Retiring Message of Mayor Chubb – a splendid vindication of the town government

June 23, 1893

 

To the Honorable President and Members of the Town Council:

 

Gentlemen:

It becomes my duty to notify you that the Secretary of State of the State of Florida has sent me a copy of a Bill passed by the last Legislature. The Bill changes the boundary lines of our municipality and orders that an election be held with thirty days of the approval of the Bill, for all municipal officers- you will therefore take notice that your official term terminates, by legislative authority, upon the qualifying of your succesors. In co appliance with the legislative act I have issued my proclamation, ordering that an election take place June 26, 1893.

Origin of the Bill,

It has always been the custom and unwritten law, that when the citizens of any Town desired to change or amend the charter, that the tax payers and voters representing a majority of the assessed valution shold be consulted. The tramers of our amended charter did not ask the public sentiment for its approval, did not ask the acqniescence of the largest taxpayers- aid net consult the wishes of the citizens who pay a majority of the taxes of Town. Their work however was completed away from the public eye, and without the knowledge of property owners, who have been responsible for the prosperity of the Town in the past and who must act as a guarantee for the future.

Just who wanted the Bill passed and their value to the Town can be seen when it is stated that the names on the petition pay about one-sixth of the taxes of the Town, while those who opposed the bill pay two-thirds of the total yearly tax. The bill was so unfair and without merit that the Senate and House Committees both reported against it, and the only way possible to get it through the Legislature was to appeal to political prejudice and passion.

By tracing the lines on the map it will be noted that the Bill was a gerrymander cuttingand hacking the Town frightfully. As a gerrymander its iniquity has not been equaled in modern times.

Faithful Work for the Town,

On retiring, Gentelmen, I wish to heartily congratulate you for the very able mannerin which you have conducted the affairs of the town. You have always shown a high conscientious purpose, a patriotic devotion to every interest that concerned the welfare of the Town. You have given your time and best efforts without stint and have indicated willingness to promptly perform the duties imposed upo you. You have given great care and have exercised wisdom and economy in the expeditures of public money. Your public records are accurate and neatly kept. Not a dollar has been lost, and warrants, vouchers and receipts- explain where every penny of the people;s money has gone. Your Honorable body have worked with patience and zeal for public improvement and have accomplished more in five years than most towns do in a score. You have the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing that your work is approved by a large majority of the people who pay taxes. It would be expecting too much to receive the approval of pessimists, who are exceedingly ambitions for office, but who never yet suggested public improvement of any kind, and who become paralyzed at the mere suggestion of a paved road or a new bridge.

Public Improvements,

When the town was incorporated we had no school building. It was not the policy of the County School Board to furnish even a room where the school could be held. It required great effort by subscription to get the most meager school furniture, there were on the teachers roll seventeen pupils. Through the wisdom of the Town government a beautiful school building was erected- which has cost to the present moment nearly five thousand dollars. There were on the roll when the last term closed 73 pupils, with two teachers in charge. Both rooms on the lower floor were comfortably billed. Pessimists who predicted that the two building was “too big”, may know something about other matters, but time proved that they knew absolutely nothing about that.

A commodious school building was also erected for the colored people, , which has proved a decided success. This school house cost about $1,400. The building is now filled to overflow with children desiring knowledge. It was the policy of the Town government to add a month or two to the county school year- paying the expenses from the Town Treasury. Two bridges within the town limits were very dangerous and almost impassable, therefore they were entirely rebuilt and put in splendid condition.

In the winter months the town is full of tourists, the value of all property depends-in some degree- on tourist travel. To facilitate that as well as for the convenience of our own people, street lamps were put in on the most prominent corners. Last year nearly two miles of sidewalk was… necessity of which was apparent. A cemetary of ten acres was bought, fenced and put in condition to bury the dead. Roads have been graded and cleared of weeds and trash.

During the summer months an inspection of all premises has been made by health officers- as required by State laws. When our town was infested with tramps, who were committing robberies, our faithful Marshal watched through the midnight hours and finally succeeded in driving them from our midst and to his vigilance and untiring effort we owe our immunity from like evils.

In order to preserve the peace and good order of the municipality a lot was bought and a jail built in proportion to the size of the Town. A fine safe was purchased in which the records of the town could be safely kept. The legality of the town was attacked by certain men and it cost large sums of money for lawyer’s fees to protect the fair name of the municipality.

It gives me pleasure, gentlemen, to say that I am proud to have been associated with you in the governmental  affairs of the community in which we live, and private life. I hope we shall always maintain same interest in the town in future as in the past. Evidently our citizenship have been a menace to the political aspirations of ambition th Legislature was begged for nearly fifty days to pass a gerrymander bill that would cut out of town voters who would not vote to place them in office, and take those who favored them. Such legislation is foreign to the spirit of our institutions. Men of character look upon it with abhorrence and disgust- business men with suspicion and distrust- and all good people condemn it as dangerous and wicked.

I am your fellow citizen,

Henry S. Chubb,

Mayor of Winter Park.

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