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We have not the means of ascertaining the expense of transporting the 26 paupers to the poor-house, as but few of the charges have been presented to us; they will probably amount to about 20 dollars.
In conclusion, we would observe, that were the distinction between town and county poor done away, it would tend to simplif and render uniform a system of public charity, which will ultimately not only prove alleviating to the objects of public munificence, but salutary to the government itself.
In this county there is no poor-house; the county poor were contracted to sundry persons on the first of March last for one year.
The report of the superintendents embraces nothing beyond the poor-house establishment: No report having been received from the clerk of the supervisors as to the number of persons supported or relieved elsewhere in the county, or the amount of such support. The children in the poor-house have not, during the past year, been sent to school, nor instructed in the poor-house.
This county has no county poor-house, and the poor are supported as formerly, in the several towns; and from the imperfect returns
of several of the supervisors, it was impossible for us to make a more full report.
The superintendents of the poor were first appointed in this county in November, 1830, and it was not until the 20th of December that a place was partially fitted up, for the reception of the poor; and the paupers have not yet generally been removed, on account of extreme bad travelling. Under these circumstances, it is presumed, no report will be expected from this county, until Dec. 1831.
The amount paid to overseers, justices and for transportation, is incomplete, and upon a part, we are unable to form any estimate, not being able to obtain any information respecting them from the clerk of the board of supervisors. In the estimate paid for keepers and officers, is included 70 dollars for male laborers, 26 for female and 60 dollars for physician and surgeon.
The report is made to the first of November. In the item in the table, under the head of paupers and officers, is $145.59, an allowance made to physicians and surgeons.
We have no means of ascertaining accurately the amount paid for the transportation of paupers, or the amount of allowance to overseers and justices; and we only give an opinion when we say, that the amount of orders for temporary relief will not fall below $600. But the actual cost of supporting the paupers of this establishment, including food, clothing of every kind, keeper's salary, servants' hire, medical attendance, merchants’ bills, purchases of stock, insurance, &c., from 8th Oct. 1829, to 11th Nov. 1830, is $3,200, which divided by the average number of paupers, (112) during the same period, gives $26.37 as the annual cost of supporting each, or 51 cents per week.
Owing in many cases to bodily inability, and many more to a want of fidelity in the paupers, we find but little profit in employing them in the ordinary occupations of the farm. We however manufacture our own supply of shoes and stockings.
Although lot within the range of duties literally required of us, we feel that there is a propriety in calling your attention to the subject of orders made by justices for temporary relief.
As the law is construed by us, the order must embrace an amount (daily, weekly or in gross) equal to all expenditures to be made.— But upon the order so made, the overseer can expend no more than $10 without having obtained the sanction of a superintendent. This sanction would seem to be a matter of course; for the superintendent has no means of ascertaining the necessity of the case, other than the assurance of the overseer, for whose benefit this sanction may perchance be required.
This order, when presented at the treasury of the county, entitles the overseer to receive “any sum he may have paid or contracted to pay;” thus allowing the individual to audit and allow his own account, and authorising the responsible officer of a town to thrust his hand unseen into the treasury of the county. It is clearly necessary that a supervisory and controlling power over these accounts should be lodged somewhere; and it has occurred to us, that the public interest would be promoted by lodging it in the hands of the superintendents.
Enclosed we forward you our report for the year ending on the first day of December instant; and in explanation, we would say that the distinction in this county between town and county poor was abolished in January last, at which time we received our appointment. . We held our first meeting in February last, and did not purchase a farm until the 9th of last April. There was on the farm some convenient buildings, and we commenced receiving a part of the poor about the first of May last. In our enclosed report, we have calculated the allowances to ourselves, the physicians, keeper and laborers, from the cominencement of their respective services. The keeper commenced on the 19th of April last, and the physicians commenced on the 27th of May last. The whole expense, as rendered in the report, exclusive of the last mentioned allowances, is
composed of monies for provisions, clothing, seeds, and for boarding some of the paupers at other places after they had been delivered at the poor-house. A part of the provisions are not yet expended. Besides the whole expense rendered in our report, there were other sums, to a considerable amount, paid for certain improvements on the farm, for furniture and for stock: these we have not included in the value of the establishment. We have erected additional buildings on the farm during the past season; which, with the permanent improvements on the farm, or the other buildings, we value at $3,000: this sum is included in the value of the whole establishment. For the want of time to meet the letter of the poor laws during the past year, we have been obliged to collect at the poor-house only a part of the paupers: the residue, which was about one half, has been supported at the expense of the county, in the several towns where the cases occurred, under the care of the overseers of the poor. All charges for paupers so kept, (and nearly all were presented,) were audited by us on the 10th of November last, amounting to the sum of $2,285.60 cents. We think proper to include in our report the sum only expended at the poor-house; but the expenses of the superintendents (which are greater for services this year than they will be any future year,) more properly apply to costs of the buildings, as the most of their services related to that object. Aside from the extra expenses, the expenses for keeping the paupers for the past year actually provided for at the poor-house, would fall short of 50 cents each per week. The services of superintendents, justices and overseers, are audited by the board of supervisors, and we are unable to report the exact amount of allowances made to the overseers and justices. The buildings are now just finished, and there are but few paupers in the county not collected at the poor-house. . Within two weeks from this time, the system will be complete, and the requirements of the law will be strictly observed. Since we audited the poor accounts on the 10th of November last, some expenses have accrued in cases where the paupers could not be received in the poor-house, as well as those where they could not be removed, which remain to be estimated.
