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EXTENSION OF DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM.
Col. KELLER. I have one item on page 38. It is for the water department—the extension of service mains under the assessment system, $50,000. That is a prospective deficiency based upon the enormous increase of building, as explained before in connection with a sewer department item. Here also we get back about 63 per cent of the expenditure; it is done under the assessment system, and the money is necessary merely to enable us to make water connections for new buildings that are actually in sight.
The CHAIRMAN. You spent $79,993.45 in 1921, and estimate an expenditure of $100,000 in 1922. You are now coming back for $50,000 more!
Col. KELLER. Yes, sir; we have already spent or obligated $80,000. The CHAIRMAN. Of the $100,000 ?
Col. KELLER. Yes, sir. That is work we can not foresee, as Mr. Sisson pointed out.
The CHAIRMAN. It is due to the increase in building ?
Col. KELLER. Yes, sir; and only to that. We spend no money under this appropriation unless we extend water service to buildings not hitherto supplied with water service. The fund is reimbursed by assessment of the property at $2 a foot-front.
The CHAIRMAN. And 63 per cent comes back?
The CHAIRMAN. The law should be modified to bring it all back. should it not?
Mr. Sisson. That was the intention of the law, and I do not know just why they put in that limitation.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be the necessary charge to bring all of this money back?
Col. KELLER. About $3 in the case of water.
The CHAIRMAN. If we do anything with this, suppose we put in a limitation providing that they must charge a certain amount ?
Col. KELLER. This comes out of our water revenues, as I presume you know, so that the Federal Government spends nothing in this connection. All of these expenditures for the water department are taken out of the revenues of the water department.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any surplus in the water revenues ?
Mr. Donovan. It continues year after year, subject to appropriation by Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. Does it go into the Federal Treasury?
Col. KELLER. The District pays out of the water revenues and out of its own funds more than half of the cost of the present water system.
The CHAIRMAN. It seems to me that the water system here should yield a large surplus.
Col. KELLER. It does yield a fair surplus. The rates are low. The CHAIRMAN. They are just as high as they are anywhere else.
Mr. Sisson. You are mistaken about that, because I have made investigations as to a great many cities.
The CHAIRMAN. The rates are lower in Chicago.
The CHAIRMAN. We do not filter it, but we have just as good water as you have here.
Col. KELLER. I do not dispute the quality of the water, but I say we have to filter it, and that costs us money.
Mr. Sisson. Where they do not have to filter the water cities have cheaper water than in Washington, but where they have to filter it I do not think you will find a place that has water which is comparable to the quality of water in Washington or in cheapness.
The CHAIRMAN. I am not complaining about it, but I think there ought to be more earnings. Is it because you have too much expense that you do not have more earnings?
Col. KELLER. No, sir; it is because we supply a great deal of water for nothing; we supply about 40 per cent of our water to a customer that pays us absolutely nothing for the water.
REPAIR OF FIRE BOAT.
The CHAIRMAN. For the fire department you have the following item :
For repairs and improvements of fire boat, fiscal year 1921, $20.91.
Mr. DONOVAN. That is a small balance due the navy yard, and it came about in a very peculiar way. You will notice that for 1921 we had $1,700, including a $700 deficiency appropriation, the deficiency appropriation being necessitated for the reason that quite an extensive number of repairs had to be made to the fire boat. We turned the boat over to the navy yard and the navy yard rendered us a bill for $1,436.58, which we paid. The balance was subsequently used, being the difference between $1,436.58 and $1,700, on repairs to the boiler, and then months afterwards the navy yard came along and claimed that in the preparation of their bill they had failed to include an item of $48.11; we then only had a balance of $27.20 in the appropriation, so that we are asking for the difference in order to make that settlement.
MAINTENANCE OF DISPENSARIES.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is for the maintenance of the dispensary or dispensaries for the treatment of persons suffering from tuberculosis, etc., $146.94.
Mr. DONOVAN. That is an actual deficiency, Mr. Chairman, but we do not believe we are responsible for the deficiency. The Government fuel yards, from the best information we can obtain, delivered fuel to the extent of $176.76—we have a balance of $29.82 in the appropriation-without any authority whatever, unless it might have been the authority of the janitor on the premises, who telephoned for the fuel.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you get the fuel ?
Mr. Donovan. We got the fuel and used the fuel, but the fact is it was never ordered through proper channels.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you get it?
Mr. Donovan. It was a legitimate expenditure, but not incurred as an obligation should have been incurred.
The CHAIRMAN. But you got the fuel and the price was right?
Mr. Donovan. We have no objection to the payment of the item, but we do not believe we are responsible for the deficiency.
The CHAIRMAX. It is for 1921 ?
pay for it?
Mr. DONOVAN. We want to pay: yes, sir.
WRITS OF LUXACY.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is for the expenses attending the execution of writs of lunacy, for which you are asking a deficiency appropriation of $217.20 for the fiscal year 1921.
Mr. Donovan. That is what we might term a legal deficiency: it represents the balance due the clerk of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia for costs in lunaey cases.
