NWH Looks at CL Letter Writer’s Suggestion that Lakewood Merge with Crystal Lake

The article reports Serwatka saying, “about 85 percent said they would support consolidation if there are demonstrated benefits, such as better services or lower taxes.”

Of course, the survey is not limited to Lakewood residents and a link to it is even in the NWH article.

Under McHenry County Blog’s article about the subject, Lakewood resident Steve Willson wrote,

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.

Jack W. added,

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?!?


NWH Looks at CL Letter Writer’s Suggestion that Lakewood Merge with Crystal Lake — 23 Comments

  1. Did anyone see Mike Walkup’s Facebook post? He said:

    ” I am unfriending all of my “conservative” friends. The “conservative” position is bankrupt. It does not address the key problems that we have in America today:

    (1) Loss of production to oversees competition and automation;

    (2) Global Ckinate Change; (yes, it is real and caused or aggravated by human activity;

    (3) increasing gun viokence;

    (4) lack of affordable health care as a Right for all citizens;

    (5) too much money spent in the military which could be used to help solve the above.”

    Mike Walkup is a common sense conservative – thank God.

  2. If true, Walkup’s reasons for unfriending his Conservative friends sound like
    anything but common sense Conservatism and more akin to Liberalism/Socialism.

    I would be curious to know if Mr. Walkup supports term limits for Congress
    both state and Federal.

    And BTW, climate change is not anthropomorphic in nature.

  3. The survey numbers referenced above were established prior to NWH article being written. Hence the numbers existing for the NWH to report.

    I am told that at the time of the above mentioned tabulation, the survey was only made known to Serwatka’s Lakewood Community e-Newsletter subscribers who do reside in Lakewood and that the tabulation was cancelled about the time McHenry County Blog published the survey to the general public..

  4. I don’t disagree with Steve Willson’s points, above.

    However, if I recall correctly, he WAS an advocate for township consolidation which was proven to be a complete sham that would have led to zero efficiencies and, in fact, would have led to substantial tax increases for about half of those who consolidated.

    We now know that the entire concept of township consolidation was not at all about efficiencies or lower taxes, but for entirely different reasons of interest of certain GOP leaders.

    If my memory of this is correct (and it may not be) and Mr. Willson did, in fact, back this sham GOP initiative, then Mr. Willson’s credibility in his statements here are questionable at best.

  5. Waiting for your cost-benefit analysis.

    For certain property taxes would increase, because Lakewood residents would have to pay for the CL Library, whereas now, they can get services voluntarily and, if they don’t want them, don’t have to pay the tax.

  6. Dear Federal Farmer:

    Your reasoning is wrong and your facts are wrong.

    First, whatever my position on townships, it would not affect the facts I present on government consolidation or the tax rates in Lakewood and Crystal Lake.

    Facts is facts.

    If you can refute them, then you have a case to make.

    If you can’t refute them, then attacking me for my position on a different issue is irrelevant at best and a red herring at worst.

    Second, I have been largely agnostic on townships.

    I don’t love them and I have certainly seen abuses, largely because most citizens don’t pay enough attention to what they’re doing, but in my opinion we have much bigger fish to fry.

  7. Cal:

    The cost-benefit analysis is done:

    Crystal Lake has a higher tax rate and that’s before considering the library tax.

    Any “study” commissioned by a government is guaranteed to reach the conclusion that was desired.

    (In my business we call such studies “MAI” — “Made As Instructed”.)

    Look at the study done by MCC to justify their 40 year, $400 million, we’re-going-to-grow-enrollment-3%-per-year-forever study done just six years ago.

    Fortunately we nipped that one in the bud by electing good people and my Rep. McSweeney’s good work in closing the “alternate revenue bond” loophole the college was planning to use to issue bonds without a referendum.

  8. Understand, I have no position on the issue. I am not speaking in support of Lakewood and Crystal Lake consolidation.

    I’m just particularly amused at the flip-flopping on related issues by some. Including supporting candidates and officials who then go against the very issues that you say you support, then you continue to support these candidates and officials even after they continually go against the issues that you say you support.

    And then when the same or a similar issue comes up in another scenario you are somehow now on the other side of it when the only difference is the underlying agenda.

    In the end it’s really no one’s fault but Jack Franks anyway.

  9. One more point: I think it’s great of Paul Serwatka to put the issue out front for discussion.

    I’m against consolidation because the facts are against it.

    But it’s rare to see an elected official encourage discussion on a change that could put him out of office.

  10. The village of Lakewood should merge with the great city of Chicago, the City of Big Shoulders, to officially form the cillage of Chicwood, a “Compassionate conservative cosmopolitan sanctuary for undocumented immigrants who love golf.” How about starting a dialogue between Lakewood village president and Rahm Emanuel…tic, tock, tic, tock…

  11. Steve Willson was never a advocate of township consolidation with out the numbers and facts presented first.

    I wish he’d talk to Bob Anderson, since Bob has no clue just hope nonsense like BO.

  12. Yes Steve Willson, Paul Serwatka put the issue out for a discussion, a great idea for Lakewood residents to comment on.

    I do have a question though, the timing of that Letter To The Editor . . . why now?

  13. Dear Another Watcher:

    You’ll have to ask David Albers.

    I don’t know him, but I assume he wrote the letter in good faith.

    Lots of people think consolidation is a good idea because they reason by analogy from private enterprise.

    Unfortunately, as I said, the facts are against it.

