Lakewood Village Trustee Ken Santowski has made it a practice to send emails about his take on village affairs. His latest missive follows:
Friends Neighbors and fellow residents,
Unfortunately the August 10th board meeting was canceled. We only had the August 24th meeting, and as you can tell I am very much behind in my updates. I have been working an extraordinary amount of hours (7 days a week) for one of my customers. Of course they are in the wind turbine business. The rest of my customers are down tremendously as is the rest of the companies in America. I apologize for this delay.
There were several items on this agenda up for discussion.
The first major one was an approval for the next phase of engineering for the proposed Huntley road bike path.
Unfortunately (and I had thought) Crystal Lake had decided to pass on paying for part of the bike path.
With the engineering costs and the villages match, the village of Lakewood now has to pay the entire $247,000 (estimated) portion of the bike paths estimated $994,000.00 cost.
CMAQ-CMAP portion would be $647,000 if given final approval.
As you know I have been against this bike path since the beginning, but only for economic reasons.
Now that CL has decided to let us pay for the whole project that money will be taken out of the Park and Rec fund, aka Redtail fund.
My concern is that we will lower that fund (which was at 1M and change) to a point where we might not be able to build the kind of clubhouse that will bring in the type of revenue (sales tax) that we need to meet the payments once the building is built.
Many residents, who want the clubhouse built first and foremost, have expressed this opinion to me and others.
As a newly indoctrinated bike rider I would love to see more paths and trails, but in the “real business” world that I am from, we spend the money on things that are “needed” first, then “wanted” 2nd.
Julie Richardson questioned weather this project would set a precedent with CL. If we can spend our own money to build this bike path, then what is to stop them from thinking that way in the future.
Even though we give them $700K a year for park district. (Unfortunately by law we cannot repeal that decision) President Smith told the board that if we rejected the CMAP money it would set a precedent that our village was not willing to move forward.
I reminded the board and President (Erin) Smith that Ford Motors Companies rejection of federal stimulus money did not hurt them. In fact they are the #1 car company in America right now according to some leading reports.
But unfortunately when the vote was counted Julie (Richardson), Blake (Hobson), Carl (Davis) all voted yes. I voted no.
Erin Smith cast the deciding yes vote.
As I have previously stated I would love to see more bike paths and trails throughout the village and the county. But as we can see, this path is going to cost us the residents more money than was originally intended.
The motion passed, and the next phase of engineering work will be done. Once that is complete, the results are presented to CMAP for approval and funding. One of my biggest concerns is that the funding goes away after we spend almost $100K on engineering. Incidentally, why does it cost $100K to engineer a bike path?
The other major agenda item was the water rates. As you know when the water tower project was approved it was implied that with out triple AAA rating, favorable construction costs and some best management practices the impact to residents would be kept to a minimum.
When we first heard of the water tower project rates were expected to rise by a base of about $93.00 annually. Then it was lowered to about the $40.00 range after we received some preliminary estimates for construction. I was under the belief that through some cost saving measures, and other saving measures the impact would be significantly less than the $40.00 range.
Unfortunately that was not the case. I questioned where the costs savings disappeared. When the motion was presented, I again voted no. Trustees Davis, Hobson and Richardson voted yes. President Smith cast the deciding “yes”vote. Unfortunately your base water rates will be going up by about $3.50 each month. No, it is not alot of money, but if every taxing body took $3.50 each month out of your pocket, you probably would start to notice.
Many have accused me of being the “no tax increases” guy because I want people to like me. Well, there are plenty of people out there who don’t like they way I vote on certain items. Hopefully they can respect me as much as I respect them. I have always been willing to listen to them, especially when they don not agree with me.
The sports-complex is moving forward. Tuesday (tomorrow) there is a meeting at the county building to extend the deadline for the owners to get their share of the money in order to qualify for the low interest bonds.
Many people who have voiced their opinion against this complex are supposedly going to this meeting.
President Smith has asked residents (see attachment) who support this project to attend the meeting.
Unfortunately I will not be able to take time off work to attend this meeting. As you know I have been on a roller coaster with this proposed project. I originally voted yes because I wanted to give them the tools to either make this work or not.
I am not sure if the inability to raise the cash needed in time is a sign of the times, the economy or simply in the belief of the project. I recently spoke with someone from the project and the complete feasibility study still has not been completed, or at least it has not been made available. I am not sure of how things will go at the county level. Only time will tell.
As always I will do my best to represent you and your decisions.
Kenneth M Santowski
The Styrofoam bins are in place throughout the village. They are located at village hall, public works (Haligus road), Redtail Golf course and of course my home. Feel free to drop off white Styrofoam (preferably clean, please) anytime day or night. If you have any questions feel free to contact me through email or directly by phone at 847-910-2985
Lastly, it was announced that the packets for those intended to run for the village board will be available as of Sept 21 at village hall. If you are thinking of running for office I encourage you to take one out.