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that no contract should be entered into involving an expendi. ture of more than the one hundred thousand dollars then appropriated; future contracts were prohibited except as appropriations might be made for that purpose.
The duty committed to this Board is one of much importance and of great responsibility. We must have a Capitol, , properly arranged for the accommodation and convenient use of the Legislature, the courts, and all other departments of the State government; with a sufficiency of room, not only for present but for future wants.
To secure the cor.struction of an edifice of the most substantial character, in the most economical manner, with due regard to proper architectural proportions and pleasing appearance; with proper provision for suitably lighting and heating, and for necessary ventilation; with a sum of money much less than usually devoted to such a purpose, and yet to have such a Capitol as Michigan should have for a century to come, has required, and will continue to demand until its completion, the most careful attention, much time and labor.
A pamphlet, containing instructions for the guidance of architects, having been prepared, the Board advertised for designs, in the papers of Lansing, Detroit, Chicago, and New York. Twenty were received for consideration. After careful examination, the first premium offered by the Legislature was awarded to Mr. Elijah E. Myers of Springfield, Illinois; the second to P. H. Decker; the third to Edward E. Jenison. Before accepting any, however, the Board took the precaution to employ two experts of large experience in the construction of public buildings, to make careful estimates as to the probable cost of a building constructed in accordance with each of these three, as well as several of the other designs. The architects' estimate for the cost of the Capitol upon the plan adopted is one million seventy thousand three hundred and forty-five dollars.
can be completed for a sum not exceeding eleven hundred thousand dollars, provided the whole work can be advertised and let under one contract.
After careful examination, and consultation with experienced architects and builders, in our own and other States, the Commissioners are of the opinion that a much better building can be obtained and a large amount of money saved by contracting for the whole work at one time. In this opinion I fully concur. The cost of machinery and other appliances necessary for the economical construction of so large and expensive an edifice, would be such as no responsible contractor would be willing to expend for a small portion of the building only. If the whole is offered at one time, experienced and responsible builders at home and from abroad, will compete for the work; but, if let in sections from year to year, for sereral years, the advantages of such competition will be lost, bids will be obtained from a small number only, and those of little experience in work of this character and magnitude.
In this connection it will be asked, Can the means be provided by the Legislature at its present session—to be expended within a proper limit of time—without jeoparding the pasment of the funded debt of the State, at its maturity; or necessary appropriations for our several State institutions; or without imposing upon the people a heavy burden of taxation ?
Having made careful estimates of the receipts and expenditures of the State government, for each of the years 1872–7374–75–76–77, and '78, during which period more than a million of dollars of our State bonds will become due, I am quite satisfied that, with an aggregate State tax for 1872, of one and one-third mill on the dollar, and but one mill on the dollar annually thereafter, the bonded debt of the State can be paid at its maturity, all necessary appropriations be made for each of the State institutions, and the new Capitol completed and paid for within six years from January, 1872. That you may the more readily judge of the correctness of this opinion, and that the prosperous condition of our State affairs may be understood by the people, I have prepared, to be placed before you, tables of estimated receipts and expenditures for the period above named.
Fully convinced, as I am, that the best interests of the State will be promoted by an early completion of the new Capitol, I respectfully recommend that the law be so amended as to authorize the Board to advertise for proposals for the whole work, to be completed within six years from January of the present year, at a cost not to exceed twelve hundred thousand dollars, including employment of architect, superintendence, and other necessary expenses.
For the accomplishment of this object, I recommend an appropriation of two hundred thonsand dollars annually, for each of the years 1873-4-5 and 6, and three hundred thousand dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, for 1877; and that the Auditor General be directed to incorporate these sums with the State tax for the years 1872-3-4-5 and 1876.
Ample provisions having been made for the payment of the funded debt of the State, by setting apart some of the trust fund receipts, and such portion of the specific taxes as may not be required for the payment of interest on the public debt, there is no longer a necessity for the one-eighth mill tax to constitute a sinking fund. Leaving this off, the State tax will be reduced seventy-eight thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars. ($78,750.)
I therefore recommend the repeal of Section 4, Act No. 122, Laws of 1861, and Section 5 of the same Act as amended by Act No. 134, Laws of 1863, and by Act No. 309, Laws of 1865.
The receipts from specific taxes set apart by the Constitution for the payment of interest and principal of the State for appropriations of specific amounts from the general fund for the payment of interest. I recommend the repeal of Act No. 139, Laws of 1871, and the passage of an act making an appropriation from the general fund of such an amount as may be necessary annually hereafter for the payment of interest on the bonded debt.
Under the provisions of Joint Resolution No. 31 of 1869, swamp lands appropriated by any law for the construction of roads in the Upper Peninsula may be used in the construction of railroads. Section 15 of Act No. 155, Laws of 1869, has been construed as conferriug apon the Swamp Land State Road Commissioner for the Upper Peninsula exclusive authority and power, without the advice or consent of the Governor or the State Board of Control, to transfer lands appropriated for State Roads to railroad companies. Without now entering upon the discussion as to the meaning of this section, I am clearly of the opinion that the Commissioner should possess no such power.
The Legislature, at its last session, placed the entire body of State Swamp and Indemnity Lands, and all State Swamp Land Roads of the Lower Peninsula, in the hands of the Board of Control. The experience of the past year has, in my judgment, confirmed the wisdom of the action then taken. I recommend the repeal of Section 15, Act No. 155, Laws of 1869. I also recommend that the swamp lands and roads of the Northern Peninsula be placed under the direction of the Board, with the same power as is now exercised orer those of the Southern Peninsula.
I respectfully call your attention to what, to me, seems to be a serious defect in the provisions of Act No. 195, Session Laws of 1871. It was unquestionably the intention of the Legislature, to make it the duty of railroad companies to provide all suitable safeguards for the protection of life and property on the line of such roads, by constructing fences, ditches, and cattle-guards, to prevent cattle and other animals from getting on the track; and to make these corporations liable for all damages resulting from neglect in the construction or the maintenance of these safeguards. The railroad companies claim, that under the provisions of Section 36, they are not liable for stock killed, except where the owner of the animal owns or occupies the land directly adjacent to the locality where the killing occurs. If this construction is correct, then these corporations are not required to fence or place cattle-guards upon the line of their roads, where the land immediately adjacent is vacant, though other lands a few rods distant are cultivated and occupied. This section needs careful revision to remedy the defect referred to.
The Supreme Court, at its last term, decided that the statute providing for the removal from office, of school district officers and inspectors, for offenses therein named, does not apply to fractional school districts. There is a large number of fractional districts in the State, and some means should be provided for the removal of delinquent officers in these as well as in districts located wholly within one township. I recommend that the law be so amended as to apply alike to all school districts.
The attention of many of the municipal governments of the State having been directed to the necessity of a more abundant and sure supply of water for the ordinary purposes of the people, and the protection of property in case of fire, quite a number of these corporations have taken measures for the construction of water-works. Frequently it is found necessary to bring the water from a distance outside of the corporate lim