& Better Government Project
~ In The News ~
We've Received Quite a Bit of Enthusiastic News Coverage of Our Efforts Toward Lowering Tax Burdens and Restoring Accountable Government!
What Local, Statewide and National News Outlets Say:
The Lakewood Tax-Fighter & Better Government Project - In The News
Zero Hedge – 08/01/2018 -
How Simple Math Chased Away A Mayor & His Family:
LAKEWOOD ILLINOIS – If there was one guy you’d think wouldn’t succumb to the pressures of living in Illinois, it’s Lakewood Mayor Paul Serwatka.
He’s a reformer and a fighter. In the past year he’s succeeded where most politicians refuse to go. He lowered the Village of Lakewood’s property taxes by 10 percent and eliminated a TIF district, going against the trend of higher spending and bigger tax bills in communities across the state. READ FULL ARTICLE
Illinois Policy – 01/15/2018 -
It Can Be Done: Northern Illinois Village Cuts Property Taxes 10 Percent:
Village Of Lakewood is Making Encouraging Reforms in a County Where Residents Pay Some of The Highest Property Taxes in the Nation.
LAKEWOOD – Property tax bills are squeezing the budgets of Illinois families across the state. But one village in northern Illinois aims to play a part in easing that burden.
The proposal was put forth by Village President Paul Serwatka, who took office in May 2017 - -
Illinoisans can only hope Lakewood’s efforts spread across the state, encouraging other local governments to not just freeze tax levies at their current unaffordable levels, but to reduce families’ property tax burdens. READ FULL ARTICLE
Illinois Wirepoints – 01/10/2018 -
Lakewood's Serwatka Shows What Reform-Oriented Leadership Could Do for Illinois:
LAKEWOOD – To see what a reform-oriented Illinois might look like under different state leadership, just look at what’s happened the last few months in the small village of Lakewood, Illinois. -
You probably won’t hear a similar story anywhere throughout the state. - -
It goes to show you what can happen when leaders actually make their budgets work through reforms.
The Village of Lakewood might be just one small village in Illinois. But it’s showing the rest of the state what sensible reform can look like in Illinois. READ FULL ARTICLE
McHenry County Blog – 12/19/2017 -
Serwatka Makes Good on Property Tax Cut for Lakewood:
LAKEWOOD – On Tuesday, December 18 2017, the Lakewood Village Board came together to lead by example and unanimously voted to approve a proposed 10% CUT in Lakewood’s Property Tax Levy for 2018.
This 10% property tax cut comes in follow-up to the successful passage of Lakewood’s historical Property Tax Freeze Advisory Referendum which was spearheaded by Serwatka and Lakewood trustee Phil Stephan, at the ballot box of the November 2016 Presidential Election. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 12/21/2017 -
Lakewood Approves Tax Levy Cut, Abatement:
Board Actions Amount to 10 Percent Tax Levy Cut
LAKEWOOD – Village officials fulfilled a campaign promise to bring property tax relief to Lakewood residents.
On Monday, the Village Board unanimously approved a reduction of 5 percent in the village’s property tax levy request compared with the previous year, as well as an abatement of 5 percent of village taxes.
"If we can do it, everybody can do it," Serwatka said.
Northwest Herald – 08/28/2017 -
Cost-Cutting & Efficiency at Center of Lakewood's Restructured Administration Plan:
LAKEWOOD – The village of Lakewood combined three key administrative positions into one new role in an effort to save money and better serve the village’s 4,000 residents.
"In the past, I've always heard, ‘That’s not how governments do things,’ ” Village President Paul Serwatka said - - "but I wanted to get away from the typical mindset of being a municipal government.”
“I want to be at the forefront, where everyone starts looking and saying, ‘Look what Lakewood did,’ ” Serwatka said.
Northwest Herald – 07/17/2017 -
Lakewood Terminates Deputy Village Manager, To Eliminate Administrative Positions:
LAKEWOOD – Village President Paul Serwatka announced Thursday night in a news release that the village will eliminate the positions of Village Manager and Deputy Village Manager as part of ongoing discussions about reorganizing the administrative structure of the village.
