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In Their Own Words

January 23, 1883

Decatur Annual Report

City government has changed dramatically in terms of budget, work force, and services over the past century, as evidenced by this reporter’s account of the annual report for Decatur, Ga. published two days later in the Atlanta Constitution:

“Decatur, Jan. 23 – The last meeting of the mayor and council of Decatur was held last night for the purpose of making their annual reports, and to turn over to their successors the reins of the town government for 1883.

“H.R. Jewett, treasurer, submitted his report showing receipts and disbursements. Receipts from former treasurer J.A. Mason, $119.40; balance on liquor licenses, 1881, $50; liquor licenses to Crockett & Hunter, June 1882-June, 1883, $100; street tax, 1882, $275.20; property tax, 1882, $378.73; fines, $112.40; cemetery lots, $27.70; other sources, $, making total $6,698.43. Of this amount, the mayor, clerk, treasurer, marshal and sexton received for salaries $545. Paid expenses were – quarantine, $61.90; vaccination, $67.50; appropriation on town clock, $400; schools, $25; street lamps and posts, $50; work on streets and in cemetery, and for bridge. lumber, nails, working implements, record books, trees, hitching posts, printing, etc., $431.87 – leaving a balance in the treasury of $387.11

“The report of Captain T.B. Watkins [town marshal[ shows 134 persons in town subject to street tax, which amounts to $335, of which $275.29 was paid in money, $49.25 in work, and $10.55 uncollected. There were 729 days work done on the streets, 24 of convict labor, 98 in payment of street tax, and 607 of hired laborers. The marshal made 29 arrests, 32 cases by summons; fines paid were $127, all collected except $4.

“The number of interments during the year was 38; 15 whites, 23 colored; 17 were males, 21 were females; 14 in early infancy (under 1 year); 5 between 5 and 10 years old; 4 between 10 and 25 years; 10 between 25 and 50 years old; 2 over 50 years of age; 3 age unknown. Four died from consumption, 5 from pneumonia, 10 from teething and troubles incident to infancy, 3 still births, 2 disease of heart, 2 from croup, 1 each from congestion, inflammation, erysipelas, scrofula and dropsy; 1 from violence, 6 from causes unknown.

“Mayor Word, who was reelected, has conducted a prosperous and successful administration of one year.”

Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1969 reprint of 1954 original volume), Vol. II, p. 54.