  14. The figures that follow are from the City of Crystal Lake’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year 2016 and from the Village of Lakewood’s audit for fiscal year 2016.

    Crystal Lake has more operating funds that Lakewood, so those are detailed below and summed.

    I have NOT included the Library Fund for Crystal Lake in order to keep the numbers comparable.

    Similarly, I haven’t included the golf course fund for Lakewood which, by the way, is not tax subsidized anymore.


    General Fund FY 2016 $27,851,355
    Motor Fuel Tax Fund $6,642,729
    Fire Rescue $9,007,982
    Total $43,502,066
    Estimated Population 2016: 40,743
    Expenditures per capita: $1,068
    Municipal tax rate 1.213
    Library 0.4589


    General Fund $2,927,858
    Population 2010, 3,811
    Expenditures per capita: $768
    Municipal tax rate 1.1061


    1) Crystal Lake spends about 40% more per capita than Lakewood for basic municipal services.

    2) Crystal Lake’s property tax rate is about 10% higher than Lakewood’s.

    3) If you include the library, merging Lakewood into Crystal Lake would increase the local tax rate by more than 50%.

  15. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

    a critique; point by point:

    1.) I agree it’s a huge problem, but I don’t see how this is a conservative/liberal issue; White labor has overpriced itself since the late 1800’s and the capital has fled accordingly. Did Mikey really misspell ‘overseas’?

    2.) folderol. Mickey has been taken in, once again.

    3.) What does this have to do with conservatives????? BTW, Mickey, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

    4.) There’s that nasty conservative word again ‘citizen’ … Mickey please get with the lib program: free healthcare is a human right for all illegal aliens

    5.) Agreed! And use the savings on stupid wars rearranging mountain ranges in Afghanistan and Iraq1 urban renewal on an impregnable Rio Grande wall and a huge round ups of invaders!

    Mickey, did you ever really have conservative friends … are you confusing friends for dupes?!

  16. Crystal Lake has severely underfunded police and fire pensions.

    Lakewood does not.

  17. It is hilarious to me that this is happening.

    Skinner himself on this site, suggested the petition a few months ago.

    Now it is happening.

    It will only take 250 signatures to get a referendum on it and only 50% of Lakewood Citizens need to say yes for it to happen.

    This site does not represent the public, it waged war against a local Lakewood government that was managed professionally and had many talented employees and a top notch leader.

    Yet, the top 2 Lakewood officials left (one didn’t run again & other resigned) because they could not stand Serwatka and the behavior at the meetings.

    Even his own hand picked person left him after a month.

    The town has no direction, he destroyed it within months and ignored warnings about storm water being put into the water treatment system.

    Then boom, disaster and he thinks he can point fingers elsewhere.

    Whatever you think the cost analysis is, it is much cheaper for many to live in Crystal Lake.

    Ask the 300 people affected by the floods and sewage problem.

    Serwatka and his mouth piece Willson set to lower taxes by 10% and that of your local real estate taxes.

    If you own a nice home with taxes around $12,000, your local part is around $1,200 or $100 a month.

    If you were affected by the sewage it cost you way more than that.

    Some of you have taxes in the $6000 range and those savings that Willson and Serwatka were trying to get you are around $50 a month.

    So if I give them the benefit of the doubt on this and agree with their numbers, then some of you may get a $25 increase a month while some may get a $50 raise per month.

    That is without applying any of the benefits of getting rid of the all the government costs, police force, and public works people.

    All will provide a huge savings and they will dump the golf course and more construction will begin in the former Lakewood, further diversifying the tax base.

    Around the court house, lawyers of all ages talk about what a joke Lakewood is now.

    Home prices in Lakewood are going down when other areas are going up.

    The debacle and perception of the new local government has lowered the home values after that sewage issue and all the government crap.

    Even if they are correct on the initial cost analysis, none of the advantages I mentioned have been calculated in and this allows CL to expand up 47 towards Woodstock, which it wants to do.

    CL has a professional government run by experienced people who understand local government, they do not have petty fights and they just do things the right way for their citizens.

    I will be thrilled once Lakewood is absorbed into CL!

  18. The Village of Lakewood has no public sector employee unions.

    The City of Crystal Lake has three public sector employee unions:

    Fire (IAFF Local 3926).

    Public Works (IUOE Local 150).

    Police (MAP Chapter 177).

    IAFF = International Association of Firefighters

    IUOE = International Union of Operating Engineers

    MAP = Metropolitan Alliance of Police


    Neither the Village of Lakewood nor the City of Crystal Lake posts videotapes of board meetings on its website or YouTube so the public can see, hear, and review what is being discussed at the meetings.

    A good step to understanding government, is to view videotapes of what transpires at board meetings.


    Both the City of Crystal Lake and Lakewood post board agenda packets on their website (documents to be discussed at the meeting are posted on the website in one searchable Adobe pdf that allows copy from the document and paste to another document).

  19. all the vague generalizations by CX do not negate any of the facts cited by SW and Mark.

  20. I am not aware that Serwata suggested lowing total tax bills by 10%.

    That was Jack Franks’ promotion.

    I believe Serwatka was talking about only the Lakewood part of the bill.

    It certainly is true that anyone worked up can gather enough signatures to put a question on the ballot.

  21. What Citizen calls “professional” should be read as crooked new world order minions.

    (When you see people flee it is NEVER because they don’t like someone and don’t want to work with them. It is ALWAYS to save their own pitiful necks.)

    The naiveté in here is oppressive.

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