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It appears to me that the purposes for which priorities are now allowed by the Federal Government would justify their extension to civic purposes in general. Water and gas systems and police and fire departments operate just as much in the public interest as schools and health agencies and I believe they should be treated the same in their requests for Federal surplus property when it is to be used for the public health, safety or welfare.
I wish to include with my statement the copy of a resolution dated January 3, 1957, from the City Council of St. Louis, Mich., and a resolution from the city council of Corunna, Mich., dated January 21, 1957.
I sincerely believe that the passage of this legislation would provide a very real service to a great many municipalities throughout this country and, therefore, would urgently request its favorable consideration by your committee. CITY OF ST. LOUIS, MICH.,
Hon. ALVIN M. BENTLEY,
Representative, Eighth District, Michigan,
Washington, D. C.
January 9, 1957.
DEAR SIR: This is to certify that at a meeting of the City Council of the City of St. Louis held January 3, 1957, the following resolution was adopted:
"Whereas there is presently at surplus depots equipment and supplies which can be utilized by municipalities, but are prohibited from acquiring them because of exclusion from the preference list, and
"Whereas it is the feeling of this body that municipalities should enjoy the same preference, in respect to acquisition of surplus items which could be used in the operation of local government, as granted to school boards and civil defense organizations: therefore be it
"Resolved, That the city of St. Louis, through its city council, does hereby request that legislation be enacted which would enable municipalities the same rights and preferences as granted school boards and civil defense organizations in respect to acquisition of surplus items at Federal surplus depots; and be it further
"Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Office of the President, the Governor of the State of Michigan, and the district Representatives in Congress." It would be appreciated that you give the foregoing resolution your support. Respectfully yours,
KENNETH V. BARNUM, City Clerk.
RESOLUTION FROM THE CITY OF CORUNNA
"Whereas there is in the United States considerable Federal Government surplus equipment and supplies; and
"Whereas the schools and colleges enjoy the right to acquire this surplus property from the Federal Government; and
"Whereas if the municipal corporations have the right of access of purchase of this property, hundreds of thousands of dollars could be saved by municipal corporations, thereby releasing funds for other much-needed projects in the areas of each corporation:
"Therefore, it is hereby resolved upon motion made by Councilman Leo Brown and supported by Councilman Clark Ross, That we, the governing body of the city of Corunna, Mich., hereby request that municipal corporations be granted the privilege of obtaining Federal surplus materials and supplies in the same manner as now enjoyed by the schools and colleges to acquire this property.
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of a resolution duly adopted by the City Council for the City of Corunna at a regular meeting held on Monday, the 21st of January 1957, at 9 p. m., at the city hall in the city of Corunna, Mich.
STATEMENT OF HON. HORACE SEELY-BROWN, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Mr. Chairman, I am indeed grateful to you and to the members of the Special Subcommittee on Donable Property for permitting me to appear here this morning in support of H. R. 2504, to provide that Government surplus property may be donated to 4-H clubs for the construction, equipment, and operation of camps and centers.
As we all know, 4-H clubs are organized groups of young people who are engaged in farming, homemaking, or community activities under the guidance of cooperative extension workers and local volunteer leaders trained by them. Any boy or girl between the ages of 10 and 21 years who agrees to "learn to do by doing" may enroll. The group elects its own officers, plans and conducts programs based on the needs and interests of the young people, holds regular meetings, and takes part in community activities. The number of boys and girls who are members of the 4-H clubs in the United States and its Territories exceeds 2 million.
4-H Club work is part of the national system of cooperative extension work of agriculture and homemaking in which the United States Department of Agriculture, the State land-grant colleges, and the county participate. These clubs have helped to develop 10 million young citizens. The 4-H program has been a definite help in increasing farm incomes, in improving standards of living, in increasing the satisfaction which comes from community living, and in preparing young people to meet the challenges of citizenship in the world in which we live. The expression "4-H" used in connection with these clubs typifies the training of head, heart, hands, and health which the club program provides. The national 4-H emblem is a four-leaf clover with the letter "H" on each leaf.
