Serwatka Reports on Lakewood – TIF District Scheduled for Repeal Tuesday

Since my last report on May 11 there have been a number of interesting, but not-so-pertinent, items that I want to update everyone on, but, I need to emphasize this IMPORTANT news/notice, and in a timely manner, so I will revisit those not-so-pertinent items in the near future.

But, rest assured, I, and the new team, have been quite busy working on many, many things and I know you will be quite pleased as we fill you in.

The News You’ve Been Waiting For (For 2-1/2 years, now)

This coming Tuesday, June 13th, at our Lakewood Village Board Meeting, our village board will be voting on the approval of an Ordinance to DISSOLVE The $66 MILLION TIF District that was created and approved in January 2017.

Paul Serwatka’s 2015 sign hits property taxes, the Tax Increment Financing District and the SportsPlex.

This is unarguably THE most important issue that our village faces today!

As you know, this was a cornerstone for my choosing to run for village trustee in 2015 and village president in 2017, as well as a cornerstone for your electing me to both – along with our new team of trustees.

All 14 taxing districts that comprise the Lakewood TIF Joint Review Board have been notified of this meeting and may be in attendance.



The approval of this ordinance will mean two things:

  1. The $66 Million Dollar Tax Increment Finance subsidy will be dissolved and no longer in place or available to subsidize developers within the designated 600 acre area near Rtes 47 & 176.
  2. The Lakewood/Woodstock D200 Intergovernmental Agreement will be cancelled and no longer in effect. (THIS IS CRITICAL)

This Inter-Governmental Agreement between Lakewood and Woodstock School Dist-200 was made for the sole purpose of protecting the existence of the Lakewood TIF district from impending litigation by District-200 who, because of the creation of this TIF District, would be forced to incur the cost of educating Lakewood students ($9000 per student/per year) who will eventually reside within the boundaries of the TIF District, once residential development occurs in that area.

This agreement essentially pledged Lakewood Property Tax Dollars, in the amount of $9000 per student/per year (adjusted annually for inflation) as collateral, to Woodstock Dist-200.


I have spelled out much of the information about this TIF, The Redevelopment Agreement itself, the D200 Intergovernmental Agreement, the more than $220,000 Lakewood Tax Dollars ALREADY SPENT on this TIF, and more, in very understandable detail HERE.


* Worthy of your attention – Last week I was made aware of the fact that Lou Tenore, one of the principles of The Sportsplex has been in contact with one of our village trustees, Jason McMahon. While the exact scope of this contact in not known, it is arguably, grossly improper that a developer would not first confer with the village president before contacting a trustee on a matter such as this – and the fact that trustee McMahon, specifically, was contacted, I find even more suspect.

You may remember that Jason McMahon was appointed by former president Erin Smith to fill the vacancy after trustee Ken Santowski resigned. Since then Jason has been quite vocal, echoing many of the words and wishes of former president Smith.

Jason has been quite vocal against the dissolution of this TIF and has recently begun disseminating some very factually distorted information, stating that:

  •  Dissolving this TIF will cost taxpayers a 12% increase in their taxes
    (This is Absolutely Not True – and Jason knows this is not true.)
  • That we must leave this TIF open to continue to recoup the $220,000 we have spent thus far.
    (This $220,000 was paid with Lakewood Tax Dollars and is being recouped by Lakewood Tax Dollars)
  • That we should at the very least, take on $7 MILLION in debt to run utilities out to the intersection of 47 & 176 and use the TIF as a mechanism to hopefully recoup this debt by incentivising developers to build.
  • That the D200 Intergovernmental Agreement is not a concern because Residential Development will “NEVER” happen in this area.
    (Though page 34 of the Rte 47 & 176 Re-Development Plan/Project Area specifically allocates funds for “Affordable Housing”) (see link above)

** Also Worthy of Your Attention (without getting into too much detail)

ALL EXAMPLES OF PROJECTED DEVELOPMENTS that were demonstrated, to help determine the viability of the concept of taking on even $7 MILLION in debt to fund infrastructure/utilities to this intersection – including all projected property tax revenue and all projected sales tax revenue from the development, still fell substantially short of covering even the approx. $440,000 annual interest payments on this proposed $7 MILLION Dollar debt for infrastructure/utilities…

  • Every example demonstrated was 100% speculative
  • Every projection was 100% theoretical
  • Every scenario placed ALL the risk on Lakewood Taxpayers
  • No scenario ever demonstrated a tangible benefit to Lakewood taxpayers
  • Every example showed a substantial annual financial loss to Lakewood taxpayers.

All of this can come to an end once and for all, this Tuesday, June 13th at 7:00pm. at the Redtail Golf Club Meeting Room.

I strongly encourage you to attend this meeting to show your support.


Serwatka Reports on Lakewood – TIF District Scheduled for Repeal Tuesday — 9 Comments

  1. This is the local equivalent to Trump telling NATO countries to pay their fair share!

    100% behind Paul and the Lakewood Taxfighting Party!

