Lakewood TIF Joint Review Board Meeting on Rt. 47-Rt. 176 Intersection Improvement Thursday After Next

A message from future Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka:

Follow-Up on TIF District/Sportsplex

Following up on recent developments with the TIF District/Sportsplex that I wrote about in my January 1st newsletter, I wanted to share with you what I have learned at this point, which includes the following:

1. To-date response from Lakewood Interim Village Manager, Andrews
2. Response from USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture)
3. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Requests
4. January 26, 2017 Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting

1. To-date response from Lakewood Interim Village Manager, Andrews

After my Newsletter went out, it was posted on McHenry County Blog. In response to this, Interim Village Manager, Shannon Andrews sent the following email:

Honorable President and Board of Trustees,

In response to recent articles on Cal’s blog, I have received some inquiries as to the status of the Sportsplex as it relates to the Village. Please be aware that I have been provided no further information than what was reported at the December Board meeting. At that time, I shared with the Board that the Sportsplex team was continuing to pursue financing for the project.

If an invitation to bid has been issued for the project, my assumption is that the cost of the project may be a requirement of the USDA application. However, I will be following up with the Sportsplex team to get a better understanding.

If anyone has any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


2. Response from USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture)

A resident team member who reached out to the USDA received the following word back:

Thank you, for reaching out with your concern so that we could address it.

I’ve been in touch with our Community Program Director in Illinois and the Area Director and Community Program Specialist for Northern Illinois.

An application for this project was submitted to Rural Development approximately a year ago and rejected. While we have heard there is continued interest in the project, to date Rural Development has not received another application. As I’m sure you can appreciate, we are unable to comment on what, without an application, is currently a hypothetical situation – other than to reassure you that any application received will indeed have to meet all eligibility guidelines for consideration.

Your comments, concern and insight are appreciated and will be kept with this file for review if further activity regarding this project reaches our office.

Thank you again for reaching out and you are welcome to contact me directly if I can be of additional service.

Best regards,

Public Affairs | Community Economic Development Coordinator
Rural Development in Illinois
United States Department of Agriculture
2118 W Park Ct. Suite A Champaign IL 61821

3. FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Requests

FOIA (Freedom of Information) requests for any written communications to-date between village staff, officials and the Sportsplex principles, have turned up no notable communications pertaining to the TIF District or Sportsplex.

4. January 26, 2017 Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting

The intersection of Routes 176 and 47 as it will appear after it is reconfigured by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Next Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 1:00pm – The Lakewood Joint Review Board Meeting will be held to discuss the Route 47 and Route 176 Redevelopment Project Area. The meeting will be held at The West Beach Building, 2330 Lake Avenue, Lakewood.

Present, will be officials from the various government bodies that will be affected by/involved in the Lakewood TIF District, including Lakewood, Woodstock, School Dist-200, Grafton Township, Crystal Lake Park Dist. and McHenry County.  [McHenry County College is also eligible to attend.]

This meeting is open to the public. I will be in attendance in an unofficial capacity.

As far as I can tell, at this point, it doesn’t appear there is any imminent danger or reason to be overly concerned.

That being said, this is still an issue that I strongly believe MUST remain a priority, MUST be watched over vigilantly and MUST be dealt with as soon as possible.

Regardless of your views toward the Sportsplex itself, our village board, in an effort to protect this TIF district from impending lawsuits, has put Lakewood taxpayers at an unfathomable risk.

If development within this TIF begins, there is a very real possibility that our property tax levy could be increased by 50% or more. I have spoken and written of this before and will again address this in detail, in an upcoming newsletter.

As always, your thoughts, questions and concerns are always welcome and alway valued.


Lakewood TIF Joint Review Board Meeting on Rt. 47-Rt. 176 Intersection Improvement Thursday After Next — 15 Comments

  1. This TIF and the questionable annexation of the properties involved needs to be dissolved!

    Then Lakewood can focus on filling there empty subdivisions and sell the property they purchased at that intersection!!

  2. “Regardless of your views toward the Sportsplex itself, our village board, in an effort to protect this TIF district from impending lawsuits, has put Lakewood taxpayers at an unfathomable risk.

    If development within this TIF begins, there is a very real possibility that our property tax levy could be increased by 50% or more.

    I have spoken and written of this before and will again address this in detail, in an upcoming newsletter.”

    On behalf of many Woodstock taxpayers, I assert that the Woodstock D200 School Board has neglected to protect our best interests in the past against this TIF and there is no reason to believe they will begin to do so now.

    As you know, the IGA signed by D200 prohibits the Board from objecting to any TIF dealings.

    There is a meeting on Jan 26th of the Facility Review Committee for Woodstock D200 which must be attended, in conflict with this meeting.

    I hope other Woodstock D200 taxpayers will attend the Lakewood TIF meeting and represent self-defense against this predatory TIF which channels all TIF revenues through Lakewood municipal rulers’ hands for the next 35 years, while leaving Woodstock’ and other taxpayers the bills for provision of social services to TIF homes and businesses.

