This day in Mohawk Valley history: January 26, 1887

The Herkimer Democrat, January 26, 1887, Herkimer, Herkimer County, New York

Main Street, Herkimer, NY 1905

Main Street, Herkimer, NY 1905


It is to be regretted that the project of water works was defeated at the election on Thursday last, the vote being: For water, 231; against water, 459.

At the election nearly 100 women voted,90percent,of whom deposited their ballots against water works. That they were misled by fear that their property would become mort­gaged we do not doubt. One great argument against the project,and we think the most effective one used, was the enormous limit of $180,000 which the Commissioners could ex­pend. We believe that if a proposition for water works, (the pumping system), including a thorough system

of sewerage, not to exceed $50,000, was submitted to the people it would he carried almost unanimously. We need water, and know that many who cast their ballots against water taxes are in favor of water if built at a moderate cost. Interest on $50,000 at 3 per cent. would be $1,500 which would have to be paid annually, and which would be met by the water rents from those who would use the water, and the entire village would be supplied with water and hydrants free. The proposition is to assess only those who use water, and rents from this source would, we have no doubt, be sufficient to meet the interest the first few years, after which there would gradually be a surplus, which would create a sinking fund with which to pay the bonds when they became due, thirty or forty years hence.

This village, forty years from now, with proper and enterprising management, will almost be a city, and we are sure to have wholesome water sooner or later, and why not now while those living can enjoy it? Not but a few taxpayers her to-day will be here forty years hence. How many were here forty years ago? Not but a few. The question of taxes is what agitates the minds of people, and when they are led to believe that water works would be a paying investment, from water rents from those only who use and desire water, there will be no doubt about the popularity of the scheme. We now know that many anticipated and believed that water rents would be assessed against all property, which is not so, for only those who use the water will be compelled to pay.

If the mater is put in more definite shape, and our people have a chance to vote on the subject again, we have little doubt of the result.

(NOTE: $180,000 in 1887 at today’s dollar value would be $5,623,522.11)

Source: New York State Historic Newspapers