Outhouse Upgrade: Flush Toilets Cost Taxpayers $300K

How much should government pay to update an outhouse like that in the photo below? People in northern Minnesota are calling “foul” on a recent proposal.outhouse

A rustic outhouse in Northern Minnesota is about to get a major upgrade to the tune of $300,000.

According to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the old-fashioned outhouse near a boat ramp in Crane Lake, Minn., will be removed and replaced with a modern john. It will connect with a new sewage treatment facility as part of a million-dollar expansion.

The pricy toilet was not requested by the state’s Department of Natural Resources, according to the report, even though it sits on DNR land. It will upgrade a pit outhouse and include flushable toilets.

Visitors to the lake cite stench from the current biff on site.

Tax Dollars ‘Flushed’ Away?

Rep. David Dill championed the cause, sliding through funding for the sewage line with a one-time appropriation of surplus taconite tax revenue. The distribution has been criticized by the Office of the Legislative Auditor because there’s no application process.

“Our communities love us because we can do this kind of thing,” Dill told the Star Tribune. “This is about water quality and protecting our water for future generations.”

Some residents are calling this foul spending that flushes tax dollars down the toilet.

“It’s a complete waste of tax dollars,” Brent Bystrom, whose parents live nearby, told TimberJay.com. “This process is being driven more by politics than what is good for the environment.”

The Star Tribune reported the $300,000 earmarked for the restroom comes from motorboat gas taxes, watercraft licenses and fines. We could think of better ways to spend this money for improving people’s experiences in the outdoors.

“It stinks on many fronts actually,” Bystrom said. “I can see what this group is trying to do. They’ve got a greatly underutilized wastewater treatment plant. It’s very inefficient when you don’t have the volume. It’s very inefficient and costly. Their whole plan is to expand the reach of this system.”

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Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie’s Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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