THE new home of cash-strapped East Dunbartonshire Council has cost local tax-payers £250,000 more than expected – with some councillors expecting the final bill to be DOUBLE the agreed budget.
Bosses had initially set aside £500,000 for the recent move from Tom Johnston House to Southbank Marina.
Now they say the figure is set to rise to £750,000 - a hike that SNP group leader Councillor Ian Mackay says he was only told about AFTER the money had been spent.
He said: “We were only informed of this as part of a capital report at the Policy and Resources Committee and by that time it was too late to do anything about it.
“At the last council meeting I called for a report on the overspend and for all expenditure to be accounted for, but I’ve still not heard anything back.
“We will not allow this to be kicked into the long grass.”
The revelation comes after several Herald readers expressed concern about the amount of money being spent on the new HQ.
One Herald reader, who has previously hit out against the move, said: “It explains why the council has not responded to any of my questions about the cost - it’s clearly spiralled out of control.
“They’re always so keen to slash services to save costs, but don’t seem to be willing to budget when it comes to their own offices.
“Maybe they should have kept some of the furniture and office equipment from Tom Johnston House.”
But council leader Rhondda Geekie told the Herald that the final cost would not reach £1million and insisted that the overspend would save money in the long term.
She explained: “The costs associated with the move to the marina are higher than the early budget provision made.
“They are not however double this original figure with the out-turn projected at around £750,000 rather than the budget provision of £500,000 made early in the process and prior to the detailed requirements having been fully established.
“A number of specific requirements were included as the project developed such as councillors asking for the chambers to be able to be used flexibly and for different functions.
“We also made provision for the print room to be based at the marina and this, along with the final office layout required significant ventilation works to be undertaken.
“We also invested in energy saving lighting to reduce future costs. All of these had an impact but the benefits still far outweigh the costs.”
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