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FREMANTLE ELECTRIC LIGHT AND TRAMWAY SCHEME.
We have received a number of com munications concerning the Fremautlo electrio light and tramway scheme, but we regret that pressure on our space pre vents, us from publishing the various letters in extonso.
Mr. Harry E. Wilsou writes;— -I hope that my fellow-townsmen will use thetir common gense and not be gulled. If tiho municipality carried, out tho schome it would bs reproduc tive, and worked the same as any .business concern, to pay al least interest aud pinking fund. ' Therefore, it would not be necessary to strike a loan rate. Ratuber would the rate payers ba ioliored of a portion of the present taxation by reason of tho profits derived from tho undertaking. I would impress upon all that the question at issue is not 'For or against trams and light,** but 'For or against the terms of the present proposed schurac.' Lot mo, as one who , has the interests of .Fre mantle tvt heart, give n- friendly .word, pf warning to my fellow-townsmen, ' Dpn/t b° like tho child with a new toy. Let. till veto 'No' on Monday. Then our omirsa is clear. Either advertise a concession to tlw world for competition, or do the work ourselves and reap the profit. Cr.'T, Swift writes;— Opponents of the proposed olootrio light and trans wherae showed tho obher evening a strong desire to raise a loan for the 'municipality to construct an electric light nnd tramways system for the town j but no one has told ub what would be the effect on the ratepayers, To construct the works proposed we should have first to obtain tho sanction of Parliament to borrow tJio necessary capital, eay £70,000, and I doubt whether power would bo granted for a town of about 10,000 uf a not wealthy popu lation to borrow at the rtvte of £7 pur head. Supposing, however, tdiat the permission were 'granted, we should lwvo immediately on float ing the loan to commence paying interest, and this would require a rale of a shilling in the £, in addition to the present rate of 3s.. 9d. Oan my fellow ratepayers afford, and are they willing to pay, a 4s. 9d. rate, which Avould have to bo paid before tho wov Uis taken in hand, which oould not be for nearly a year, as most of the material would have to come from Kng land? Now, suppose (and it is rather more than a supposition) that the work did not pay its working expenses for the first lew year*, how would the loss or shortage bo met'/ Why, by a further' rate on the then existing rato of 4s 9d., and, as there would bo no limit to this rate, it might becmne a pound in the pound. If tho municipality owned tbo pro lorty it would incur responsibilities of which there is ni.w no thought, It- would bo just ad likely to mnke mistakes as a company would, and would bo just as liable as a com pany would for breaches of agreement for breakdowns, injuries to servants and others, and a hundred and one other things. It would not be relieved of any of its present responsibilities, such, as repairs to roadis, but it would inour new and liteavy responsibili ties, which tho company would take. With respect to the so-called 'monopoly,' it is more imaginary than real, The company asks to bo allowed to put down its works free of any cost to the town for the privilege of not being opposed oy any other company for 20 years, and, at the end of that timo, to give the council the right of purchasing tho works. This right of purchase is not ouly given at the 20th year, but at every seven years there after. With respect to the goodwill, its value will dopend on the profits made. If there aro no profits there is no goodwill. If tho profits are large then tho larger the goodwill and the 'better concern will tho municipality be buying. At any rate, the municipality will not take it over unless it sees its way to mako a profit, even after paying for the goodwill and every other expense and contingency that are likely to oeom\ So stringently are tho rights of the town guarded that eowcoly a step can bo takon by the company. Com pulsory clauses compel it to supply the fur thest limits of the town should any six or more persons apply for licht to bo laid on,
Every possible care has been exercised to sale guurd not only the municipality but also overy individual ratepayer. The highest charge that the company can make for tho light has been fixed at 10d., but it will have to oompete with the Gas Company. ( I be lieve that the users of electric light in Perth pay 10d,, in Kalgoorlie 2s,, and in Coolgardio Is. 3d. With respect to the grading of tho roads, there are only two places that aro at present dangerous, and they must be brought into a normal state whether wo have trams or not. If a majority of the citizens of Frc mantlo has the good sense to voto for this ?scheme the provisional order can bo obtained and a bill passed in this present session of Parliament, and tho work will bo commenced within tho next year, and finished in two years. If the scheme is rejeoted tho matter will be 'hung up' for years. Messrs. Splatt, Wall, and Co. writos— The
ratepayers of Fremantlo should ego that those who have miule their homes in Westorn Australia have nn equal chance of computing with British syndicates for whatever work is doing, and wo trust that, in justice to v.k and to every other firm in tho colony, t;lio ratepayer on Monday next will reject iho scheme which some of the councillors of Fre mantle are trying to foist on t-bem. Mr. A, Mackeu writes, drawing attention tn the protest against ekclrioi trams running through High-street. Ho points out that electric tnvms need not bo run by over head wires. In liis opinion, tho besb system is the storage. He snys that under tdiis sys tem the cars glide on gracefully without noise, other than the vibration of the cur, which can bo brought to a standstill in its own length, and can attain ft speed of 15 miles an hour. By this system, he believes that a 16-mimue eervico or shorter could bo arranged 011 a single lino of light mils from tho railway crossing in High-streot to all terminal points, provision being nmda for loops afc suitable places for cars to pats each other. Ho states tliat' Forth is the only city in Australia whero wh-os are ueed in the principal thoroughfares, and ho is of opinion tJiat if the Fremantlo Council givos a syndicate power to construct trams, it should 'first ha,ve a report from un independent ami competent authority aa to tflio suitableness of the svetem to )-c adopted , If a syndicate can mako a profit, there is no reason why tho council cannot, and by having municipal trains the people would hove tho regulation of the fares.