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VIDEO: Village Approves $27M in New Development Projects

The plan includes raising sales and utility taxes to help pay for a new police station, public works facility, Nelson Road extension and side street repairs. Channel 6 provides an explanation from Mayor Tim Baldermann.

The New Lenox Village Board unanimously approved a $27 million capital improvements plan Monday that includes increases to sales and utility taxes.

Despite some concerns from community members, Mayor Tim Baldermann and the village trustees tried to explain the reasoning behind the projects, which include building a new police station and public works facility, connecting Nelson Road between Illinois Highway and Haven Avenue and completing a 20-year plan for side street repairs.

To fund this, the village would increase its sales tax by a 1/2 a cent, bringing the total rate to 8.5 percent, and also increase its utility tax 5 percent on gas and electric.

Two questions Baldermann said he's gotten most frequently about these projects were whether new buildings were needed, and if they were, why now when the economy is still recovering?

"The buildings are in terrible shape," the mayor has said repeatedly. "They could last another two to three years, but new ones will have to be built. And if we wait, the cost of insurance, the cost of construction … will all go up."

Still, residents who spoke during the meeting were concerned with increased taxes. Robert Buonadonna said he's worked in retail his entire life, and he fears an increased sales tax will force businesses to take steps to recoup costs at a further expense to consumers and part-time workers. Likewise, he opposed an increase to utility taxes.

"These are regressive taxes," Buonadonna said. "They hurt the poor. They still have to pay to keep the lights on."

Comparatively, the 8.5 percent sales tax is equal to or less than competitors in Bolingbrook, Joliet and Orland Park, and the board explained that people from all over, not just residents, will be paying the sales tax increase. That's a hurt that New Lenox Township residents could feel, having to pay higher sales tax without seeing the benefit of a property tax rebate that village residents do.

"I think it’s very unfair," township resident Phil Adair said. "Think of other people besides just the village residents."

Baldermann said township residents may still see benefits through improvements to projects paid for by the sales tax increase, including a new police station and side street repairs. Overall, the mayor maintained that the average resident will see up to $120 in savings, even after the tax bill, because of property tax rebates, aggregated electricity rates and the elimination of pet and vehicle sticker fees.

Trustee Dave Smith also proposed a resolution explaining the reasoning behind the capital projects, and that also passed unanimously.

"We can’t control (future boards), but we can tell them what we were thinking," Smith said.

Previous Coverage

Read the Village Board's Q&A posted on its website regarding these plans.

Questions? You can contact village staff at 815-462-6400.

