Lakewood joined the parade of municipalities that want Tax Increment Financing Districts.
Since McHenry County Blog was created in reaction to Crystal Lake’s proposal to create the Vulcan Lakes TIF District and since I’m a resident of Lakewood, I felt obliged to testify against creating the tax diversion district.
Every TIF District takes money out of every tax district but the city or village that forms it.
That diversion of tax revenue causes all other tax districts (think schools, since they take about 60% of our tax dollars) to raise their tax rates a bit.
Add up all of those “bits” and we’re talking real money.
Lakewood village officials said that the money raised from taxes on increases in assessed value for the next twenty-three years will go toward paying to run water and sewer to the intersection of Routes 47 and 176.
Coincidentally, Lakewood will consider another run at creating a sports complex in the approximate are of the one proposed four years ago.
An informal meeting will be held next Tuesday night at the Turnberry Country Club at 7 PM.
As reported earlier, Lakewood will hold a formal zoning meeting on Tuesday night, January 27th, on the proposal, also at 7 PM at the Turnberry Country Club.
Objectors besides myself included two women from the Woodstock School District, Susan Handelsman from west of Woodstock and Kelly Liebman from Wonder Lake. Both were worried that tax assessments would not go to their school district, hence making their tax bills increase.
Village Administrator Catherine Peterson pointed out that District 200 officials had not objected to the TIF District.
“School officials don’t speak for the taxpayers,” Handelsman pointed out.
She also revealed that the increased assessed valuation will allow the school board to sell more bonds.
In response to Handelsman’s question concerning the reason developers couldn’t pay for the needed infrastructure, Village President Erin Smith said,
“We believe that the intersection will not develop without a TIF District.”
“If nothing happens at that intersection, is that the worst thing in the world,” Handelsman asked.
“It’s the only opportunity for commercial growth [for Lakewood],” Smith replied.
Scott Sounde asked why two properties annexed along Ballard Road to connect the intersection with Lakewood were left out of the TIF District.
There was also discussion about the Special Service Area that is expiring around the Bard Farm (Turnberry) lakes.
The current reach of the SSA, which many think benefits primarily those seventy-seven people with lake front lots, goes well beyond the lake front.
Smith said the Board wanted a 70-80% support level from whatever a new area would cover.
A meeting held recently seemed to reach a consensus, according to Smith, for “continuing with a voluntary Turnberry Association with lake[front] owners paying more” and those farther from the lakes paying less.