  3. Cal your headline reads meeting Friday after next the article says Thursday the 26th @ 1:00 which is it and what building is it in?


    I’m beginning to see why Erin Smith has decided to cut and run from being Vlg. Prez.

    This is local govt. of the worst kind.

    Smith Legacy=Crap! (or worse)

  5. Susan’s railing about D200’s failure to fight a TIF is misplaced.

    Taxing bodies have no say as to whether or not a village can establish a TIF.

  6. Taxing bodies do have the right to protest tif action (and tif formation).

    But D200 signed an IGA waiving protest rights.

  7. Taxing bodies were given a chance to protest the formation of the tif.

    Inexplicably, they declined to object.

    Perhaps, because the taxing bodies get their money anyway, from other taxpayers, and don’t really care the burden that new Tif social service provision imposes on existing taxpayers.

    Now, if there are substantive changes presented to the plan to which they did not object, the taxing bodies have another chance to object.

  8. Taxing bodies can protest and complain all they want to – it means nothing because they have absolutely no power to reject the creation of a TIF district.

    Of course the taxing bodies care about money being approved by the taxpayers for use by them being taken by local municipalities and used for all kinds of things like paying off businesses to move to their villages (i.e.. Carpentersville bribing Walmart) or handing millions of dollars over to huge corporations who threaten to leave if they aren’t paid off to stay (ie. Hoffman Estates and Sears).

    Your ire should be directed at the entities that are doing the taking.

    The ones who have the power – in this case Lakewood.

    Attacking taxing bodies who have no power in this fight will accomplish nothing.

    You should ask your state reps and senators to change the law.

    And if you really want to sue someone – file a taxpayer suit.

    You have standing, D200 doesn’t.

  9. Actually they did have the power.

    They declined to exercise that power.

    Read the statutes.

    Your assertions are incorrect, taxing bodies have standing to obstruct tif formation, and file suit.

    There is case law on such efforts by taxing bodies.

    I disagree with your assertion that our taxing bodies care about taxpayer burden, and as evidence of my opinion I cite our >3.66% mean and median property tax rate in McHenry County (Mean and median property tax rates here are higher than 11% of EAV, lower than 11.5% of EAV).

    National average property tax rate is 1.4%.

    Indiana is capped at 1%.

    Woodstock p-tax rate is 4.6% of total fair market value.

    D200 had standing to sue to negate the improper Lakewood TIF .
    They hired legal counsel, who advised that the TIF was improper.

    D200 Board Chairwoman conducted secret meetings with Erin Smith and Catherine Petersen.

    Then, at 11th hour (when the time limit to file suit against Lakewood TIF was the next day) the Chairwoman (a practicing attorney, who failed to obtain a tolling agreement) the D200 Board was presented one alternative: sign a poorly designed IGA.

    NOW D200 cant file suit, they waived that right and right to object by signing IGA.

    Audrey, I do direct ire toward Lakewood but you are right about an aggrieved party needing standing, and as a Woodstock resident I have none to affect Lakewood municipal decisions.
    And I HAVE contacted Althoff, and Wheeler, and Franks. Look where its got me! bupkes.

    I would be glad to answer your questions and find ways to work together to help defend ourselves from this improper, predatory TIF district placed far away from Lakewood. benefiting Lakewood exclusively, and sucking vast sums of tax revenue (and any hope of POTENTIAL tax revenue) for 35 years from Woodstock.

    I have spent hundreds of hours of uncompensated time on this effort already, and if you are truly willing to give a bit of your time to the project, perhaps you can do some good.

    Cal will give you my contact info.

  10. Susan, I feel your pain about not getting any help from Reps/Senators, etc.

    And I am about as big a fan of TIFs as you are.

    I have read the statutes and I have not seen anything that provides that taxing bodies’ objections are controlling in whether or not a TIF district is established.

    If you have something that says that they are, I’d love to see it.

    As far as case law, yes the entity trying to establish the TIF is required to establish blight and meet the “but for” test, etc. but it isn’t hard to meet either of those tests under current law.

    Not many taxing bodies can afford protracted litigation of an issue like TIF where they might win but the municipality will probably just come right back with a new ‘facts”.

    I think that the better way to approach this issue is to try to educate the public about what is going on and put pressure on the municipalities.

    Maybe require that they float a referendum to get the publics OK to divert their taxes for these kinds of uses.

    When I agree to raise my property taxes to support my schools or my first responders, I don’t want a village that I have absolutely nothing to do with just deciding to take that money and give it to developers or other businesses just because.

    As for the amount of time you have spent on this – I always respect someone who puts themselves out there like that.

    If more of us would do that, we’d be a lot further along in taking back control.

  11. The April 4th election can’t get here soon enough.

    Paul and his Lakewood Taxfighter slate will end these shenanigans once and for all!

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