Nearly $200,000 public restroom coming to downtown Moscow

What is this, a gold-plated Trump-style bathroom? You can get a lot of commode for $233,644

After months and months of deliberation, the Moscow City Council has finally decided to move forward with the construction of a public restroom downtown.

The council on Monday night approved a base bid from Golis Construction in the amount of $198,500. The council also approved a construction administration services agreement with Design West Architects for $8,550.

Parks and Recreation Director Dwight Curtis said $197,250 has been set aside for the bathroom, which will be constructed in the Jackson Street parking lot near Fourth Street. Of that amount, $20,000 will come from the Moscow Urban Renewal Agency and $10,000 from a private donor

Curtis said during a Moscow Public Works Finance Committee meeting last week that the $30,000 sum from the MURA and private donor would only be allocated if the Design West architecture design is used.

Still, once required fees are added, the total cost of the project could reach $233,644, leaving a shortfall of $36,394.

The shortfall could be covered through the General Capital Projects Fund in the fiscal year 2017 budget with City Council approval.

Four out of six City Council members rejected the bathroom bids in April, when the lowest bid came in at $191,600. The amount included an $8,000 contingency fee.

So what changed, now that the bid is higher? 

Depending on Golis Construction’s schedule, Curtis said the project can start as soon as permits are approved and he is given a notice to proceed.

Curtis said the goal is to make the restroom available for the public before the first Farmers Market in the spring.

Four out of the present five City Councilors approved the bid Monday night, with Councilman John Weber casting the lone dissenting vote. Councilman Walter Steed was absent.

Weber said the bids have increased since the first bid came in but the city is not receiving anything more for the money it plans to spend. He said there are alternative and less expensive designs the city could select that would still provide a public bathroom.

“I’m not against a downtown restroom,” Weber said. “I’m against the cost of this downtown restroom.”

Seems like Weber is the only one with common sense on the city council.