$2.3 Million Restrooms in Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica is proposing to replace restrooms at the popular Clover Park, but residents are questioning whether the $2.3 million price tag represents tax dollars being flushed.

Driving up the cost is the fact the city must pay prevailing wages, which the City Manager’s Office said will increase construction costs by one-third.

City officials say the cost is an investment that will yield a facility that is accessible, safe, durable and environmentally sustainable.

“The design life of these is probably 30 years,” City Manager Rick Cole said. “These will take a horrific beating over the next 30 years, so they are really designed to be industrial strength.”

The city additionally said comparing costs to other cities is not useful, because Santa Monica is a coastal city and the restrooms get heavy public use.

“I don’t think anybody on staff is happy about these costs,” Cole said. “[But] it’s costly to do business in the public arena. Would we like to hire someone’s uncle and pay them minimum wage by getting people at Home Depot? If we could do that legally there are probably people in the community who would think that would be swell.”

Some at the City Council meeting suggested the city use prefabricated restrooms, which the city estimated would save $1 million, but the lifespan is estimated to be half of the more expensive facilities. (Source: Santa Monica Mirror, July 13.)

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