The "Business as Usual" Trustees

(Recently Resigned, Current and Former)

Trustee, Paul Serwatka 

(Candidate for Lakewood Village President)

Phil Stephan, Richard Ritchie and Amy Fues Odom

(Candidates for three Open Lakewood Trustee positions)

All members of The Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Team are committed to dissolving this abhorrent Inter-Governmental Agreement and "defusing this Property Tax Time-Bomb" BEFORE it detonates!

While this team does, in fact, recognize the need for Economic Development in Lakewood, this team also believes, fervently,  that any economic development that comes, MUST, come, first and foremost,  with protective measures for Lakewood taxpayers - and must be carried out responsibly, and advantageously, or not at all!   

Recently Resigned Trustee, Ken Santowski

(Candidate for Lakewood village president)

8-Year Incumbent Trustee, Gene Furey and

Former Trustee, John Schrauf

(Both running for the open trustee positions at the request of President, Erin Smith 


Ken Santowski, Gene Furey and John Schrauf support this TIF Tax Subsidy to Developers and also support upholding the Intergovernmental Agreement which allows this TIF to remain in effect

(Though, recently resigned, trustee ken Santowski did not approve of the agreed dollar amount per child (he believed that $9000 per child/per year was excessive and that $7000 was more suitable) Santowski did support the over-all concept of this Inter-Governmental Agreement.)

Opposing Views On

Lakewood's "Property-Tax


Which View Do YOU Share? 

Which team's views on Lakewood's Property-Tax Time-Bomb are more in line with YOURS?

Be sure to Get out and VOTE for them on APRIL 4th!



A copy of our report with the State Board of Elections is available on the Board's official website:  (CLICK HERE)

Copyright 2016, Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Project

The lakewood TAX-Fighter


Better Government Team

Lakewood's Property-Tax Time-Bomb

Those who have been following along, know that trustee Paul Serwatka has been quite vocal, for quite some time, speaking out against the creation of the $66 MIlLION DOLLAR TIF DISTRICT - created and approved by the Lakewood Board of Trustees.

This $66 MILLION TIF brings with it a myriad of risks to Lakewood and surrounding residents

The most concerning of these risks is the January 2016 Inter-Governmental Agreement between Lakewood and Woodstock School Dist-200 that promises an enormous property tax hike for Lakewood residents, potentially hiking Lakewood's property tax levy 50% OR MORE!

A Quick Explanation of “TIF”

TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is a public financing method that is [supposed to be] used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement.

Through the use of TIF, municipalities divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area or district, and direct it toward an economic development project or public improvement project in the community.

In diverting these tax dollars [that would otherwise have been allocated toward things like schools, police, fire protection, emergency medical services, etc] - a shortage is created.


This in turn causes taxpayers to pay more, to make up this shortage.  

But it gets much, much worse...

Perhaps The Most Concerning Issue Lakewood Faces

In January 2016, our village board contractually obligated residents, collectively, to pay additional property taxes of nearly $9000 PER CHILD/PER YEAR - to Woodstock School Dist-200 - for potentially hundreds of children residing in any homes that may be built within the recently established TIF District near Rte 47 & Rte 176.
A Conservative Estimate of This Abhorrent Inter-Governmental Agreement Would Mean an INCREASE in Lakewood's Property Tax Levy of 50% or Greater!
This ENORMOUS Property-Tax Time-Bomb is Ticking...
Lakewood's Property Tax-Hike "Time-Bomb" is Ticking...
Will it Be Defused?  or Detonated?

Why This Inter-Governmental Agreement is Cause for Such Concern

There are many reasons to be concerned with the creation of a TIF District, but, none are more concerning than the abhorrent Lakewood/Woodstock District-200 Inter-Governmental Agreement that this $66 MILLION TIF has since given birth to.


This agreement puts Lakewood taxpayers at an unfathomable risk and yet it was supported and approved by every sitting member of our village board, with the exclusion of trustee Paul Serwatka.

This Inter-Governmental Agreement between Lakewood and Woodstock School Dist-200 was made for the sole purpose of protecting the existence of the TIF district, from impending litigation by District-200 who, because of this TIF District, would be forced to incur the cost of educating Lakewood students who will eventually reside within the boundaries of the TIF District, once homes are built in that area. And despite what village officials may say in public meetings  -


The TIF Redevelopment Plan, in fact, DOES include  "Affordable Housing" !


See The Actual Re-Development Plan by clicking the icon below.

Be sure to see page 34 of the plan - and it is important to understand that the dollar amounts allocated to each of the individual categories listed are nominal and can be changed to ANY dollar amount so long as the total aggregate amount does not exceed $66 MILLION total. 






This Inter-Governmental Agreement essentially guarantees that Lakewood Property Tax Dollars will be used to reimburse Dist-200 in the amount of $9000 per child/per year for every child residing within the TIF District.

This $9000 is, of course, using today's dollars and would be adjusted for inflation for each of the potentially remaining 31 years.

A Very Conservative Projection:



ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE PROJECTION 2 = 2 CHILDREN PER HOME (There are 4 children in my home) 

50 Homes X 2 Children Per Home = 100 Lakewood Children to DIST-200 SCHOOLS

      $9000  - Lakewood Property Tax Dollars Per Student

        x 100  - Conservatively Projected New Students

$900,000  - Conservative Projected Annual Tax Dollars to Dist-200

$1,800,000 - Current Annual Lakewood Property Tax Levy

   + 900,000 - Projected Property Tax Dollars to Dist-200


New Property Tax Levy = $2,700,000 or a 50% increase, Conservatively! 


As you can see, using very conservative projections, this Inter-Governmental Agreement could very easily increase our property tax levy by 50% or more. Many argue that, in all likelihood, it will in fact, be substantially more!

Many protective measures were discussed, including, restricting the TIF to dis-allow residential development, which was not an option under the TIF.

As it stands, as long as this TIF exists, so does this exorbitant risk to Lakewood taxpayers.

Some Quick Facts:

  • To date, more than $750,000* Lakewood Tax Dollars have ALREADY been spent IN SPECULATION of attracting future development to the Rte 47/Rte 176 area. (See an itemized list of expenditures, as reported by Paul Serwatka - HERE.)

        *(As of March 2017 - Another $53,000 has been spent on legal, and other, fees in support of              this TIF - Bringing the Total to now more than $800,000!)

  • One of the notorious concerns (but, not even the primary concern) with TIF’s, in general, is the questionable, and sometimes even fraudulent, expenditures that often seem to be included, and paid for, with these diverted tax dollars that are referred to as “the increment” or “revenue".

  • FOIA (Freedom of Information) requests have ALREADY uncovered a number of very concerning communications between current board members, village staff and principles of the Sportsplex regarding the actual amounts of expenditures and conspiring to justify/Qualify MILLIONS of Dollars in Questionable Expenditures.

​        (Read actual examples of some the communications uncovered through FOIA documents,

         and more, as spelled out in Paul Serwatka's past Newsletters and POSTED HERE.)  

  • In January 2016, Woodstock School District 200 threatened to file a lawsuit against our village to protect themselves from the ramifications of this $66 MILLION TIF.

  • In an effort to protect the existence of this $66 MILLION Developer Subsidy and thwart off the ensuing litigation, our village board agreed to pledge YOUR future property tax dollars as collateral!