Polo City Council waits to sign agreement with Buffalo Township regarding new city/township hall

Construction recently started on the new municipal building for the city of Polo and Buffalo Township, located at 118 N. Franklin Ave. Here, workers pour concrete and work on the base of the $1.93 million building on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

POLO – Polo City Council members held off signing an intergovernmental agreement with Buffalo Township regarding the new city/township hall during their April 16 meeting.

Both entities are contributing to the cost of the $1.93 million building, located at 118 N. Franklin Ave., about 2 blocks north of the current city and township halls.

According to the agreement, which would be for a 10-year period, the city of Polo would take all responsibility for building maintenance, as well as most of the utilities, Polo City Attorney M. Thomas Suits said.

“It also says, if the city says they don’t want to renew [the agreement], the city would have to repay the township the $250,000 they put into the property,” Suits said.

Council members expressed concern over the amount of responsibility the city had in the agreement as it was written.

“That doesn’t seem 100% fair to me,” Alderman Tommy Bardell said. “The internet and phone stuff, we have to have that anyway, but is there any way to put provisions in there that they’re responsible for their area and stuff?”

Mayor Doug Knapp pointed out that the township’s allocated office space is much smaller than the city’s, and Alderman Randy Schoon noted that township officials wouldn’t be present at the site as often as city staff and officials.

“When I asked the attorney to come up with an intergovernmental agreement, this is basically what he came up with,” Buffalo Township Supervisor Phil Fossler said. “I had questions about it, too. I said, ‘Why is this on there?’ But the other thing is, if we’re only there 10 years, that’s not hardly going to pay our investment back.”

Suits suggested adding a clause prorating the amount the city would have to pay back over time. Schoon agreed.

“You could do it on 20% [increments] and walk it over 50 years,” Schoon said.

Both the city and township struggle with buildings that are old and too small.

When the Polo City Council goes into closed session, attendees must wait outdoors until council member finish discussions. City staff and officials also have been taking note of the leaky roof for several years.

The new municipal building will be 4,800 square feet. It will include off-street parking, which neither Polo City Hall nor Buffalo Township Hall currently has.

Aldermen Joey Kochsmeier, Jim Busser and Keith Chesnut were absent from Monday’s meeting.

In other business, the City Council:

  • Unanimously voted to accept an $18,000 bid from Clearview Pools Inc., of South Beloit, to paint the outdoor swimming pool at Keator Park.
  • Unanimously voted to ask the Illinois Department of Transportation to close state Route 26/Division Avenue from Colden Street to West Fairmont Road from 9 to 10:30 a.m. May 27 for a Memorial Day parade hosted by Patric Fegan American Legion Post No. 83.
  • Unanimously voted to pay Sjostrom & Sons Inc. $99,032.98 for work on constructing the building to house municipal well No. 5, and Willett Hofmann & Associates Inc. $12,942.20 for construction engineering services for the project. The funds will come from an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan.
  • Unanimously voted to hire 18 lifeguards for the Keator Park swimming pool and nine employees for the park’s concession stand for the 2024 season. Lifeguards 18 years or older will be paid $14 an hour, veteran lifeguards younger than 18 will be paid $12.50 an hour and new lifeguards $12 an hour.
  • Heard a first reading of the proposed fiscal year 2024-25 working budget.
  • Heard a first reading of a commercial façade grant program for Polo’s Business Development District.
  • Heard a first reading of an ordinance allowing the city to issue $1.25 million in general obligation bonds for construction of the new Polo City/Buffalo Township Hall.
Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.