Lakewood Swears In Trustees, Talk Taxes, Gravel

Carl Davis taking his oath.

Carl Davis taking his oath.

The Lakewood Village Trustees elected last month were sworn in Tuesday night.

Re-elected were Carl Davis and Ken Santowski.

They were joined by newcomer Paul Serwatka, who got more votes than any other candidate and did so without having his name on the ballot.

Serwatka ran as a write-in candidate, basing his campaign on opposition to the Tax Increment Financing District and the proposed SportsPlex.

Neither subject was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Ken Santowski is sworn in.

Ken Santowski is sworn in.

In public comment, however, four to five residents complained about their property tax increases.

All were from the Grafton Township portion of old Lakewood, now called “The Gates.”

One woman said that an extra $150 a month would force her to move from Lakewood.

“The assessor is forcing me out of Lakewood,” she said.

Another person said his taxes had jumped 58%.

Paul Serwatka joined the village board.

Paul Serwatka joined the village board.

A third spoke of a 36% increase.

Taxes increased on Hampshire Lane from $910 to $3,512.

One resident thought that might be because of the number of double lots, but pointed out that the second lot cannot be developed.

On Richmond Lane, home taxes went down from $900 to $2,500.

Assessments in Algonquin Township were lowered to about 96% of what the assessor said they were worth, while those in Grafton Township were raised by 1.011%.

These changes were made by the McHenry County Supervisor of Assessments to equalize assessments among townships.

Erin Smith

Erin Smith

Village President Erin Smith explained that Lakewood had the lowest municipal tax rate in McHenry County, that increases such as were noted would be the result of real estate assessment changes.

After a fair amount of discussion, it was agreed that Grafton Township Assessor Al Zielinski would be asked to address a meeting of the village board and that residents would be notified of when he would appear.

Algonquin Township Assessor Bob Kunz would also be invited.

Property east of Meridian Street is in Algonquin Township, that to the west is in Grafton Township.

Vehicle parking pads on the public rights-of-way in the Gates was discussed.

Board members seemed headed toward requiring so-call permeable pavers, except for residences that already have gravel installed.

Smith seemed to like the “uniformity.”

Staffers pointed out that gravel gets in the road, which is dangerous to biker riders and walkers.

I suggested that one of the reasons that people moved to my neighborhood was because of the lack of uniformity.

I also asked why the Board was favoring the most expensive option when people had previously been complaining about the increased real estate tax burden.

A woman who bikes South Shore Drive revealed that water from the two new homes between Gate 15 and 19 with pavers does not soak in, but, instead ends up on the road, pretty much icing it over during winter.

Gravel, on the other hand, keeps the water off the street.

Leigh Rawson

Leigh Rawson

The Board decided to allow gravel to be used, but wanted it to look nice.

Research will be conducted on different types of gravel and the ordinance brought back for re-consideration.

There was also discussion of whether or not to require those managing establishments serving liquor and their serving employees to take a three-hour, $14.95 online training course recommended by Police Chief Leigh Rawson.

The Board split 3-3 with Carl Davis, Gene Fuery and Beverly Thomas being in favor, while newcomer Paul Serwatka sided with Jeff Iden and Ken Santowski.

Village President Smith, the town’s Liquor Commission, who put the item on the agenda broke the tie and the ordinance passed.

Smith reported on her and Village Administrator Catherine Peterson’s visit to Springfield to talk to Illinois Department of Transportation Officials.

Accompanied by State Senators Karen McConnaughay and Pam Althoff, plus State Rep. Jack Franks, the Route 47-Route 176 intersection improvement was as “a perfect project.”

Smith said, “The meeting went very well.”

She explained she thought it was just a matter of “a capital budget.”

Peterson relayed that information she picked up indicated that instead of municipal and county income tax revenue sharing being cut in half that it would decrease 5-10%.

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