“We’ve been talking about this continued transformation of the village, and this is just one more step in that transformation and the reorganization of this administration.”
Serwatka said the changes were made in an effort to improve transparency, accountability and efficiency within the village.
Illinois Policy – 06/14/2017 -
Lakewood IL. Votes To Eliminate TIF District:
The Lakewood Village Board’s Decision to End a 2015 TIF District is a Win For Local Taxpayers.
LAKEWOOD – The $66 million TIF in Lakewood was created in 2015 but has yet to invest in any development project. Newly elected Village President Paul Serwatka pushed to dissolve the TIF. Serwatka was part of a four-candidate slate that ran on the elimination of the TIF.
The Lakewood Village Board was right to dissolve the TIF.
The village’s decision to end the Lakewood TIF is a step in the right direction for Illinois. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 06/14/2017 -
Lakewood Votes To Abolish TIF District Under Newly Elected Board:
LAKEWOOD – At a packed Village Board meeting Tuesday night, Lakewood trustees voted to abolish the village’s tax increment financing district at Routes 47 and 176.
The vote was met with applause from the audience.
Serwatka has called the TIF a bad deal for Lakewood taxpayers, who already have spent more than $200,000 on it, and called TIFs in general nothing more than taxpayer subsidy of developers and government picking winners and losers.
Northwest Herald – 04/05/2017 -
Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party Member Paul Serwatka Wins Village President Race:
LAKEWOOD – Paul Serwatka, a member of the Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party, will take the helm as village president.
Paul Serwatka received about 70 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results Tuesday night. Trustee Kenneth Santowski, a write-in candidate, received about 29 percent of votes.
Serwatka ran on the Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party a slate with three trustee candidates in an effort to gain a majority on the Village Board to lower the village’s property tax levy. Serwatka has not taken a village paid salary since he was elected
Northwest Herald – 03/28/2017 -
Lakewood Tax-Fighter Party Candidates To Forego Salaries if Elected:
The Tax-Fighter Party is running a slate in an effort to gain a majority on the Village Board and its presidency with Lakewood Trustee Paul Serwatka running for village president. Serwatka has not taken a village salary since being elected two years ago.
Northwest Herald – 11/21/2016 -
Lakewood Trustee Running a Reform Slate, Forming New Party:
LAKEWOOD – A local good-government group founded by a trustee and funded in part through his government salary is looking to run a slate of fiscally conservative and reform-minded candidates in the April 4 election.
The "Lakewood Tax-Fighter and Better Government Project", emboldened by an advisory anti-tax referendum that more than 90 percent of village voters approved Nov. 8, announced Tuesday that it would run candidates for the four open seats on the April ballot.
Trustee Paul Serwatka, who founded the group, plans to run for village president, while candidates Philip Stephan, John O’Hara and Amy Fues Odom will seek the three trustee seats up for election. If elected to a majority, the group said it will lower the village property tax levy, improve transparency and end what it calls unnecessary spending and projects.
“We have a chance here to elect a slate to completely transform our village,” Serwatka said. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 10/08/2016 -
Lakewood Good-Government Group Launches Website, Prepares for Elections:
LAKEWOOD – A fledgling anti-tax group determined to reduce residents’ tax bills has started up a website with April elections around the corner.
The website of the Lakewood Tax-Fighter and Better Government Project went live earlier this month at www.lakewoodtaxfighter.com, to educate residents about its initiatives, founder and village Trustee Paul Serwatka said.
Northwest Herald – 07/18/2015 -
Lakewood Takes First Formal Step To Create New SSA Despite "Filibuster":
LAKEWOOD – Lakewood's newest Village Board member turned a vote on whether to replace the Turnberry Lakes' expiring Special Service Area into "somewhat of a filibuster."
The sole no vote, Trustee Paul Serwatka, said he hadn't planned on turning his comments into a filibuster, but that he was "just astonished that the trustees didn’t see the problem."
Serwatka stated "Some Residents didn't realize it was a property tax, they didn't realize the tax would be based on their assessed values, going up as their home values went up."
