Bathroom renovation cost causes controversy

BLANCHESTER — At Thursday’s Blanchester Village Council meeting, council member Tyler McCollister abruptly left the meeting after the council approved a $23,594 renovation for the men’s bathroom in the village municipal building.

Don Gephart, chair of the finance committee, told village council that the finance committee had approved the renovation amount earlier that day.

“It was recommended that we go ahead and get this done,” said Gephart.

He added they would be receiving $2,000 from the food pantry because they felt the bathrooms should be handicap-accessible, according to Gephart.

“I would like to suggest that … we don’t do this until next year (after January),” he said. “So that when we pay it’ll be in next year’s budget.”

According to the quote provided by Blanchester Fiscal Officer Cyndi Vonderhaar, the job description lists that it would hang drywall in the bathroom, paint the bathroom, replace the entrance door, remove old tile, and add two new urinals, a new sink and counter-top, new toilet, and new bathroom stall.

The council approved the recommendation by a vote of 4-2 with McCollister and council member William Garner voting against it.

McCollister told the News Journal he agreed the bathroom needed repair but didn’t approve of them doing it now and the way they were doing it.

“I stand by what I did,” said McCollister. “I just couldn’t be in there any longer.”

As to whether or not he would resign from the council, he hadn’t decided yet.

Mayor John Carman told the News Journal he felt there were more pressing issues for the village.

“The bathroom has minimum public use. We’re open to the public but we’re not like a business where people come in frequently,” said Carman, adding he felt the women’s bathroom needed more attention than the men’s bathroom.