Get To Know Paul Serwatka
Discovering, and Becoming, Lakewood
The Serwatka family first discovered Lakewood in 2010 while Paul was working with a real estate client, looking at several homes in Lakewood and surrounding communities. After this initial discovery by happenstance, Paul and his wife/business partner/broker associate, Robin, found themselves quite enchanted by Lakewood’s “Quality Living in a Natural Setting,” just as advertised, and began a focused pursuit of making Lakewood their home.
In 2011 the Serwatka family purchased their home in the Redtail section of Lakewood, and have continuously found themselves more and more involved, and invested, in the Lakewood community.
The Serwatka Family - Paul, Robin, Ronin, Wynnie, Rogue & Saylor
Family Life paul serwatka lakewood tax fighter
Paul and Robin have four young children. They homeschool their 8-year old son and 5-year old daughter and plan to continue homeschooling the others as they come of age. Robin is also an instructor at Centegra Health Bridge in both Crystal Lake and Huntley - but her real passion, outside of home, is educating and helping expecting mothers to have "A Better Birth" experience and healthier babies.
Entrepreneur / Businessman paul serwatka lakewood tax fighter
Paul’s carpentry skills eventually paved the way for the birth of his entrepreneurial spirit, as he left the “security” of employment to become his own boss.
His new venture ensued, building garages & decks and renovating homes - eventually leading to his purchasing dilapidated houses and apartment buildings to renovate for rental investments or re-sale.
Over time, Paul acquired a number of 3 to 10-unit apartment building investments, as well as single-family rental homes, and continues to buy and renovate homes for re-sale.
Along the way, Paul also went on to obtain his real estate agent license, broker’s license and later his Managing Broker’s license – forming his own real estate brokerage firm in 1999.
Developing a Work Ethic paul serwatka lakewood tax fighter
The middle of three children in a middle-class, blue collar family, Paul was born and raised in the far northwest side of Chicago, near O’Hare, his father a Police Officer and mother, a home-maker. During his school years, Paul worked his summers, as a landscaper, and at age 19, he began a formal 4-year carpenter apprenticeship, to become a journeyman carpenter.
Working his way up from hauling lumber & nailing decks, to framing walls, cutting roofs and every other facet of building homes - Paul developed a tremendous work ethic, severely calloused hands and a sincere empathy for working class families.
Paying it Forward paul serwatka lakewood tax fighter
Weeks before Paul’s 21st birthday, his father met an untimely death at age 47. The loss of his father led to great hardship for his family including severe financial difficulties and their home going into foreclosure.
“One day, just weeks before the scheduled foreclosure sale, we received a knock on the door. At the door were two deacons from our church who asked to come in. They said they were made aware of our situation by another church member and asked my mother to gather up our mortgage statements.”
“They calculated how much was needed to bring our mortgage current and save our home from foreclosure. They, then, pulled out a checkbook and wrote out a check to my mother for that amount...
I remember my mother telling them she couldn’t accept the check because she didn’t expect she would ever be able to pay it back - To which they replied “This is a gift. We don’t expect you to pay it back.”
Paul has always remembered this moment and has since been devoted to “paying it forward” whenever the opportunity arises.
Fulfilling a Childhood Dream paul serwatka lakewood tax fighter
Growing up, Paul never missed an episode of the television show “EMERGENCY!” He found watching, as Firefighters Roy Desoto and Johnny Gage put themselves in harm’s way, to save the lives of others, to be both intriguing and inspiring. This inspiration along with the heroic stories he was told by his firefighter/uncle - Paul would tell anyone who asked, he was going to be a firefighter when he grew up.
At age 26, amid a quite successful, lucrative carpentry/real estate endeavor, Paul enrolled in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course to become a state certified EMT. He found emergency medicine to be exhilarating. Paul went on to enroll in Paramedic school to become a state-certified Paramedic. He then enrolled in fire science courses and began participating in numerous municipal civil servant exams in pursuit of a career as a Firefighter/Paramedic.
Paul's childhood dream was first realized when he was selected by the Waukegan Fire Dept. to become a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic for the city of Waukegan, IL. After nearly four years of service with the Waukegan Fire Dept, Paul earned his way to the top 5% of more than 30,000 applicants and was selected to join the ranks of the much larger, and much coveted, Chicago Fire Dept. As a Chicago Firefighter/Paramedic, Paul served in some of the most violent and dangerous neighborhoods in the country and found himself challenged, daily, by the most dangerous situations he had faced in his life.
