At the New York Merchants’ Association Dinner

Addressees 249

Address at the Merchants' Association Dinner, to its President, W M. F. King, New York City, May 25, 1900.

Mr. President and Gentlemen:

I am particularly glad to have the chance of meeting the members of this association because of the excellent work they did in connection with the Ramapo business. I have asked the charter commission to put itself in communication with you on this subject. I hope that by next year we can have framed some law which shall either do away with the excessive powers granted to the Ramapo Company, or better still shall render it obligatory upon the city to own its own water supply, the details of the system being worked out with due regard to the rights both of the municipality itself and of the localities from which the water supply is drawn.

Incidentally, you rendered great service by the showing you made as to the defects in municipal management, not only as regards the particular question of water supply, but generally.

Waste is the largest single element in municipal finance. It persists largely because taxpayers cannot properly analyze public outlays. It could be greatly lessened by a system of public accounts and reports which would separate the wasteful from the useful outlays and subject them frequently and in a concise form to the scrutiny of tax payers.

All important business enterprises are managed by the aid of analytical reports which summarize results and subject every element of cost to scrutiny and to the test of frequent comparison with fixed standards or previous


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