I read the July 5 article about Butler County Commissioner Jim Eckstein’s Evans City shack in disgust, but not disbelief.
The saga of his investment in what could become a crack house reflects a lack of judgment in both fiscal matters and the construction business.
The fiscal irresponsibility on a house he bought with a bid of $815 two years ago is evident: Eckstein bought a worthless, abandoned property that had been flooded and that is unsafe and needs to be razed. Also, letting the property sit vacant for years, with no repair or maintenance, shows a lack of motivation as well as a naiveté regarding renovation/construction, because Eckstein thought he could repair and retrofit a house that should be torn down.
Why did he buy the property in 2010 and let it sit and rot into more unattended decay for two years? He now conveniently blames a defamation lawsuit filed this year, according to the July 5 article. Really?
In short, this unsafe eyesore is a community disgrace, and most contractors probably would have opted for demolition, in respect to Evans City residents’ safety and welfare.
Evans City and Butler County need to take swift, decisive action on the property.
Moreover, this debacle exposes a potential problem for the county. When it was preparing to study the county’s office space needs, the questions of building, purchasing or leasing became the focus. A citizens committee was appointed to study the situation; the other two commissioners sought qualified, experienced experts for the task.
However, Eckstein appointed himself to the committee because of his so-called expertise in construction. Two experts on the subject were found, and they attended the first committee meeting. However, both resigned abruptly after listening to Eckstein’s diatribes.
Since then, both have filed a comprehensive report reflecting their expertise and years of experience.
But, Eckstein wants the county to buy a dilapidated building in downtown Butler.
An expert Eckstein is not, as reflected by his irresponsible purchase of the Evans City property.
Thus it is clear that taxpayers should not allow Eckstein to make decisions on county building or renovation needs. His track record is not reflective of either expertise or experience in commercial construction.
Commissioners Bill McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton confirmed they have not reached any decisions on expansion of county office space. However, Eckstein seems to relish the idea of spreading false rumors that the issue already has been decided.