The Woodbury City Council approved plans for a $514,105 renovation to the council chambers on Wednesday.
After costs for the renovation project went from about $350,000 to a swelling $672,606, the council felt the price tag had to be brought down. The redesign includes replacing the dias where council sits, carpets, ceilings, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems and door security.
Following council's rejection of a finalized version of the project, officials have held several public discussions on ways to bring costs down by omitting certain items like added security, which some city officials said could be added later.
The chamber holds twice-monthly city council meetings as well as other neighborhood and advisory committee meetings. In some cases, staff use the room for larger meetings.
The chambers hasn't received major renovation since the early 1990s.
Council Member Amy Scoggins said the process of trying to bring down the cost by cutting out certain items has been a sensitive process.
"It's a little uncomfortable to talk about this because in some ways it feels like we're spending money on ourselves," she said. "It really is for the people who come to the meetings, the people who watch, future councils. It's an investment not in myself or any of us individuals."
At the meeting, some expressed lingering concerns about the project's cost.
For Woodbury resident Kim Wilson, she said the city has more important needs and the price tag is still too high.
"These upgrades are great, and I'm sure they'll look phenomenal on the broadcasts, but I don't know if it's necessary," she said, adding that low attendance during public meetings does not warrant the remodeling.
She said she feels her neighborhood, which was built around the same time the room was remodeled, is a more urgent issue.
And when the city anticipates large turn out, often a police officer attends those meetings, she said.
Even though officials met earlier this month to try to find a cheaper alternative, Council Member Christopher Burns said the overall cost was still too high. "This project is beyond the scope of what I anticipated," he said. "I think this project is still too rich for my taste."
Council Member Julie Ohs expressed disappointment that the council left out an optional $60,000 security package.
Touching on her experience researching workplace violence for her Master's thesis, Ohs said, is the optional costs are worth the added safety.
"The world is becoming much more dangerous, much scarier. We've had four incidents around the country in the last 10 days," Ohs said. "I think $60,000 is not that much in the grand scheme of things."
The council voted 4-1 to approve the project, with Burns casting the lone "no" vote.
The city expects the project will wrap up around the end of the year.