City Doesn't Know Cost for Round-the-Clock Guards for Beach Bathrooms

By Katie Honan on January 2, 2014 7:02am 

 A security guard in a private car monitors uninstalled bathrooms on Christmas morning.
A security guard in a private car monitors uninstalled bathrooms on Christmas morning.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ROCKAWAY BEACH — The city still doesn't know how much it will pay for round-the-clock security for multimillion dollar bathrooms destined for the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts despite the fact that guards have been watching over the facilities since the summer, officials said this week.

The Department of Design and Construction revealed Monday that the contract for the security guards who oversee two lots where the toilets are being stored — in Rockaway Beach and Brighton Beach — is still in the process of being hammered out.

"Please be advised that the agency is currently reviewing the contractor’s payment requisition submissions and has not yet accepted a total price for the services mentioned in your FOIL request," the DDC wrote in a letter dated Dec. 30 in which it rejected DNAinfo's Freedom of Information Law request for the total amount that has been spent on bathroom security guards to date.

"The records you seek in your clarified FOIL request are part of recent payment requisitions from the contractor, which will require change order approval from the agency," the response added.

According to the $105 million contract for the shacks with Triton, the cost of security for the 35 restrooms and lifeguard stations slated for 15 sites in Rockaway, on Staten Island and in Brooklyn was supposed to be $3.6 million — at a rate of $238,000 per bathroom site — for the duration of the contract.

However, the time period the contract was supposed to cover was not included in the contract, and the DDC refused to discuss the dates.

The security for the four currently uninstalled shacks — at one site in Brooklyn and another in Queens — was not included in the original contract and the DDC refused to provide an estimate for the additional amount.

It is not clear who is providing the security at the uninstalled bathrooms. Guards — one each in Brooklyn and Queens — sit in unmarked cars and do not wear uniforms.

A project supervisor at Triton said all questions on the project should be directed to the DDC.

All but four of the facilities have been installed, and the city has only given a vague timeline for when the remaining bathrooms will be put in place. The units were slated to be placed along the shorefront after Hurricane Sandy by the DDC.

The shacks drew fire because they were brought in before this year's beach season without community input, ahead of measures that would protect the seaside communities in Rockaway from future storms, such as restoring the boardwalk.

In addition, many of them began to fall apart just months after they were installed.

The Parks Department, which is responsible for the beachfront property where the shacks are located, has said previously that it wants FEMA to foot the bill for repairs to the shacks. It was unclear whether the agency will seek reimbursement for the security costs.

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