McHenry County Blog – 05/30/2018 -
Lakewood President Paul Serwatka Accomplished What He Promised:
LAKEWOOD – When he ran as as a write-in candidate for Village trustee in 2015, he promised three things:
No tax hikes
No Tax Increment Financing District
Taping into the dissatisfaction of village residents on the three subjects, Serwatka won overwhelmingly. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 07/31/2018 -
Lakewood Village President Serwatka Resigns After Months of Speculation:
LAKEWOOD – Paul Serwatka has resigned as Lakewood village president.
“I guess it’s about time to call it and submit my resignation as village president,” Serwatka wrote in his resignation letter, which he provided to the Northwest Herald. “I’m at the point where I’m now spending a lot more time out of state than I am in Lakewood, and it is becoming more challenging for me to pay due attention to my duties as village president.
Northwest Herald – 06/18/2018 -
Some McHenry County Officials Flee Homes in Search of Cheaper Property Taxes:
Then it was moving trucks in front of Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka’s house and an announcement that he plans to resign and move to Alabama. Now it’s news that McHenry Township Trustee Bill Cunningham sold his Wonder Lake home to move to Wisconsin. READ FULL ARTICLE
McHenry Times – 01/09/2018 -
Lakewood Tax Levy Cut is Message to All of Illinois, Village President Says:
MCHENRY COUNTY – The Lakewood Village Board's recent vote to approve a cut in the village's property tax levy for 2018 sent a message beyond that action, Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka said in a press release.
"I believe it is critical that residents even outside of Lakewood understand that this successful property tax reduction effort is about a much bigger picture than just the village of Lakewood," Serwatka said in the release. "Illinois is circling the drain and McHenry County is leading almost the entire country in exorbitant property taxes. And Lakewood nears the top of McHenry County. READ FULL ARTICLE
McHenry County Blog – 03/18/2018 -
Serwatka Critical of Metropolitan Mayors Caucus:
Letter to Local Mayors Describes Leftist Agenda:
Lakewood President Paul Serwatka sent the following letter to Dave Bennett, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus after receiving an email with the subject “Gun Dealer Licensing Legislation.”
The following local government leaders were also sent a copy:
It is printed here with Paul's permission.
Illinois Wirepoints – 12/21/2017 -
Illinois' Lakewood Village Breaks Mold, Lowers Property Taxes:
MCHENRY COUNTY – Lakewood is giving its residents a break from some of the state’s, and the nation’s, highest property taxes. Located in McHenry County and led by Mayor Paul Serwatka, Lakewood recently found the resolve to cut Lakewood’s levy by 10 percent.
Importantly, Lakewood didn’t just lower its property taxes. The village enacted cost saving reforms, including restructuring the city’s administration, to ensure no services get cut.
McHenry County Blog – 12/10/2017 -
Serwatka Proposes 10% Property Tax Cut in Lakewood:
Village Board to Vote Tuesday, December 12th
LAKEWOOD – The reduced levy as proposed by Serwatka is a clean, straight forward, legitimate 10% cut/reduction in the amount of property taxes to be levied by our village and paid by Lakewood residents!
This 10% reduction in our property tax levy is being proposed with NO SERVICES BEING CUT OR REDUCED
Northwest Herald – 09/09/2017 -
Serwatka Says "NO" to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
LAKEWOOD – Today, I was asked by Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, via his representative from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, to consider adopting a resolution in the Village of Lakewood calling on our Governor and the State of Illinois to establish a “Bill of Rights” for undocumented (illegal) individuals covered by the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival” (DACA).
Northwest Herald – 09/13/2016 -
Lakewood Trustee to Contribute Salary to New Anti-Tax Effort:
LAKEWOOD – Trustee Paul Serwatka will now accept his salary as an elected official – to kick into a new political fund to fight for tax relief.
