Marengo News Briefs


After a nearly three-year tenure as Marengo police chief, and 24 years with the municipality’s department, Rich Solarz announced his retirement in a Mar. 19 notification on Marengo’s social media site. The effectuation is slated for May 10, and will formally end an overall 29- year career in law enforcement, which included a previous affiliation as a deputy with the Mc Henry County Sheriff’s Department. Solarz succeeded former chief Joe Hallman in June 2016 on an interim basis, and later in Nov., the full city council approved his permanent appointment, on a unanimous vote. He began with the Marengo department in 1993, and served in positions from patrol personnel to Supervisor of Dispatch and Patrol.

In the social media statement, “Solarz said, “Working alongside the brave and devoted officers, and non-sworn personnel, of the Marengo Police Department has truly been an honor that I will take with me, for a lifetime. The men and women of the Marengo Police Department represent all that is good with this profession. I know they will continue to be the guardians for the citizens of this great community.” When contacted, Solarz outlined some of his plans for retirement. “As an avid fisherman, I am still hoping to catch my first Muskie in Wisconsin, after six years…that’s my goal. They say it is the fish of 1,000 casts, and I am up to around 20,000. I am a bass fisherman, and take a trip to Canada once a year, with half the time spent angling for Walleye. I’m also a hack golfer, just trying to make it through the course.”

Solarz had considered Marengo to be home for more than 20 years, and enjoyed the community. “I appreciate the service of Chief Solarz over the last few years, and we are sorry to see him go,” said Marengo City Manager Josh Blakemore. “He felt it was time for him to retire, and I enjoyed working with him.”


The Marengo City Council unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Woodstock for internet technology services and building inspections, during its Mar. 11 meeting. The 8-0 vote affirmed a “best option” search, as Woodstock currently conducts building inspections for Marengo. The hourly rates for the IT and building inspector services are set at $70 per hour, and billed in 15-minute increments. A 30-day written notice by either party is needed for the agreement’s termination.

“We passed our side of the intergovernmental agreement Mar. 5, as part of a consent agenda, and it was unanimous, “said Woodstock City Manager Roscoe Stelford. “We’re happy with the agreement and it only solidifies the relationship between the two cities.”


The city council reviewed miscellaneous funds regarding the draft for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Budget which included an increase for the Police Pension Fund item, during its Mar. 25 session. Due to the tax levy amount, a slight increase amount of $38,487 which is obtained through the municipality’s property taxes, will be applied to the pension fund and ending with a total of $342,138 in contributions.

Additionally, $150,000 from the city’s General Fund is being allocated, bringing the total to $492,138 for the city’s overall contribution, for the 2019-20 Budget. The intangible item is the recommended state of Illinois insurance amount that has yet to be forwarded. “We don’t know what the state insurance recommended amount is, and we’re hoping to have the information in the next couple of months,” said City Manager Josh Blakemore. “We are increasing the overall amount, where last year during Fiscal Year 2018-19, the amount was $453,291.”

In related news, Chicago-based S & P Global Ratings Inc. has upgraded the municipality’s outlook to “A+/ Stable,” from the negative rating it held, on its existing General Obligation Bonds largely on the basis of how the net pension liability has been handled. “The outlook revision reflects our view of the progress the city has made…associated with its single-employer police pension plan, which we believe has been meaningful and should forestall any further credit deterioration,” according to the report.