We have had but little opportunity to remark on the operation of the poor laws; and we will only suggest the propriety of publishing them in a pamphlet form, for the benefit of overseers and superintendents.
In explanation of our report, here with transmitted, we would observe, that there remained at the end of the last year, 159. Since which there has been received 203, and five born in the house; which makes the number set to your first inquiry.
The report will show the expense, as far as it is in our power to ascertain it. The allowance to overseers and justices, we have no means at present to ascertain.
As to the estimated amount in the expense of their support, we had no other data to go on than the expense of the paupers in the county before the poor-house went in operation, and to deduct therefrom the expense of their support for the past year; calculating the interest of the money the establishment cost, and the result is as stated in the report. We applied to the institution in New-York to receive the two mutes, and have got them in. We think we are authorised to say that our county is satisfied and pleased with the operation of the poor-house, and it appears a popular measure. The children are kept at school in the house, which is conducted by one of the paupers, and they are improving as well as in our ordinary common schools, in our opinion.
P. S. Since the foregoing report was presented to the Legislature, letters have been received from the superintendents of Kings and Cattaraugus counties, giving the explanations which follow in relation to their reports.
The county system was commenced on the 7th April last, consei. not eight months have yet expired. In accordance with the requirement, we have prepared in part the information necessary to making our report for the eight months past; but finding some difficulty in separating items of expense that have extended into this present month, and having supplies on hand difficult to estimate, we concluded to address you on the subject, and inquire your opinion as to whether it will not be proper, and will meet the requisitions of the law, to make our annual report in December next, which will comprise our operations from the 7th April last, (when we commenced) to 7th April next? We shall find it necessary to make a report to the supervisors at that time, and balance all our accounts for the year.
The supervisors of our county neglected to appoint superintendents last year, and it was so near the time which the law makes it the duties of superintendents to make their report, that we considered it useless at this time.
The supervisors have not abolished the distinction between town and county poor. They also thought it not advisable to rent a tenement or purchase any land for the purpose of erecting a poorhouse, &c., as our county is new and but few poor in it, who apply for relief. There are but two persons supported by the county, that I have any knowledge of, except one lunatic pauper, who we sent to the lunatic asylum in the city of New-York.
§3. The attention of superintendents, supervisors and the clerks of the boards of supervisors, is specially directed to the 78th section, page 632, of the 1st vol. of the Revised Statutes, which imposes a penalty of one hundred dollars for a neglect of their duties in furnishing the reports required by the statute for the relief of the poor; and it is made the duty of the Secretary of State to give notice to the District Attorney of any such neglect, to the end that he may prosecute the delinquent for the penalty.
Of the select committee on the petition of sundry inhabitants of the county of Genesee.
The select committee, to whom was was referred sundry petitions and memorials of the inhabitants of Genesee county, praying for an act to authorise the supervisors of said county to raise money to build a new jail at Batavia in said county,
That they have carefully examined the subject contained in the several petitions and memorials, and from the matters therein stated, and from their own knowledge of facts, have thought proper to lay before the House some of the reasons which have governed them in arriving at a contlusion.
At the annual meeting of the board of supervisors of Genesee county, in November last, at Batavia, a resolution was unanimously adopted, of which the following is a copy:
Board of Supervisors of Genesee county,
“Resolved, That the Legislature of the state of New-York be respectfully requested to pass a law authorising the board of supervisors of Genesee county, at their next session, to raise by a tax upon said county, such sum as they shall deem necessary, not exceeding three thousand dollars, for the purpose of building a new jail in said county; and that the clerk of this board transmit a copy of this resolution to each of the members of Assembly from this county.”
[A. No. 67.] - 1