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The Street Commissioner made the contract, to have the street regulated according to the established grade of the city, and after the work was finished, it was the duty of City Surveyor to survey the work, and see if the street had been regulated according to the established grade. An inspector could have done nothing more. To pay an inspector the sum of eleven hundred and fifty-five dollars, where no services of the kind were required, is totally unauthorized by law, and a violation of the duty of the Street Department. No charge of this nature ca with any propriety be assessed upon the property charged by the way of assessment, for the expense of the improvement. And if the Street Commissioner has paid this sum to an inspector, appointed by him, under the sanction of the Common Council, that does not alter the nature of the charge, although it may exonerate him from any liability to the city, and in all such cases, the city must bear the expense of such profligate expenditure of the city funds. As they have no means, in the opinion of your Committee to reimburse the city by an assessment upon individual property, which in no wise has had the least benefit of the expenditure. The law of the state as well as the ordinance of the city, make it the duty for the assessors to estimate the expense of the improvement, as well as to assess that expense upon the property benefited. And should the assessors omit to make the estimate until the work is finished, they should be careful not to allow any illegal or improper charges, as such charges cannot be made the subject of an assesso ment.
In this case there has been an undoubted departure from their duty in taking the return of the Street Com
missioner as their guide. The law has given the assessors a discretion, to be exercised prudently, in estimating the expense, subject, however, in all cases to be received and corrected by the Common Council. And in reviewing this matter, your Committee have come to the conclusion, that it would be a violation of their duty, if they did not recommend to this Board, to strike out from the assessment list the said sum of eleven hundred and fifty-five dollars, so allowed for inspecting said work, as the same cannot be legally charged and assessed upon the property, and do, therefore, recomiend the adoption of their former report and resolution in the matter.
RICHARD MOTT, Committee on
The Committee on Assessments, to whom was referred the accompanying assessment lists for regulating and grading Fifty-sixth street, from the Fifth avenue to Broadway, respectfully
That your Committee has had the subject under consider. ation and find by the papers submitted to them, that the ordinance directing the improvement to be made, directs it to be done under such directions as shall be given by the Street Commissioner and one of the city surveyors. It appears by the return of the Street Commissioner that he has allowed for inspector's time on the work, four hundred and twenty-four days, at one dollar and fiftycents per day, which makes the sum of six hundred and thirty-six dollars allowed for inspecting, and this sum has been included in the assessment list and assessed upon the property charged with the expense of the improvement.
Your Committee are of opinion that this duty of inspecting should have been performed by the Street Com. missioner or the City Surveyor appointed to take charge of the work, as there was nothing for an inspector to do until the work was completed. If it had been otherwise, the ordinance would have provided for the appointment of an inspector, which, in this case, it has not done, and there is no authority vested in the Street Commissioner to appoint inspectors, except when special permission is given by the ordinance directing the work to be done.
The whole expense of the improvement is to be charged upon the owners of the property benefited, and no charge should be allowed unless strictly authorized by law.
Your Committee are satisfied that the charge of six hundred and thirty-six dollars for inspecting, was not only unnecessary, but unauthorized by law.
Your Committee therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That this Board non-concur with the Board of Councilmen affirming the assessment in this matter; and that the annexed assessment list for the regulating and grading Fifty-sixth street, from the Fifth avenue to Broadway, be referred back to the assessors to be corrected, by striking out the sum of six hundred and thirty-six dollars so allowed and assessed for inspecting said work, and that the assessment be made accordingly.
RICHARD MOTT,) Committee on
The Committee on Assessments, to whom was recommitted the accompanying assessment list for the regulating and grading Fifty-sixth street, from the Fifth avenue to Broadway, and also the accompanying reports, have reconsidered the matter and respectfully
That from a subsequent examination of the matter your Committee are more strongly impressed that the charge allowed by the assessors for inspecting, and included in the assessment list, was improperly allowed by the assessors, and should be stricken out of the list, as a charge to be assessed upon the property on the line of the improvement.
Your Committee have expressed their reasons for coming to this conclusion in another report, for the regulating and grading Forty-fourth street, from the Eleventh avenue to the Hudson river, and it is, therefore, not necessary to repeat them here, as the principle in the two cases are similar.
Your Committee therefore recommend the adoption of the former report and resolution of your Committee in same matter, and which is hereto annexed.