Visitors to the Augusta City Council chamber will soon sit on new chairs for the first time in more than half a century. The governing body will also get new executive chairs for the first time in years.
In order to make the council chambers as presentable as possible to new city manager candidates, the council discussed replacing the dated chairs at a recent meeting.
City Clerk Erica Jones gathered information on possible replacements. Church Plaza gave a bid of just over $40 per chair for the visitor area. Galaxy and Staples each bid more than $50 each for chairs with a far lower weight limit.
In order to match the blue chairs in the visitors’ section, the council would have had to use a vinyl covering for their own chairs. The consensus was to choose the durability of leather even though the council chairs would have to be black instead of blue because the leather chairs only cost about $40 a piece more than the vinyl option.
Councilor Matt Malone made a motion to approve the purchase of both sets of chairs and Matt Childers seconded it.
Councilor Ron Reavis wasn’t convinced that the city should make this purchase now with shifted funds. He agreed with the almost $5,000 purchase, but only after the chairs were included in the budget for next year.
“I don’t see the emergency just to impress someone who will be our new city manager,” Reavis said. “This should be a regularly scheduled budget item.”
Councilor Mike Rawlings agreed in principle with Reavis, but he said he believed it was important for the city to put its best foot forward during the selection process.
Jason Lowery said he thought the purchase was justified, especially since the art camp students are almost finished with a new mosaic mural to be placed behind the council soon.
“It isn’t an emergency,” Lowery said. “But I think we should put our best foot forward along with their project.”
The measure passed 7-1 with Reavis voting no.