The fifth time was the charm.
For the fifth time in the last three months, City Manager Isaiah Hugley tried to get Columbus Council to approve spending more than $40,000 on furniture for the new Recycling and Sustainability Center, set to open in October.
After being buffed four times, council finally voted 6-3 to spend $42,600 on furniture for the facility. Councilors Skip Henderson, Mike Baker, Pops Barnes, Evelyn Turner-Pugh, Red McDaniel and Bruce Huff voted for the motion. Councilors Gary Allen, Glenn Davis and Judy Thomas voted against it. Councilor Mimi Woodson was absent.
Hugley first brought the funding request, originally for almost $47,000, to council in early April, at which time Thomas voiced her first objection, saying that with the move to the new City Service Center, there should be plenty of functional surplus furniture left behind in the vacant Government Center offices.
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Two weeks later, Hugley brought another request for $42,600, reflecting $3,000-plus in savings from using some surplus furniture. Again, councilors rejected it.
Two weeks after that, Hugley was back with the same $42,600 request. This time, Thomas expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of results in trying to find surplus furniture.
“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.”
After today’s vote, Thomas remained opposed to the expenditure, regardless of whether the funds were available from the existing bond issue.
“In a budget year like the one we’re in, we have to be very careful with every dollar, no matter what its source is,” she said.