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Via:  TimesDispatch.com

By Will Jones

Photo courtesy of Lindy Keast Rodman / Times-Dispatch

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and the City Council haven’t just changed the tone in City Hall. They’ve also upgraded some of the flooring, window treatments and furniture.

Despite ongoing budget woes, the city has spent $23,460 on improvements to the mayor’s office, the council lounge and a second-floor conference room.

The new furnishings include a Brazilian cherry hardwood floor and fabric window treatments that were installed in Jones’ office at a cost of $9,511, including related expenses for removal of old carpeting and blinds, according to invoices obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Also, the council lounge was refurbished at a cost of $9,452.

No similar upgrades to the mayor’s office were made during L. Douglas Wilder’s term, from 2005 through 2008.

Much of the recent work was done around summertime, after the council adopted a budget for fiscal 2009-2010 that was $25 million less than the previous year’s budget and before administration officials announced in November a projected $10.3 million shortfall for fiscal 2009-2010.

“These are difficult revenue times that we live in,“ Jones said in late May when the council adopted a budget that included no raises for employees. “Because of that, this is a scaled-back budget” that still supports core priorities.