From Village President Paul Serwatks:
Reporting on our May 9th village board meeting, there are a few items I wanted to share with you.
Inauguration of The Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Team
I, along with 2 of our 3 newly elected trustees, Phil Stephan and Ric Ritchie, were sworn in and assumed our newly elected roles on Tuesday. Newly elected trustee, Amy Odom, had a family emergency and was unable to attend. Amy will be sworn in and assume her newly elected role as trustee at our May 23rd meeting.
I know I can speak for the entire team in saying that we are all anxious to get started on fulfilling ALL of the promises we have made to residents and we encourage everyone to continue to stay informed and to continue to encourage other Lakewood friends and neighbors to stay informed, as well.
Appointment of New Lakewood Planning & Zoning Commission, Chairman and Commissioner
At this meeting, I made two recommendations to the board – to appoint a new Commissioner and a new Chairman to our Planning and Zoning Commission.
For the role of Chairman of Lakewood’s Planning and Zoning Commission, I recommended Lakewood resident, John O’Hara.
For Commissioner, my recommendation was resident, Andy Knapp.
John O’Hara has a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise in the areas of Residential and Commercial Building Construction, Planning and Zoning, as well as both Residential and Commercial Development.
Andy Knapp is also well versed in Single Family Home Construction, as well as Commercial Sales, Project Management and Residential and Commercial Financing.
Unlike past appointments to this commission, both John and Andy have had quite a bit of relevant discussion with board members, both submitted detailed Curriculum Vitae/resumes (see pages 48, 49 of the May 9th board packet below) and both were in attendance at the meeting to be interviewed by/field questions from the board.
The board voted, unanimously, in support of my recommendations.
These appointments are the first of three steps that I have planned to bring an entirely new level of legitimacy and expertise to, perhaps, one of our village’s most important and under-utilized commissions/committees.
I will be reporting more on this very soon.
Purchase of a New Replacement Plow/Salt Truck
The issue at hand was the purchase of a replacement plow/salt truck in the amount on $177,428. (page 58 of the May 9th board packet). This item was first discussed at our previous, April 25th meeting prior to the new elected members taking office.
At the April 25th meeting, still as trustee, I raised several concerns regarding this expenditure, as presented, and moved to postpone this item to our May 9th meeting, so as to allow time for due diligence. Trustee Carl Davis seconded my motion and the board voted to postpone.
At our most recent May 9th meeting, however, this became somewhat of a contentious issue for trustee Jason McMahon.
Our intention in postponing this purchase was to get some additional insight from staff, public works personnel and others – including a second, and perhaps third, bid for this substantial purchase, as well as an objective, third-party, expert opinion as to the selection of equipt.
Due to a scheduling conflict and requests for information, some questions were not unanswered by the May 9th meeting date. Because of this, I, along with newly seated trustees Stephan and Ritchie, felt that a bit of additional time was needed to conclude what we felt was the necessary due diligence before making such a substantial expenditure, which, at $177,000, equates to 10% of our entire annual property tax levy ($1.7 Million).
Trustee McMahon was upset that we were asking for additional information and that the information wasn’t obtained in time for the May 9th meeting. He felt we were being overzealous in our due diligence, and emphatically stated that he was ready to vote and wanted the board to vote now. He also felt it was not fair to say the expenditure constituted 10% of our property tax levy, stating that, “although the amount of the expenditure itself may equal 10% of the tax levy, the truck itself would last for several years.”
With this, the board voted to postpone the purchase of the truck until our May 23rd meeting. Trustee McMahon casting the only vote against.
Hiring a Temporary Part-Time Finance Director
Our Finance Director, George Roach, ended his contract with our village as of April 30, 2017. George served in a part-time capacity and staff has been looking for a replacement for this position.
In the interim, staff has filled this role via a “Temp Agency” and will continue to look for someone to fill this position. If you know of anyone who may be qualified to fill this position (preferably in a part-time capacity) please let me know!
I have provided a link to the board packet below.
As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome and always valued.