The ('HAIRLIN. You mein that the court taxes the cost against the District ?
Mr. DoxovAX. Yes, sir.
Mr. Doxovax. In all lunacy cases tried on the petition of the commissioners.
The CHAIRMAX. The District commissioners have to pay the costs?
Mr. DONOVAX. The District has to pay the court costs, and I think the costs amount to about $8.05 in each case. This is a deficiency for the fiscal year 1921, and you will notice that we had a regular appropriation of $5,500 and a (leficiency appropriation of $1.000, making a total of $6,500. We have to estimate the amount in advance, and there is this small balance due the clerk of the supreme court.
The CHAIRMAX. You say the court costs amount to about $9?
Mr. DONOVAN. I think the court costs amount to about $8.05 or $8.50 in each case.
The CHAIRMAN. You must have had about 700 cases, according to that. Mr. Donovan. You mean on the basis of the entire appropriation ? The CHAIRMAX. Yes.
Mr. Donovan. $2,400 of the appropriation is paid out for salaries—$1,500 to the District alienist and $900 to the clerk-and there is about $100 for the expenses of the alienist's office; we limit him to $100 a year for expenses.
The CHAIRMAN. Then $2,500 of the $6,500 is paid out in the shape of salaries?
Mr. Donovan. Yes, sir; salaries and $100 for expenses.
The ('HAIRMAN. That still leaves you with about 500 cases. Do you have that many cases?
Mr. Donovax. Easily that number
The CHAIRMAN. And all of the costs are levied against the District?
Mr. DONOVAN. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, you have no control over the number of cases.
Mr. Doxovax. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And consequently no control over the amount of the costs.
Mr. DONOVAN. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. But the compensation of the people who are in charge of these cases is just the same whether you have any cases or not?
Mr. Donovan. Their annual compensation is fixed by the terms of the appropriation act.
The CHAIRMAN. Do they have plenty of work to do?
Mr. Donovax. Yes. Last year, including the number of persons who were under observation, I think there were something in the neighborhood of 1,200 cases.
The CHAIRMAN. So I judge all the cases do not go to court.
The CHAIRMAN. What becomes of those cases that do not go to court?
Mr. Doxovax. They are discharged after observation.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you do with them while you have them under observation ?
Mr. Doxovan. We send them to the Washington Asylum Hospital. The CHAIRMAN. What expense is attached to that?
Mr. Donovan. The expense of the maintenance of the hospital, the upkeep of the hospital.
The CHAIRMAN. Is any part of that paid out of this $6,500 ?
Mr. Donovan. No, sir; that is paid out of the appropriation for the maintenance of the Washington Asylum Hospital which will be replaced on July 1 by the new Gallinger Hospital.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the longest time you are allowed to keep them there under observation ?
Mr. Donovan. Thirty days, I believe.
The CHAIRMAN. On the average, how many cases do you have there under observation?
Mr. DONOVAN. I do not know. Mr. Wilson, who was to be here at half past 2 would be able to give you more detailed information on that subject. He is the secretary of the Board of Charities and the Washington Asylum Hospital comes under the supervison of that board.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is for amount required to pay judgments rendered against the District of Columbia, as follows: Joseph T. Sheirer, assignee of Joseph C. Caton, no interest or costs, $1,000; Rose A. Pence, to the use of James B. Archer, no interest or costs, $200; for payment of judgment in case of Joseph D. Brady v. District of Columbia, $200. Have these judgments been certified to us by the court ?
Mr. Donovan. Certified to the commissioners, and we certify the judgments of Congress as a part of the deficiency estimates each year. They are final judgments. Each year we have certified the judgments to Congress in the deficiency estimates for an appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. I notice that in the last case, that of Joseph D. Brady, you make no reference to the fact that there is to be no interest paid.
Mr. DONOVAN. The estimate I submitted to the Bureau of the Budget contains the same phraseology as is contained in the two previous items, no interest or costs, but that language has been left out.
The CHAIRMAN. These are final judgments?
The CHAIRMAN. Then on page 36 you have quite a number of audited claims, some small and some rather large.
Mr. Donovan. Mr. Chairman, they are all claims which were submitted for settlement after the appropriations had lapsed under limitations of law, and in every case, with the exception of one, a greater amount of money was covered back into the Treasury to the surplus fund than is represented by the amounts of appropriations we are asking
The CHAIRMAN. So it would have been necessary for you to pay these claims if they had been rendered at the time?
Mr. Donovan. In every instance except one.
Mr. DONOVAN. That is the item under public schools, an item of $591.95.
The CHAIRMAN. That happens to be the largest one.
Mr. DONOVAN. Yes, sir; and that happens to have exceeded the balance that lapsed by $165.
The CHAIRMAN. These claims have all been audited ?
The CHAIRMAN. Does the General Accounting Office have juris. diction over the auditing for the District !
Mr. Donovan. Its jurisdiction flows, Mr. Chairman, from the affirmative action of the auditor of the District of Columbia on claims against the District of Columbia.
The CHAIRMAN. So the District of Columbia is not within the jurisdiction of the General Accounting Office?