18 A THUMB-NAIL HITaroY OF
Baldwin Rice, the city purchased the plant outright,
for $901,000, and since that time there has been no
complaint nor any reason for complaint. This is the
only public utility owned by the city, but its record
has been a good one, so much so as to create something
of a general desire that the city take over
some others and run them in the interest of the people
as the water works are now run. As one evidence
of how the people have gained by the change,
it may be said that the old company was charging
50c per thousand gallons for water, but the city
at once reduced this charge to 15c, employed more
men to add to the efficiency, and has done all this
without the loss of a cent of the taxpayers' money.
After serving two terms, Mr. Wilson retired and
was succeeded by Mr. A. J. Burke. There was nothing
accomplished during this administration for the
very good reason that nothing could be accomplished.
Efforts were made to compromise the huge
.city debt, but the bondholders stood firm and nothing
could be done.
When Mr. Burke's term expired, some of the
leading men of Houston conceived a great idea.
They determined to apply expert business methods
and nothing else in settling the city's affairs. A
committee, composed of the best business men of
the city, waited on Mr. Wm. R. Baker and asked
him to devote his superb financial ability towards
solving the great financial problem which confronted
the city. He, after some hesitation, consented to
do so, but made it one of the conditions that he
should name the men who were to serve as aldermen
Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/. Accessed February 10, 2016.