Marie September 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM
Self-described "Intelligent" politicians decide to raise taxes on you during a recession for municipal buildings that they claim will brighten the future of New Lenox residents (wink wink). This is typical Illinois politics to its core.
Robert Nork September 27, 2011 at 12:19 PM
Massive Illinois State tax increase, LW high school district 210 tax increase, New Lenox sales tax and utility tax increase. Now I know why they are getting rid of the vehicle stickers - They did not want to change it from New Lenox Home of Proud Americans to New Lenox Home of Broke Americans.
N Yan September 27, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Marie and Robert I couldn't agree with you more. Wow, all I can think of today is WHAT A JOKE. Poor excuses. Poor management. Poor listening skills. Poor accounting skills. And New Lenox residents will suffer. And I can say, no way in heck will I EVER vote for anyone on this current board and pray there is someone that will run against Balderman. I want him out!
N Yan September 27, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Not to mention... did ANYONE explain during this meeting how we were suckered into voting to approve lower electrical rates JUST so we could have them raised for this project. And let's not even get started on HOME RULE!
sells September 27, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Did they ever say where the new NLPD will be built?
Michael Sewall (Editor) September 27, 2011 at 02:17 PM
@sells: The village is still looking at a few different areas for the police station and the public works facility, and nothing has been announced publicly yet. @N Yan: The electric aggregation wasn't discussed much at the meeting, but Mayor Baldermann said previously that the village didn't know it would choose to increase utility taxes at the time electric aggregation was being talked about. Voters approved it in April, and the village started looking at financing options this summer.
Mariel September 27, 2011 at 03:34 PM
This is great to see New Lenox invest in needed capital improvements. Video gaming is another opportunity for the city to generate much-needed revenue. Under the Video Gaming Act, tax revenue from video gaming machines will raise $375 million annually for Illinois’ $31 billion capital plan. Not only will video gaming help fund the improvement of infrastructure projects throughout the state, but a portion of the tax revenue will remain under local control as well. In New Lenox, this could mean $270,000 annually for New Lenox’s general fund. Without video gaming, the state will come up short in funding for our depleting infrastructure projects and boosting the Illinois economy. To learn more about the capital plan and its impact, please visit www.BacktoWorkIllinois.com.
al martineck sr September 27, 2011 at 03:53 PM
im going to purchase one of those wind mills and put in my back yard this way i wont have to worry about higher utilities...also what is going to be done with the old city hall police station. that should be sold before any building should start and therefor there would be no need to increase anything
Robert Nork September 27, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Great idea Al and with all of the hot air being generated at the Village Hall these days that baby should really crank out the electricity.
David H September 27, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Isn't it funny they get the approval for the home rule tax initially be promising savings on your real estate tax bill? Then after a year they raise the home rule higher than they initially stated so 2/3 of the real estate tax savings still end up in their coffers. They also state that the electrical aggregate will save every taxpayer in New Lenox hundreds of dollars, but they don't state they want 2/3 of the savings. Even the "blood sucking lawyers" only want a 1/3 of most settlements! I think I would like to run for office so they I can get paid for part time work, get an expense account I can use anywhere including strip clubs, and get myself a stipend for my vehicle and attending board meetings that does not get taxed. Sounds like a play we all would like.
Keith Revak September 27, 2011 at 05:26 PM
It is time to vote out this overspending group that does not listen to the people. Hopfully there is an election before this screwing of the people of New Lenox happens. Do you not hear the people of New Lenox? We don't want you to spend this money on these improvements. We don't want to incur the added expense. The economy is not dictating we need to build bigger or newer. You have approx. 50,000 square feet in the current police station, spend the money on remodling and upgrades to that building, it made of brick and mortor. LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE before you are voted out. Money may not be a object to people like Balderman who has a combined income of over $200,000.00 year but is important to the people of New Lenox who are struggling because of the high taxes and costs just to have a home here. Time for a TEA PARTY residents of New Lenox.
Brad Baber September 27, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Mariel, the capitol plan is Illinois version of the Federal stimulus bill. That $31B is rife with waste and payoffs. $50K to a private golfcourse, $16B to Chicago State U, who didn't even ask for money or know they were getting it until they saw it in the paper, $1M to a private convenience store in Chicago, which wasn't even open for business anymore, the list goes on and on. The Chicago Tribune identified $3B+ in waste itself. Of all 50 states, capitol bills totaled $39B, and Illinois has $31B of that. And IL is in the bottom 5 of all 50 states in all economic and quality of life measures. So to hold up the capitol as you do is a joke. Gambling, and video gambling are just another form of taxation on those who can least afford it. The money the community would get is a mere pittance compared to the lost sales tax revenue due to the gambling. It's a lose-lose for New Lenox and the other communities. It is obvious who you represent, and it is not the people of this state or our local community. Brad Baber
