The New Deal in Augusta Maine

Based on some of the Town Reports available on the University of Maine website, (1935 missing) a decent picture of New Deal assistance to the capital is possible but beyond the Mayors address, very little detail is provided in general since some of the departments aren’t given or just provide budgetary numbers and the school district isn’t included. Investigation of the newspapers will probably be required to fill in some of the details.

Augusta New Deal

1934

During the past year, several CWA projects have resulted in marked improvements in various city properties. The Atlantic Hose House on Cony Street was practically rebuilt and the Hartford Fire Station was repaired and redecorated. City Hall was thoroughly overhauled and a portion of the lock-up was taken to provide a much needed garage for the police cars. The cell room was revamped and thoroughly cleansed. Considerable work was done on the various school properties which will probably be described in detail in the report of the Board of Education. A large amount of work was done on the High School Athletic Field, Capital Park, Macomber Playground, Bruce Playground and the Cushnoc Heights Playground. The city incinerator was enlarged and improved. A gravel sidewalk along Riverside Drive from the Vassalboro line was undertaken, but not completed. Considerable work was done on improving the Townsend Road. Work was started on much needed repairs at the almshouse but suspended at the cessation of CWA work. This plan is now going forward under FERA. Much needed improvements were made on Rines Hill and on Front Street by the American Legion Home. A large amount of sewer work was completed and in addition several noteworthy projects were allotted to the Augusta Water District. The major project was the construction of the Augusta Airport, started under CWA and now nearing completion under FERA. An airport second to none in New England is anticipated at a minimum cost to the city. In addition to these projects enumerated above there were several others, all of which aided in relieving the unemployment situation locally. I wish to express my thanks to Mr. John A. McDonough, State Administrator, and to his several assistants for their cooperation. It has been the policy of the city to concentrate on essential work in order that the benefits may be as lasting as possible.

Respectfully submitted,

S. S. WEBSTER, City Auditor

1936

Report of Overseer of Poor

Expenditures FERA (clerical) ………. $263.00

Report of Public Health Nurse

Aid, in the form of an assistant nurse, from March until October, and an office worker through a W. P. A. project has been most beneficial to the efficiency of this service. $150 worth of X-rays from the same project have made possible also the checking of entire families in which there has been a reaction to the tuberculin test, in order to locate the source of infection.

Report of Street Commissioner

There were laid during the year 8410 lineal feet of sewer pipe, the most of which was done in conjunction with the WPA, the City furnishing materials, tools, trucks, and supervision.

1937

Mayors Address

HIGHWAYS, SIDEWALKS, SEWERS

The Highway Department has developed many notable improvements throughout the city during the past year. Much of this work was done in cooperation with WPA labor that has aided us materially during these years that the relief load of our city has been heavy, due to lack of employment. To give a brief outline of the activities that have taken place under the Highway Department, it is interesting to note in line with our desire to rebuild and renew sidewalks throughout the built-up section of the city that between four and five miles of new sidewalks, of either asphalt, cement, or gravel, were completed last year. Nearly one mile of sewers, in sections formerly without this much needed service, has been completed. This work has been done in cooperation with and by WPA. Bangor Street was resurfaced with asphalt from the end of the concrete section to Pettengill’s Corner, and cement curbing was constructed. A dangerous hazard on Water Street was corrected by covering the car tracks with asphalt. To protect and preserve Cony Hill it was resurfaced, as was State Street from Scott Street to the Hallowell Line.

Report of Red Cross Nurse

The year ending December 1937 has been a very busy one. We were handicapped by illness and unavoidable changes in the nursing staff. However, through the cooperation of the W. P. A. officials, we have had the services of a W. P. A. nurse.

1938

Mayors Address

W. P. A.

Much of the sidewalk and sewer construction that we have been able to carry out during the past three years has been because of the splendid cooperation that we have been afforded by the officials of the Works Progress Administration in Maine. Were it not for this cooperation and for the assistance given, much of this construction would have been impossible, and relief costs would have been much greater. All officials of this department have been courteous and cooperative on every occasion, and the men who have been employed on W. P. A. have, in most every instance, shown their appreciation of being able to work on these projects, by delivering an honest day’s work. A survey of all real estate in this city is now being carried on through cooperation of the Works Progress Administration, and when completed, will provide much valuable information, in addition to a complete and uniform system in the Assessors’ Department which will be of great value not only to the city but to the property owners as well.

Our sidewalk and sewer construction should continue insofar as our finances will allow, as this program, I know, has met with the general approval of all the people. The continuation of W. P. A. will have a definite bearing upon how far we will be able to carry out this program this year. Additional work should be carried out on our country roads, with special consideration to those roads which accommodate the greatest number of people.

Report of Overseers of Poor

Expenditures W. P. A…………………………………………. $409.14

1939

Mayors Address

Under the W. P. A., several projects are continuing and so far as the city’s actual needs are concerned should be completed this season. In case further projects are necessary, I recommend to you the development of an area for a new and large cemetery which would provide opportunity for a large amount of labor with relatively small material costs.

1940

Report of the Public Health Nurse

National Youth Administration

The office help provided through the National Youth Administration has made it possible to discontinue paid clerical help. These girls helped conduct the Seal Sale in the Post Office and in the Sears, Roebuck Store. The preliminary work in the office necessary in getting material read}’ for the Christmas Seal Sale was done by the National Youth Administration clerks also.

1941

Report of the Public Health Nurse

National Youth Administration

The National Youth Administration clerical help was continued to the Augusta Tuberculosis Prevention Service until the end of the fiscal year when it was terminated.

1942

Mayors Address

I want to call your attention to a question that will interest every tax payer. Under Mayor Payne’s term of office as Mayor he was granted an appropriation to use with a fund from W.P.A. to make a complete survey and revaluation of all taxable property. This was in line with equalizing city taxes. This survey was carefully and thoroughly done, taking over two years’ time and at an expense of $50,000, or more. The city paid over $8000. The exact figures are not available. * This survey showed the following: The average assessment percentage of appraisals is 40%. 11% are unassessed. 4% are from one percent to 20 percent; 18% are from 21 to 30; 14% are from 31 to 40; 9% are from 41 to 50; 4% are from 51 to 60; 7% are from 61 to 70; 6% are 71 to 80; 1% are 91 to 100; 20% are 101% plus.

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