Commissioners discuss downtown restroom; T-SPLOST projects

Sep 15, 2021

District 4 Commissioner Allison Wright expressed concerns about the cost of a proposed downtown public restroom. Supporters say that it would be a good investment.
Credit ACC

Athens-Clarke County Commissioners debated a proposed downtown public bathroom in their work session yesterday. Putting a public bathroom downtown is an issue which has been on the Commission’s radar for months, and last night, county staff briefed lawmakers on the results of a community survey regarding the proposal.

District 4 Commissioner Allison Wright balked at the cost, which county officials estimate at about $148,000 for construction and $33,000 per year in operating costs.

"We have 29,637 houses that are less than this, and we're talking about devoting property tax that people are paying on an annual basis to the upkeep of this," Wright said.

District 7’s Russell Edwards, who is generally supportive of the idea, pushed back on Wright’s criticism of the cost.

"It is simply expensive to construct things in the downtown of an urban core," Edwards said. "If we were going to build a single-family house downtown, or a residential dwelling- I mean, golly, those are expensive too, downtown. It really is about the location."

The next step for the plan lies with the Commission, who will decide whether to move ahead with the design phase. That vote could come early next month.

Commissioners also discussed the proposed TSPLOST 2023 – an additional 1% sales tax to fund transportation projects. Commissioners plan to submit the proposed tax for the voters’ approval next May, and if approved, collections would begin in 2023, right after the current TSPLOST expires.

For the proposed TSPLOST 2023, county officials brought in a list of 90 project ideas, ranging in cost from under $1 million to nearly $72.5 million.

ACC Commissioners get first crack at the revenue though, and Commissioners are developing their own Commission-designated projects which will be voted on by their colleagues, probably early next month.