From Iceland — Over-Budget City Project Could Spell The End For Reykjavik Mayor

Over-Budget City Project Could Spell The End For Reykjavik Mayor

Published October 19, 2018

Over-Budget City Project Could Spell The End For Reykjavik Mayor
Andie Sophia Fontaine
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It started innocently and mundanely enough—an old bunker down at Reykjavík’s Nauthólsvík beach was to be renovated, with an estimated cost of 158 million ISK. When all was said and done, however, the total cost amounted to 415 million ISK, leaving many members of Reykjavík City Council confused and angry, and Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson in a vulnerable political position.

Best laid plans

The bunker, a relic from Iceland’s occupation days, was fitted out with a cafeteria, with the end goal of renovating the entire building to be a lecture hall for the University of Reykjavík. When the final bill came, however, it was apparent that the actual cost of renovation went over-budget by 257 million ISK.

Initially, Dagur downplayed the excessive costs, pointing out that the final budget for the Mathöll at Hlemmur ended up being three times the estimated cost. Nonetheless, People’s Party councilperson Kol­brún Baldursdóttir called for a line item invoice to determine where the money for the bunker went.

171 days spent in design alone

Magazine DV managed to get their hands on some of the invoices for the project. Amongst the costs, they found a bill for 3,324,540 ISK just for design work alone. This in turn prompted Eyþór Arnalds, the leader of the Independence Party for Reykjavík City Council, to tell reporters that ultimately the responsibility falls on Dagur, and as such it would be only natural for Dagur to resign.

The scandal has hit the Social Democrats hard, and they have since taken a steep fall in the polls. Logi Einarsson, an MP for the party, told reporters that he wasn’t surprised that the general public has been upset by this news.

Dagur, who is currently on sick leave due to chronic illness, has not given any signs or indications that he is even considering resigning. If the scandal continues to grow, however, he may find his position growing increasingly tenuous.

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