Lakewood Village President Seeks Input on Idea of Merging with Crystal Lake

A letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald on September 29th from David P. Albers suggested consolidation of Lakewood with Crystal Lake. Mr. Albers lives on the far eastern edge of Crystal Lake near Route 31.

That spurred Lakewood Village President to write the following email, which I finally found in my promotion section:

Before I begin, I want to make abundantly clear, that my purpose in this communication is ONLY to share with residents what has been communicated to, and asked of, me my a number of residents and to pose the question to a more vast number of residents for YOUR input.


I am only looking for direction from residents, so as to better serve you… Nothing more!

The Issue at Hand

About the time we began campaigning for our most recent village election, a number of residents had asked my thoughts on, (some even suggested) Lakewood’s consolidation/merging with the City of Crystal Lake.

Since being elected president of our village, I have had this idea thrown at me probably no less than a couple of dozen times. That said, I have also heard some very frank, very forbidding words as to the notion of even thinking about merging our village with Crystal Lake.

At one neighborhood gathering, a few neighbors brought up this topic. A discussion ensued and quickly escalated. The polarizing effect of this subject matter became quite evident, and quite quickly!

Today, I was notified by several Lakewood residents, of a “Letter To The Editor” published in this morning’s Northwest Herald suggesting that Lakewood merge with Crystal Lake. The letter suggests that their would be a substantial savings to residents due to the economies of scale that one would expect from such a consolidation. You can read this letter by simply clicking on the link below:

Letter: Lakewood should consider consolidation with Crystal Lake

I will say now, what I said months ago, and have said many times in between… I don’t know if it would be of benefit to Lakewood residents to merge with Crystal Lake or not. Nor do I have any particular desire to do so. But, if it is something that residents, as a whole, would like to explore, we can.

What I do know, is that even if we did explore the potential benefits of such a consolidation, and if we decided it was something residents wished to pursue – to even consider this, my understanding is that it would require being done by referendum, at the ballot box.

All that said, I am looking for some direction from residents…

Take The Survey

I have created a survey, to better gauge resident sentiment on this issue in order to determine if this may be something we should even begin exploring further.

You will find the survey located under the “Community Resource Corner” located on the Upper Right of the Homepage at: . or by clicking the link below:


Your email replies are alway welcome, but, your response to this electronic survey will be electronically tabulated and will definitely help to provide a better picture of resident sentiment.

I also ask you to keep in mind, that I now receive numerous emails and calls which are getting more and more difficult to field and return.

I hope you will take a minute to participate in this survey. I hope you will also encourage other Lakewood friends and neighbors to participate (and to subscribe to this Newsletter!) as well.

As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome and always valued.

For a better Lakewood.


Lakewood Village President Seeks Input on Idea of Merging with Crystal Lake — 25 Comments

  1. ” Nothing is being contemplated ” ?

    Really ?

    Then why the survey ?

  2. I like the honest choices for answers; unlike most government “surveys” that are only surveying for larger government.

  3. I think it’s wonderful that a municipal leader would even consider allowing residents a voice in such a manner.

    Other Municipal leaders should follow suit rather than quietly pursuing their own preferred interests.

  4. I think it’s a great idea to consider consolidation.

    That gives the taxpayers the huge tax base of CL to help balance things out.

    Lakewood would benefit greatly.

  5. May I suggest running the numbers first?

    Cost-benefit studies need more than suppositions.

  6. “I have created a survey, to better gauge resident sentiment on this issue in order to determine if this may be something we should even begin exploring further.”

    Seems pretty self-explanatory to me, “Honest Abe”.

  7. I agree; the residents of Lakewood really need help. Speaking of mergers, sunshine blogger, have you considered merging this sunshine blog with The Onion, America’s finest news source? Tic, tock, tic, tock…

  8. Don’t forget about Crystal Lake’s massive IMRF and Police Pension Fund unfunded liability.

    As of last year, the combined total stood at $35.1 million.

    In fact, the size of the pension fund hole was listed as one of the reasons that Moodys downgraded CL’s credit rating last year.

  9. Bigger government is always better!

    No need for a survey! Just do it!

