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Title Letter from Mayor Henry L. Timken, Hoboken, to City Council, Nov. 17, 1885, re water meters & service; Hackensack Water Co.; N.Y. & N.Y. Telephone Co. pole installation.
Object Name Correspondence
Catalog Number 2012.004.0075
Collection Hoboken Government & Politics Collection
Credit Museum Collections.
Scope & Content Letter from Mayor Henry L. Timken, Hoboken, to City Council, Nov. 17, 1885, re water meters & service; Hackensack Water Co.; New Jersey and New York Telephone Company pole installation.

Four page holographic letter. Full text is in notes.

A very strong letter about water meters, contracts and political influence.

Last paragraph discusses the new installation of telephone poles - an excerpt:

I would also call the attention of your Honorable Body to the following. The New Jersey and New York Telephone Company are at present engaged in erecting huge poles in this city. The franchise to carry on a telephone system was granted some years ago but a State Law provides that the consent of the property owner on whose property the poles are to be erected, must first be obtained.

Notes Archives 2012.004.0075

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Mayor's Office
Hoboken, N.J. Novbr 17th, 1885

To the Council

Gentlemen

The proposed introduction of Water Meters is at present agitating the community and as the matter has been thoroughly discussed in an unofficial manner I deem it my duty to take notice of the same and respectfully submit the following:

The Hackensack Water Company at the time when this city entered into a fifteen year contract, by the insertion of a clause in the agreement reserved the right to place meters in the houses of our citizens whenever necessity should demand it. Almost immediately after a change in the administration of the Company, this necessity was discovered and taking advantage of the above clause. The Company requested the Water Registrar to notify certain property owners that they intended to place meters in some of their buildings at an annual rental of $3.00 and the cost of the necessary repairs. The Citizens Association took the matter in hand and at a public meeting resolved to oppose the introduction of water meters on the above basis, but signified their willingness to receive the same if they were free in and kept in repair at the Company's expense. The company aware that their place was creating a great deal of dissatisfaction promptly accepted the proposal of the Citizens and agreed to furnish meters to all citizens petitioning for the same, free of charge.

This action on their part it was assumed would meet with the approval of all interested parties. Notwithstanding however, at the instance of a few who thereby hope to gain public notoriety, another meeting was called and at this meeting, which was to all appearances packed, everybody favoring meters was assailed and another resolution adopted stating that our Citizens refused to receive water meters under any consideration, which in view of the previously adopted resolution certainly showed very inconsistent action.

The two adopted resolutions are certainly not binding before anybody as the Hackensack Water Company cannot by law compel property owners to receive their meters even free of charge as they have agreed to furnish this city with a sufficient supply of good wholesome water at tariff prices fixed by the Jersey City Bureau of Public Works for Jersey City less 5%.

In my opinion, the company cannot shut off the water supply of any consumer without violating their contract and I hold that no citizen is bound to receive a meter when he does not want it, but no citizens' mass meeting can dictate to the individual property owner that he shall not have a meter placed on his property. Our citizens, if they are so disposed, can certainly have these meters placed in their house, if they feel that they can affect a saving on their water rents, which taking everything in consideration are very high, and as every property owner can judge of this matter better for himself than a public mass meeting, it would be but justice to let them do as they see fit.

Now the question arises is the Water Company supplying this city with "a good and sufficient supply of pure and wholesome water"? This in the opinion of a majority of our citizens they have not done and it is claimed cannot do with their present facilities. I would urge that the Water Commissioners be officially requested to take notice of this fact, and that they, upon proof being brought that the Company is not strictly fulfilling its contract, take the necessary steps to terminate the same. The company, it seems, proposes to receive all advantages it is entitled to by the terms of the contract and the city certainly has the right to hold them to the very letter of their agreement. The Water Commissioners & Executive Departments of this City are well able to cope with this important question and do not need assistance from parties who are agitating this matter for their own political advancement, and who have made it a business to misrepresent the true state of affairs backed by meetings which are packed for the evident purpose of carrying their views on the subject.

The last meeting held, was a perfect farce and the adoption of the resolution which was forwarded to your Honorable Body at your last session, assumed the right of dictating to each property owner in this city, what he is to do with his private funds when purchasing one of the main necessities of life, good and wholesome water.

I would also call the attention of your Honorable Body to the following. The New Jersey and New York Telephone Company are at present engaged in erecting huge poles in this city. The franchise to carry on a telephone system was granted some years ago but a State Law provides that the consent of the property owner on whose property the poles are to be erected, must first be obtained. Such consent has in the majority of cases not been obtained and I would advise that the Street Commissioner be directed to proceed against the Company for violation of city ordinances where no written permission from the property owners can be shown. The present way of tearing up our streets whenever the companies are disposed is objectionable and it would be well for our citizens to understand that they still have some rights, which corporations are bound to respect.

H.L. Timken
Mayor

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Com [Communication] from His Hon Mayor Timken relative to Water Meters
Nov 17, 1885
Presented read and referred to the committee on Our Water
City Clerk
December 7/85
Ordered on file
Patrick Maloney
A.B. Hartell
Dec. 8, 1885
Ordered filed in Box No. 109
City Clerk

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People Timken, Herman L.
Malonely, Patrick
Hartell, A.B.
Date 1885
Year Range from 1885
Year Range to 1885
Search Terms City Council, Hoboken
Hackensack Water Company
New Jersey & New York Telephone Company
Caption pg 1 of 5
Imagefile 179\20120040075.TIF
Classification Government & Politics
Mayors
Water
Business & Commerce
Communications & Public Utilities