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Three Rivers District Council quoted £25,000 to replace PA system
A new £25,000 microphone and speaker system for Three Rivers District Council chamber is needed to replace the current failing equipment.
The PA system in the Penn Chamber was bought in October 2002, costing £27,500. The microphones have since come to the end of their life, despite the rechargeable batteries being replaced in 2010.
Problems have occurred at a number of recent meetings due to batteries constantly being charged and used.
Leader of the council, Ann Shaw, described the current system as "embarrassingly inadequate" at an executive meeting last night, during which time the microphones frequently turned off until the system was abandoned completely, forcing councillors to talk loudly.
The council has allocated £25,000 from the capital programme to replace the system.
The existing supplier has provided two quotes, one to upgrade of the existing "swan neck" system or to replace it completely with new "Revoluto" units.
The swan neck system will replace like with like and is cheaper, costing £25,998 in total, with each microphone costing £649.75, compared with £1,084 with the Revoluto system, .
However it is susceptible to damage and the rechargeable batteries are less reliable than Revoluto units.
The Revoluto microphones are more robust, have a longer battery life, and are more sensitive, meaning they can be used by two members, but costs £36,420.
Opposition leader Chris Hayward said: "I'm surprised we've only gone to one supplier for quotes, there are a plethora of different systems that councils use across the country."
A third solution, a fixed hanging microphone system similar to the one used in the House of Commons, would cost an estimated £33,655.
The advantage is that it would be fully wired, eliminating the need to recharge the microphones.
The council agreed to put together a working party of group leaders to make the decision.
Liberal democrat Sara Bedford added: "This isn't really a choice, one is too expensive and the other is too useless."
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