In many of the States 4-H Clubs have undertaken the job of building and operating camps and centers so that they may better carry out their work. I know from firsthand observation of the splendid work done in these centers.
I am sure the legislation which I introduced has a significant meaning not only to the young boys and girls who actively participate in 4-H work today, but also to those who are better citizens today because of their previous training in 4-H work. In view of the value of 4-H Club work to farm youth and the entire Nation, I firmly believe that the entire membership of the House would unanimously approve H. R. 2504.
I respectfully urge your favorable consideration of this pending legislation.
STATEMENT OF HON. A. S. J. CARNAHAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity of appearing before you in behalf of my bill, H. R. 13085, to include public libraries in the list of institutions eligible to receive donations of certain surplus personal property and for the purpose of purchasing or leasing surplus real property.
There is a great need in public libraries for this surplus property, and I know this is particularly true in the State from which I come, Missouri. Our county and regional libraries have extremely limited funds and they now operate with insufficient desks, typewriter chairs, vertical files and catalog cases, all basic to proper functioning. Tables, shelving, book carts, fans, typewriters, and vehicles which could be converted into bookmobiles are also needed. Surp'us books are needed in these libraries and can be put to good use and could be the means of releasing funds of these institutions for extension of library service to the some 25 million rural Americans who are now without public library service.
Public libraries are so closely allied with education and educational institutions that it appears to me they should qualify for authorization of property transfers for educational purposes. I am pleased to note that the Comptroller General of the United States has rendered a report that public libraries appear to make an appropriate recipient for these benefits, and I urge the committee to favorably consider H. R. 13085, to include public libraries in the list to receive donations of this property.
A. S. J. CARNAHAN,
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES E. CHAMBERLAIN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
I am pleased to have this opportunity to appear before your subcommittee in behalf of H. R. 5460, which I introduced on February 28, 1957. This bill is designed to correct the inequities presently contained in the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended. H. R. 5460 would modify the existing legislation to provide a priority to States and local governments to purchase Federal surplus property after the Federal agencies have had an opportunity to do so and after the donable program for health, education, and civil defense purposes has been satisfied. Under the provisions of my bill the cost of this property to State and local governments could not exceed that at which property was made available to Federal agencies before it was declared surplus. H. R. 5460 also provides that the Administrator of General Services may impose reasonable terms, conditions, reservations, and restrictions upon the use of any single item of personal property sold under these provisions which has an acquisition cost of $2,500 or more.
Under the procedures presently employed, an item which is no longer needed by a Federal agency is first made available to other Federal agencies. Once it is determined that no other Federal agency is interested in a surplus item it is offered on a donable basis for educational, public health, and civil defense purposes. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare handles distribution of materials distributed under the donable program through a series of State supported surplus disposal agencies.
Items which are not needed by other Federal agencies and are not desired under the donable program are then offered to the highest bidder at public auction. It is at this point that the present law has been subject to severe criticism. It was in response to these sound criticisms that I introduced H. R. 5460. The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 in providing for a public auction after the needs of Federal agencies and the donable program have been met in effect discriminates against State and local governments. Municipalities, for example, are precluded by law from appearing at a public auction or submitting a sealed bid. In practice, therefore, the only way that a municipality can obtain a surplus item is to buy it from a middleman or private organization which has purchased it from the Federal Government. This, of course, means that the municipalities must pay a higher price than would be the case if it were possible for them to purchase it directly. Thus, virtually none of the nearly $2 billion worth of Federal property which is made surplus annually is made available to local governments.
Clearly this is an unjust situation which should be corrected immediately. Certainly there is every justification for granting units of government the privilege of purchasing Federal surplus property before such property is released for sale to the general public. It does not seem proper-or understandable that private dealers should receive preferential, or even equal, consideration to governmental units in purchasing these materials which were originally bought with tax dollars, or that such dealers should be able to realize a profit by trading between the levels of our governmental system. To require local and State governments to obtain from middlemen at increased cost surplus items of the Federal Government which would prove extremely valuable to the local governments is nothing short of ridiculous.
