Tirio Calls for Citizens to Pressure Woodstock School Board on Lakewood TIF District

This entered by inbox Friday night:

Joe Tirio

Joe Tirio

Fellow Citizen,

Apologies for the short notice, but timing is truly critical.

Failure to act could result in an increase in your property taxes for the 35 years.


  • D200’s lawyers were asked to examine the Lakewood TIF and found it to be unlawfully constructed.
  • The board was asked to vote to bring this issue to court. The board decided to table the issue after a member of the leadership of the Village of Lakewood made comment.
  • While Lakewood claims to intend that the 100 unit “affordable housing” development will be earmarked for seniors and the disabled, if that is not the case or they develop another housing project, D200 would carry the burden of educating those children with very little compensation from the TIF.
  • As an example, a typical 100 unit housing development could cost D200 taxpayers as much as $720,000 per year (for up to 35 years) in education costs.
  • We believe that the statute of limitations to contest the TIF will expire on January 27, 2016.
  • TIFs are complicated, but this fact is simple. TIFs take tax money from taxpayers and give it to developers who have no obligation to benefit the taxpayers in any way. With what we pay in taxes, we simply cannot afford to give developers handouts.


  • Attend the next D200 Meeting Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 PM at Clay Street Elementary School, 112 Grove St, Woodstock IL 60098. Speak (if you are comfortable to do so) during the public comment period.
  • Click this link and send an email to the school board asking them to pursue legal action as prescribed by their lawyers and as had been tabled in the December 15, 2015 meeting.
  • Call the district office at (815) 338-8200 and tell them to pursue legal action as prescribed by their lawyers and as had been tabled in the December 15, 2015 meeting.
  • Download the suit from the December 15, 2015 board meeting as found in the full agenda packet.


Tirio Calls for Citizens to Pressure Woodstock School Board on Lakewood TIF District — 11 Comments

  1. the legality of lakewoods forced annexation of the proprerties in this t.i.f needs to be investigated and why the two properties to the west of autumn ridge subdivision on ballard are not on the t.i.f. map.

    the one property owners lawyer is the one who represented some of the property owners on ballard hmmm

  2. A few important aspects of most TIFs.

    1. The TIF district is run by the municipality.

    2. It’s Santa Claus money to municipalities, money they would not otherwise receive.

    3. The Santa Claus money comes from a few locations.

    4. One location is a wad of upfront cash to be repaid over time from issuing bonds.

    5. Another location is from taxing districts that overlap the newly created TIF district.

    So the Woodstock District 200 taxing district overlaps the Lakewood State Route 47 & State Route 176 TIF District.


    If Lakewood does not draft a legal document guaranteeing that no children will be housed in the TIF area while the TIF is in effect than their claim is nothing but an idea, akin to the developer who puts a church on the plan they show prospective home buyers and it ends up being a gas station.


    This URL contains the email addresses to the Woodstock District 200 school board members.


    The Woodstock School Board members are:
    Camille Goodwin
    Carl Gilmore
    Russ Goerlitz
    Paul Meyer
    Jerry Miceli
    William Natress
    David Shinherr


    If you think Woodstock property taxes are too high or high enough, than this would be a good school board meeting to attend, to hear arguments for and against the TIF.

    Especially because Woodstock District 200 does not tape the board meetings and post them on their website.

    Going to a school board meeting and trying to understand the issues is as good as place to start as any.

    There are an incredible amount of politics and laws that go into operating public schools.

    Warning, school board meetings tend to be too long, too boring, and not taxpayer friendly.

  3. To clarify, there is not an Agenda Item for the Lakewood 47 / 176 TIF in the Open (Public) portion of the meeting agenda.

    One would gain knowledge during Agenda Item IV (Communications) by listening to the comments from the public, staff, and board.

    And one would also gain knowledge by networking with public, staff and board before and after the meeting.

    The public cannot listen in during the closed session portion of the meeting, that’s done in private amongst the board members and whomever they invite.

    When the Board returns to Open Session from Closed Session they usually say nothing of significance; but you never know they could which is another reason why board meetings should be taped, who wants to wait around doing nothing while the board meets behind closed doors during the closed session portion of the meeting.

  4. First and last paragraphs of Expected Return Analysis of Woodstock D200 litigation position are pasted below.

    Anyone wishing 6 page detailed model assumptions email Cal the request.


    Of Woodstock D200 litigation against alleged invalid Lakewood tif

    Woodstock D200 Board has one objection to filing a lawsuit challenging the legality of the Lakewood tif:
    they don’t want to spend $200,000 legal fees.

    This is an emotionally driven objection, not based upon a cogent expected return analysis.

    To analyze rationally one must model predictable outcomes and assign rational odds of the occurrence of those events.

    The board is failing to weigh the cost of litigation against the cost of NOT litigating.

    The board has control over the spending of the legal fees, so they are emotionally driven to not incur that expense.

    And the board has no control over the development plans of Lakewood tif, so are inclined to ‘hope for the best’, and refuse to incorporate the predictable 300 low income housing units and 400 luxury units apt to be built in the tif into decision-making. (All tif students will be no-pays, as all tif property tax revenue will flow to Lakewood manager rather than school district).

