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What, no gold-plated toilet seats? 

The SLO City Council approved the use of $612,500 from various funds to replace a pair of decrepit bathrooms at the Laguna Lake dog park. The expense, more than $306,000 per bathroom, was explained by staff, who said the bathrooms will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and include lighting and design features that discourage vandalism. Still, several people at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting seemed to consider the price exorbitant.

In an e-mail to the City Council, Brett Cross, who lives in the Laguna Lake area, asked: “Does anyone think that spending $306,250 for one bathroom is just a little bit outrageous? Anybody? It’s more than just shameful, it shows a complete lack of regard for taxpayers' money.”

Cross addressed the council at the meeting, asking whether they had considered purchasing a prefabricated building, which cost considerably less than designing and building a custom restroom.

In fact, the city hired an architect to design the restrooms, which look very much like other park restrooms. The walls are cinderblock with stone veneers, and feature such accessories as a surface-mounted hand dryers and stainless steel grab bars. 

The staff report is vague about exactly how the $612,500 figure was derived, and staff offered little explanation at the meeting beyond  noting the ADA compliance. A project engineer did not respond to calls as of press time.

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