City Hall Annex debate involves moving money from one taxpayer-funded pocket to the other


QUINCY — Government is complex. Sometimes, more complex than it really should be.

Take, for example, the case of the City of Quincy and Quincy Township debating the future of the City Hall Annex building.

The City of Quincy owns the building at 706 Maine, just across the parking lot to the west of City Hall. The offices of Quincy Township reside in the building along with the City of Quincy’s Planning Department and Two Rivers Regional Council (a quasi-governmental entity), which has some of its staff there, renting at $2,300 a month.

By state law, Quincy Township is charged with three functions:

  • the assessment of real estate property for the basis of local taxation (in conjunction with Adams County);
  • maintenance of roads and bridges outside federal, state, and other local jurisdiction (Quincy Township has no road commissioner);
  • and general assistance program for the indigent.

The Quincy Town Board is made up of the same 14 people who make up the Quincy City Council. Three aldermen — Dave Bauer (chairman), Jeff Bergman and Ben Uzelac — make up the Town Board Committee.

So what’s the problem?

Well, Mayor Mike Troup wants to simply move the Township offices into City Hall once City Hall is renovated. They have extra space since Quincy Police moved next door to the Adams County Jail at 6th and Broadway). City Hall renovations have been discussed, but there’s been no public conversation about an actual plan or cost to any remodeling efforts.

Township Supervisor Maggie Hoyt and Township Assessor Lisa Gasko aren’t thrilled about being in City Hall. They have said the traffic they get from people seeking aid probably requires more space and public traffic than the administration realizes.

Troup has suggested putting the building on the market. He said he has shown the building to a couple of prospective buyers, even though it isn’t on the market. He also said Two Rivers has expressed a desire for more space in the building.

Hoyt said she first expressed interest to the city in the township buying the building last August.

Oh, and the building, which the township is considering buying from the city for $347,000, needs a new roof, windows and other repairs to the tune of another $336,000, according to a structural report done by Architechnics.

The Town Board Committee met Wednesday morning. Troup was in attendance along with Director of Administrative Services Jeff Mays and another alderman, Mike Rein, who isn’t on the committee.

The committee members took exception to the mayor saying they had a conflict in this case because the Town Board members also are aldermen, meaning they are going to vote on selling the building as well as vote on buying the building. Gerald Timmerwilke, longtime attorney for Quincy Township, said this is a standard intergovernmental relationship as accorded by state statute, and there is no conflict.

But at the end of the meeting, the Town Board Committee decided to just send the issue back to the City Council for further discussion on Monday night. The issue already has been tabled twice.

Bergman said regardless of any sale of the building or who is going where, the building must be repaired. That sentiment seemed to be agreed on at the meeting. Also discussed was the city possibly selling the building to the township for a nominal fee (like $1) and putting the rest of the money toward making all of the repairs, as well as continuing its mission of providing financial aid to those people who qualify for it.

Or possibly more money toward housing, since that seems to be the issue du jour among some civic leaders, including the mayor.

The overlapping of city/township in this case is totally unnecessary. This whole issue is a microcosm of why this antiquated form of government needs to be overhauled.

Work together to figure out an overall plan to renovate both buildings, since that appears to be needed. The taxpayer dollars involved are just moving from pocket to pocket, so make a decision that requires the least amount of government red tape and makes everyone happy … or at least make it so everyone can agree with it.

There’s no rush to sell the building, but it needs to be fixed. The ownership issue can be tabled, but any repairs to be done in conjunction with needed work at City Hall should be done. I hear contractors are busy these days.

Come up with the overall plan in broad daylight and do it in the most responsible way for the taxpayer.

I don’t know why we tend to make things more complicated than they are.

J. Robert Gough is publisher of Muddy River News.

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