Resurrecting a promise he made earlier this year when he ran for the Illinois House, Serwatka announced that he will contribute his trustee salary to the newly formed Lakewood Tax Fighter and Better Government Project. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 08/12/2016 -
Our View: Tax Vote Will Send Another Message:
LAKEWOOD – Voters in the village of Lakewood will have another opportunity in November to let elected officials know how they feel about their ever-increasing property taxes.
Lakewood Village Trustee Paul Serwatka and a group of volunteers last week submitted 510 signatures for an advisory referendum asking whether taxing bodies with any boundaries in the village should be required to seek voter approval by referendum if they want to increase their levy.
Northwest Herald - 08/09/2016 -
Lakewood Residents Getting Advisory Tax Question on Nov. 8 Ballot:
LAKEWOOD – Village voters will have an opportunity on the Nov. 8 ballot to give their local governments a piece of their mind about property tax increases.
Village Trustee Paul Serwatka and a group of volunteers submitted petitions for an advisory referendum asking whether taxing bodies with any boundaries in the village should be required to seek voter approval by referendum if they want to increase their levy. READ FULL ARTICLE
Northwest Herald – 06/29/2017 -
Lakewood Approves New Police Chief, Revise Village Authority Over Position :
LAKEWOOD – Lakewood trustees voted Tuesday night to appoint Sgt. Michael Roth as the next chief of police, but not before amending the municipal code to revise the village’s process of appointing and supervising the police chief.
Serwatka said the amendment "returns a tremendous level of power back to the residents" because it leaves decisions on the position of police chief up to board members, who are "elected officials."
McHenry County Blog – 11/22/2016 -
Lakewood's Serwatka Targets $15,000 Unnecessary Pace Subsidy
LAKEWOOD – On the agenda, was a motion to approve an Intergovernmental Agreement to, once again, participate in the “MC Ride” Program. As many know, I tried, unsuccessfully in 2015, to convince the board NOT to approve this program. But, this program was “Recommended for Approval” by our Village Manager, and all other trustees followed this recommendation.
Now, this year, after paying more than $15,000 in tax-dollars over the last two-years to implement this program in Lakewood, it has now been proven that this was a 100% complete waste of tax-payer dollars – and the board has finally voted unanimously NOT to approve this program for 2016-2017. READ FULL POST
McHenry County Blog - 09/11/2016 -
Serwatka Pledges Salary to Reform Village Board:
LAKEWOOD – "I believe we have reached a cross-roads in our village, today" Serwatka said. "A point where we can choose between more of the same/business as usual - or we can actually choose to effect the change that so many in our village have wanted for so long."
With the creation of The Lakewood Tax Fighter & Better Government Project - we can really begin to increase our efforts toward restoring accountability to our village board and lowering property tax burdens in a very meaningful way.
McHenry County Blog - 05/24/2016 -
Serwatka Warns of Consideration of Trading Lakewood Police Protection for New Village Hall:
LAKEWOOD – Lakewood Trustee Paul Serwatka suggests residents might be interested in knowing of a proposal to have Crystal Lake Police answer calls from 2 to 6 AM with money saved to be used to plan a new village hall.
"While, the public safety concerns of having no police patrol in the middle of the night are obvious. This proposal opens the door to many other discussions as well." Serwatka said.
"When it comes to Public Safety, particularly Emergency Medical, Police and Fire Service, I believe fiscal issues must take a back seat to legitimate safety concerns." READ FULL POST
McHenry County Blog - 05/25/2016 -
Lakewood Decides to Keep 24-Hour Police Coverage:
LAKEWOOD – "I have to say upfront that I truly believe this was a perfect demonstration of residents staying informed, engaged and making a difference." Serwatka said.
Scores of residents replied to the email that I distributed, some replied after seeing it posted on McHenry County Blog and others took the initiative to read the agenda online, as it is now posted on the village website. READ FULL POST
Northwest Herald - 01/29/2016 -
Lakewood Eliminates Vehicle Stickers:
LAKEWOOD – Lakewood residents will no longer have to buy vehicle stickers. The Lakewood Village Board voted unanimously to kill the program.
"The conversation should be about cutting expenses, not finding new revenues," Trustee Paul Serwatka said.