As I sit to write this letter, it is a beautiful spring day and there is much to celebrate within the Village of Lakewood.
Lakewood Property Taxes
We recently received our property tax bills and, for many of us, the news was not good as our overall taxes increased. For nearly all of our residents, however, the portion of real estate taxes paid to the Village of Lakewood should have decreased.
This is a direct result of the final payment being made for the bond that was used to purchase RedTail Golf Club. That obligation has now been completed, and no additional taxes will be levied for RedTail Golf Club.
Unless you already have an alternate electrical supplier, you should have recently received an Opt Out letter from Direct Energy and the Northern Illinois Governmental Electric Aggregation Consortium (NIGEAC). NIGEAC is the intergovernmental consortium that was formed for the purpose of securing a lower rate for electricity for a number of McHenry County communities.
This process was made possible by the referendum that was passed in March, and I am proud to note that the referendum passed by a higher margin in the Village of Lakewood than in any other community in McHenry County. The rate secured from Direct Energy is $0.04169, which is less than half of the current rate from ComEd.
To date, we believe that it is the lowest rate in the state, and we estimate that the annual savings for our residents will be between $300 and $350.
Unless you opt out of the contract with Direct Energy, you will automatically be enrolled and will begin seeing the new rate on your ComEd bill as early as June. ComEd will continue as our service provider, maintaining the infrastructure that provides the electricity, but purchasing the supply of electricity from Direct Energy.
Garbage and Recycling Services
We also recently extended our existing contract with MDC Environmental Services (our refuse hauler) for a period of six years. During the first year, there will be no rate increase. In the second and third years, the rate will simply be adjusted by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In the fourth year, there will again be no rate increase. And in the fifth and sixth years, the rate will again be adjusted by the CPI. There will be very few changes in service. For those residents who have requested a cart for yard waste, MDC will provide a 95 gallon yard waste cart at an additional cost of $1.50/month. Any resident who chooses this option will still be entitled to the collection of four bags of yard waste at no additional cost. The fee for an additional garbage cart will be reduced from $2/month to $1.50/month. Please call Village Hall if you want to take advantage of either of these new service enhancements.
2012 – 2013 Budget
The Fiscal Year 2012 – 2013 budget which was adopted in April is balanced and includes numerous infrastructure improvements, including street repaving and water main replacement. It does not contemplate a rate increase for customers of Lakewood Utilities, and it is unknown at this time whether there will be a rate increase for East Sewer customers.
During the past few years of this economic downturn, there have been no new single family homes built in our community.
That trend has changed, however, and we have already issued two building permits for single family homes that are currently under construction. An additional two homes have been approved by the Architectural Review Committee, and several more are in various stages of design.
A new owner has purchased the vacant parcels in The Highlands at RedTail subdivision, and he intends to move forward immediately to complete the unfinished four-unit building. All of this is a very positive sign as both businesses and individuals are again choosing to make substantial investments in our community.
Future Commercial Development
Recently, the Village Board purchased the parcel of land located at the southwest corner of Route 47 and Pleasant Valley Road (just north of Crystal Woods Golf Course). This was a strategic investment for the purpose of maintaining control of future development at this intersection. We were able to secure the property for significantly less that its appraised value and the current leases on the property more than cover the cost of our 10-year loan. The funds needed to purchase the property will be taken from reserves, so residents will see no tax increase as a result of the purchase.
While we continually strive to provide our residents with the highest level of services in the most cost effective manner possible, we also recognize that our quality of life is equally as important. There are several opportunities to participate in local activities this summer. Enclosed with this newsletter is a flyer inviting you to “Celebrate Lakewood” on June 10. Not only is it a chance to see the newly remodeled RedTail Clubhouse, but there will be free food, activities, and prizes!
Our first church, Crosspoint Lutheran, is sponsoring a Family Fest on Saturday, July 7 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It will include outdoor games and rides, free food, and an 80’s band.
And as hard as it is to believe, Lou Malnati’s will be celebrating its 5th Anniversary in the Village of Lakewood. In order to commemorate this event, Lou’s is sponsoring a 5K run/walk in August as a fundraiser for breast cancer. Please plan to attend one or all of these events!
El Café is expected to be open for business on or about the weekend of June 9! It’s a warm and inviting space, and I strongly encourage you to stop by and welcome the newest member of our growing business community. My husband and I plan to be there every weekend for our morning coffee run(s), so please stop by and let me know your thoughts about our Village.
As a part of our Looking Out for Lakewood campaign, please contact me if you know of an individual who might be interested in opening a business at Lakewood Commons. I am most often asked about a breakfast/lunch diner, general store, or spa. But, we would welcome new suggestions from residents!
My best wishes for a safe and fun filled summer!