Round Lake races getting heated over distressed subdivision

  • Susan Triphahn

    Susan Triphahn

  • James Dietz

    James Dietz

  • Bill Gentes

    Bill Gentes

Published3/26/2009 5:04 PM

Round Lake Mayor Bill Gentes says he stands by his village board slate's new campaign mailer claiming a rival wants to pursue a tax on all property owners to bail out residents in a financially troubled subdivision where she lives.

But Susan Triphahn, a trustee candidate on the opposing slate who lives in Lakewood Grove, says Gentes' side is misstating her idea to seek federal and state grants that would benefit homeowners there and the village as a whole.


Gentes headlines the Round Lake United Party slate, which includes trustee candidates Cynthia Pruim Haran, Al Villasenor and Brian Brubaker, an incumbent.

On the other side is United for Change topped by mayoral challenger James Dietz with trustee candidates Donald Newby, Sonia Sandoval and Triphahn. Newby is an incumbent trustee.

Voters will make their selections for mayor and the three trustee positions in the April 7 election.

Lakewood Homes received Round Lake's approval for a special service area, which allowed it to charge less for houses because it didn't pay for the infrastructure, like roads and sewers. Those costs were incurred by homeowners on a monthly basis later.

Special service area fees have been cited as a reason for Lakewood's numerous foreclosures. The 6-year-old subdivision is near Cedar Lake Road and Route 60.

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In the mailer sent this week, Gentes' slate refers to the "Dietz-Triphahn tax plan" that would cost all Round Lake property owners an extra $318 annually for 24 years to bail out the Lakewood subdivision residents.

Gentes contends Triphahn in past years publicly mentioned her idea of wanting to reduce the special service fee on Lakewood residents by spreading the cost of the subdivision's infrastructure to all village property owners.

"It's a crazy idea," said Gentes, who stood by the mailer's accuracy Thursday. "I was astounded when Mr. Dietz selected Ms. Triphahn to be on his slate."

Triphahn and Dietz said they just favor seeking federal and state grants that could relieve the Lakewood homeowners of interest payments on the infrastructure. They said a more stable Lakewood Grove would benefit all Round Lake residents.


"We have no plan to spread the existing (Lakewood) debt to the whole village," Dietz said.

Lakewood Grove's special service area bills generally start at $1,700 annually and climb, depending on a house's value. The monthly charge is on top of taxes and mortgage payments.

Gentes said the Round Lake village board approved refinancing for the loan that paid for Lakewood's infrastructure, which shaved annual payments by about $380 for an owner of a single-family house.

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