  2. This action should serve as an example for other municipalities in McHenry County, as well as Chicago.

    The harm caused by opaque, politically-controlled diversion of property tax dollars (TIF) outweighs potential benefits.

    In McHenry County the most important factor affecting (lack of) contributory development is the stunningly high property tax rate: over 3.5% of total home value.

    Projects get scratched before the race, knowing that their TIF and competitor TIFs always raise property taxes (which are too high to begin with).

    Property tax rates which are more than double the nation’s average trump free TIF money.

    Citizens of McHenry County can amplify the benefit of Lakewood’s action by:

    Contacting our own local officials to protest TIF in our own municipal areas.

    Contacting Althoff, Reick, and Woodstock City government to protest the 12 year extension of Woodstock TIF.

    Shopping at stores located outside TIF Districts, so as to support merchants who actually contribute property tax dollars to schools and fire departments.

    Good job, Lakewood.

    You are a rising tide that lifts all boats.

  3. If Serwatka and team aren’t killed in a mysterious accident before their June 13th vote, they may actually save Lakewood from from being added to the long list of communities hurt and even devastated by TIF, including Huntley, Harvard and McHenry.

    Particularly, when it appears (I may be wrong) that this Lakewood TIF may be the single largest TIF ever created in McHenry County.

    Tiny little Lakewood sure was intending to take an over-aggressively large bite with this behemoth.

  4. Although the Huntley outlet mall is in two counties, I’d think it was larger than Lakewood’s.

  5. And in doing so he (they) will save impoverished Woodstock!

    This was an illegal TIF that Never should have gone thru!

  6. Paul Serwatka intentionally misled Lakewood residents by stating that Jason McMahon and developer Lou Tenore have a “grossly improper” relationship. Paul Serwatka knows the truth and the phone records provided show proof. I was the person that informed Paul Serwatka of Mr. Tenore’s voicemail in an effort to be completely transparent.

    Above Paul Serwatka stated: “Worthy of your attention – Last week I was made aware of the fact that Lou Tenore, one of the principles of The Sportsplex has been in contact with one of our village trustees, Jason McMahon. While the exact scope of this contact in not known, it is arguably, grossly improper that a developer would not first confer with the village president before contacting a trustee on a matter such as this – and the fact that trustee McMahon, specifically, was contacted, I find even more suspect.”
    – Paul D. Serwatka, Village of Lakewood President

    Paul Serwatka used his position as President to announce this in a public meeting. He went further, using his title as President to disseminate this information in his newsletter, on Facebook and a blog post to inflict as much damage to my reputation as possible.

    Only I, Shannon Andrews and Paul Serwatka knew of Mr. Tenore’s call. However, somehow, I was accused of conspiring with Mr. Tenore on the McHenry County Blog by pseudonym S. Prichard in yet another attempt to assail my character.

    PICTURE 1: June 1, 2017 at 3:06 PM – Developer Lou Tenore left a voicemail message on my home phone which is the number posted on the Village website. When I arrived home and listened to the message, I immediately felt uncomfortable and placed a call to Interim Village Manager, Shannon Andrews.

    PICTURE 2: June 1, 2017 at 6:05 PM – I immediately called Interim Village Manager, Shannon Andrews, on her mobile phone. She did not answer.

    PICTURE 2: June 1, 2017 at 6:24 PM – Ms. Andrews returned my call. We spoke for approximately 13 minutes. I asked why Mr. Tenore was calling me instead of speaking with her and Paul Serwatka. Ms. Andrews explained, Mr. Tenore had called the Village Hall stating there were developments he wished to discuss. Ms. Andrews explained she felt uncomfortable with the timing of the call from Mr. Tenore, given the upcoming TIF vote, and requested he contact the President and each of the Trustees as she did not want to have an appearance of bias one way or the other. I informed Ms. Andrews I was going to call Paul Serwatka to be sure he was aware Mr. Tenore had called me.

    PICTURE 3: June 1, 2017 at 6:38 PM – I called Paul Serwatka. The call was answered; however, I believe it was an accident because he did not speak.

    PICTURE 3: June 1, 2017 at 6:39 PM – I again tried Paul Serwatka on his mobile phone. This time his voicemail answered and I left a message.

    PICTURE 3: June 1, 2017 at 7:59 PM – Paul Serwatka returned my call. We spoke for approximately 48 minutes. We discussed the TIF, Mr. Tenore’s call and that I would be out of town for the TIF meeting. Paul assured me he was aware Mr. Tenore was calling Trustees and that he himself had received a call from Mr. Tenore. I explained to Paul Serwtka I would not be returning Mr. Tenore’s call. He said he understood. I also requested the TIF meeting be postponed until I could be present. Paul declined.

    I am a resident, the same as all of you. I was honest and upfront with Paul Serwatka regarding a phone call I had received. Instead of treating me with respect, Paul Serwatka used me as a pawn for his own political gain. Lakewood deserves better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.