Cash-strapped councillors look at £20,000 refurb of their own chamber

Councillors are considering a £20,000 upgrade of their own council chamber – less than a fortnight after agreeing budget cuts which will see workers lose their jobs.

Spending cuts of £6m every year until 2021 were agreed by Argyll and Bute Council on February 14, amid huge controversy and predictions that hundreds of jobs would be be lost.

But tomorrow (Tuesday) a short life working group considering media platforms will be asked to consider replacing the carpet, chairs and desks in the chamber at a total cost of between £20,000 and £25,000.

The group has been meeting to look at options including webcasting and a link-up with Helensburgh-based URTV, to follow from the digital TV and smartphone service Looking Local, which was launched in November.

A report by executive director of customer services Douglas Hendry says that following an employee suggestion scheme in November it was recommended that the carpet in the council chamber was cleaned.

It adds: “An inspection of the carpet has confirmed that its condition is very poor and it is unlikely that cleaning will restore the carpet to an appropriate standard. On this basis it is proposed that a new carpet is fitted in the council chamber.”

The suggestion was put on hold because of the possibility of other work being needed to accommodate media developments, but now councillors are being asked to consider as a ‘base level like for like replacement’:

  • ‘Good quality’ carpet or carpet tiles costing £5,000 to £6,000
  • 45 new chairs for councillors to use at meetings, costing about £150 apiece
  • 25 tables, each costing approximately £300

If the working group agrees tomorrow, officers will draw up a range of options and prices for a meeting on March 28.

A council spokesperson said the authority had no comment to make as these are proposals only and nothing has been agreed.

3 Comments

  1. They’re not going to IKEA then! Judging by the age of the building I am sure the Council Chamber has decent wooden flooring under the ‘scabby’ carpet, sanding and a coat of varnish should be more cost effective especially if some of our councillors roll up their sleeves

  2. Are these £150 chairs and £300 tables being produced by skilled local woodworkers? I could stomach it if that was the case. If they are imported then no, unless the existing carpet, chairs and tables actually constitute a health hazard they should remain in use until they are actually worn out. You know, like normal folk; replacing stuff when it needs it, not because it doesn’t smell new anymore.

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