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of the county organization. It has already led to the only thing that can be of real use, and that is a feeling in the county officers that the expenditures must be reduced, and that more energy and perseverance must be used in the collection of taxes."
Theologians say that the first step towards conversion is a realization by the sinner of his lost condition, and this applies as well to financial as spiritual affairs. The people and officials of Butte county having awakened to a realization of their financial condition, the hope of improving it was good. The grand jury considered Mr. Sexton's report, and made a report severely and unjustly criticizing the county officers, which they not only had published in the papers, but procured extra copies for distribution. The auditor and treasurer were not to blame for the debt fast piling up, and (is they had but little money to handle, their duties consisted chiefly in keeping track of the accumulating debts. The fault and the remedy lay chiefly with the court of sessions.
By the provisions of the Act organizing Plumas county, a portion of the debt of Butte county, based upon the amount of taxable property in the two sections in the year 1853, was to be paid by the new county. In accordance with this provision, Plumas county-warrants were given to Butte county to the amount of $5,632, in the spring of 1854. The auditor, French Paige, issued a statement of the financial condition of the county in May of that year, as follows :—
Total expenses from December 10, 1852, to April 24, 1854 $22,851.73
Total receipts" " " " " 31,226.77
Excess of receipts $8,375.04
Debt of county December 10, 1852 j $39,101.78
Interest on same to April 24, 1854........ . I J. .... 3,496.86
Outstanding debt, April 24, 1854 $34,223.60
The debt of the county was gradually reduced year by year, until 1860, when it was decided to issue bonds to the amount of $200,000 in aid of the California Northern Railroad, the county to have the same amount of mortgage bonds of the railroad company. These bonds were issued, in various amounts, from May 18, 1861, till September 3, 1863, when the whole $200,000 had been given out. Though the county has redeemed more than half of these bonds, and refunded the balance, it has been compelled to sustain considerable litigation to recover interest on the railroad bonds held by it, and to compel the road to pay taxes. The county bonds drew ten per cent, interest, and it has always been promptly paid. From 1875 to January 1, 1882, $108,000 of these bonds were redeemed, and the remainder has been refunded.
On the seventeenth of May, 1881, the board of supervisors ordered the clerk to advertise for proposals for the purchase of $92,000 railroad bonds outstanding against the county, bearing seven per cent, interest, redeemable at the pleasure of the county, the limit of the time for them to run being fifteen years. This important funding operation was carried into effect on the thirteenth of June, 1881. Numerous bids were received, and the following awards made: To the San Francisco Savings Union, $30,000, at eight per cent, premium, the bonds bringing, in cash, $32,400; the same institution also purchased $12,000 more at nine per cent, premium, paying therefor $13,080. Wells, Fargo & Co. purchased $50,000 at twelve per cent, premium, paying $56,000. The whole $92,000 of bonds brought $101,080, making a clear gain to the county of $9,080, besides the great saving in interest. The financial standing of the county is thus seen to be first-class. A levy of four cents on a hundred dollars was made in 1881 for the redemption of these bonds, in accordance with the law pertaining to such matters. Five and one-half cents were also levied to pay the interest on the bonds. In a few years the county will be entirely free from debt.
The proportion of delinquencies in tax-paying is exceedingly small. Last year it was only a trifle over $3,000. That amount, on a tax of more than $200,000, is indeed a creditable showing both for the people and their efficient corps of officers.
In the years 1874 and 1875, the county spent $95,185.86 for roads and bridges. In 1877, the value of the bridges alone was estimated at $75,000, and must now exceed $100,000.
The statement last made by the county auditor shows the following to be the condition of the county
finances on the first of January, 1882 :—
Amount of bonds outstanding $92,000
School warrant (Ashley's will) 3,310
Total indebtedness of county $95,310
Value of court-house and lot $38,000
Value of hospital and land (40 acres) 20,500
* In 1862, in addition to the regular tax, there was a war-tax levied, of fifteen cents on each hundred dollars, for the use of the general government. This swells the total levy of that year to $3.52 on each hundred dollars, being the heaviest direct tax the county has ever borne.
THE CRIMINAL ANNALS OF BUTTE COUNTY.
Crime is a gross injury done to the person or property of another, by an individual, in violation of law. From an innate desire for excitement, borne by all peoples, civilized or savage, the rehearsal of past incidents in criminal lore seldom becomes tiresome to the attentive listener, and the written record or history of such events is generally very entertaining reading. Perhaps this strange liking is due to a latent barbarism, of which the most developed and enlightened races never fully divest themselves; it may be a susceptibility to sympathy for unfortunates far removed from them by time and death, which is not barbarism at all, or it may be that violations of law are landmarks of the past, by which history is the more easily remembered. Be it one or all of these, the fact remains that man likes to read of crime. The history of Butte county has more or less to do with her law-courts, and from among the