A Dungiven councillor says “it’s a disgrace” almost £30,000 was spent by Causeway Council on refurbishing the Mayor’s Parlour.
Documents from Council show £29,470.74, excluding VAT, was spent on work that included painting joinery, new wall coverings and replacing a 16-year old carpet.
Causeway Council has defended the spend stating the work in the Parlour in Council’s headquarters in Coleraine was completed to “increase its capacity to hold 40 councillors”.
Colr. Sean McGlinchey, a former mayor of Limavady, believes the amount of money spent is “ridiculous”.
“It’s just a room and for Council, who should be setting an example to ratepayers, to spend nearly £30,000 on it is a disgrace.
“That money would go a long way elsewhere. I’m sure there are plenty of people and community groups out there who could make good use of it,” said Colr. McGlinchey.
The Sinn Fein man believes councillors should have been consulted before the decision was made.
“That has to be changed,” he said.
Colr. McGlinchey said when he was Limavady Mayor he bought paint to decorate the Mayor’s Parlour at the office on Connell Street.
Along with family members, he said he painted the room. He said he also changed the name from ‘Mayor’s Parlour’ to ‘Community Room’, so groups from the area could use it. He said he invited community groups and local schools to decorate the room with artwork, which he said is still on the walls.
“I was scorned upon when I did that, and when I had any receptions they were non-alcoholic,” he said. “I’ve had my eyes opened in this Council.
“We’re hearing how we’re living in times of austerity, and we all have to tighten our belts, and then we get these figures. It’s ridiculous.”
In a statement to the ‘Journal’, a Council spokesperson said: “The Mayor’s Parlour was refurbished to increase its capacity to hold 40 councillors.
“During these internal works the opportunity was taken to replace dated furnishings, such as the 16-year old carpet.
“Improvements were completed under the £30,000 threshold requiring a Council decision. The Mayor’s office is the focal point for all civic engagement, hosting dozens of events each week.”