Pet Star 20 Under 40

How much can one restroom cost?

2011-12-11T00:00:00Z 2011-12-11T02:29:47Z How much can one restroom cost? Glens Falls Post-Star
December 11, 2011 12:00 am

It's another in an endless line of examples of how our tax dollars are flushed down the toilet.

In this case, it is for the town of Bolton to actually build a toilet.

No question, there is a need at the Bolton Landing beach. After all, how long will the queen of American lakes remain that way if parents are regularly whispering in their kids' ears to just go in the water?

The Bolton board was hoping to build a new restroom facility at Rogers Park to replace the portable toilets. The town had $245,000 burning a hole in its pocket from a state grant.

That's where the problem starts.

Nobody seems to have blinked even once at the thought of spending $245,000 for a restroom in the park that would primarily be used two months out of the year. We're talking 16 feet by 17 feet.

It begs several questions:

What are the commodes made of?

Were the architects involved with the design at Versailles?

And is real estate that lucrative in the Bolton market that a one-bath unit - with nothing else - will fetch more than $200,000 on the open market?

There is a little more to it than that, since the plan also includes underground plumbing and some blacktop for a parking lot.

But it gets much worse.

Out went a request for bids on the project and three were returned.

Here is where your eyes will bug out and you will cough up your breakfast cereal. Each one of the bids was at least $100,000 over the state's $245,000 grant.

For a bathroom.

You know, in generations past, they used to dig a couple holes and nail some plywood together. I know we have advanced past that, but still - $345,000?

Thankfully, the Bolton board balked, not at spending $245,000, but another $100,000 out of its own pocket.

That's part of the problem. Didn't anyone on the Bolton board think that a $245,000 bathroom building was a bit excessive, even if it did include plumbing and some parking?

Seems like you could build restrooms all over Bolton and a few in Lake George for $245,000. Maybe making doing with a few more portable bathrooms made more sense?

It makes you wonder what the state is giving away for indoor plumbing jobs at the state Capitol. What about the governor's quarters? His sitting room has to be worth a half-million dollars.

Ultimately, the Bolton board unanimously authorized a planning firm to redesign the plans to be more affordable, and certainly no more than the $245,000.

Looks like they are going to have to build it on the cheap.

I hope they can afford doors and running water.

Ken Tingley is editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(28) Comments

  1. ch-aver
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    ch-aver - December 17, 2011 8:05 pm
    Can we get a show of hands that think that the $245,000 for the bathroom is money wisely spent? Would they spend it tomorrow if it was theirs?
  2. Report Abuse
    - December 15, 2011 10:45 pm
    Fair - bal,

    You're right! Those CEO types DON'T spend big on bathrooms... 4 their workforce communities. Off-the-chart "facilities," are exclusively to serve the uppermost, & adjoin top floor offices/boardrooms.

    Of course, if 1 were to be fortunate enough to visit/tour PRIVATE estates of these most wealthy, once past the gate guards, gardners & greeter, 1 finds where the REAl $ (on bathrooms, ETC.) is spent by America's REAL "deciders."

    Most of we Joe 6-pks. only get a glimpse of this reality on tv... or as a construction worker. Take the Kurt Russell/ Goldie Hahn movie, "Overboard," e.g. Many believe it's just a light hearted rags-to-riches comedy. IT'S MUCH MORE... really!

    Money won't buy poverty; that's 4 commoners.

    Let's stay on the typical course 4 the past 30 yrs. More $, lower taxes 4 the wealthiest - greater debt, homelessness, un-underemployment 4 MILLIONS forced to make do w/ smaller disposable INCOME/net worth shares.

    The prob. ain't all gov't. Much is ignorance!
  3. Report Abuse
    - December 15, 2011 10:04 pm
    Fair & bal, ETC.,

    Agreed, WAKE UP... to whom the REAL benefits enure.

    Top 1% 30 yrs. back, got 9% of LIMITED nat. income. Now it's 20ish%. That top 1% OWNS 35% of ALL pvt. wealth. What's that NECESSITATE w/ regard the the shares 4 the rest? How much more should belong/go to the top?