    Lakewood tif is going to cost Woodstock D200 taxpayer tens of millions of dollars over its 23-35 year lifespan in unreimbursed costs which would not be incurred ‘but-for’ the existence of the Lakewood tif.

    The costs will be a direct transfer to benefit of the management of Lakewood; Woodstock taxpayers are being forced by the tif mechanism to pay these costs so that Lakewood citizens (and citizens in Lakewood’s school districts) don’t have to.

    Additionally, Woodstock D200 is ceding any hope of commercial property tax revenues from development of this area for the next 23-35 years.

    Woodstock D200 board seems to be striving to ignore advice of counsel to litigate this improper tif, in that Chairwoman insists on negotiating with Lakewood.

    She has not responded to public inquiries as to what could possibly be negotiated, given the tif statute’s strict limitations on PILOT’s tif’s are allowed to pay school districts.

    If the Woodstock D200 school board refuses to perform its own expected return analysis before deciding this issue– with such a large amount of taxpayers’ money at stake– taxpayers may rationally conclude that something other than logic and something other than emotion must be the primary motivating factor.



    LOSS OF $35,140,867


    LOSS OF $33,271,667


    LOSS OF $6,459,507 *

    *Includes Cost to D200 of $7000 per each of 60 low income housing students for 20 years

    CONCLUSION: Costs to Woodstock D200 taxpayers are over $27 million MORE contrasting filing suit (objecting to invalid tif) with NOT filing suit.

    Given that cost risk assumption, then one can calculate a ‘breakeven’ for legal fee expenditure (in addition to the $300,000 legal fee assumption baked into the numbers above already). If there is a 50% chance of winning suit, then legal fee breakeven would be half of $27 million. If there is a 10% chance of winning then legal fee breakeven would be $2.7 million, 1% chance of winning =an additional $270,000.

    SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS: Please create your own present value estimation addressing the presumptions included herein before voting on this litigation.

  5. The Woodstock District 200 school board does not post the agenda packets for public download.

    The agenda packet contains the attachments to the agenda items.

    That is another lack of transparency.

    This school board is not very well run from a taxpayer perspective for the two above mentioned reasons.

    1. Board meetings are not taped and posted indefinitely on the board website.

    2. Agenda packets are not posted on the school board website for public download.

    The agenda packet should be posted for public download at least a few days before the meeting.

    If the taxpayers are to gain meaningful reform in this district they need to insist on those two items.

    If not before the next school board election, the during the next election cycle, if the candidate does not agree to those two measures, don’t vote for the candidate.

  6. The agenda packet for Woodstock D200 December15th meeting contained a copy of first draft of legal complaint against Lakewood tif validity.

    Anyone wanting a copy ask Cal, give email address, and I will send that.

    Same goes for detailed, evidence – based expected return analysis described in prior comment.

  7. So here is what the school board does say about the Agenda Board Packet on their website.

    “A copy of the complete board packet, including the meeting agenda, is also available for review at the District 200 Administrative Services Center and the Woodstock Public Library.”


    So the Board forces the taxpayer to physically go to a District building or the library and look at paper instead of viewing and downloading the agenda packet remotely from their computer or other electronic device.

    There are plenty of taxing districts that post agenda packets on their website prior to the meeting for the public to download.

    The taxpayers are getting a raw deal on board packets in District 200.

    By reading board packets, anyone can better understand the taxing district.

  8. Even with agenda packets posted on the district website prior to the meeting and indefinitely archived, even with videotaped board meetings indefinitely archived on the district website, it’s still a challenge to understand the issues and advocate for your position.

    Without those items it’s like starting 10 yards back in the 40 yard dash.

  9. Show up!

    TIFs hurt everyone, they take away from schools and it’s just wrong that Lakewood would get taxes from students that would go to Woodstock.

    Woodstock is impoverished compared to Lakewood yet Lakewood is asking Woodstock to absorb the cost to educate these kids!

    That’s unethical and it’s no wonder the lawyers believe unlawful as well.

  10. I spoke to Serwatka at my door the other day.

    He said he has twice requested to be a part of these supposed D-200/Lakewood official “meetings”.

    His requests were denied.

    He was told by Lakewood president, Erin Smith that D-200 requested that he not attend.

    Makes one seriously question the legitimacy of these “meetings”.

  11. @ Patrick: I have also spoken to Serwatka on the issue and exchanged a few emails on the subject as Paul was a champion against the TIF when he ran for trustee.

    He had also mentioned to me that he had asked to be a part of the meeting and was denied.

    I have since FOIAd records from the Village of Lakewood and D200 regarding their discussions around the TIF.

    I will share whatever I find of interest with the press.

    In the meantime, visit this link: http://www.votersinaction.com/tif-enlightenment.html

    Where you can read more about TIFs, position papers, Return analysis on the suit and so on.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, there is a button you can click that will format an email with the D200 emails on it as well as a subject and body, asking them to pursue the suit.

    I encourage you to alter the text as you see fit, but if you cannot attend the meeting, please at least send this email.

    Remember, TIFs affect everyone.

    This doesn’t just affect D200, this TIF affects the whole county.

    They are bad government and need to be done away with.

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