Lakewood’s Serwatka Reports on Fulfilled Campaign Promises

From Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Friends and Neighbors,

This is the Newsletter I’ve waited and worked 2 1/2 years to write to you!

Reporting on our June 13th village board meeting there are FOUR particular items that I am particularly excited to call to your attention.

1 – The appointment of Lakewood Resident, Patrick Rexroat to the Lakewood Board of Trustees.

Patrick Rexroat being sworn in as Lakewood Village Trustee.

As you know, my election as village president came mid-term of my 4-year term as your village trustee, causing my trustee position to become vacant.

With the advice and unanimous consent of our board, I appointed Lakewood resident, Patrick Rexroat to fill my vacated position.

Pat Rexroat has chosen to officially become part of the “Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Team.”

What does this mean?

As with myself and every other member of our team, Pat has:

  • Participated in a half-day training/workshop entitled: “Remember The Taxpayers – The REAL Guide to Being an Effective Elected Official”
  • Pledged to govern according to the principles as discussed in this training
  • Agreed to, and signed, a “Self-Imposed Recall Pledge” vowing to voluntarily step down from office if ever asked to do so by 60% (3/5) of Lakewood voters
  • Elected to forgo his trustee salary
  • Pat has also elected to (completely voluntarily) contribute his salary to The Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Project which more directly benefits Lakewood residents. Read more about this HERE.

I have full confidence that Pat will serve our village very well.

2 – “DING DONG! – The Wicked TIF is Dead!”

The above caption was sent to me by several residents, among scores, that reached out to thank me and our new team of elected trustees, Phil Stephan, Ric Ritchie, Amy Odom and Patrick Rexroat for keeping our word and providing this critical taxpayer protection for Lakewood residents.

Paul Serwatka’s 2014 sign hits property taxes, the Tax Increment Financing District and the SportsPlex.

As anticipated, our new village board voted 4-1 to dissolve the $66 MILLION Dollar TIF Dist..

Dissolution of the TIF, also, automatically terminated the Intergovernmental Agreement with Woodstock D200 which pledged Lakewood Tax Dollars as collateral to the Woodstock school dist. in the amount of $9000 per student/per year – the cost of educating Lakewood students who may eventually reside within the boundaries of the TIF District, once homes are built in that area.

Terminating this agreement, as well as the TIF itself was a tremendous victory for Lakewood taxpayers.

Voting to dissolve the TIF were trustees, Phil Stephan, Ric Ritchie, Amy Odom and Pat Rexroat (I symbolically voted YES, as well.)

Voting against the dissolution was trustee Carl Davis.

Trustee, Jason McMahon, the single biggest, and certainly most vocal proponent for keeping this TIF alive, was absent – but Jason has undoubtedly made his advocacy for this TIF, as well as for taking on at least $7 MILLION Dollars in debt to run utilities to the intersection of Rtes 47 and 176, quite clear in multiple public emails, [McHenry County] Blog posts and social media.

At the completion of our vote to dissolve the TIF, the audience, of more than 100 residents, erupted into an applause, and I couldn’t help but smile.

Lakewood resident, Cal Skinner, also the principle behind the McHenry County Blog, was in attendance and provides a pretty detailed account of this portion of the meeting, HERE.

The Northwest Herald reports on this portion of the meeting HERE.

And, once again, I am extremely proud to have Lakewood again given STATEWIDE recognition and praise by ILLINOIS POLICY, HERE.

3 – Lakewood REFUSES Prevailing Wage Ordinance

As many know, I have spoken for sometime now, against the annual adoption of a Prevailing Wage Ordinance, and in my two previous years on the board, I have argued that our village should refuse to adopt the Prevailing Wage ordinance. Of course, my arguments were to no avail…

Amy Odom Fues was also sworn in. She got more votes than anyone else in the April election.

Until now!

What is the Prevailing Wage Act?

Essentially, the prevailing wage law requires all contractors and subcontractors for works built by any public body, with public funds, to be paid the hourly rate set by the Illinois Department of Labor for that county. Imposing these wages greatly inhibits competitive bidding and typically drives village project costs up exorbitantly which takes money right out of the pockets of the taxpayers.

To be clear, I am not “anti-union” as some would try to spin it. I AM, however, vehemently anti-cronyism – and I believe “Prevailing Wage” is a very effective, very empowering tool that lends itself to the rampant corruption between upper-echelon union bosses and the corrupt, career politicians in Springfield. Prevailing Wage laws are a glowing example of the kind of bad politics that has gotten Illinois into the mess that it is in and that is causing our taxes to go through the roof!

Whether or not you agree with the above statement, it simply can not be disputed that Prevailing Wage laws serve, very intentionally, to inhibit competitive bidding on government projects and exorbitantly increases the costs of projects paid with taxpayer dollars.

