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Way Back When

July 8, 2012

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(August 5, 1896)

BOROUGH INDEBTEDNESS
Good Streets Cheaper to Tax-Payers Than
Poor Ones

According to a statement furnished by the Burgess and Clerk of the Town Council, the total indebtedness of Punxsutawney borough at this time is $21,422.85. Deducting the amount of uncollected taxes for 1894 and '95, which amounts to $3,458.51, and the sinking fund on hand and levied for 1896, $763.24, leaves the total bonded indebtedness of the borough, unprovided for, $17,201.10.

The total valuation for this year is $1,410,155. On this valuation bonds may be issued to the amount of 2 per cent, which would be $28,203.10. The present indebtedness, including bonds recently authorized, will make the indebtedness $25,201.10, leaving us $2,002 below the limit.

By Bonding the borough in a sufficient sum to pave all the streets with some permanent material we might reduce our street taxes by $2,000 a year, and at the same time have beautiful streets.

After the streets are properly paved there is practically no expense in keeping them up, and it has been the experience of every city and town that good streets, obtained in this way, are much less expensive to the tax-payers than the almost useless expense annually put upon unpaved streets, and which, at best, renders them hardily worthy of the name of streets.

This is a matter worthy the serious consideration of our people, and the sooner it is acted upon, the better it will be for all concerned.

Coke Plant Closed Down
A press dispatch from Dunbar under date of August 4, says: “A sensation has been caused among coal operators by the W. J. Rainey company being forced to close down their coke works.

This week 200 ovens are being blown out and it is reported that others will follow soon. Rainey has been selling his coke at $1.65 to $1.75, while all the other operators have been selling it since January at $2.00, and consequently has been scalping the market.

The past week showed only 35 per cent of the ovens in the region in operation and of the 35 per cent. Rainey had every oven in blast. This company is erecting hundreds of new ovens at Mt. Braddock and Elm Grove, and it was reported that 500 new ovens would soon be placed in operation.”

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