Lakewood Trustee Shares Thoughts on Village Board Meeting – Part 2

Yesterday, we saw the first part of Lakewood Village Trustee Ken Sankowski’s report on the November 9th village board meeting.  He covered the tax levy and the dam in Turnberry.

In today’s installment, he covers the SportsPlex and stimulus bonds.

SportsPlex Utility Considerations

Extending the utilities out to Route 47 was a unique topic.

Even though the village recently annexed residential properties and several established businesses they (currently) do not have to hook into our water and sewer system if they choose not to.

So right now the only entity that would hook into any water and sewer system would be the sports complex and associated businesses.

The ultimate question is will or can those users generate enough revenue to pay for the water and sewer system?

Several options were presented ranging from just over $1M to over $7M. The options will be discussed further over the next few board meetings.

I am a little concerned that if the sportsplex does not meet anticipated revenues then the user fees the village collects will not be enough to cover the debt.

If this happens then the public would be impacted, by having to cover the debt.

Stimulus Bond Consideration

Lastly, there was a motion on the consent agenda to approve the bond flow through from the McHenry County Board.

The sportsplex needs to have 2 sets of different bonds in order to help pay for their project.

One set of bonds is taxed while the other is tax exempt.

McHenry County Board decided to hand over their authority to UIRVDA (Upper Illinois River Valley Development Authority).

While this may seem just a bureaucratic shuffle of paperwork, the way it was presented did not seem to sit well with me and at least one resident in attendance.

I asked for this matter to be removed from the consent agenda for 2 reasons.

  1. The first one was so that Trustee Blake Hobson (the McHenry County UIRVDA representative) could explain to the audience the reason for this motion.
  2. The other reason was that I was not confident that neither the residents of Lakewood nor the surrounding community knew that this matter was about the sportsplex.

Village Trustees Ken Santowski and Blake Hobson.

The wording on the agenda mentioned a “commercial project” but not the sportsplex. This motion only dealt with the sportsplex bonds. I questioned why it was listed this way and was told it was because that was the way it was copied off the resolution. That same resolution was written by our village and attorney. As you know I am all for transparency and feel that this was not properly presented to allow the public closer scrutiny if they so desired.

I voted against the resolution but it passed anyway.

Originally I was in full support of the sportsplex.

I wanted to give “the team” full board support to get this project off the ground even though I did not (nor did a lot of other people) believe the fiscal projections they gave to us and the public.

But lately I have begun to question the validity of this project. Several member of the McHenry county board also have had their own reservations based on their recent votes concerning the project

Since this project is a “new” vision for Lakewood, McHenry County, Route 47 and several surrounding subdivisions, I had hoped that there would have been more open dialogue between affected residents and the sportsplex people.

Perhaps there was and they were required not to talk. As a private business enterprise they do not have to allow me or anyone access to their own internal processes, negotiations or finances.

I am not a development expert, nor do I claim to know the inner workings of their private enterprise.

It is just my opinion that the sportsplex people could have and should now do a better job with communication.

My hope is that the Sports Complex is built, all issues are remedied, the neighbors are happy and the revenues are exactly what they predict.

More tomorrow.


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