THE TRUTH CONCERNING PITT COUNTY FINANCES
The Fusionists are circulating throughout Pitt county a statement that the present Board of County Commissioners during the first year of their term saved the people $4 742.80, or in other words that their expenses were that much less than the last year of their Democratic predecessors. An examination of the records show that the Democratic Board during the last year of their administration audited claims against the county to the amount of $18,346.64 and the Populist Board audited during their first year claims to the amount of $13,603.84. But it must be taken in consideration that the present Board, with the exception of what was spent for repair of Court House, have had only the ordinary routine expenses of the county to look after while their predecessors expended $600.26 more for witness and jury tickets, which were incurred in the Superior Court, an item over which they had no control except to audit and to pay by direction of the court. The Democratic Board also expelled $801.22 more for bridges than the present one and when they left office they turn, ed over to their successors the bridges of the county in a good condition. The Democratic Board had the dam across Tar river raised about two feet higher at a cost of $321.30 and repaired and put vaults in the court house for the protection of the records and titles of the people at a cost of $3,441.98, thus expending altogether for other than the extraordinary penses of the county the sum o $5,164.76. and if this amount was deducted from the ordinary expenses it would leave a balance in favor of the Democratic Board of $421.96.
A still further examination of the records show that Democratic Boards were in control of county affairs from September 1874 to December 1896, a period of twenty-two years and three months, and we find that the expenses of the county during that time were as follows:
|For the year ending Sept. 6th, 1875,||$8,058.87|
|For the year ending Sept. 4th, 1876,||10 695 09|
|For the year ending Dec. 3rd, 1877,||16 477 33|
|For the year ending Dec. 2nd, 1878,||9 778 70|
|For the year ending Dec 1st, 1879,||12 314 30|
|For the year ending Dec 6th, 1880,||7 870 10|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1881,||7 696 93|
|For the year ending Dec 5th 1882,||16 931 51|
|For the year ending Dec 3rd, 1883||8 923 81|
|For the year ending Dec 1st, 1884,||12 893 83|
|For the year ending Dec 7th, 1885,||11 495 13|
|For the year ending Dec 6th, 1886,||11 183 08|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1887,||11 902 80|
|For the year ending Dec 3rd, 1888,||13 796 03|
|For the year ending Dec 2nd, 1889,||12 865 83|
|For the year ending Dec 1st, 1890,||10 849 06|
|For the year ending Dec 7th. 1891,||12 088 22|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1892,||14 850 23|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1893,||12 984 91|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1894,||12 981 62|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1895,||14 614 47|
|For the year ending Dec 5th, 1896,||18 344 69|
|Total for 22 years and 3 months||269,445 53|
It will be seen from the above that sixteen of the twenty-two years show a smaller expenditure than the boasted Fusion retrenchment—and some of them not much more than one-half of the amount extended by them -and every year that exceeded their amount there were extraordinary expenses for public improvements.
To ascertain whether or not the Democratic Board were economical and faithful servants let us divide this amount of $269,445.53 by 22 and find what their average yearly expenses were during the time they were in control, and it shows an average of $12,247.52 per year, or in other words $1,356.32 less than the present Board. During this period of more than 22 years the Democratic Board expended for public improvements the following sums towit:
|In 1877 Repairs to Court House and Jail||$5 690 74|
|In 1879 Repairs to Greenville Bridge||3 474 06|
|In 1882 Building Jail||7 850 29|
|Building Dam||2 300 00|
|Building Vaults||3 200 00|
Now if you will deduct this $20,514.99 extraordinary expenses from the entire amount audited by the Democratic Board for 22 years and then make an average it will be ascertained that the yearly ordinary expenses were $11,315 16 thus showing that the Democratic Board expended for ordinary expenses the sum of $2,288.68 less than the present Board.
We desire also to call the attention of the tax payers of Pitt county to the further fact that when the Democratic Board took charge of the county in 1874 they found the county indebtedness to be $20,872.99 every dollar of which was paid off by them, while no county in the State, during their administration, had a lower rate of taxation than the county of Pitt.
It has been stated by the Fusionists during the present campaign that when the Democratic Board went out of office in December 1896, they left the county in a bankrupt condition. An inspection of the “Record of Official Reports” in the office of the Register of Deeds, pages 87 and 113 will show that James L. Little the Democratic Treasurer on December 7th 1896, turned over to his successor the sum of $2,255.26 for the General fund and $6,472.52 for the School fund making an aggregate of $8,727.78 that went into the hands of J. A. Thigpen the present Treasurer.
As a further evidence that the Democratic Board left affairs in good condition, the Fusion Board could not have met their expenses for their first year but for the amount turned over to them by J. L. Little, because they audited during that year $13,603.84 while the minute book No. 5 of the Board, page 170, under the date of June 6th, 1898, shows receipts of previous year collected by the sheriff for General Fund, for the sum of $11,226.67 and the Record of “Official Reports” shows that the Clerk of the Superior Court paid $267.27 for jury taxes, thus making the total receipts for the year of $11,493.94 or $2,109.90 less than the expenditures. If the Fusion Board had not received the sum of $2,255.26 from the former Treasurer they could not have met expenses and therefore would have incurred a debt of $2,109.90.
The Democratic Treasurers during their term of office were required to file their annual accounts, showing every item of money received or disbursed by them, and to swear to the correctness of the same. But an examination of the original accunt filed by J.A. Thigpen, the present Treasurer, for the fiscal year ending Dec., 1897 and the “Record of Official Reports,” page 158 to 188, inclusive, upon which it is recorded fails to show that he ever received one penny for the General Fund, nor is it even sworn to, yet Aug. M. Moore and John Thompson who were appointed as a committe by the Board of Commissioners to examine the same, report the same under their signatures as being “correct.” Nor is there any record in the proper of fice showing that a single dollar ever went into the hands of the Treasurer since December 7th, 1896, for the General Fund.
Every statement contained herein can be verified from the public records of the county and the Democratic party invites every man in Pitt county to examine them for himself.