    Just look at D.C.!

  10. Lakewood residents don’t need the CL residents telling them how to use the lake.

    This is an old, old subject that surfaces every 20 years or so.

    For the newcomers it spurs lots of conversation.

    Lakewood is not about money, it is about life style.

    Lakewood resident do not want sidewalks, wider right of ways or buoys down the middle of the lake.

    So many other issues.

  11. The numbers are against this idea: Lakewood’s tax rate is lower than Crystal Lake’s, and that’s not including the CL Library, which Lakewood residents may now join if they wish, but which they would be forced to join if the two municipalities merged.

    The reason the numbers are against the idea is that the theory behind the concept is flawed.

    The idea that economies of scale can be achieved by making governments larger is based on the erroneous analogy that many private enterprises achieve economies of scale as they get larger.

    However, economies of scale are not merely a function of size, but of incentives.

    Private enterprise has an incentive to save money.

    Governments have the opposite incentive.

    Many years ago I studied the cost per resident of the police function by municipalities in Illinois.

    I found, unsurprisingly, that the cost increased with the size of the government.

    Similarly recently I analyzed the cost per student of all of the school districts in Illinois.

    I found no correlation between cost per student and test scores or graduation rates, no correlation between cost per student and teacher salaries, and no correlation between cost per student and teacher experience.

    The only statistically significant correlation was that bigger districts spent more per pupil than smaller districts.

  12. I think Lakewood should list to Steve Willson, he has good insight to Lakewood, and knows the history.

  13. It would be nice if Bob Anderson talked to Steve Willson also.

    Most large gov purchases by municipal gov agencies practice economies of scale by buying under State

    Like Cal posted earlier lets see the beef, then maybe voting is a waste of time on any consolidation.

  14. My guess is that it would be voted down by about 90%, all of the “Gates” and the vast majority of Turnberry.

    Not a chance.

  15. The only people that might be in favor would be King Aaron and Queen Erin!

  16. Turnberry, in the past, has always tried to control the PD.

    They used to kick patrol cars out of their lot, try to keep the PD out of their domestic disputes etc.

    I can’t imagine they would want CLPD challenging them.

  17. How about this, combine Lakewood, Prarie Grove, McCullum Lake, Bull Valley, Holiday Hills, and all the other local ‘neighborhoods’ and rename them Gooberville?

  18. The real benefit would be to Crystal Lake.

    Here are a few examples as to why: The median home income and home value in Lakewood is higher than CL.

    This would immediately pull up the value in CL; the area in western Lakewood (176 and 47) is attractive for future business and home development which results in tax revenue and impact fees benefiting CL;

    more people in the community results in more money to CL from the state;

    Lakewood already has a waste water treatment plant on the west side to accommodate growth, so the infrastructure is already there at not cost to CL;

    More residents means more money from Lakewood residents for the Library district;

    and on and on.

    Of course the letter to the NW Herald for this on-going debate came from a Crystal Lake resident.

    What do they have to lose vs. what do they gain?!?

  19. Fred you are so right on this one, Aaron and Erin would love this.

    Let Paul do his job!.

  20. If over 70% of our tax dollars go to the school districts why don’t we review their costs and tackle the BIG PROBLEM. EDUCATION

  21. Because people other than those supporting the teachers’ unions have too little a stake to run for school board.

  22. Cal, a common misconception: “too little at stake”.

    Only those who have the economic luxury to lose the entire value of their home have too little at stake.

    I believe it is a willing complicity on their own psychological bamboozlement.

  23. SW analysis is right on.

    That style analysis can be applied to Township mergers.

    One side is able to shift partial burden of their own debt/profligate spending onto another side.

    With low voter turnout, it’s worth a shot.

    Seneca Township to Dorr I’m all for it, because Seneca Assessor is given a quota and our assessments are far higher than Dorr (right across the street).

    As teachers unions have proven, it is every person for himself.

    NOBODY is looking at the big picture, NOBODY cares about the consequences of their own ‘overgrazing the commons’.

  24. How will your effective tax rates be affected by the flooding of 2017?

    Can Lakewood fix their sewer problem on their own?

    What happens if it floods again?

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