Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Great Big Flushing Sound

Is for the Seattle taxpayers' money:
Seattle has officially washed its hands of the five self-cleaning toilets.
The toilets cost the city $5 million.

They sold on eBay Thursday evening for $12,549.

All five were sold to Racecar Supply, of Rochester, in Thurston County, with winning bids ranging from $1,625 to $4,899 per commode, said Pat Miller, spokesman for Seattle's Fleets and Facilities Department.

"What a buy," said Racecar Supply owner Butch Behn. "Wouldn't you think it's a really good deal, considering what they paid for them? It was a gift."

Behn said he likely will install at least two of the toilets at South Sound Speedway, a racetrack the company owns in Tenino. He said he might sell the others, perhaps keeping one for parts.

"I'm thinking they're pretty spendy to repair," Behn said.

...."We sold them for what the market determined them to be worth," said Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities. "Did we get hosed? I'm not sure."

Miller said he wasn't disappointed with the return on the city's $5 million investment.

"The loss is not in the sale of them," he said. "The loss was in the maintenance of them for years and years and years, in my opinion."

The city paid more than it planned to take care of the toilets. Workers had to clean the stalls after trash clogged the self-cleaning mechanism. Losing the toilets will save the city some $4.5 million on the remainder of its operating contract and in cleaning costs over the next several years.

But the city still has to arrange to remove the toilets, which were closed to the public earlier this month. And it will cost an estimated $250,000 to restore the park sites where the toilets were installed.

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