A suggestion was also made that no part of a shire should be formed into a borough unless the annual income of that portion, from Is. rate, amounted to £500 at least. Here, as in Sandhurst, a strong opinion was elicited concerning the injustice of the law which compels private persons to eradicate thistles, while the Government is allowed to go free in the matter; and it was also suggested that the local bodies might be permitted to encourage the construction of railways in their own districts by guaranteeing interest upon the sum expended by Government for that purpose. The different councils might be allowed to guarantee this increase to the extent of one-half their income. In Benalla Shire, for instance, it was pointed out that a line to Major Plains could be constructed for £2,000 or £2,500 a mile, which would not only act as a feeder to the North-Eastern Railway itself, but would also be the means of opening up a huge amount of valuable country.
The question about dissolving councils under certain conditions, upon a petition of the ratepayers, seems likely to become a sort of test question to discover the state of public feeling in the different places from which delegates have been examined. In many of these there are, it is pretty evident, two parties in the local body politic. These parties are the ratepayers and the council. As soon as the members of the latter take office they seem to form, in some instances, a most obstinate resolution to do as little as possible for their constituents; and, on the other hand, to employ every means in their power for "milking" the latter to the very fullest extent. Mr Edwin Brown, shire engineer to the Benalla Council, was also examined, and the sitting, which was the shortest yet held by the commission, terminated in time to allow the travellers to reach Wangaratta in the afternoon.
[BY ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH]
The commission sat at Beechworth this morning. Mr Brown, president of the United Shire, was examined at great length. Much new information was gained. The president of the shire entertained a party of about 30 at luncheon. The commission will sit at Castlemaine next Friday.
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