To add insult to injury considering the skyrocketing property taxes Austinites find themselves paying every year, the City of Austin is — quite literally — flushing money down the toilet.
Exceeding San Antonio’s baffling example, Austin City Council voted last month to dedicate more than a quarter million dollars per year to the operation of two portable toilets. Much like their friends in the Alamo City, the Council has no idea where to put the thing, who will provide it, or even when it will be available — only that they are willing to spend a staggering $22,667 a month to operate a pair of portable toilets.
While the vendor has yet to be determined in Austin, San Antonio utilized Oregon-based ‘Portland Loo.’ In fact, it seems that it is Portland’s shining example that has proven to be the pioneer in the municipal toilet buying craze. Which is unfortunate, considering that just two years ago, a judge determined their council exceeded their authority when they raided the unsuccessful program to divert funds to their publicly financed local campaign program.
While many residents are getting priced out of the city due to increasingly burdensome property taxes, City Council (with the exceptions of Councilmembers Don Zimmerman and Ellen Troxclair, who voted against the expenditure) voted to dedicate $272,000 per year to two portable toilets — instead of tax relief.
Furthermore, the impetus for this ridiculous expenditure is one not fully (or perhaps, accurately) explained. The resolution states that the council, in operating these toilets, is addressing a significant public health and safety risk from public urination. Councilmember Kathie Tovo stated that public urination was a water quality issue for the downtown creek system — despite the fact that neither Health and Human Services nor Watershed Protection Department staff provided any data to support that claim before the June 23rd vote.
They don’t know where to put it, they don’t know who will build it, when it will operate, or if even the problem they’re seeking to solve is even really an issue — just how much they want to spend on it.
The City of Austin is literally flushing money down the toilet.