Since my last report on May 11 there have been a number of interesting, but not-so-pertinent, items that I want to update everyone on, but, I need to emphasize this IMPORTANT news/notice, and in a timely manner, so I will revisit those not-so-pertinent items in the near future.
But, rest assured, I, and the new team, have been quite busy working on many, many things and I know you will be quite pleased as we fill you in.
The News You’ve Been Waiting For (For 2-1/2 years, now)
This coming Tuesday, June 13th, at our Lakewood Village Board Meeting, our village board will be voting on the approval of an Ordinance to DISSOLVE The $66 MILLION TIF District that was created and approved in January 2017.
This is unarguably THE most important issue that our village faces today!
As you know, this was a cornerstone for my choosing to run for village trustee in 2015 and village president in 2017, as well as a cornerstone for your electing me to both – along with our new team of trustees.
All 14 taxing districts that comprise the Lakewood TIF Joint Review Board have been notified of this meeting and may be in attendance.
YOUR ATTENDANCE AT THIS MEETING IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED!
**PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD! **
The approval of this ordinance will mean two things:
- The $66 Million Dollar Tax Increment Finance subsidy will be dissolved and no longer in place or available to subsidize developers within the designated 600 acre area near Rtes 47 & 176.
- The Lakewood/Woodstock D200 Intergovernmental Agreement will be cancelled and no longer in effect. (THIS IS CRITICAL)
This Inter-Governmental Agreement between Lakewood and Woodstock School Dist-200 was made for the sole purpose of protecting the existence of the Lakewood TIF district from impending litigation by District-200 who, because of the creation of this TIF District, would be forced to incur the cost of educating Lakewood students ($9000 per student/per year) who will eventually reside within the boundaries of the TIF District, once residential development occurs in that area.
This agreement essentially pledged Lakewood Property Tax Dollars, in the amount of $9000 per student/per year (adjusted annually for inflation) as collateral, to Woodstock Dist-200.
I have spelled out much of the information about this TIF, The Redevelopment Agreement itself, the D200 Intergovernmental Agreement, the more than $220,000 Lakewood Tax Dollars ALREADY SPENT on this TIF, and more, in very understandable detail HERE.
* Worthy of your attention – Last week I was made aware of the fact that Lou Tenore, one of the principles of The Sportsplex has been in contact with one of our village trustees, Jason McMahon. While the exact scope of this contact in not known, it is arguably, grossly improper that a developer would not first confer with the village president before contacting a trustee on a matter such as this – and the fact that trustee McMahon, specifically, was contacted, I find even more suspect.
You may remember that Jason McMahon was appointed by former president Erin Smith to fill the vacancy after trustee Ken Santowski resigned. Since then Jason has been quite vocal, echoing many of the words and wishes of former president Smith.
Jason has been quite vocal against the dissolution of this TIF and has recently begun disseminating some very factually distorted information, stating that:
- Dissolving this TIF will cost taxpayers a 12% increase in their taxes
(This is Absolutely Not True – and Jason knows this is not true.)
- That we must leave this TIF open to continue to recoup the $220,000 we have spent thus far.
(This $220,000 was paid with Lakewood Tax Dollars and is being recouped by Lakewood Tax Dollars)
- That we should at the very least, take on $7 MILLION in debt to run utilities out to the intersection of 47 & 176 and use the TIF as a mechanism to hopefully recoup this debt by incentivising developers to build.
- That the D200 Intergovernmental Agreement is not a concern because Residential Development will “NEVER” happen in this area.
(Though page 34 of the Rte 47 & 176 Re-Development Plan/Project Area specifically allocates funds for “Affordable Housing”) (see link above)
** Also Worthy of Your Attention (without getting into too much detail)
ALL EXAMPLES OF PROJECTED DEVELOPMENTS that were demonstrated, to help determine the viability of the concept of taking on even $7 MILLION in debt to fund infrastructure/utilities to this intersection – including all projected property tax revenue and all projected sales tax revenue from the development, still fell substantially short of covering even the approx. $440,000 annual interest payments on this proposed $7 MILLION Dollar debt for infrastructure/utilities…
- Every example demonstrated was 100% speculative
- Every projection was 100% theoretical
- Every scenario placed ALL the risk on Lakewood Taxpayers
- No scenario ever demonstrated a tangible benefit to Lakewood taxpayers
- Every example showed a substantial annual financial loss to Lakewood taxpayers.
All of this can come to an end once and for all, this Tuesday, June 13th at 7:00pm. at the Redtail Golf Club Meeting Room.
I strongly encourage you to attend this meeting to show your support.