Building debate rages in county
December 5, 2012
The Butler County commissioners still are debating whether to construct a new office building while the design process is under way. Commissioner Jim Eckstein said at last Wednesday’s meeting that the county should hold public hearings to determine what residents want. Commissioners Bill McCarrier and Dale Pinkerton didn’t support his idea. Eckstein accused his colleagues of wanting to erect a new building next to the government center without ensuring there’s sufficient funding for the estimated $10 million construction costs and another $7 million in financing. “We never saw if we had any money to build a new building,” he said. McCarrier disagreed, saying proposed financing indicates the county can pay for a new building without affecting property taxes. He said the county’s debt will have a $2 million net reduction even with the expense of a new building by the time the commissioners’ terms end in 2015. “The debt will be less,” he said. Eckstein said the project still would incur new debt the county would not have otherwise. “That is voodoo economics,” he said. McCarrier pointed out interest rates and construction costs are the lowest he’s seen. The commissioners voted to award two contracts facilitating the building design. Construction Engineering Consultants of Pittsburgh will do geotechnical services for $19,150, and Land Surveyors of Butler will do surveying services for $5,000. Eckstein opposed both contracts.