San Antonio Buys A Toilet For The Price Of A House


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Blake Neff Reporter
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San Antonio spent an astonishing $191,000 installing a single public toilet in the city’s downtown, a recent public records request reveals.

The “Portland Loo” is made of stainless steel and was unanimously approved by the San Antonio city council last spring. At the time, the gleaming testament to technological progress was described as costing a mere $97,700, but it turns out that figure didn’t include any installation costs.

And as it happens, installing a single public toilet in the middle of downtown San Antonio isn’t cheap. According to a public records request made by Watchdog, simply installing the toilet cost the city an extra $69,000. Combined with other expenses, such as a concrete slab ($2,600) and extra fencing ($5,400), the final cost of the toilet was an amazing $191.380.

The massive expense is actually cheaper than in some cities that have installed them. San Diego spent over half a million dollars installing two. The toilets have been criticized for attracting homeless people to the area and encouraging illegal activity. Criminal reports around one of San Diego’s toilets increased so dramatically that the city finally decided to remove the toilet to improve the situation.

The toilets are at least an improvement from the $1 million self-cleaning toilets Seattle built in 2003, which quickly became a haven for prostitution and drug use.

Watchdog writer Kenric Ward says that despite the immense cost, the bathroom has seen only light use in the weeks since it was erected.

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