Above: In 2015 "SAY NO To $66M TIF" Signs, Door Hangers and Mailers covered the village as resident, Paul Serwatka, began his 2 and-a-half year campaign to dissolve this TIF.
In January 2015, the previous Lakewood Village Board approved the creation of the $66 MILLION DOLLAR TIF/tax subsidy to developers for the development of land near Rtes 47 and 176.
The enormous risk that this TIF/tax subsidy placed on Lakewood taxpayers prompted the efforts of resident Paul Serwatka to launch a write-in campaign for a seat on the village board as a village trustee - the outcome of which set a historic record in village of Lakewood elections, with Paul not only earning substantially more votes than all three sitting incumbents, but even more significant, Paul received substantially more votes (as a write-in candidate) than any other elected official in Lakewood's entire history! Paul, later went on to become Mayor of Lakewood, in what became another record setting election, with Paul receiving the highest number of votes to ever be received by an elected official in the village's history.
Through out the 2015 campaign - and even after Paul's successful election to become a trustee - former administration, along with the former Mayor and board members, continued to publicly state: "The TIF is a done deal! It is here to stay!" even elaborating:"There is nothing that Paul Serwatka or anyone else can do about this TIF. It is here, and will remain here, for the next 23 to 35 years!"
(Then) Trustee Paul Serwatka repeatedly replied, very simply, saying: "We'll see about that!"
~ Fast Forward to June 2017 ~
DING! DONG! The $66M TIF is DEAD!
With the April 2017 election of Paul Serwatka as our new Mayor, along with his Lakewood Tax-Fighter Team being elected to our village board - on Tuesday, June 13th 2017, at a packed village board meeting, Lakewood's newly elected Board of Trustees, "The Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Team" fulfilled a promise more than two and a half years in the making, by voting to abolish the village’s $66 MILLION DOLLAR Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District at Routes 47 and 176.
This Was a Tremendous Victory for Lakewood and Surrounding Taxpayers!
The Dissolution of this $66 MILLION DOLLAR developer tax subsidy (TIF) was not only a cornerstone component for Paul's historic, write-in campaign to become a village trustee back in 2015, it was also a top priority for the Lakewood Tax-Fighter Team slate that was strategically assembled by Paul during his two-year period as our village trustee.
The eventual goal being the election of the entire "Lakewood Tax-Fighter Team" in the April 2017 municipal election in order to re-gain resident control of Lakewood's village board by taking back the village presidency/Mayor's seat as well as the majority of trustee seats on the village board. This would position Lakewood residents to be able to abolish/dissolve this enormous taxpayer threat as well as to pursue other efforts toward reducing the property tax levy and the transformation of our village administration.
On June 13th, 2017, after deliberations, a crowd of more than 100 residents who filled the village hall for this monumental vote, erupted into applause, as the role call vote was taken, 5-1 in favor of the Dissolution of this $66M TIF!
Our success in this effort was a HUGE WIN for Lakewood, and surrounding taxpayers, that earned statewide recognition for the village of Lakewood as "a step in the right direction for Illinois."