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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1922)
The Municipal Coal
The official report of the municipal coal yard
f Lincoln, Nebraska, found below, will readily
convey to' the reader's mind, the great work
accomplished by the municipal coal yard in re
ducing the price of coal to the people of Lin
coln. Lincoln's municipal coal yatii was put in
operation on Oct. 1, 1921, and sold one grade
of soft coal for the following six months, clos
ing its yards on April 1.
Notwithstanding the fact that all the retail
coal dealers of Lincoln and the affiliated busi
ness organizations of the city opposed the mu
nicipal coal yard from its inception until it
closed its season's business, it has been dem
onstrated that competition is the only sure way
to curb the profiteer. The coal combination
that was influential enough a year ago to
pigeon-hole the bill which was before the
United States Senate to regulate the coal busi
ness was unable to maintain the price of coal in
Lincoln after the city got its municipal coal yard
Into working order.
The best grade of screened lump coal from
southern Illinois, known as the Franklin Coun
ty district coal, which was selling in Lincoln
at $14.50 per ton delivered to the consumer's
bin before the municipal coal yard started, was
cold in Lincoln during the past winter at an
average price of $10.00-per ton by the city and
$12.50 by the private coal dealers. The city's
municipal coal yard was patronized so largely
by the coal consumers of the city that the pri
vate coal dealers found it necessary to reduce
the price of all kinds of coal about $2.00 a ton
in order to prevent the customers from chang
ing from semi-anthracite and anthracite coals
to the high grade soft coal sold by the city. Be
fore the coal selling season was over for the
winter, the municipal coal yard was selling fully
one-half of all the coal sold in Lincoln to do
The official report of City Commissioner
Charles W. Bryan who established and con
ducted the city's municipal coal yard found
below is so complete that other cities desiring
to establish municipal coal yards will be able to
find a great deal of valuable information about
the coal business by a careful study of the fig
ures given. The people of Lincoln have been.
the gainers of about $140,000 as a result of the
operation of the first seasou's municipal coal
yard. When the contest was started with the re
tail coal dealers of Lincoln, they were adding
about $7.00 a ton to the cost of the coal after
t reached the city free on board the cars at
their coal yard. The municipality was able to
maKe a reasonable profit on its coal by adding
7 to what the coal cost the city free
a hoard the cars at Lincoln,
ine public does not have to stand for extortion
L,m necefries of life. If every municipality
would establish a municipal coal yard, mu-
cipai ice plant and a municipal market, the cost
nlr ill 00uId be recced probably $15.00
hon . family' The PePle of Lincoln
a T,.le8tiRbl,8,h their municipal ice plant and
of npr Pal public market before the opening
01 next season.
as sniJmialeport of the municipal coal yard
a iri ?d hy- Commissioner Bryan and made
ian of the city's records, is as follows:
ToTim t- , April 21, 1922.
i0Je L"coln City Council:
son's nHnlciDal coal yard c,osed its first sea
Bn operation April 1, 1922.
a citv nwi Cipal coal yard was authorized by
Bourcfl ! CP. ,t0 buy coal as near the original
of LlnpJin pof88ible an to sell it to the people
The S at-a reasonable price.
by onenini11?1 pai! coal yard commenced business
n Sent i r i oS?oks to receive orders for coal
ot coal of , and commenced the delivery
The m5! daya before ct. 1.
grade 0f ; ' ,pal coal yard only handled one
"Hnoiainf? ' ,Ayhicb- was the best southern
trict coal m known as Franklin County dis
join thp t lUl10UKh thoro was a great demand
nicipai on??P G durine the winter for the mu
ster a t! yard t0 seI1 semi-anthracite, and
The I coaL
u,o distr ?t0 coal dGalers joined in an effort in
yard en iin i0lirt to have the municipal coal
rct JunVo i , rom doinS business. The dis
restrainln Uenied tne petition for a temporary
lu order, and in the,.henrlng before the
district court on fi,Q .. t.. .
. coal business, the district cou? M?. "rift!
When the agitation was commenced for a mn
nicipai coal yard a jittle more than one yea? So"
or thfnast T thattbe dty has tolling
-1 i,.P8t,8,x months was retailing in Lin
coln delivered at the consumer's bin for about
this L'T I?' TV116 pricQ at the mi ?S
7P d f c1 h not varied more than
f 5! ?, t0n n?B that tlme uI)0n the opon-
nled liir101, COal yar(l tor business, it
fixed the price of this grade of coal at $10.50
delivered, and three months later or about Jan.
1, reduced the price to $9.90 per ton dolivered.
It was the intention of the superintendent of
the municipal coal yard to only operate it from
Oct. 1 until April 1, and the municipal coal yard
will open again on or before Oct. 1 next fall.
During the past six months the municipal coal
yard sold 6,907 separate orders of coal, averag
ing something over a ton to each order. Allow
ing the usual estimate of five persons to the
family, the municipal -coal yard was heating a
population of 34,000 or 7,000 more than one
half of the people of Lincoln according to the
last census. However, this computation makes
no allowance for several separate orders of coal
being given during the winter by the same
When the municipal coal yard was started,
$15,000 was appropriated as a revolving fund,
and $500 was appropriated as an equipment or
improvement fund. Three hundred twenty
six dollars and forty-four cents was used in re
building the old city scales, purchasing some
equipment in the way of wheelbarrows, shovels,
forks, etc., and building some coal bins. No part
of the $15,000 appropriation, however, has been
touched, and the municipal coal yard has been
operated without any expense to the taxpayers,
and the $15,000 originally appropriated remains
in the city treasury.
