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Vermont Dairymen's Association.


Crry Hall, RUTLAND, Vt.

January 7, 1896. The twenty-sixth annual meeting of the Association was called to order at 11:30 a. m., Tuesday, January 7, by Hon. J. O. Sanford, President.

Rev. George W. Phillips invoked divine blessing, and Mayor J. A. Sheldon, of Rutland, delivered the following

ADDRESS OF WELCOME. Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Vermont Dairymen's Society:

I feel highly honored to be permitted at this time to extend to you, in behalf of our citizens, a hearty welcome to our city. And it is with feelings of great pleasure that I notice in your program the response is to be made by one of my boyhood friends.

Although very few of our citizens are dairymen, still our interests are identica). While you meet annually to confer with each other as to the best methods of production, we of the cities and villages are doing our best with our various manufactures, etc., to provide for you as large a home market as possible.

Our beautiful state cannot be surpassed in its attractiveness to the summer visitor, and those who have emigrated from us are always glad to return to their old home. And is it not our duty, gentlemen, to make that home so attractive that not only will our wanderers return, but many others come who desire a beautiful home during the summer months ?

Therefore, Mr. President and gentlemen, I trust you will bear with me for a moment, while I mention a subject not laid down in your program. Nevertheless, one in which our interests are mutual, and one which I think should command your attention, whether your product be manufactured at the farın or at the factors ; for if not at the farm you must convey it to the factory, and from the factory it must be conveyed to the nearest market.

The subject to which I wish to call your attention is that of transpoi tation-ur, in other words, good roads.

A few days ago I clipped from a Boston paper the following editorial, and believing the same to be true I quote it, namely:

THE COST OF BAD ROADS.' “ The average distance from the farm to the market in the eastern and middle states is twelve miles, and out of 1,200 counties which have been heard from the average load for two horses is 2,000 pounds, the cost of bauling which is twenty-five cents per mile. It is estimated that the whole yearly cost of transportation by public roads in this country is $946,414,665, wbich allows a cost of $13 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It is further estimated tbat two-thirds of the total outlay in transportation is money wasted. These facts give some idea of the importance of securing good roads. Such is the excellent character of the roads suburban to Boston that the difficulty is not much felt in this vicinity, but in the interior, where the country roads are of an inferior character, the cost of transportation is a serious drawback to the farmers in bring. ing their produce into market. No stronger argument than this for the improvement of our common highways could be presented. While the outlay for good roads might increase ihe taxes for a short time, every individual who has occasion to use the markets at the large centres would speedily be relieved from a heavy burden.”

Now, Mr. President and gentlemen, there is nothing that will render our state so attractive to parties wishing for a summer home as good roads, and the larger the influx of summer visitors the larger will be your home market, and the larger your home market the greater the benefit to you.

This is a subject in which I am greatly interested and one in which our citizens take especial pride, and we cordially invite you to inspect the permanent roads recently made in our city. And I hope in a few years all the approaches to our city will be of such character as to enable those who visit us to recognize our city limits the moment they cross them.

Our legislature, in its wisdom, has enacted a law laying a tax of five cents on the grand list of our various towns and cities, raising annually about $88,000. Of this amount six of our towns and cities pay nearly one quarter, while they receive in return about onefortieth. For instance, take our own city—we pay into our state

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treasury the sum of 84,098.99, and we receive from the state treasurer $268.68.

The city of Montpelier pays into the state treasury $1,840.37, receiving only $167.18. The four other towns and cities in about like proportion. Therefore, gentlemen, you will see the city of Rutlnd, in addition to spending many thousands of dollars in improving their own streets, contributes annually over $3,800 towards enabling the other towns to construct and improve their highways.

In looking over the statistics in regard to this matter in the office of our state treasurer, he said to me, .. That law has come to stay, and there is no need of your getting any statistics to try and have it repealed.

Now, gentlemen, I did not even dream of having the law repealed; but on the contrary, I wish the tax was larger and would produce more money. For none of us begrudge this money to the various towns who receive it, if they expend it properly and according to law, making and repairing permanent roads on their main thoroughfares.

The grand list of our state for taxation is $1,751,329. 12. The highway tax of twenty cents assessed upon this amount amounts to $350,265.82. Add to this sum the five cent tax, amounting to $87,566.46, and you have a total of $437,832.28 expended annually on the roads in our state.

This amount, if properly expended on the main thoronghfares, ought surely to give us some good roads. Therefore, I ask you, gentlemen, do you think this money is properly expended ?

In addition to the above amounts, some of our cities and towns raise an extra tax to build permanent roads.

It seems to me the five cent tax, being divided among the different towns in the proportion that the milage of the roads of each bears to the whole milage of our state, does not bring about the benefit intended. The amounts returned to the different towns vary from about $100 to $700 Neither of these amounts, even the largest, can accomplish the improvement desired. The amount is altogether too small to build or repair properly permanent roads ; and it seems to me, while it is a step in the right direction, it would be well to go a little further in the good work.

Unless we take up this subject and act accordingly, I fear we shall lose our prestige and allow our neighboring states to gain it..

In the state of Massachusetts the sum of $300,000 is expended annually by a state bigliway commission, who apportioned this amount among the fourteen counties of the state according to the requests made for it by the different counties. Nine thonsand dollars of this money is taken to provide the expenses of the highway commission and the salary of a state civil engineer. When the decision is made by said commission as to what towns in the different counties shall expend their portion of this money, they make a con

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