– says renting one portable toilet at $82,000 per month more feasible that buying one
The issue of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) renting portable toilets at $82,080 per unit every month, made it to the Council’s weekly Statutory Meeting that was held yesterday at City Hall.
The issue made the headlines recently after it was revealed that the “cash-strapped” Council would have shelled out over $1.8M for the rental of portable toilets for the month of March alone this year.
Despite the fact that the cost to rent one facility is the actual cost for a brand-new unit, Town Clerk Royston King, says he does not see what the “fuss” is about.
One of these facilities is at the residence of King.
King noted that “it must be understood” that these facilities are for the constabulary and security personnel based at certain locations as well as those citizens, particularly children, that utilise play parks and recreational facilities.
King said that in the absence of such facilities, those individuals would be forced to use nearby drains and open spaces as toilets.
“So I don’t understand what the fuss is about. I don’t understand what is the fuss. If this municipality is seeking to go forward with the green economy and is seeking to ensure that the integrity of the natural environment in which our people are living in, I don’t understand what the fuss is about if we are providing washrooms at that cost. If you weigh the cost of the dignity and pride and the public health of our people, you cannot calculate it in monetary terms,” the Town Clerk told the Council.
Despite this publication showing that a portable unit can be sourced from an online source for almost the same price that one is being rented for, the Town Clerk shot this notion down, saying that it would not be feasible.
“Purchasing portable washrooms is one thing, procuring allied equipment to properly maintain them is another. There are other costs attached to the maintenance of those facilities, which makes renting appear more feasible at this point in time,” King noted in a correspondence submitted to Kaieteur News.
On the issue of constructing permanent sanitary facilities at the various locations, King said that one has to take into consideration the challenges that may arise.
“You have to think about the availability of space to do it and you have to think about the expenses – financing – and at the end of the day, you have to think about ownership.” King said.
Director of the Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department, Walter Narine, told the council that the $82,080 per month for each unit is indeed being paid to the private companies.
Narine said that he would have advised council – during the month of March – that beginning from April 1 of this year, portable toilets would be withdrawn.
Narine said that currently, the council is only paying one company, for four portable toilets.
The Director said that two of these facilities are located at the Merriman Mall for the kids’ play-park; one at the Kitty Market and one at the Town Clerk’s residence.
These facilities are being serviced five times per week at an estimate cost of $3,600 per day, he said.
“They have to come extract the waste; they have to put back the dispensers, the soap liquid, they have to put back the toilet (paper) rolls. So these are the services that we paid for,” Narine informed.
Meanwhile, City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green expressed concerns over the articles that were carried by this publication on the issue.
As it relates to the portable toilet at King’s residence, Chase-Green said the Council will have to make a decision on the way forward. She noted, however, that there is also the possibility of renegotiating with the private companies.
Whether these portable toilets can be purchased, the Council will have to make that decision, she said.
Chase-Green stressed that the issue must be addressed, since it is putting a dent in the M&CC’s purse.
Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, reminded the council that when the matter came up a few months ago, he had queried the expense and suggested that the rental being paid for the toilet, could build a facility at King’s residence.
“Take a month or two or three month’s worth of rentals and build a facility at the Town Clerk’s residence to get away from this recurrent monthly cost. And I will stand by that suggestion ladies and gentlemen. Of course you’ve got to have facilities for the guards. So instead of spending this money on a recurrent basis, let us tighten our belt and wherever the facility can be built, let us go ahead and do that and move on,”
King told the council that he does not have the space in his yard to build a permanent facility.
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