During the time that the municipal coal yard
has been in operation, there has been on de
posit in the citybanks money derived from the
sale of coal, amounting from $5,000 to $15,000
upon which the banks have paid the city treas
urer 2 per cent interest which should properly-be
credited to the profits of the municipal
coal yard. After paying all expenses for oper
ating the municipal coal yard, including cost of
coal at the mine, freight, war tax, shrinkage,
delivery charge, cashier and bookkeeper, welgh
master, and all other expense that should be
properly charged tothe municipal coal business,
there remains as a net profit derived from the
operation of the municipal coal yard $3,820.30.
Given below is a detailed report of receipts
and expenditures and quantity statement cover
ing the six months that the municipal coal yard
was in operation during the winter, and follow
ing this detailed report is the report for the
month of March.
MUNY COAL REPORT FOR THE SEASON
Number of separate orders of coal
sold to the people C,907
Total cash sales $85,440.07
Total number of tons bought 8,644
Total number of tons sold 8,484
Total number of cars handled 186
Total amount paid for coal $70,178.90
Total paid to coal haulers for delivery
of coai $ 8,564.86
Total overhead expense ? 2,876.01
Average cost of coal per ton f. o. b.
Lincoln ? 8'08
Number of tons shrinkage from rail-
road track weight at Lincoln 160 tons,
which amounts to about 37 pounds on each ton
sold to the people or one 37 pound lump of
coal for good measure to each ton sold to mu
nicipal coal customers.
Total tonnage shrink in transit based;
on 1 shrink from mine weight . . 86 tons.
Gross profit per ton -J1
Total per cent of shrink per ton 0j8
Cost of shrinkage per ton -Q
Cost of overhead per ton -
Net nrof it per ton : ' M
Amount appropriated by the oftjr" J
revolving fund, no part of ch
scalS bunding bins, purchasing
snovels, forks, wheelbarrows, etc 500.00
Total net profit from the operation
1 of the municipal coal yard for the
first season covering a period from
Oct. .1, 1921 to April 1 ,1922 ....$ 3,820,36
MUNY REPORT FOR MONTH 3F MARCH,
Tonnage bought during March .... 1,018. i
Tonnage sold during March 1,103
Balance of coal on hand Nona
Total cash receipts for coal during
. March $10,978.02
Amount paid for coal in March $10,861.00
Total paid to coal haulers for delivery t '
during March . . . .t $ 1,891.47
Total paid for overhead during '
March $ 8G1,G0
Balance in operating fund, Including
Less appropriation $15,000.00 .
$ 3 80 30
which is. the not profit from the operation of ',
the coal yard during the season.
CHAS. W. BRYAN,
Supt. of Municipal Coal Yad. '
PROTECTING THE BIBLE '
(Copied from Page 1, Now York Times, Sun
day, April 9, 1922.)
Religion-and the Bible cannot bo derided in
the public schools, City Superintendent William
L. Ettinger has informed James F. Morton, Jr.,
of 211 West 138th Street, who protested to him
because the New York University Philosophical
Society was not allowed to hold a meeting In the
Washington Irving High School on March 28, at
which Joseph Lewis, President of the Free
Thinkers Society, was to have spoken on "The
Bible, the Nemesis of Mankind."
The technical rounds of the refusal of Director
Eugene C. Gibney to permit the meeting wore
that no permit had been obtained for the use of
the school building, Dr. Ettinger told Mr. Mor
ton that he would have revoked the permit, had
one been granted, as soon as the Board of Edu
cation was informed of the topic to be discussed.
Mr. Morton, in his letter to Dr. Ettinger, had
stated that the Philosophical Society had been
offering "a platform for the discussion of dif
ferent subjects, not making Itself responsible for
the opinion of its lecturers, but hearing and
thoroughly debating their views as presented."
"Unlike your society," Dr. Ettinger said in hit
reply, "which you state feels free to offer ite
platform for discussion without making itself re
sponsible for the opinions of its lecturers, tho
Board of Education must assume, and does us
sume, a very definite responsibility with refer
ence to the use of school platforms, and does
not permit such use to extend to the dfscusslon
of a topic that is fundamentally repugnant to'
the cherished ideals of a Christian community.
"It may interest you. to know that Section
1151 of the Charter of Greater New York makes
permissive the reading of the Bible in the
schools, and, furthermore, the by-laws of the
Board of Education provide that 'all schools un
der the jurisdiction of the Board of Education
shall be opened with the reading of a portion of
the Holy Scriptures without note or comment
"Therefore, to permit the same platform, for
which the Bible is read daily, as a basis of cul
ture and inspection the pupil, to be used for ttfa
presentation of a thesis to the effect that caino
Bible has been the direct cause of great evil and '
suffering to the world would be not merely to
tolerate but to encourage views that give deep
offense to all decent people in the community and
which run counter to a- definite policy of rever
ence appreciative of the Bible as legalized by
statute and by laws.
"Such limitation on your right to use nchoo!
property of course does not Imply any criticism .
of your right as a society to discuss in proper
places any theories which you deem appropriate,
but I am firmly convinced that your expectation
exceeds your sound judgment when you assume
that the Board of Education will place at your
disposal school buildings to house meetings di
vertedto a discussion of views that aim to ridi
cule, divert and destroy any phase of our politi
cal, social or religious life, which represents tbo
honest convictions and highest aspirations of the
"The Board of Education cannot permit ite
meeting places to be used by political or reli
gjous iconoclasts, whose condition of thought
and debasing emotionalism make them apostles,
of disorder. In. meeting the protests ct such folks
one is often reminded of Job's rebuke to Zophar
and his companions, who sought wickedly and
deceitfully to fill his mind with distrust o-f God:
'No doubt, but ye are the people and' wisdont
shall die with you.' " " -
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