    Sure, gov't. spending's a problem! SO -

    Let's worship the "fair & balanced," pvt. sector. No system-usin' frauds or tax-preferenced stealing multi-millions by bilking the less fortunate there? No pol. influence by big money rightwing media selling workers to war over their relative crumbs?

    Truth is, we need a healthy pvt. sector coupled w/ a gov't. LESS - NOT MORE, dedicated to greater inequity. We've NEITHER. Instead, w/ help from a conservative Court, let the money roll to convince/SELL Americans to love their servile economic status (Citizen's United!). It works.

    The wealthy don't spend much time in PUBLIC toilets - irrespective of their cost. PVT., gold fixtured baths
    serve them. Who pays?


  4. Report Abuse
    - December 15, 2011 3:05 pm
    Speakin' of REDUNDANCY, take those Reagan/Bush II/GOP tax cuts of 1981, 2001, 03. Those unpaid for REAL tax cuts went redundantly 2 the same crowd - the wealthy, & at the expense of "commoners."

    Redundancy e.g.? Mitch McConnell (+ other Repubs.) proclaim, "The taxes were paid when the money was earned." This,of course. means the investment community's cap. gains/dividend incomes should NOT be taxed. Those should only be paid on work - i.e. by workers.

    Redundancy? Still guilty here. Where are the arguments against the FACTS offered by boater & others. If redundancy's the only complaint, are objectors happy w/ the plutocratic status quo? If so, they do so at their own expense. That delights the wealthy (w/ notable exceptions of Bill Gates & Warren Buffett, e.g.).

    Teaching the masses to suffer their challenges w/ declining shares of "Am. Pie" & w/out complaint's the goal of a rightwing media. Murdock's Fox, "news," e.g. enjoys obvious success. See these threads.

    Gold toilets?



  5. fairandbalanced
    Report Abuse
    fairandbalanced - December 15, 2011 7:02 am
    I just love how the wealthy get blamed for things like this - those people are wealthy because they own businesses that don't spend $245,000 on a bathroom when it can be done for much much less. Do we really need the govt to tax these people more so that we can build more $245K bathrooms and $1.4M lean-to's? We should just keep feeding the pig? C'mon people, wake up!
  6. northq
    Report Abuse
    northq - December 15, 2011 7:02 am
    OldGuy... thanks for being the voice of reason.I'm trying to be more tolerant,as you said everyone has a legitimate role to play.Sometimes the pseudo-intellectuals carry things a bit too far but that's part of the process.The "same-ol same-ol" just gets a bit redundant and redundancy is boring.
  7. Report Abuse
    - December 14, 2011 1:52 pm
    Ol Guy,

    GUILTY! Your critique of Boater's justified. Thanks. We'd likely agree that the nation faces lg. economic difficulties.

    1: Our problems must be viewed from a national perspective. There are local bandaids, but w/out a reasonably stable national/internat. environ., "solutions" can't happen.

    2: Many suffer because the SYSTEM serves the interest of a few wealthiest at the expense of the rest. (E.g., for 30 yrs., those most well off have benefitted from GOP tax cuts. The majority of households stagnated & median household income's now falling.)

    3: The attacks by people of modest means on others of modest means IS, in my view, 1 conditioned by CONCLUSIVE data, MISDIRECTED (teacher vs. taxpayer, e.g.).

    4: David Stockman, cited often by me, has a plan that's worth consideration. A Repub., he proposes massive net worth taxes 1 time on the wealthiest 5% to reduce nat. debt.

    5: Neither party serves well. Do we seek more 4 the wealthiest? Who pays for toilets & tax cuts?
  8. smurphny
    Report Abuse
    smurphny - December 14, 2011 9:29 am
    "Old Guy" has it right. The thing required handicapped ramps, wheelchair hardware and turning circles, etc. Not only that but this thing likely required an expensive aerobic septic system, being next to a lake. We do not know the specs. so it is impossible to say if the price is high or LOW. There is more to a modern day crapper than just the building.
  9. grizzly
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    grizzly - December 14, 2011 7:24 am
    Just use the woods like me
  10. St-Egreve
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    St-Egreve - December 13, 2011 2:54 pm
    In the past I've read dozens of similar editorials critical of local government waste.

