Update: Since the writing of this article, the cost of installing the facility has ballooned beyond original projections to around $191,000.
Following in their trend to find new, creative ways to flush money down the toilet, San Antonio City Council voted last Thursday to commit to spending approximately $100,000 to build precisely one public toilet.
That, unfortunately, was not a misprint. They are not building one public toilet facility — but exactly one, singular stall.
Although officials have no idea where downtown they plan on building the monument to waste, they do have a particular product (and price tag) in mind: Oregon-based Portland Loo: a unisex single-stall toilet structure.
This isn’t the first inordinately expensive project which San Antonio has received inspiration for from Portland. For example, watchdogs on both sides of the partisan divide may recall city officials citing the relative success of Portland’s streetcar system as justification for a similarly wasteful pet project that San Antonio residents have rejected at every turn.
Taxpayers can take some satisfaction in the expenditure, as Councilman Ron Treviño — the man who began pitching for the loo last summer — says the thing is, “built like a tank.” He also defended the price tag in the terms that the city is “buying something of value here, something that’s durable.”
It’s a good thing the city doesn’t have any difficulties funding basic responsibilities such as police or fire pensions, or this purchase would seem pretty irresponsible. After all, it’s not as though they’ve had budgetary problems so severe they felt compelled to annex (against the counsel of San Antonio’s own police union) neighboring communities against their will.