Posted by on October 9, 2020 5:36 pm

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Categories: Coal Region Newswire Coal Region Newswire 2 Local News

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We’ve been told the restrooms at Schuylkill County Courthouse aren’t the cleanest in the world. In fact, one person described them as “deplorable”.

And further, they believe the public toilets at the Courthouse pose a risk of spreading COVID and any number of contagious diseases.

So, rather than spend a few bucks for a bucket, cleaning solution, and some rags, Schuylkill County Commissioners voted to do what they do best to fix the problem: They threw a ton of money at it. And not just any money. No, they needed to throw some of that CARES Act money at it.

This is an emergency, after all.

It’s a classic government answer to a government problem.

Schuylkill County Spending Nearly a Quarter-Million Bucks to Install Automatic Flushers and Faucets

Precisely, Commissioners approved a motion on Wednesday to spend $238,000 “to install touch-free plumbing toilets and sinks” at several County-owned bathrooms.

The money is going to Antz Energy Systems, of Shenandoah. The contract with Antz runs from Sept. 5 through the end of the year. We’re not aware of any bidding process for this contract.

Even the biggest critics to the Commissioners say these automatic toilets and sinks are needed. But that’s only true if you think the cleanliness of the county government’s facilities are a pressing issue. You have to spend a lot of time at the Courthouse to think this is an important issue.

And it’s only true if you think the only commonly touched areas in a public restroom are the flush handle and sink knobs.

If that were all true, why stop at automatic flushers and faucets? How about:

  • Automatic doors so we don’t have to touch those.
  • Jetpacks so our feet don’t have to touch the floor.
  • Bidets so we don’t have to, ya know …

The so-called upgrades at these county-owned washrooms only do one thing: put peoples’ minds at ease. They don’t actually improve the cleanliness of the restroom itself.

Going in and actually cleaning the bathrooms with a known virus-killing cleaning solution would work much better and be a heck of a lot cheaper. Seriously, how much does peroxide, water, a small bucket, and a few rags cost? Like, $5?

Reckless CARES Act Spending

The CARES Act money was designed to cover the costs a government or government agency incurred in addition to normal budget expenses to help mitigate COVID-19. Most counties also created their own grant programs to help the many small businesses that actually fund county government operations.

But not in Schuylkill County.

Sure, we purchased tens of thousands of dollars in cleaning supplies but if that’s the case, why are the bathrooms so gross?

On top of the lack of logic behind upgrading the johns at the Courthouse with these automatic flushers is the continued reckless and arrogant use of Schuylkill County’s CARES Act allocation of more than $12.7 million.

Nearly half of that money has gone to upgrade the county’s 9-1-1 system in the event of a COVID outbreak that makes the Pottsville HQ inoperable. So, that’s more than $6 million spent in the event an outbreak of a virus happens where there hasn’t been a single case, that we know of, and somehow makes the entire building unusable.

The County also spent about three-quarters of a million bucks to upgrade the HVAC system at Schuylkill County Prison to mitigate COVID, where there have also been 0 cases reported.

And now, in order to mitigate spread of the coronavirus inside the Courthouse and rather than spend a couple bucks – let’s be liberal and say $20 … actually, make it $50 – the County is going to spend $238,000 to install automatic flushers and faucets.

We still don’t know how much of this $12.7 million the County plans (or doesn’t plan) to distribute to small businesses who applied for its super-secret grant program. We do know that grants were going to be capped at $10,000 per business.

So, for the cost of just these automatic bathroom fixtures alone, another 24 small businesses could have gotten money they desperately needed to stay afloat amid these never-ending pandemic restrictions. In just the costs listed above, about 700 businesses could have received $10,000 each in Schuylkill County.

Instead, the county said what we really need is to stop manually flushing the toilets at the Courthouse bathroom and then flushed all that money for small businesses right down the tubes.

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Photo: Coal Region Canary

13 responses to Schuylkill County to Spend $238K for a $5 Problem

  1. Cynthia Fisher October 9th, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Schuylkill County is so greedy. They don’t want to help the little guy. They just want it for themselves and pat themselves say look what we did to make the court house look so good. The commissioners are a joke. I agree with Gary Hess he’s a good guy. Glad I moved out of the county.

    Reply

    • Cheryl T October 18th, 2020 at 7:22 am

      The problem in these scenarios, are the little guy and especially in areas like this. They’ve handed out so much through entitlement programs that when it comes to this obnoxious spending, they expect that ‘little guy’ to turn and look the other way.

      Reply

  2. Taylor Street October 10th, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    Skook courthouse to spend $5 and make the $238000 disappear like the tar covering our potholes.

    Reply

  3. Randy Smith October 10th, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    Why is the cost so hi… Automatic flush units are 300.00 each and auto matic hands free faucets are appro. 30.00 each. Labor and misc. Can’t come to two hundred thousand. And bids are required for such large quotes. Baffle the stupid not the public.

    Reply

    • J D October 11th, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      Because the company antz is in bed with the county. Antz company is way to high in price . Why doesn’t the county put this out for bid like it should be. This county has a bunch of greedy bastards running it and alot of stupid people who goes along with it. Thank God I am moving on to a better place

      Reply

  4. Jack October 10th, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    And the people will vote them in again. This is treason against the people of the county, but even the people of power will do nothing. Every one is scared and afraid of the system.
    Wake up and speak up skook

    Reply

    • Cheryl T October 18th, 2020 at 7:23 am

      The problem in these scenarios, are the little guy and especially in areas like this. They’ve handed out so much through entitlement programs that when it comes to this obnoxious spending, they expect that ‘little guy’ to turn and look the other way.

      Reply

  5. J dunckley October 10th, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    They should spend some of that cash on cleaning and fixing up that jail or tearing it down its disgusting i was offered a job and i refuse to work there rats have better housing and homes and eat better how can you treat anyone in those conditions its beyond disgusting and should be shut down

    Reply

  6. Suzie October 11th, 2020 at 11:26 am

    The bathrooms were not deplorable. I have been in most of them and they are very clean. The water in the automatic faucets is COLD.

    Reply

  7. Deanna sieg October 11th, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    They could have hired 2 full time employees to strictly clean the restrooms. This would have given 2 people full time employment WITH benefits at a much much lower cost per year. In addition more small businesses could have recieved money to keep them afloat…breaks my heart that this money is not being used for its original purpose 💔

    Reply

  8. jon October 11th, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Usually it would be required to go out for bid but i believe with the cares act the normal requirement for public bidding is done away with in order to save time.

    Reply

    • Canary Commenter October 11th, 2020 at 8:42 pm

      They rush this through but leave small businesses that applied for their secret grant program waiting to hear if they’ll get any financial relief from this pot of money. It’s sad.

      Reply

      • Rich Magnani October 12th, 2020 at 5:12 am

        As usual, throw money at a problem, waste, waste, waste the PEOPLE’S money, then turn around, pat themselves on the back and say “Look what we did for the people.” And they didn’t do a damn thing. They should ALL get out and try to live in the real world.

        Reply

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