A recent meeting of the Round Lake Beach village board attracted just one resident without any official business before the village. That's out of a population of 28,175 people.
The only others attending were village employees whose jobs required they be there, the families of two police officers who were sworn in, and the owners of a restaurant who requested a waiver from grease trap rules, which the board granted.
Bill Kowalski, a resident in the 2600 block of Orchard Lane, was the one resident without anything on the board agenda. He showed up to express his concerns with the condition of his street.
Orchard, which connects Rollins and Monaville roads, has been deteriorating for years.
"Orchard has never been repaved," Kowalski told Lake County Suburban Life afterward. "Some people are influenced by their surroundings. If the village is not going to take care of the place, why should we?"
Village Administrator David Kilbane said the village is doing the best it can with what little money it has to improve streets, all the while striving to avoid a tax hike.
Under a best-case scenario, he said, Orchard would be resurfaced in two years.
Kilbane also promised he would go through the village's streets plan with Kowalski. That's great Kowalski is getting this kind of attention, likely because he made a point of attending a village board meeting, something he has done before.
At the same time, this should be an ongoing discussion with residents. How much money is there for streets? What are the priorities?
Let the taxpayers know all the facts. That way, they can determine whether a tax increase is needed.