Part 3 – Willson on Lakewood SportsPlex & TIF Documents

This is third installment in a series by bond analyst Steve Willson:

Notes on the Lakewood TIF FOIA dump 5/27/15

Steve Willson

Steve Willson

9 Now we know why [Gary] Sexson said the SportsPlex was “currently dead”. See the 3/20/15 email from [Catherine] Peterson to the Board noting there was not sufficient support for the project for it to go forward.

A few days later, she writes,

“I would respectfully request that no mention be made of the sports complex… how this message is conveyed publicly is very important in terms of our residents” (email 3/24/15 Peterson to board)

I am amazed that the Village Manager would ask board members not to openly and freely discuss a major issue, and that she would seek to manage impressions for the voters.  I’m also intrigued that she figures all the board members will go along.  So much for transparency.

So much for our legislators actually debating the public’s business in public meetings!

She then goes on to state there is not enough support on the board to move the project forward (email 3/26/15 Peterson to Sexson).

Erin Smith

Erin Smith

Clearly they wanted more time to convince opposing board members.  Note the date of the emails and the meeting; it sounds very much like an attempt to manage information going to the voters just before the election.

10 – Then on 4/2/15 Erin Smith says the SportsPlex is NOT dead, and Mike Turner, the Woodstock city council member who is also involved with the SportsPlex, emails Erin Smith to ask what’s going on and does she need help with the Governor, because he can help there.


Part 3 – Willson on Lakewood SportsPlex & TIF Documents — 5 Comments

  1. It is very disturbing that Woodstock City is giving school district 200 a big targeted donation specifically to buy Artificial Turf. (To replace natural grass on a functional sports field).

    Woodstock City tax rate is .66% of total home value, which is a very high comparative rate

    Homeowners in Woodstock pay a property tax rate of 4.6% of total home value.

    It is stunning that Woodstock spends money on Artificial Turf for a school district with $150 million of debt and a property tax rate of 2.7% of total home value.

    Is there a connection between Artificial Turf installation and the Sportsplex team?

  2. Who is Mike Turner and what does he do?

    Shame on Smith and the village board for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of their taxpayers and for even dreaming this crap up in the first place.

  3. Wow!

    I wonder how many additional sport complexes he’s been a part of?

    If so is it still viable?

  4. Mike Turner is an owner and managing partner of Sports City Academy in Woodstock, along with being on the Woodstock city council, VP of Outdoor Operations at the proposed Chicagoland SportsPlex in Lakewood, President of the Woodstock Lightning Travel Baseball Club, and self proclaimed ties to current Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

    The Woodstock Recreation Department is a component unit of the City of Woodstock, and thus not a separate taxing district.

    The City of Woodstock is justifying city expenditures on astroturf to be installed on school district property (Woodstock High School) with an agreement that city residents could use the field when it’s not being used by the school district.

    This would be a good time for someone to write an article about the amount of property taxes the county bills for (and receives).

    For Woodstock in 2013 it was about $9,305,408. > County Government > Departments J-Z > Treasurer > Distribution Reports

    So if Woodstock provides $150,000 for astro turf to be installed on public school district property, that’s about 1/10th of 1% of the revenue, .016 to be more precise ($150,000 / $9,305,408).

    So if a resident pays $700 in property taxes for the City of Woodstock (including pension and library district), the ratio of that resident’s taxes to the City of Woodstock to the overall taxes collected by the City of Woodstock is $700 / $9,305,408 = .000075.

    $150,000 x .000075 = $11.25.

    So that property owner would by $11.25 for the astroturf.

    To some people, $11.25 is not a lot of money.

    To others it is, because about 25% of the people in the US have no emergency savings.

    Most property owners have no clue the amount of unfunded pension liabilities, retiree healthcare liabilities, and bond debt allocated to their property.

    That math should be mandatory for students all 4 years in high school, plus on every single taxing district website, plus the state and Federal government for income taxes.

    The amount of debt per taxpayer is more important than debt per capita, because not all people pay taxes.

    Look at the big long term picture as to what is sustainable.

    So if Woodstock wants to spend money on astro turf, what is the funding status of its pensions (police, fire, IMRF).

    If the pensions are unaffordable at taxation acceptable to taxpayers, what is being done to claw back pension benefit hikes and reign in salary hikes.

    Those should be every day conversations in the newspapers and amongst people.

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