    But I have yet to read even one post from someone who actually was part of the process. Just once, I wish someone would come forward and accept responsility.

    Either admit that you screwed up or defend your decision to spend a quater of a million dollars on a bathroom.

    Well? I'm waiting...
  11. sasquatch
    Report Abuse
    sasquatch - December 13, 2011 11:46 am
    The poop, the whole poop, and nothing but the poop. Yes, waste. Human and financial. And meanwhile, Newt wants to further slash taxes on the RICH and orchestrate systematic bankruptcy for the United States of Arrogance. And the entire republican party is with him. They want to give the working class a pittance (2% payroll tax cut) in hopes that you "have-nots" will overlook the mega-spondola-scandal among the "haves". It is known by them that we are not a democracy; we are a republic, wherein we elect representatives who overrule the will of the voters. Gore got more votes than Bush, but it's the electoral vote that rules, and once that was Fudged in Florida by John Sweeney's crowd, the hanging chads (little pieces of paper that linger after a paper-punch makes a hole, on a train ticket or similarly in a voting machine, punched to indicate your vote) ruled the game. Like election inspectors making a pencil mark on a ballot, then disqualifying it. Old republican trick.
  12. OldGuy
    Report Abuse
    OldGuy - December 13, 2011 6:09 am
    Boater1 --- OK, please calm down and try to organize all your thoughts better so we can follow you. I find myself having to dig deeply into most of your posts to try and figure out everything you are saying. Maybe I'm just too "thick", or old, but I'm inclined to agree with other people, that sometimes you appear to be ranting with broad generalities while the discussion topic started out so simply.

    When pressured, you seem to always come up with "information overload", and miss your chance to convince people of your point(s) about the current local topic. I think you could do better for yourself, and the readers.
  13. OldGuy
    Report Abuse
    OldGuy - December 13, 2011 5:08 am
    Northq said: "omg. I wish just once people would stick to the topic of the article instead of spouting these long political rants...we've heard it dozens of times now, we get it. It's getting old. Try finding something new to say."

    When I first started commenting here long ago I also felt like Northq, and I stepped right into the middle of it with long exchanges to these same people over the merits of going so far afield on a subject.

    Many of their arguments sent me on a search for more knowledge on things I wasn't quite up to speed on.

    All I can say now is, they do have an honest opinion that may seem monotonous to us old readers, but I assume there are always new people coming on line that would like to learn how everybody else thinks, and maybe learn more tolerance as I did.

    I still read them every time they write, and sometimes they tug on my conscience enough to pull me off center of my own opinions. So, I think they still have a legitimate role to play here.
  14. Report Abuse
    - December 12, 2011 5:25 pm
    Northq/F'rbalan, ETC.,

    YES I'm viciously redundant!

    But, NO, "we," - well WAY too many don't BEGIN to "get it." That's what makes 4 our DECREASING shares of "American PIE." "We," the vast majority, get less BECAUSE the corrupt "SYSTEM," rewards a very privileged few; & at the expense of all others - automatically.

    OWS demonstrates some at least begin to "GET IT!" Tea Party adherents remain relatively clueless; though they too make some valid observations.

    Fair,
    Yeah, a very few DO & can dump a qtr. million in a bathroom - NO SWEAT! Have you not seen the 24k gold bath fixtures? (Forbe's yacht, e.g., may have them.) That kinda' spending's for our kingly - not "regular Americans." It's reserved 4 those not satisfied w/ their 15,000 sq. ' homes. They're building 50,000 sq. ' dwellings now. (Need proof? Search America's most expensive "homes.")

    Mkt. value is going UP on the most expensive estates. Reason: those at the top of the pyramid are doin' just fine. At whose expense?
  15. fairandbalanced
    Report Abuse
    fairandbalanced - December 12, 2011 2:36 pm
    I don't understand what the problem is...if Thurman spends $1.4 million on a lean-to, a.k.a. 'train station', isn't $245,000 for a complete bathroom a bargain? I'm assuming the bathroom would actually have 4 sides and a toilet?

    This insanity has to stop. As northq said, there is an attitude that grant dollars just seem to materialize out of nowhere...if they don't hit our tax bill directly then someone else is paying. NOT! We all pay for these projects that should be criminal - we're all being ripped off. Would any individual in their right mind pay $245K for a bathroom addition to their home?
  16. Troublemaker
    Report Abuse
    Troublemaker - December 12, 2011 10:36 am
    I was just getting ready to suggest (tongue-in-cheek) that Bolton contact HGTV Bath Crashers -- at least it would be done right at reasonable cost.
    Then I saw 'clifjay's' comment -- it is so right on point. Local plumbers, carpenters, handymen -- all are looking for work and willing to do the job right. As some of the other posters mentioned, the town board should be looking at how to SAVE money. If I was a resident of Bolton I would be so much more impressed with my local leaders if they took the grant money, built the bathroom facility for even half the amount, and then returned the remainder to the grantor, who might then be able to help out another struggling community. WOW -- there's my radical thinking again!
  17. clifjay
    Report Abuse
    clifjay - December 12, 2011 10:22 am
    I would be willing to bet that for a hell of a LOT LESS MONEY THE TOWN COULD HAVE NEGOTIATED WITH SOME LOCAL GUYS WHO NEEDED WORK TO BUILD THIS THING. Why do we the people tolerate such mismanagement in government ? Do what you have to do to kick these bums out and let them know exactly why.New idea, legislate that all money expenditures over a certain dollar amount must be approved by all the people in a referendum. Let them know you are going to run government like you run a household budget.
  18. northq
    Report Abuse
    northq - December 12, 2011 4:07 am
    omg. I wish just once people would stick to the topic of the article instead of spouting these long political rants...we've heard it dozens of times now, we get it. It's getting old.Try finding something new to say.
  19. Report Abuse
    - December 11, 2011 3:33 pm
    Bost, OTHERS!,

    Have you availed yourself of David Stockman's approach to national nightmare? Stockman's a REPUBLICAN, former Dir., Office of Management of the Budget, early Reagan Admin. He now concludes, Repubs ruined the economy (not to suggest he's happy w/ Demos. either).

    Stockman's in SUM: Tax net worth of the wealthiest 5%, 1 time at 15% of their net worth. It raises 6 trillion & leaves those wealthiest w/ pvt. fortunes totalling 34 trillion among we "created equal," Americans AND would be used to pay against the 15 trillion in nat. debt. Solve? It doesn't. Buy time? It does, & not on worker's backs.

    The argument that there's no diff. between our pol. parties goes a long way. BUT, look at how the 2 differ on paying 4 the continuation of the 2% chop in Soc. Sec. w/held. Repubs. cut jobs in the gov't workforce. Demos favor a 3.25% SURTAX on the wealthiest. That's a definative TYPICAL difference.

    Since income/wealth is NOT unlimited, more to the few MEANS less for ALL others.
  20. northq
    Report Abuse
    northq - December 11, 2011 3:19 pm
    Kind of reminds me of the 100,000 dollar kitchen Mr. Merlino had built in Lake Luzerne to serve an average of 27 meals a day.When I commented that he had spent 100,000 dollars of taxpayer money unnecessarily another person commented "it wasn't taxpayer money,it was a grant and if Lake Luzerne didn't get it another community would have." Where do some of these people think grant money comes from anyway,the Grant Fairy? The whole mentality of "we have to spend it even if it's not necessary because someone else will get it" is so unfathomable to me.
  21. Report Abuse
    - December 11, 2011 3:09 pm
    Times change.

    Used to be inventiveness, & iniative provided reasonable pvt. sector solutions.