Much is heard these days about the desirability of bringing about closer relationships between the Federal and State and local governments yet the present law serves as a barrier to cooperation in this particular sphere of activity. Much is heard, too, about the increasing complexity of government and the expanding services which local governments are called upon to perform. The rapid increase in such services has necessarily meant sharply rising costs of government. Passage of H. R. 5460 would assist these governmental activities to meet their obligations to those they serve by facilitating the purchase of Federal surplus items by them and by eliminating the need to obtain these items at increased cost. If the experience of municipalities in my home State of Michigan is at all representative there is every indication that adoption of my proposal would result in a significant saving to local governments. In Michigan, even the limited opportunity to purchase for civil defense purposes has saved municipalities considerable sums.
Criticism of the proposal has centered around the idea that it might be difficult to administer. It is not surprising that governmental agencies are reluctant to assume additional responsibilities. I recognize that certain aspects of the proce
dure would have to be worked out, but I am confident that the problem is not insurmountable. Certainly the arguments in favor of facilitating the purchase of Federal surplus property by the State and local governments are so overwhelming as to merit passage.
STATEMENT OF HON. CLYDE DOYLE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, first, let me thank you for the courtesy extended me by reason of your allowing me to make this appearance and statement before your worthy committee on what I think is one of the most important series of bills being considered in this 85th Congress. I refer to the several bills to amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to permit the donation and other disposal of property to tax-supported public recreation agencies, including the bill I was pleased to author, H. R. 7067.
Second, and before I briefly discuss the matter of these bills relating to the disposal of both personal, and real property as well, to tax-supported recreation areas, I wish to respectfully submit for your earnest consideration two factors which I believe are basic and necessary for you to consider in connection with these bills: (1) That these bills restrict the donation of Federal or personal real property to tax-supported public recreation agencies. In other words, any donation or disposal of real or personal property under these bills is limited to tax-supported public recreation agencies. In other words, Mr. Chairman, the personal and real property now owned and possessed by the Federal Government and concerned under these bills was, no doubt, purchased and paid for and acquired by the Federal Government as a result of the payment of taxes in the first instance by taxpayers at the grassroots of local government throughout our beloved Nation. Therefore, it being a fact that when these bills permit the donation and other disposal of personal and real property acquired and purchased by the Federal Government, this very same personal and real property concerned in these bills thus purchased by taxpaying dollars of citizens throughout our Nation, is proposed to be donated and disposed of directly back to these same tax-supporting citizens at the local level of government and through and to the use of their own local public recreation agencies. These bills, therefore, propose what appears to be crystal clear to me as a clear and sensible and sound method of turning back for a worthy and necessary use the very property which was previously paid for by these same taxpaying citizens.
These same people who paid their tax dollars so that Uncle Sam could purchase this property, and since Uncle Sam is through with it, are now asking the return of that used property so they can make further legitimate and sound use thereof. Having thus reminded you of this essential consideration, I now remind you that a proper pronunciation of recreation is re-creation. In other words, the agencies whom this bill would permit Uncle Sam to donate to are not only taxsupported public agencies, but they are tax-supported recreation agencies. And I emphasize for the purpose of this discussion that Mr. Webster, in his definition of "recreation" defines it as meaning "to create anew; to give fresh life to; reanimate; to refresh after toil or anxiety; refreshment of strength and spirit after toil." Therefore, Mr. Chairman and committee members, the public taxpaying agencies to which Uncle Sam would be authorized to donate personal and real property under these bills supply and make available to the taxpaying public at the local level of government and daily experience one of the prime factors and necessities of life: to wit, the opportunity for individuals and groups and masses of humankind to recreate themselves as defined by Mr. Webster. Neither as Mr. Webster defines it, nor as I use it, does recreation mean merely to play or be entertained or amused. The term "recreate," as these days put into practice and application in the recreation agencies and departments of our State, county, and municipal recreation departments and agencies, means to rebuild, to refresh, to renew strength and spirit; to rebuild after toil, to rebuild preparatory to toil and work and the performance of duties. Furthermore, the term "recreation" means to increase individual and group participation in recreational activities. The term "public recreation" looks to the reduction of the bleacher population in the reviewing stands or the bleachers. The term "public recreation" looks to participation by thousands of American citizens in recreational activities instead of just the development of a few experts or stars in given games or arts. The public recreational agency which is equipped and financed by the taxpayers adequately not only maintains the parks, playgrounds, and play fields; the recrea
tional waterways; the municipal orchestras, and similar recreational activities, but these tax-supported recreational agencies at the local level are primarily concerned with the development of and the making available of public recreational facilities and programs which will enable youth and adults to make wise use of their leisure time. It is true that very valuable entertainment normally results from public recreational activities and programs to millions of people in our Nation annually.
