Dear Neighbors & Bloomingdale Taxpayers:
In July 2016 it was announced that the golf course and conference center at Indian Lakes would permanently close. Since then, the number one question in Bloomingdale has been, “What’s next?”
A year ago, the conceptual plans for the Four Seasons at Indian Lakes were unveiled. More than four months ago, a formal submission with a request to initiate public hearings was filed with the Village. The more than 1,500 pages of information contained numerous technical reports, studies and surveys.
To date, Village leadership and staff have done nothing substantive with the application or provided meaningful feedback. Instead, they have demanded that final engineering documentation be provided, before the public has a chance to offer comments through the public hearing process.
That demand doesn’t make any sense – final engineering is for the end, not the beginning.
That’s why for more than four months, we’ve asked for the Village to initiate a preliminary review. This would include public hearings that would allow for everyone to review, comment and offer suggestions to the plan on file.
Instead of facilitating community discussions, the plan to repurpose Indian Lakes has received a nonsensical “stiff arm,” from the Village.
Indian Lakes welcomes the input of the whole community. That’s why we’ve been transparent over the past 18 months. Over 500 neighbors attended four informational nights last February.
Every page of our submission has been available on our website for review by the community. We’ve received thoughtful input and questions; and posted informational videos on www.newindianlakes.com.
The Village and Mayor have repeatedly pledged that the “community will be heard,” but they will not hold the hearings that allow you to participate. We’re ready, but we can’t make the Village schedule a public meeting.
Unfortunately, this delay and uncertainty has weighed on property values in Bloomingdale.
In January, Indian Lakes made the difficult decision to indefinitely delay the investment to transform the hotel. You can read our letter to the Mayor and Village about this decision, but just like any homeowner, we want certainty about what’s in store for Bloomingdale and the community’s fiscal outlook.
Indian Lakes has been one of the Village’s largest land owners, employers and tax generators for decades. That means we’ve also felt the impact of lower property values and increased taxes over the past several years.
The fact is, community-wide property values never recovered from the 2008 recession, and remain down roughly 25 percent!
Despite decreased property values, the Village has more than doubled its property tax levy, and raised other fees to meet budgetary demands. At the same time your property taxes have increased, the Village’s publicly operated golf course has had negative net operating income of $1.75 million.
Looking ahead, the Village has identified $53 million in upcoming capital improvements, including tens of millions in sewer and water facilities that will need to be recaptured through rate payers.
It is difficult to break from the cycle of debt, tax increases and lower property values. But, that is why we believe the repurposing of Indian Lakes must help the Village overcome its looming fiscal challenges.
Economic growth, increased property values and additional taxpayers reduce the burden.
Initial estimates project a repurposed Indian Lakes will generate $5 million a year in new net tax revenue, including $4 million for Bloomingdale’s local school districts.
Continued delay and inaction on our zoning request will only lead to increased uncertainty and further deterioration of Bloomingdale’s tax base.
We believe you have a right to be heard on the future of Indian Lakes and will pursue every avenue to get the public hearing process started.
Every resident and business in Bloomingdale deserves to have this cloud of uncertainty lifted. Make your voice heard!
Stephen L. Schwartz
Manager, First ILR – Owners of Indian Lakes Since 2000