The Lakewood Village Board used to have a 4-3 balance. Village President Erin Smith headed the ruling coalition.
The minority consisted of Dorothy and John Pfeuffer (elected in separate years) and Ken Santowski.
They lost every contested vote I observed, but there was a thorough venting of most issues.
- former Village President Julie Richardson (to whom I shall be grateful as long as I live in Lakewood for her leadership in banning leaf burning; we can now sleep with windows open during the fall) and
- Blake Hobson, who served on three different governmental boards—the Upper Illinois River Valley Development, the Nunda Township and the McHenry County Board–before being appointed to Lakewood’s.
That left Santowski as a minority of one.
Here is his most current email, a communication method he started while the vote was still 4-3:
This past board meeting was not as rigorous as the previous ones. Unless you consider that I listened to the residents and basically voted against God.Prior to the board meeting was a proposal to allow a special use permit to allow a church to move into the Redtail Commons “retail” center.
The meeting opened with a public session where I spoke as a resident voicing my concern that if we make changes to the zoning code for a church, then where does it stop? What if a tattoo shop, liquor store, massage parlor or even a funeral home wanted to move into the plaza.
The board’s intent was for this plaza to be filled with “retail” stores. Something that generates sales tax for the village.
Unfortunately, the committee voted for the change. I was the only member of the public to speak against.
During the recess time, I had a talk with Brett Lundstrom, co-owner of the center. I listened to his hopes for the center and empathized with his struggle to fill in the spaces. I expressed my concern that eventually Lake in the Hills would build the restaurants and “retail” stores across the street. That we would become the “service” center.
During the village board meeting we heard presentations from Brett again, the pastor of the church, the owners of the Martial Arts and Yuppy Puppy Dog Grooming about how they supported the church moving in. There was also a letter of support presented on behalf of Leix Dental.
The pastor and his delegation talked of how they wanted to be involved in the community. They wanted to be the first church in Lakewood. All hoped that the church would bring prospective “shoppers” to their business establishments.
During the trustee comments I expressed my concern that we are continuing on a pattern of bringing businesses to Lakewood that do not generate sales tax. Each of the 3 other businesses generate very few sales tax revenue; but there is still that potential.
A church does not have any potential to bring in sales tax dollars unless ‘they sell wine out the back door” (this was my own quote).
When the vote came around I in fact voted as the residents asked me to; I voted no. The other board members all voted yes. The motion passed and the board welcomes the church into Lakewood. They left the meeting shortly after.
The remainder of the meeting was mostly uneventful. All of the trustees have been “chosen” to be committee liaisons; well except for me. And we all know that since I do not play nice, I am still grounded.
The only economic part of the meeting was the final vote on the employees raises versus the extra costs they would have to incur for health benefits.
While I have been against giving out ANY raises, now was not the time to cut the employees off at the knees. But they do know that it will cost them more and more out of their pockets to retain their level of benefits. Just like us in the private sector, cuts are expected and employee contributions to health care are going to rise.
The next meeting will be almost completely about the proposed sports complex. There have been a lot of rumors about who is paying for it and what affect it would have on the village.[See explanation of the SportsPlex proposal from village officials here.]
While most of this project is still in the planning stages, I assure you I will fight to make sure that not $1.00 of village money (your money) is promised to help build this complex.
Yes, negotiations will result in the village making some concessions along the way in terms of fees, but it is no different than we do for residential subdivision builders. I will keep you all up to date.
I did attend a recent meeting of the Redtail Committee. It appears that they finally are moving forward.
I congratulate the citizens of that committee for pushing forward the idea of a much smaller clubhouse that will be paid for by the users of the course; not by the taxpayers.
So once the last payment is made next year, we should see the new clubhouse begin to rise right where the current ones stands. A lot of work is still to be done, but they seem to be headed in the right direction. I applaud those residents
There is nothing new to report on the proposed bike path. Engineering studies are still being done and President Smith formally asked Crystal lake Park District for a donation of money towards the bike path. I do not know the results of that meeting.
Lastly as you know I am working hard on the environment and specifically with Styrofoam recycling. Soon I will have containers at Redtail, Public Works, Village Hall and of course my home where residents can drop off their white Styrofoam. Any kind of Styrofoam is accepted as long as it is #6. Also bubble wrap, packing peanuts and foam sheets are accepted. You do not need to call. Simply stop by and deposit those items into the bins. I will be emptying them on a regular basis. If you have questions do not hesitate you ask.
If you need anything do not hesitate to ask. If you do not agree with me feel free to speak up. I am supposed to listen to you and vote on your behalf. Help me to do a better job.
Kenneth M Santowski
I certainly wish more board members (not just Lakewood’s) would tell their constituents what they think went on at their last meeting.
Any reading this who wish to do so should email their missives to me, if they want broader coverage.