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Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 96, no. 2477: Articles]: September 4, 1915

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Ml REAL ESTATE AND i^ BUILDERS NEW YORK, vSEPTEMBER 4, 19L5 Blillillllllililiililiililillllill^ OPPOSITION TO THE PORT COMMISSION Considered An Unwarranted Expense By Real Estate In¬ terests, But Advised By the Port and Terminal Committee iiiBiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii^ A REPORT of the Port and Terminal Committee to the Board of Esti¬ mate proposing the creation of a com¬ mission of experts to study the condi¬ tions at the Port of New York, was adoptf.d at the meeting on August 2(3, by a vote of ten to six; four of the mem¬ bers of the board being in favor, the Mayor and the three members of the Port and Terminal Committee, who are the Comptroller, the Presidents of Man¬ hattan and Brooklyn. Four inembers voted against the adoption of the report, the President of the Board of Aldermen and the three Borough Presidents of the Bronx, Queens and Richmond. "The report not only proposes the cre¬ ation of a commission of experts,' said Service Commission, with all of the mil¬ lions of dollars of work under its care, has only one chief engineer. The Board of Estimate itself has only one chief engineer. "It has also been pointed out that the development ot tlie port is as mucli a financial as an engineering problem, and that if a commission is needed, it should consist of one comirissioner, who should be a layman and an executive and not himself an engineer, and that he should seek the advice and plans of the many different engineers now in the city em¬ ploy and in the process of formulating engineering plans, also formulate finan¬ cial plans for carrying them out, either by the use of city funds or private capi¬ tal or a combination of both. It is Also that the earnest request from the' oppo>'ig members of the board to post¬ pone the vote for one meeting was de¬ nied, and that a further request to re¬ consider the vote was declined. "The vote, however, was merely on the adoption of the report of the Port and Terminal Committee. It may be that be¬ fore the work is actually undertaken subsequent consideration may develop a policy in which all members of the board can unanimously concur and which will be less costly for the taxpayers, and at the same time, produce in addition to blue prints and statistics, ways and means for the actual execution of such plans as may be found best suited to the practical improvement of the port from the standpoint of manufacturers, im- THB ACCOMPANYING ILLUSTRATION SHOWS THE PRESENT CONDITION OF THE NEW PIER DEVELOPMENT AT THE FOOT OF WEST 46TH STREET. THE WORK WILL, IN ALL PROBABILITY, BE' APPROVED BY THE PORT TERMINAL COMMISSION, IF APPOINTED, AND WILL FORM A PART OF THE COMPREHENSIVE SCHEME FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE WATERWAYS OF THE GREATER CITY. W. R. Messenger, this week, "but fixes the number, which is to be three en¬ gineers. It also fixes the salary, $15,000 per annum each for part of the engineer's time, making $45,000 a year for tlie part time of the three engineers in addition to creating other pay rolls and expenses of about $75,000 annually, making a total which the report estimates at about $120,- 000 or $125,000 a year for a period of two or three years. The report not only fixes the number of engineers and their salary, but also has the three engineers all picked out and stipulates who they are to be. "Some of the city officials who voted against incurring this expenditure at this time and some of the taxpayers organiza¬ tions which have opposed it, feel that the engineers at present in the city em¬ ploy are capable of making an adequate study of the subject and that there is already available a vast amount of data, statistics and plans for port development, and that the commission, as proposed, is a useless waste of taxpayers' money. Some feel that a special study of the sub¬ ject is required, the appointment of one engineer would be sufficient. The Public pointed out that the Public Service Com¬ missioners are laymen and not engineers. "Many also feel it is unfortunate that the report of the Port and Terminal Committee should have rigidly fixed the exact character of the commission, omitting any laymen or executives and specifying that three particular engineers should be chosen, and stipulated their salary in advance. If the report had ad¬ vocated the policy of the commission or a commissioner, or a special depart¬ ment to make a special study of the sub¬ ject of port improvement, it might have met with more support. Then the char¬ acter, personnel and compensation of such a commission, commissioner, de¬ partment head, or engineer might have been decided and agreed upon unani¬ mously by all of the members of the Board of Estimate instead of by only half of the memliers of the board. "It is unfortunate that in a matter embracing the entire city, the subject sliould be so presented to the board that three of the Borough Presidents and the President of the Board of Aldermen, representing the city at large, should fee! compelled to vote in oposition to it. porters and exporters, merchants, ship¬ pers, distributors and consumers general¬ ly, and minimize time and expense in the handling and transfer of water borne cargoes and railroad freights. "It should be remembered, however, that private enterprise and private capital is today in the different Boroughs, doing more to improve the port than would probably result from the creation of half .1 dozen so-called expert commissions, and it is not wise to throttle capital and brains which are doing something in order to produce thories as a subject of meditation for a bankrupt and expiring administration." Laurence M. D. McGuire, President Real Estate Board of New York, said: "The recent adoption by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, on a nar¬ row margin, of a resolution appointing a commission of three experts to investi¬ gate port and terminal conditions in New York City, is in my opinion an of¬ ficial act which is fairly open to criticism. The Real Estate Board protested to the Mayor and the Board of Estimate be¬ fore the adoption of the resolution. "Under the terms of this resolution