    Now, typically, the way to a fortune is w/ a gov't contract. The bankers have turned it into an art form. Deliberately forge income data, sell property, reposess, & sell it again. When that's not enough, get a gov't bailout - whatever it takes to preserve/enhance the pocketbook of those PVT. SECTOR GODS so worshipped by so many - & whomever that costs (Joe 6-pk., the taxpayer). BOTH Bush II & Obama admins. cooperated. It works great - 4 a VERY few.

    Where's the money go? Increasingly to the "bosses" - the top. Workers get a "job," a living wage - if lucky. The arranger politicians get contributions for their next campaign.

    There is a way to throttle back on a system so corrupted by big money, 4 bigger money. Unfortunately, many fail to see.

    Dramatically INCREASE taxes on those whose predatory practices have, w/ corruption, enabled them to luxuriate on the backs of workers. Go OWS!



  22. sasquatch
    Report Abuse
    sasquatch - December 11, 2011 2:15 pm
    What's wrong with a Porta-Potty or two? Meanwhile, decades ago, was there a "million-dollar crapper" on the Northway? Maybe the Clifton Park rest stop? Bolton throws too much money around. As far as taxing the rich goes, that will be to recover from the GW Bush economic disaster/meltdown, the Pataki disaster, and across-the-USA state disasters. Tax the rich starting 11 months ago, back to 01/01/2011, in both NY State and the USA. Restore Bill Clinton's tax rates, now. Restore sanity and financial responsibility. The Republican "conservatives" are fiscally irresponsible self-serving crooks.
  23. Sceptical Mass
    Report Abuse
    Sceptical Mass - December 11, 2011 11:34 am
    So put a couple of port-a-potties near enough to the parking lot for a pump truck to have access to clean them out for about 100 years for the same cost.
  24. boston
    Report Abuse
    boston - December 11, 2011 10:23 am
    So, Just tax the rich to pay for it Don't address the problem, just tax the rich. BOTH political parties have proven they are no longer competent. Let's start a recall and referedum amendment for NYS dispite the opposition we will get from BOTH political parties.
  25. Constitutionalist
    Report Abuse
    Constitutionalist - December 11, 2011 9:05 am
    Just another sign of what's wrong with government and the people elected to run it. Few if any, have a clue...about anything they are doing, so they turn to "experts" to guide them. The thing is most of these "experts" have some sort of vested interest in fleecing the taxpayers out of money. The planning firm will now redesign the bathroom at additional cost no doubt. Why not "tell" this firm to design a basic bathroom for say, $25,000 or don't come back with a plan or a bill for services. But, please, Bolton board, where is your common sense at anyway?? Entire homes are built (with 3 full baths)for less than $345,000 and sell for Half a million and up. You could buy a modular bath-house with full showers and pump it out regularly for less than this insane amount. Just because you get a grant doesn't require you think crazy and be led around by the nose by high priced consultants. Do some of your own research and thinking. That's why you're there.
  26. observer11
    Report Abuse
    observer11 - December 11, 2011 5:49 am
    As with all Guvment funded projects it is not what the cost is, it is what are they willing to spend? Of course, if you wanted to build a project similar to this a full environmental review would have to be conducted. I have an idea, portable toilets. We are broke. A $350,000 bathroom will certainly blossom to a half a million and we simply cannot afford it. And then there is the ongoing cost and disposal of paper towels, electricity for the lights and hand soap. Let 'em pee in the lake.
  27. OldGuy
    Report Abuse
    OldGuy - December 11, 2011 4:13 am
    The Actual Work --- About 15 tradesmen employed a few weeks each over a period of 2 months = $65,000 --- done.

    The Administration --- +50 men employed a month each over a period of 3 years for building design, studies, approvals, administration hearings, environmental impact studies, reviews, hearings, approvals, state construction departments studies, reviews, hearings, approvals, labor department studies, reviews, hearings, approvals, legal department studies, reviews, hearings, approvals, local government studies, reviews, hearings, approvals = $280,000 in overhead costs --- done.

    Total = $345,000

    Government work, --- priceless !
  28. HEBarber
    Report Abuse
    HEBarber - December 11, 2011 1:59 am
    Well Ken it reminds me of the old saying-"You can't hold something you don't have in your hand"!

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