Lakewood Village Trustee Writes

Friends and fellow Lakewood residents:

I waited until after January 1st to send you this latest village board meeting update. Due to the holidays there was only one meeting and it occurred on December 14th. Several key issues were on the agenda.

  • The replacement of the “company” that runs the Lakewood fire department,
  • the tax levy for the entire village, and
  • your individual SSA [Special Service Area] tax levies.

I also wanted to see what was going to happen with the sportsplex bond sale.

Well, the general tax levy was voted on. Due to the way the taxes are computed for each town, the general levy must be voted upon in advance.

While the levy passed was a 10.94% increase Lakewood is bound by the tax cap which will/should be around 2.7%.

While we passed the higher amount we can only levy what the county allows us to, so we pass what we want/need but can only collect what is allowed.

Ken Santowski

Confused yet?

It is our government at its finest.

Yes, your taxes will go up.

Yes your home is worth less.

No, it doesn’t make sense.

Depending on the area you live in, you might have a SSA. Most SSA’s are of minimal money taxed and collected. (Check your tax bill for your own SSA)

The most controversial SSA is #1. It covers the lakes.

Once again the committee recommended a lower amount of $105,000. Staff went against the committee and recommended higher amounts ($105,000 to $157,000) with varying reasons.

The biggest objection I raised was the replacement of the Weedo boat, which was purchased mid-summer last year.

I believe I used the word “preposterous” when asked about the request to allocate $5340 to replace a boat that was only 6 months old. I pointed to the fact that the boat was doing a great job of harvesting the algae.

If it kept doing the job it is supposed to do, we would not need the boat in 5-7 years when its life expectancy runs out. So why would we even think about replacing something that is only 6 months old?

They also wanted to add additional reserves to make repairs to the dam and spillway.

The belief is that the lakes, dam and spillway are important to the property values of ALL of the surrounding homes that are in SSA #1.

I personally do not believe that the lakes affect my home value.

I cannot prove that the lakes affect my home value negatively in the same way that certain people cannot prove they affect my homes value positively.

Not everything in Lakewood is on a doomsday collision course, as we are led to believe.

SSA#1 is set to expire in 2015 and will have to be resurrected by the homeowners once again.

Enough is enough with reaching into the pockets of many to satisfy a few. When the SSA expires we shall see how many people want to pay for the lakes and their maintenance.

At midnight New Years Eve, Woodstock Fire and Rescue took over operations at the Lakewood Fire Department.

American Emergency Services relinquished control to them in a friendly buyout. AES has done a great job of providing fire service to Lakewood for the past 4 years and Chief Jensen should be commended and thanked.

New Chief Webster and his crew will eventually combine manpower and equipment to provide Lakewood with fire and ambulance service at the lowest cost possible.

Hopefully this rings true in the coming years and we don’t get into another “problem” like we had with a certain town to the east. Lakewood Fire Department will still exist as it has in the past.

As you have seen in the papers the sportsplex failed to sell the tax free bonds by the 12/31 date.

In subsequent articles on subsequent days the sportsplex people reiterated that the project will still go forward.

I initially did vote “yes” on this project allowing the sportsplex people to go ahead and sell this project to investors and the public.

Well they failed to “sell” the project.

What does this mean?

We shall see over the next few days when several other key issues expire. Will they act on them, get extensions or simply let the project die?

A member of the audience asked if the gas station and fast food restaurant could still be built without the sportsplex.

Unfortunately, those projects are tied together. We lose one we lose them all.

I still believe the project has merit. I think on a much smaller scale it could be built and be profitable. But I am not a sportsplex expert. Perhaps someone else is.

You also saw that Redtail might run out of money if it continues on its same path. Over the next few months we shall go over that budget as well as all of the budgets for all departments.

Deep cuts will have to be made, and feelings will get hurt.

I am sure every one of us has already felt the economic downturn in our own homes.

Not every job and every salary can be saved.

Lastly, I recently completed and turned in my petition to run for this office again. Thanks to all who signed my petition during the blizzard.

Julie Richardson and Jeff Iden are running against each other for the 2 year term; there is only 1 seat.

Myself, Carl Davis, Blake Hobson and Gary Sexson are running for the 4 year terms; there are only 3 seats. The election is in April so you should start to see some campaigning in late February.

I have tried to do my best to represent you in my elected position. I have tried to listen to each and every one of you. I and you do not agree all of the time but I feel that as long as we can respect each other then we are heading in the right direction.

I was asked by a fellow trustee why I did not vote the same way the rest of the board did.

I told him I vote the way the people ask me to vote.

I told him that was my job

Your trustee and hopefully your friend

Kenneth M Santowski


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