Council has voted to spend up to $145,500 renovating the council chambers at City Hall. City administration recommended a larger refurbishment that would have cost $247,500 but council voted to keep the renovations to a smaller scale.
Councillor Tara Veer said council was divided on the issue with some in favour of more renovations and some for less.
“We are getting some technology upgrades, which are important for our public so that they can view council meetings through webcasting,” she said. “That technology upgrade is important and what we arrived at was a few minor cosmetic changes to accommodate that upgrade.”
Upgrades previously approved include $25,000 for the webcasting technology so residents can watch council meetings live through the City of Red Deer web site, and $52,000 for touch screen monitors and E-voting software for councillors. Carpeting in the chamber would also be replaced. The new funding would be for new countertops, painting and refurbishment of the main feature wall behind the seats occupied by the mayor and City manager. As well, much of the public seating in the chamber would be replaced. Funding for the additional changes, to be done over the summer with the technology upgrades, would come from the capital projects reserve.
Councillor Chris Stephan voted against the additional renovations like new furniture.
“What we have is not perfect, but it’s good enough. It’s just a matter of living within our means. In my opinion it’s a complete waste of money. It’s not needed,” he said. “What’s the benefit to the public? There is none. It’s not our money, it’s the taxpayers money. We should be spending it prudently on things they are going to get value for.”