railing be erected
extending from the Bridewell fence to the intersection of Broad Way
and Chatham Street, and to be continued from thence up Chatham
Street to the Goal fence.

The Street Commissioner, at the request of the Committee has pre-
pared a plan of the fence, together with a description of the base,
columns and other matters relative to the undertaking, which is here-
with presented. He also furnished an estimate of the expense [192]
for completing the whole work amounting to $15.622, and which is also
presented with this Report.

The Committee beg leave to propose the following resolutions :

Resolved, that the Street Commissioner be authorised to advertise
for and receive proposals, for the Mason, stone and iron work, neces-
sary to the erecting an iron railing, commencing at the Bridewell fence,
and extending around the Park to the Goal fence on Chatham Street,
with base, columns and gates, agreeably to the plan and designation
accompanying this report.

Resolved, that he be further authorised, under the direction of this
Committee, to enter [in] to contracts with such competent persons
whose estimates shall be the lowest, for the completion of said work;
and that the contractors be bound to complete the same by the 1 st day
of September next.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen Allen.
Samuel Tooker.
(Signed.) J. Hammond.
B. Crane.
S. P. Brittain.

Whereupon the resolutions proposed were adopted.

The Finance Committee on the petition of William King, reported,
The Finance Committee, to whom was referred the petition of
William King, Report,

that in a late report made on this subject, the Committee [193]
stated that William King held the lease of a House and Lot belonging



498 CITY OF NEW YORK 5 Feb. 1821



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