I would like to take this opportunity to provide a series of brief updates to you regarding items that have been addressed during recent Board Meetings and other topics where I have received questions or comments from residents. As always, I welcome and encourage your participation at Board Meetings and your input and feedback through phone conversations and email.
I am so proud of the work we already see coming out of the new resident committees we formed this year:
The Economic Development Committee is planning a Farmers’ Market and working diligently to get a unique zip code for Lakewood.
The Parks and Recreation Committee is planning fund raising events that will pay for new entrance signs for our Village and contribute additional money toward bike paths along Huntley and Lakewood Roads. The first event is a “Dine and Donate” at our very own Lou Malnati’s on Monday, May 17. Additional information will be forthcoming, please save the date.
The Redtail Golf Committee is constructing the business case for a clubhouse. We look forward to recommendations from this Committee in the spring.
Finally, the SSA 1 Lakes Committee has led fundraising efforts and applied for grants that have already provided new fish shelters and fish restocking, as well as education for residents about how to keep the lakes healthy.
Interest in the remaining locations at Lakewood Commons remains high even in this challenging economy, and we expect one or two new businesses to open in the very near future.
The success of Lou Malnati’s is apparent from the parking lot. My family regularly enjoys both pizza and salad takeout from Malnati’s. Their family size salads are the best “on the way home from work” dinner I have found.
My son is a student at the Illinois Martial Arts Academy next to Malnati’s. The birthday party package they provided was one of the best I’ve seen.
Finally, feedback regarding Leix Dental has been extremely positive. Dr. Leix‘s reputation for innovation and customer service is well-deserved.
Progress regarding development at Route 47 and Route 176 continues, although there are numerous steps that are still necessary before the Village of Lakewood will even begin the process of considering a formal application for development. Numerous opportunities for public review and comment will be available prior to Board action.
Finally, many residents have inquired about the status of Turnberry County Club. Please be assured that we are actively engaged with the bank to support the transition in ownership and, until such time, to make certain that the property is maintained in an acceptable manner. It is also important to note that the covenants require that this golf course remains a private golf course and any change would require a 2/3 vote from these residents.
East Side Water and Sewer Projects
On the east side of Lakewood, our efforts have been directed towards completing the sanitary sewer relining system rehabilitation project which will reduce inflow and infiltration. This will ultimately reduce the chance of sewerage backing up into homes. The final phase of this project was anticipated to cost $310,000, but bids came in at approximately 50% of the projected cost.
The award of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 grant and a zero percent interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency allowed the project to move forward and construction should be complete by late spring. As a reminder, wastewater treatment for the majority of the east side residents is provided by the City of Crystal Lake.
West Side Water and Sewer Projects
Lakewood Utilities, the west side’s water and sewer service operated by the Village, has seen an unprecedented drop in tap on fee revenues due to the lack of new home starts in the past two years. Therefore, the tap on fee revenues that were expected to fund the bond payments for the wastewater treatment plant have not materialized.
West side users of Lakewood Utilities, such as my family, have to cover any shortfall in revenues through increased water and sewer rates. During the last two years, the Village utilized reserves to maintain these rates at current levels. With those reserves now depleted, a new approach was needed.
Our Finance Director, Carole Robertson, has proposed a solution which allows us to meet our bond obligations, minimize rate increases, and replace the aging water tower on Turnberry Trail. The proposal includes refinancing the wastewater treatment system bonds to lengthen the repayment term and issuing Build America Bonds for a new water tower. This proposal takes advantage of the historically low interest rates, the competitive construction bid environment, the advantages of Build America Bonds, and decreased bond issuance costs by issuing the bonds at the same time.
Current projections indicate that this approach will save the users more than $500,000 over the next few years, while minimizing rate increases. We have directed staff to begin the bond issuance process and to include financing the construction of a new water tower.
While not yet formalized, we also have reason to believe that our grant request for a pedestrian path along Huntley Road will be approved. If approved, 70% of the project will be funded through federal dollars.
Pizza with the President
The next Pizza with the President will occur at the Annual Meeting of the Turnberry Property Owners Association (TPA) on Sunday, March 21, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at RedTail Golf Club. As always, pizza will be provided by Lakewood’s own Lou Malnati’s.