More people showed up at a property tax meeting with Grafton Township Assessor Al Zielinski Wednesday night than attended the AFSCME union rally in the Woodstock Square.
The Lakewood Village Board indicated last month that it would invited Zielinski to a Board meeting, but, so far, that has not occurred.
This meeting was sponsored by newly-elected Lakewood Village Trustee Paul Serwatka, who is also the Grafton Township Republican Committeeman.
He provided the following press release about the meeting:
Lakewood Tax-Fighter Begins His Attack
Town Hall Meeting takes aim at “Astronomical” Property Taxes
Nearly 100 residents attended an inaugural Town Hall meeting tonight hosted by Village of Lakewood’s newest elected trustee, Paul Serwatka with guest speaker, Grafton Township Assessor, Al Zielinski.
Serwatka who dubs himself the “Lakewood Tax-Fighter” announced “This is the first in a series of meetings I have planned as we work together to create a more informed and engaged community.”
Serwatka spoke of the underlying factors that create what he called “astronomical property taxes” in McHenry County, stating that while it is true the tax assessor plays a significant role in establishing the equalized assessed values of our homes, of greater concern should be the individual taxing bodies and the levies they continue to raise.
Serwatka went on to say,
“These taxing bodies such as the school districts, park districts and municipal districts are not just some abstract, invisible entity that appears on your tax bill.
“They are all comprised of a handful of actual people, who are elected by us – and these people make decisions that affect us greatly and directly impact the amount of property taxes we pay.
“It’s time we take a look at the individuals who sit on these boards as well as their views on spending our money.”
Emotions grew high and a few tempers flared as assessor, Al Zielinski guided the crowd through a PowerPoint presentation which covered the broad strokes of how the equalized assessed value of a property is determined.
One resident spoke of how his property taxes increased 36% in one year.
Serwatka told the crowd early on
“I fully expect you will all leave this meeting tonight just as angry and frustrated as when you came.”
He went on to say “tonight was just the first logical starting point in the series of meetings I have planned in the upcoming weeks & months.”
“My hope is that these meetings, collectively, will create a level of awareness and understanding and help to formulate a self-evident plan of action which will not only help effect a sustainable level of property tax that we all can afford, but will also ensure a more responsible, accountable local government.”
To stay informed on issues affecting the village of Lakewood and surrounding areas, send your contact information to: Paul@LakewoodTaxFighter.com.
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Meanwhile those more interested in the Black Hawk game were in RedTail Golf Club’s bar:
Others were finishing up rounds of golf: