History of the League

Pages from the Past

First Meeting - 1912

The pages are yellowed and the print is fading a bit, but the signatures are strong: J. A. Jardine, C. A. Bowers, C. W. Rupert, A. R. Watkins. The tattered envelope is dated September 25, 1912.
This state was only 23 years old when delegations from North Dakota communities gathered in Grand Forks to organize the North Dakota Municipal League. A report of the Fargo delegation to the Fargo City Council recorded the event for posterity...

To the Honorable Mayor and City Council of the City of Fargo, --

Your committee appointed to attend the First Meeting of the Municipal League of North Dakota makes report of said visit as follows, to-wit:

They were met at the depot in Grand Forks by delegations from the various municipalities represented at said meeting, and escorted to the banquet hall where a general discussion of municipal questions was indulged in.

Grand Forks had the largest representation, and on account of the fact that they were at home, led in the discussion of municipal topics, which was purely informal. Following the banquet your Committee was shown about the business portion of the City; the "show places" and largest revenue producing property was viewed, among them being one corner lot, with brick block thereon, which a very few years ago sold for $17,000.00, which now yields an annual rental of $8000.00 They maintain that this is the best revenue producing property in the United States, inasmuch as the original cost price represents the entire investment, there having been no improvements made since its purchase.

Our attention was called to the pavement, and mention made of the fact that for bitulithic which cost us only $1.90, they laid at a cost of $2.40; another pavement which they report as being the same as bituminous concrete they paid $2.00 for, and we laid it at $1.29. They have another pavement similar to bitulithic which was laid for less than they paid for bitulithic but was so near that material that the owners of the patent thereon had to pay royalty to the bitulithic Company for infringement. On account of the fact that your Committee arrived late Wednesday evening and returned home early Thursday morning, they were not able to make an inspection of the Filtration plant. The city is metered, and all who have water and sewer connections in their houses, are billed monthly from meter system. The charge is 50 cents per thousand gallons for the first thousand; and then for larger consumption the rate is scaled down, according to the consumption; we were informed that the average rate for the small consumer would range from $1.50 to $2.00 per month, or from $18.00 to $24.00 per year. For consumers who have no modern conveniences in their houses a monthly rate of 75 cents is made. The sprinkling rates are provided for by the smaller rates for the larger consumption.

The State Municipal League

Was organized with Mayor M. F. Murphy of Grand Forks, as President; Alderman C. A. Bowers as Vice President; Chas. J. Evans, of Grand Forks as Secretary; and A. C. McConville, of Grafton, as Treasurer; and an Executive Committee composed of the following members; Wm. Snyder of Williston, Karl Isaacson of Fordville, G. P. Johnson of Northwood, E. A. Williams of Bismarck, L. E. Wineman of Devils Lake, Pierce Bluett of Jamestown, H. Halvorson of Minot; all of which officers are to serve until the 1913 annual meeting. It was deemed advisable to hold the next meeting in January, 1913, during the session of the legislature, as there are some questions which ought to be brought to the attention of the legislature, relative to City Governments. Some of these questions are under the consideration of the Legislative Committee, which the President is authorized to appoint. One of these questions is an amendment to the present law, requiring County Treasurers to make all tax receipts in triplicate instead of duplicate, and file the triplicate with the City Auditor; by this means the City can determine at any time just how much is due it from the County and to what fund it belongs.

There are other questions relating to sewers, water mains, hydrants, which were taken up and discussed with a view to having the legislature consider the advisability of prescribing certain conditions relative to them.

Another object of the League is to disseminate the information which the different cities may have on these and other city problems, so that when one has met and solved any problem, the other members of the League may have the benefit of its experience, without having to pass through the perplexities and uncertainties of the experimental stage. In this particular the smaller cities are the greatest beneficiaries.

Constitution and By-Laws were adopted

Which provide that all cities having a population of less than 1000 shall pay annual dues of $3.00; those with a population of more than 1000 and less than 3000 pay $5.00 a year; those with 3000 or over pay 10.00 a year. These fees apply to active members; this class of membership is made up of city officials; then there are Honorary members, which includes those who have been officers of Cities, but whose terms have expired; these may remain members by paying $1.00 a year; a third class consists of Associate members--those who manufacture or sell paving materials or any kind of materials which are used by Cities and those who publish municipal Journals--these may be members by paying $10.00 a year; material men may attend the annual meetings, display their materials and wares, and participate in the discussions, but have no vote; the right to vote is also withheld from the Honorary members, though they have the privileges of the floor.

In all discussion and questions which are put to a vote, each active member is allowed one vote, and a municipality may send as many delegates as it likes and each will be allowed a vote--except on the location of meetings and the election of officers--in these two cases the vote of the majority of the delegates from any municipality must be taken as the unit vote of the municipality and counts as only one vote. This was deemed necessary in order not to work a hardship on the smaller municipalities which would send smaller delegations. It is assumed that all the towns will have equal interest in all other matters, and each active member is allowed a vote.

On account of the fact that your Committee did not arrive in Grand Forks for the day sessions, we were unable to determine how many cities were represented, but there were probably six or eight, with a total delegation of from twenty to thirty.

Copies of the Constitution and By-Laws were ordered printed and sent to the different members; inasmuch as there are no funds in the Treasurer, your Committee would respectfully recommend that the proper officers be authorized to draw a warrant for the annual dues of the City of Fargo, amounting to $10.00, and forward to the Treasurer of the League.

Respectfully submitted,

J. A. Jardine, C. A. Bowers. C. W. Rupert, A. R. Watkins

September 30, 1912