Then, after 12 years of service as a Firefighter/Paramedic, Paul was seriously injured responding to a pin-in auto accident. Multiple surgeries and more than a year of rehabilitation left Paul with an irreparable spinal injury and a permanently detached bicep, forcing the untimely end of his career as well as his childhood dream.
Badge Ceremony wih Mayor Daley and Commissioner Joyce
Government Watchdog/Tax Fighter
Paul has long been a voice, as well as a force, for holding government accountable. This is true, not just locally, but also county-wide, state-wide and even nationally. Paul is often found attending, and speaking out at, county board meetings, state legislative sessions and has even attended national hearings and forums in Washington D.C.
Paul was a founding member of both the McHenry County Citizens for Better Government and www.VotersInAction.com. Paul has volunteered thousands of hours and thousands of personal dollars to help effect better government locally and he continues to encourage residents to become engaged in local government affairs and to call-to-action, local residents when necessary.
Anyone who knows Paul will tell you, unequivocally, Paul is quite passionate about pursuing truth, transparency and accountability in government!
As a Lakewood village trustee, Paul was the only member of the board to waive the small salary trustees are paid. Now, as Village President, Paul continues to forego his salary. In years prior to the recent election of "The Lakewood Tax-Fighter Team" to the Lakewood Village Board, Paul was often the sole voice of, and for, transparency and accountability and has been relentless in calling attention to - and putting an end to - the patronage, wasteful spending, secrecy and otherwise hidden undertakings by village administration and board members.
More recently, in the summer thru fall of 2016, Paul spear-headed Lakewood’s historic and incredibly successful taxpayer initiative, the Lakewood Property Tax Advisory Referendum, before going on to found the Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Project and ultimately, the Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party.
Since then, Paul has worked to uphold the many promises he made to residents including abolishing Lakewood's $66 MILLION TIF Dist. /Developer Subsidy (a HUGE win for Lakewood and surrounding taxpayers) earning statewide recognition for Lakewood as "a step in the right direction for Illinois" - Illinois Policy - June 14, 2017
And more recently Paul delivered by cutting Lakewood Village Property Taxes by 10% - this time earning widespread statewide recognition and headlines for Lakewood:
- Illinois Wirepoints - Dec 21, 2017
"Suburban Lakewood's Serwatka Shows What Reform-Oriented Leadership Could Do for Illinois" - Illinois News Network - Jan 12, 2018
- Illinois Policy - Jan 15, 2018
Why I Serve as Village of Lakewood President
"It is important to me that residents understand that I did not run to become President of the Village of Lakewood out of any political ambition.
I had no aspirations "to be Village President." I do not seek power, prestige or pecuniary benefits, of any kind. But, as we are all aware,
Illinois is circling the proverbial drain with McHenry County LEADING THE NATION in highest Property Taxes - ranking number 27 out of more than 3100 counties in the U.S. for highest property taxes! And, Lakewood residents pay among the highest in property taxes in McHenry County!
In the two years I served as your village trustee, I saw first-hand the dire need for truth, transparency, accountability, and responsible spending within our village government. Something had to be done... Somebody... had to step up!
I hope, at this point, that I have proven myself to residents as being sincere, able, and earnest in my convictions, to honestly and diligently serve and represent ALL residents - just as our village board was, once-upon-a-time, intended to.
I am here for one reason only – to effect honest and accountable government within our village, setting an example of what ALL local governments were once intended to be.
For a better Lakewood,
Paul D. Serwatka
Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party - Founder
President - Village of Lakewood, IL
Resident Outreach - Encouraging Residents to Stay Informed
Training the Next Generation of Government Watchdogs
with the McHenry County Citizens for Better Government
Speaking to Lakewood Residents & Circulating Petitions for
Lakewood's Historic Property Tax Referendum
An Absolute Honor to Talk Government, Law and Leadership
With Boy Scout Webelos Pack 158
Talking and Distributing "Declaration of Independence"
and The U.S. Constitution
With Boy Scout Webelos Pack 158