And, while it is often said that not adopting a Prevailing Wage Ordinance for our village is purely symbolic because we are still forced to comply (which is true) I hold steadfast in arguing that by adopting such an ordinance, we are effectively giving Prevailing Wage laws our “stamp of approval” and indicating we are “okay” with paying such exhorbitantly high rates for government projects.

If we don’t like it – Why give it our stamp of approval?

Getting off my soap box, I am delighted to report that, this year, Lakewood has REFUSED to adopt the Prevailing Wage Ordinance!

While I had anticipated voting it down, trustee Carl Davis “one-upped me” by posing the suggestion of not even entertaining the motion at all.

At this, when I called for a “motion to approve” there was none.

No motion… No second…

Just a sort of “Sliding the trash off of our desk”… and we simply carried onto the next item on our agenda.

4 – Bringing Back The Ice Cream Man

As promised HERE, our new board voted to amend the ordinance that was upheld last year, banning the Ice Cream Man from our village.

This amendment allowed the return of the Ice Cream Man to Lakewood!

Also, as promised, I PERSONALLY put in a call to the Ice Cream Man, yesterday and invited him back into Lakewood – and we was quite delighted to be invited back!

Today, the Ice Cream Man, once again, made his way through our village.

I spotted him on Nicklaus Lane this afternoon and later, I spotted him driving through Turnberry.

“Tropical Chill Ice Cream” ( ) is a local company based out of Spring Grove, IL.

They have 8 very attractive trucks (Blue and covered with polar bears and animals) and I am told that all drivers are local college students who have all undergone criminal background checks via Crystal Lake Police Dept.

Tropical Chill offers a variety of Ice cream products as well as Hawaiian Shaved Ice.

And for an added level of fun, you can track the Ice Cream Man via GPS from your smart phone as follows:

1. Go to your phone’s App Store
2. Download and install the “fieldlogix” app
3. Username: customer (all lower case)
4. Password: tropicalchill (one word)
5. Once you are logged in, you can see all eight Ice Cream Trucks, and if one is showing in Lakewood, you can click on an interactive map to see his exact location.

I still have much to report in the coming days, much more in the works, and many promises to fulfill, but I am thrilled to be able to report on the fulfillment of these promises, today!

I hope you are all as pleased, and as proud, of our new board of trustees as I am!


Lakewood’s Serwatka Reports on Fulfilled Campaign Promises — 28 Comments

  1. Hyperlinks are missing from three “HERE’s.”

    – “Read more about this HERE.”

    – “Lakewood resident, Cal Skinner, also the principle behind McHenry County Blog, was in attendance and provides a pretty detailed account of this portion of the meeting, HERE.”

    – The Northwest Herald reports on this portion of the meeting HERE.”

  2. At no time did I suggest spending 7 million dollars.

    The statement reported in this article is 100% false.

  3. Jason, you we’re explicitly clear in many other posts on this blog that you wanted to at least use this TIF for infrastructure..

    You railed against Serwatka and the others for not agreeing with you on this point.

    I would venture to say that running utilities out to that intersection would cost every bit of seven million dollars, if not substantially more.

    In fact​, I attended this meeting, and the village manager acknowledged publicly, the fact that at least 6.5 million, or more, would be spent on said infrastructure, and that this would be done by taking on debt backed by our tax dollars!

    And with her own words, she acknowledged that even if every projection she used and every assumption she made, came to fruition, the revenue generated would do nothing more than offset A PORTION of this annual debt service, but would never fully cover the cost of this infrastructure.

    It in fact would cost increased taxes!

    It’s too late to backpedal now. Your​ own village manager has publicly acknowledged that what YOU argued to do, in fact, put all of Lakewood at a huge Financial risk!

    You are as wrong for Lakewood as Erin Smith who appointed you.

  4. Paul, I argued to make sound financial decisions not for or against the TIF.

    I challenge you to support your statement with fact. I never suggested we spend any money.

    Please support your 100% false statement with a direct quote.

  5. Paul, why don’t you try to work WITH all of the trustees collectively as opposed to your chosen group.

    It’s called teamwork, what a novel concept.

  6. Paul,

    You need no one to be proud of you as you are what is called a “leader” in every definition which that word denotes.

    This said, you instill pride in each and every one of your supporters for your continued faithfulness to the values, traditions and history of solid American servant leadership.

    Well done.

    Keep crushing the hopes and dreams of those who would harm The People.

    It only gets more fun.

    Blessings brother.

  7. Jason, (Little Erin) I am not Paul…

    And I don’t always agree with Paul’s position on issues. But on this, HE WAS DEAD ON, RIGHT!

