Got a letter from my Lakewood Village President today.
For the first time I can remember, she signed it “Mary Erin Smith.”
Before the signature line I remember was “Erin.” (See 12-30-15 letter below, for example.)
The topic of this letter was the proposed conversion of Turnberry Country Club into a condo development.
The following articles may provide some useful background:
- 12-15-15 Turnberry Country Club May Have Found Savior, 240 Condos Planned
- 12-17-15 Turnberry POA Turns Thumbs Down on 240 Condo Plan at Country Club
- 12-16-15 More Details on the Turnberry Resort
- 12-30-15 Lakewood’s Erin Smith’s Winter Letter
- 1-26-16 Lakewood TIF Meeting (from Trustee Paul Serwatka)
Maybe the First Class letter that just arrived was in response to this email 1-30-16 email from Trustee Paul Serwatka. I did not publish it previously.
To my neighbors, fellow residents and fellow village board members:
In my short time as a Lakewood Village Trustee, I have spoken out, on many occasion, of the fiduciary duty we, as trustees, have – as well as to whom it is that we owe this fiduciary duty. THE RESIDENTS!
I have since had many occasions where I find myself quite perplexed, even appalled, by the behavior, actions and inactions of my fellow board members e.g.:
- FOIA requests revealing disturbing email communications.
- Assertions that the state can mandate how trustees are to vote.
- Enacting policies and taxing residents based on documentation that board members acknowledge they have never seen or doesn’t exist.
- Intentionally evading the efforts and requests of residents wishing to have discussion on major issues.
- Knowingly and intentionally enacting policies that put residents at undue financial risk.
To demonstrate this, we need only look at the recent January 26th village board meeting.
I believe the actions, as well as inactions, of trustees, Furey, Thomas, Davis, Iden and Santowski, along with President Smith at the January 26th village board meeting were a flagrant example of a board of trustees that has either lost it’s way, is confused as to it’s fiduciary duties, is grossly incompetent, or perhaps something worse.
I challenge each of these trustees to stand before the residents (and I will stand as well) and explain their actions at this meeting, particularly:
1. After multiple requests, by multiple residents, on multiple occasions, to have an opportunity for a two-way discussion with the board regarding new information uncovered in a lengthy FOIA request by residents’ attorneys, regarding the Turnberry/RedTail Expansion/Development –each of these trustees intentionally refused to entertain a motion to allow residents to discuss this issue openly with board members.
In refusing to allow this motion, each trustee knowingly, and intentionally, forbid the residents’ simple request to have an open dialogue with the board.
I challenge each of these trustees to justify their intentional efforts to silence residents.
I further challenge each trustee to explain how they believe their actions in this matter were in anyway in the spirit of good government.
To simply say “We had no more information to give” is not an excuse!
2. To trustees: Furey, Thomas, Davis and Iden –
By voting in favor (and Iden’s abstention) to the Dist-200 Intergovernmental Agreement, these trustees knowingly and intentionally placed the substantial burden and tremendous potential risk, on Lakewood residents, of having to pay approx. $8700 per year/per child (plus annual increases to allow for inflation) for the education of any children who may come to reside within the TIF Dist. This burden, of course, would be for the life of the TIF – 23 to 35 years.
Each of these trustees, along with our village President, acknowledged the risk and echoed the hollow promise “We would never allow for any residential development with children in this area, but, we can NOT speak as to what future boards may do.” And with this, each of these trustees voted to assume this tremendous risk, on behalf of the unsuspecting taxpayers of our village.
Trustee Santowski, who did vote NO, stated he did so, not because of the risk posed to residents but, because he believed the $8700 (approx.) per student/per year was a bit higher than it should be.
I challenge each of these trustees to explain how they believe that placing this undue burden – this tremendous potential risk – on Lakewood taxpayers, is in any way beneficial to the taxpayers.
I challenge each of these trustees to explain how they believe this decision can, in any way, be construed as good financial stewardship.
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If any property owners in the Turnberry area wish to contribution their take on this proposal, McHenry County Blog would be happy to publish it.