For the third time, Columbus Council has turned back a request to buy furniture for the city's new recycling center, set to open in October.
The funds for the furniture were included in the bond issue that paid for building the 54,000 center near the Pine Grove Landfill off Schatulga Road. But in early April, not long after approving nearly $900,000 for furnishings for the new City Service Center, council balked for the first time at spending about $46,000 on the recycling center, primarily because of objections raised by Councilor Judy Thomas. She contended that the city could find sufficient used furniture within the Government Center once offices move to the new City Service Center.
“Just because the money’s in the bond issue doesn’t mean we have to spend it on furniture,” she said. “We can spend it to retire debt.”
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Two weeks later, City Manager Isaiah Hugley’s requests brought back another request, this time for about $42,600, reflecting about $3,000 worth of savings from using older furniture. That was not approved, but Hugley brought the same request back on Tuesday.
Thomas was still not satisfied with the meager savings.
“I am very disappointed that my request for the search for furniture for the recycling center, I don’t think, was taken very seriously,” Thomas said. “To have found this minimum amount of furniture in all of the furniture that is to be left here when people move, says to me that we didn’t look very hard.”
When it became apparent that council would not approve the funding, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson asked aloud, "Then what are we going to do? Have an empty building?"
Hugley assured Tomlinson and councilors that the center will be furnished when it opens.
"It might not look good and it might be different colors in a single room. You might have a blue chair and a brown chair and a green chair in one of the rooms. But we’ll have furniture,” he said. “And so when we have the grand opening, that’s what you’ll see. If that’s what’s acceptable, then that’s what’s acceptable, and we’ll salute and march with it.”