FRANKFORT — Kentucky is spending nearly $29,000 to replace the carpet in Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear's suite of Capitol offices.
State officials said the nine-year-old carpet is being replaced in several rooms, including the office of first lady Jane Beshear, because it had become a hazard that caused people to trip.
Installation of 679 square yards of blue carpeting, which replaces the red floor covering installed after Republican Ernie Fletcher took office in 2003, began Tuesday night and will be completed by Dec. 6. The work is largely being done at night, said Pamela Trautner, a spokeswoman for the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
"The carpet has been there since the beginning of the Fletcher administration," Trautner said. "It has gotten to the point that it's ... become a safety hazard. People were tripping on it."
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The total cost for the carpet replacement — labor and material — is $28,856.
Because of declining state revenues, the state has cut more than $1.4 billion in planned spending from state budgets in recent years. In 2011, 32,000 state employees took six unpaid furlough days to make up for a shortfall in revenues. Court employees had to take three unpaid furlough days this fiscal year.
"We certainly understand the budget constraints, but when it became a safety hazard, we had to go ahead and take care of it," Trautner said.