David H September 27, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Thumbs up neighbor!
Brad Baber September 27, 2011 at 07:50 PM
The next local election is April 9, 2013, just a handful of months after the Presidential election. This election direct impacts you, your taxes and your family. The local election is directly connected to your property taxes because it is those elected officials that sit on the local boards that decide to raise your taxes. Obviously from this article, you elect the village government who decides to raise sales tax, utility taxes etc. Do you see how important the local election is? The Lincolnway Tea Party email and monthly meetings are a great way to learn about the candidates and local issues. They are a good group of citizens just like you, who want hold our elected representatives accountable and make sure they represent our community's interests. You need to be involved by voting, and voting for people that will represent YOU.
Dan September 28, 2011 at 03:25 AM
The new Nelson Road extention sounds like a good place to build.
Mark September 28, 2011 at 09:49 AM
8.5% sales tax? It shouldn't be over 4.5% Why do we need more public works expenditures. It benefits no one except themselves. Vote them Out.
David H September 28, 2011 at 02:43 PM
I thought the people currently in office were supposed to be conservatives. Yet every time I turn around they act like liberals.
Ed September 28, 2011 at 04:20 PM
I'm sorry, but now is not the time to construct these new buildings. I would agree it is always good to plan and budget for such activities, should they be deemed necessary, but why do we need these new facilities immediately? Many New Lenox families are stretching things out until times are better, why can't the village? And an 8.5% sales tax? Are they trying to force us to shop in neighboring towns? One thing about a recession, when the private sector is forced to become more efficient, government bodies just keeps taxing and spending unnecessarily. I'm curious how much discussion/input the new commuting economic development employee has had with the village on these plans.
David H September 28, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Very good point! Will an increase in sales tax to a rate higher than Frankfort make New Lenox more appealing to these new businesses that the Economic Developement employee is approaching?
steve September 28, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Ok this is all a bad JOKE. Can the mayor show me why the police department or Public Works need a new facility? Show me the cost benefit analysis PLEASE. How does this whole plan come to fruition in the space of 2 weeks? LIES and deceipt? Ok MR MAYOR, show me how its not.....
Marie September 29, 2011 at 01:07 AM
Everyone should check out Baldermann's comments in the article in the Shorewood Patch about the recent ED hiring. The article stated that he (Baldermann) repeatedly criticized commenters who posted lies and misinformation anonymously, calling them cowards. "Some people have no class," he said. Taxpayers are getting ripped off by Baldermann again. First the school district, then Chicago Ridge police pension fund, and now overtaxing residents of New Lenox. And who has no class? Have you heard of Freedom of Speech? Citizens have a right and responsibility to express their opinions about the actions of elected officials and should not be bullied into silence.
Me September 29, 2011 at 03:33 AM
agree...agree...agree with all the comments above!!!!! Enough is enough already.
Dan November 03, 2011 at 09:41 PM
Go look for yourself. The P.D. has mold and they are jammed in there. The holding area is more dilapidated than the Mayberry Police department. The building at Public Works is a freaking joke. I’m really surprised OSHA hasn’t closed the place down. The” band aids” on both of the buildings are starting to wear off. Everyone is stretched to the limit on financial woes. But if the Village can get the property and buildings at a prime and use the money that they have saved since Mayor Smith initiated it. It has always been said that the P.D. building was a temporary fix. They drew up plans years ago. Have you seen Public Works out almost every day fixing water main or sewer breaks? That’s why everyone driving down 30 smells the swamp/sewer smell. The town is falling apart. Honestly go to a board meeting and ask them to lay it all out. Ask to see when this was planned out. Ask them how bad the utilities are.
big bird April 17, 2012 at 08:08 PM
It makes me sick to watch this town spend my tax dollars. A lavish village hall so large and stuffed with custom wood trim, luxurious flooring, bronze plaques outside to tell you what each plant is, music piped out of the ground around the pond out front, etc,etc,etc.You couldn't govern without this!!! This place is more extravagant than most of the homes in the town!! Stop wasting OUR money!!Why have my taxes almost TRIPLED since moving in this town 15 years ago? Not hard to see why with an equally apointed library and fire house and I'm sure new police station. Lets not forget astro turfing the football fields for 1.3 MILLION! Just because the few in power want such things doesn't doesn't give you the right to tax and do so!!!
Brad Baber April 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Get more residents to vote in the local election! Elect local officials who represent what YOU want. That is how you change it. That is how you stop the continued increasing of property taxes. Run good people, and get the vote out!

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