Life After Becoming a Borough – Milltown People Who Endorse the Present System.
The Daily Times: New Brunswick, N.J. Thursday January 20 1898
Tomorrow night the people of Highland Park will hold a public meeting at which in all probability some decided action will be taken in regard to forming themselves into a borough government.
The people of Milltown became a borough commission in 1889, and were more recently organized under the latest borough act, so that the taxpayers of that suburb of New Brunswick as it might be termed, have had ample opportunity to see the advantages and disadvantages of borough government. Those opposed to the borough have given expression through the local newspapers, to their feeling upon the matter, and in order that the citizens of Highland Park might have the benefit of both sides of the borough question a TIMES reporter interviewed a number of property owners yesterday who favored borough government.
A thorough inspection of the property on the various streets within the borough was made yesterday, and that Milltown has derived some benefits from such a government is apparent from the condition in which the real estate is. It was noticeable, however, that the property of those opposing borough government had not an up-to-date appearance. That this state of affairs. existed was evident from a fair comparison of the properties. The land of Dennis Vanderbilt, who has expressed himself against the borough, is situated on the extreme limits of the borough. In fact part upon which he pays no borough taxes but includes in his claim of having the largest number of lineal feet frontage, is beyond the borough limits in North Brunswick township. It is understood that the law permits a borough to tax a resident for all his land, even ‘though part or it extends into the township, and this will be enforced with regard to Mr. Vanderbilt this year.
Across the way is the property of John Kuhlthau who favors borough government and pays taxes upon an assessment of $125 an acre while Mr. Vanderbilt pays an assessment rate of $65 an acre. The sidewalks in front of Mr. Kuhlthau’s property are well kept and the fences in good condition while the path in front of Mr. Vanderbilt’s property is full of weeds and in some places, there are no fences. Mrs. Booraem’s fences are also in bad condition.
Another comparison could be made on Riva avenue, on one side of which is the land of Mrs. Mary A. Evans and opposite to it the laud of William Ochs, who also is an opponent to the borough. The fence along the former is in good shape while that across the way has toppled down to a great extent and the walk is hidden beneath weeds. Further down this avenue is the land of James M. Parsons, near Parsons’ Grove. Mr. Parsons’ snuff mills are in East Brunswick township, but the borough property is well looked after. So isthe land of the Meyer Rubber Company also facing on the avenue. Vanderbilt avenue, on one side of which is the residence of Thomas Lloyd, another borough opponent. The sidewalks there presents the same comparison. The assessor’s books show that Mr. Lloyd pays hut $1 poll tax, the property being in his wife’s name. Continuing through the borough, John street, which was laid out by Mayor Evans. School street, Church street, Clay street and Ford avenue all look well. The property owners on none of these streets were asked by the borough commissioners to improve their walks, but did so of their own free will, securing the ashes from the heap provided for that purpose by the Myer Rubber Company. The influence of the borough has been felt inSouth Milltown, over the bridge, where the sidewalks are many of them bricked, and gutters paved and curbed. This the property owners did at their own expense.
It has been said that the streets are in bad shape. This has been admitted but there are good reasons for it. The citizens by vote of 121 to 1 have decided to bond the borough for $2,500 to macadam the streets but the work has been delayed so that the Brunswick Traction Company can lay a double track through Milltown and that the streets will not have to be torn up when the macadam is once laid. The Township road has already been macadamized and with the understanding that the borough should continue the improvement. Another objector has raised the point that Mayor Evans was in favor of borough government because of the special benefits he derived. On looking at the books of Assessor Otto* it will he found that outside of the Meyer Rubber Company, which pays more than one-half of the taxes upon the $317,500 assessment, Mr. Evans and those he represents pay one-third of the taxes, and more than all the kickers together. Mr. Benedict has said that a high valuation is necessary to make low taxes, but this is disproved by the fact that last year Milllown’s rate was 1.43, and this year, with an additional assessment of $85,000, it is 1.49.
Milltown today is better than it ever has been. The streets are lighted, street corners curbed, and gutters paved, and garbage collected. There are no saloons in the borough which is a credit, to its good management as attempts to open them there have been made. The borough is also well sidewalked. Were the factory running it would be more prosperous of course and it is said that this is the reason that some disapprove of the borough.
Among the persons interviewed were the following.
John Kuhlthau –
“I have nothing to say against the borough as I am in favor of it. Since we have been a borough property has been improved and we have a clean little town. I appreciate the lights and would not vote to go back to to the township even though I have to send my children a greater distance to school.”
Dr. Riva —
“I lived here several years and moved to South River because it was more central for my business. My house now unoccupied. I have never been against the borough. Regarding the difficulty with Mrs. Gordon about the curb line, 1 was a borough commissioner at that time. 1 then informed her son, Samuel, that if his surveyor would prove to us that our engineer was wrong in his survey we would make the correction. Her surveyor did not appear at the meeting and the change was not made.”
Robert Harkins, Borough Clerk —
“I have nothing against borough government. 1 am in favor of it and don’t see anything to be lost but everything to gain. I have no fearthe tax rate being higher.”
*5 reviews unable to be transcribed*
Mrs. Catharine W Kuhlthau –
“I am pleased with the streetlamps and Sidewalks. In regard to other borough matters I know very little but hope the citizens will elect good men to fill the offices.
Milton Brindle –
“You’ll find streets better than they were. nothing to say against borough. ”
Mrs. Sadie E. Stelle —
” Am pleased to be a resident of borough. As yet haven’t met with any disadvantages. I appreciate benefit to schools.”
Mrs. May A. Evans —
“Think the borough is a great benefit and hope it will be sustained. “
Rev. C. F. Garrison, of Cranbury —
” There is a great difference than when I was stationed here in ’75, ’76 and ’77. I wish that Cranbury was a borough. Milltown compares very favorably with Hightstown as to sidewalks.”
The names of persons who signed the petition for the borough election of Milltown are as follows:
John R. Ford, president Meyer Rubber Company; Mary A. Evans; Mary A. Evans, trustee; Clarkson P. Stelle, John C. Evans, Henry Crenning, Conrad Wagner, Adam Wagner, Christian Crabiel, Theodore Otto, Hartman Richter, Charles Gebhardt, Henry W. Kuhlthau, John Henderson, George Lins, William Willenbrock, Thomas Collins, Charles Sevenhair, Ernest Schoppe, Frederick Baureis, Charles Wagner, George Hoffer, Joseph Schlachter, Martin Schmieder, William DeHart, John Adam, John H. Okerson, John Hoelzer, Lawrence L. Moore, George Fetzing, Christopher Regan, Berthold Christ, Fred’k Heyl, Edward Crenning, agent for S. A. Davis, William Voorhees, Henry Labar, Garret W. Vanhise, E N. Huff, Dennis, Vanderbilt, Philip Kuhlthau, Richard, Winderhalter, Charles M. Snediker. Each of the above paid the sum of $2 to defray expenses incurred by organizing the borough commission as follows : Affidavits, $1.50; printing electron notices and tickets, $10.75 ; two election books, 36 cents ; clerk and inspector fees. $6 ; election expenses, $1.50 ; freeholder fee, $2 ; counsel fee, $50 ; recording certificate, $5 ; total, $77.11.