    Explain how you intended to pay for this infrastructure/utilities that you argued in favor of?

    Your own village manager stated publicly, the plan was to take on debt!

    Debt backed by Taxpayers!!

    We know this proposed debt was minimally near $7 Million. Probably closer to $12 Million.

    We now officially know that TIF generated revenue from both property taxes AND sales taxes combined, would never cover the annual interest payments for the debt incurred to run this infrastructure/utilities.

    Taxpayers would have to shoulder at least a portion.

    This is absolutely what you argued to do.

    Be careful not to strain a muscle with all this serious serious backpedaling you’re doing!

  8. Again, please provide proof I argued to spend 7 million dollars. Your intent is clearly to manipulate the facts.

    1. I stated TIF’s should only be used for infrastructure and NOT for all the other questionable uses in which other government bodies have applied them. This was an argument regarding TIFs in general, NOT a recommendation for Lakewood to spend.

    2. I believe Illinois should abolish TIF law.

    Your statement (or Paul’s) regarding a 7 million dollar expenditure is COMPLETELY FALSE. Again, I challenge you to find PROOF that I specifically stated Lakewood should spend 7 million dollars.

    You can’t because it does not exist. Instead you name call and manipulate the truth.

  9. Where in the link provided did I say spend 7 million?

    In fact, I was advocating to save Lakewood money.

    Keep trying big guy.

  10. Jason, when you find yourself in a hole and wish to get out, a good start is always to first stop digging!

    You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found absolutely wanting!

    You would do yourself well, at this point, to just be silent.

  11. Supporting facts to the false statement?

    Still waiting big guy.

  12. Well done Paul!

    There’s proof to other elected officials, its not THAT hard to keep a campaign promise.

  13. It’s pretty to see who’s pulling who’s strings in Lakewood:

  14. Why no competition with the single vendor for the ice cream man?

    Just like the lock Culvers and Dukes have on Three Oaks rec area.

    No competition = bad for your wallet.

    Not so sure about #4.

  15. Jason, let’s clear the air with some clear, definitive statements.

    First, state law says TIF districts are for blighted areas and only when it can be proven that “but for” the TIF District, development would not occur.

    Do you think the Lakewood TIF District met these tests, yes or no?

    Second, if you had been at the last meeting, would you have voted to dissolve the District, yes or no?

    Third, do you favor spending Village tax dollars to extend utilities to the District to promote development, yes or no. If yes, how much?

    As a voter and taxpayer, I’d like to know exactly where you stand. I think we all deserve that, don’t you?

  16. Steve Willson,

    I think he’s been pretty clear on this.

    After intentionally LYING to residents, stating that dissolving the TIF, would cause a 12% increase on their property taxes (this statement alone should be reason enough for his resignation)

    And after explaining how our village providing this infrastructure was the only way to lower taxes, he went on to urge residents to contact Paul and urge him to stop the dissolution.

    His very words:

    “I urge you to contact our new Village President, Paul Serwatka, and his tax fighter team: Phil Stephan, Amy Odom and Rich Ritchie and urge them to stop this process that will cost Lakewood taxpayers MORE money.”

  17. To have a difference of opinion on policy is one thing. It is to be expected.

    But to intentionally lie to residents and provide residents with intentionally false information is reason enough for him to be asked to resign.

  18. Thank you, S. Prichard, but I would really like Jason to give straight answers to a taxpayer’s straight questions.

  19. Why do you think no other ice cream vendor could cruise Lakewood streets?

  20. Steve,

    Absolutely, I believe everyone has a right to know where I stand. I have offered to discuss any issue with anyone.

    In fact, I believe the best ideas come from civil discussions that include differing view points.

    First, I do not believe the area is blighted.

    However, I do believe development will be difficult without a funding mechanism to bring utilities to the site.

    With that said, the TIF does not meet both tests and I would not have supported its creation.

    Second, I would have voted against dissolving the TIF in favor of allowing it to die on its own in 4 years.

    Allowing it to recover a small amount of funds and saving the attorney fees.

    Third, I do not favor extending utilities to promote development.

    In my opinion, that is speculative spending and is not a function of government.

  21. Well that’s a flip flop of epidemic proportions…

    Jason McMahon you must be an incredible gymnast!

  22. I will get my ice cream from the good folks at the freeze as I have done for years!

    Maybe they could get exclusive rights to the concession stand at main beach under this type of logic.

    Cronyism is not good.

    I don’t want my elected officials cheerleading anyone but the tax payers who put them in office.

  23. Gator, don’t get yourself all worked up over nothing.

    I inquired on this.

    There is no exclusive agreement.

    Several vendors were contacted and invited

    All others were not interested in doing regular routes.

    Only special events.

    If you know another ice cream truck vendor, send him on over!

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