But, nevertheless, the prime objective of public recreational programs and agencies and facilities is not entertainment for viewers or spectators, it is rather to make available for individual and group use of these facilities and programs and areas as part of an increasingly necessary know-how for the wise expenditure of rapidly increasing leisure, or extra, time-most of which accrues after the work hours of the day, and which work hours are perceptibly shorter in length and duration.
And the fact of shorter work hours becoming a necessity, as well as a reality, in our economic and social structure, leads me to observe that the American people do not yet have the know-how to make the utmost use or profitable use of their increasing leisure time. Yes, recreational illiteracy can be not less dangerous than the lack of ability to absorb other intellectual practices and habits. What a man does when he has nothing to do is either a time of benefit and advancement to that man or it becomes a liability and, in like manner, a city obtains results from the activity and participation of people—including the labor workers and all working people. Therefore, what the people of a city do in their leisure time, and when they have nothing definite to do, also shapes the morale and the spirit, and even the prosperity, happiness, and health of those people and individuals of that city. As it is literally true that a family which knows how to play together will resultingly live together, and that a family which habitually prays together will be more apt to live steadfastly and longer together, so it is that a city wherein the people thereof sing will be a city in which there is reasonably apt to be less sin.
So, I am sure that all responsible citizens and governmental leadership who think at all on the increasing problem of longer leisure-time hours realize that a wise and sound use of the onrushing additional leisure time is a factor to be increasingly taken into consideration as being an increasingly major factor entering into the national interest. In other words, Mr. Chairman, the problem of leisure time and its wise, sensible, sound use is no longer merely a local responsibility or problem, it is also a national responsibility to cooperate with local agencies wherever practical.
For instance, mission 66 recently overwhelmingly approved by Congress and signed by the President of the United States involving the expanding of recreation features and areas and programs in our great national park system is but one illustration of the fact I have just related.
I hear no voice speak out against these related bills as being unworthy in their objectives. No person famaliar with the area of discussion, claims that the subject matter lacks worthiness. This being true, it necessarily results in the fundamental premise that the bills have a sound objective. So, Mr. Chairman, if it be true that placing the objectives of these bills into effect by legislation will cause some inconvenience to the Federal agency involved, or would even cause some delay in personal property disposal operations by the Federal agency involved, these facts are surely not sufficient argument against the bill to result in a stopple of their adoption. Surely our administrators can work out some satisfactory arrangements and procedures for the disposal of both personal and real property under the objectives and intent of these bills so that there will be a minimum of delay and a minimum of expense; likewise a minimum of opportunity for there to develop or result any lack of cooperation by the applicants for various recreational properties.
In this connection, I wish to emphasize that these bills apply to the return to taxpaying communities of facilities and properties bought by these very taxpaying people and used as result of their tax moneys by the Federal Government. This premise, of course, also applies to educational, public health, and civil defense purposes. If it be claimed by some objectors to these bills that the return of these properties to local taxpaying recreational uses would cause some reduction in the amount of Federal Government income, theoretically resulting from the sale of real or personal property by the Federal Government instead of returning it to the taxpayers who originally paid for it, I would respectfully suggest that the amount of Federal income thus lessened would be nominal and purely inconsequential in view of the soundness of the principle involved in these