Forest Preserves of Winnebago County
January 18, 2017
Judy Barnard Mike Holan, Executive Director
Mike Eickman Steve Chapman, Finance
Audrey Johnson Tom Hartley, Land and Development
Gloria Lind Mike Durand, Golf Operations
Cheryl Maggio Jamie Johannsen, Marketing
Jeff Tilly Ann Wasser, Education
The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Audrey Johnson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES Minutes for December 21, were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.
PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Volunteer Program Update – Kim O’Malley gave the 2016 Year-End Report of the volunteer program. She recapped that 2015 ended with 172 active volunteers with 2,392 hours of service, and then stated that 2016 was an even better year as it ended with 500 active volunteers, and 6,300 hours. 2016 included 9 plant species monitoring, calling frog monitoring, beespotting, bluebird monitoring, butterfly monitoring, and odonate monitoring. There was also a bat monitoring program with an experienced bat specialist, which spotted an endangered species, the Indiana Bat. Kim then gave an overview of what is coming up in 2017.
Sand Bluff Annual Meeting – Mike Eickman read the 2016 year-end review from the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory past President, Anna Gray. A few highlights of 2016 were that the Sand Bluff Board received approval from the Bird Banding Lab and was awarded a station permit, there were successful fundraisers, new volunteers were engaged and the total volunteer hours were 7,896 for 2016. In addition, the 300,000th bird was banded in August, and due to the new internet connection, Sand Bluff can now take a credit card at the gift shop. Lastly, in 2016, there were approximately 1300+ visitors to Sand Bluff.
Bills for December – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Jeff Tilly seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for December in the amount of $717,979.33. Motion passed unanimously.
Acceptance of Property Donation – Calvin & Sophia Ferguson Forest Preserve – Ray Ferguson has purchased four acres of property that he would like to donate to the Forest Preserve. The property is surrounded on three sides by the Calvin and Sophia Ferguson Forest Preserve and the fourth side is the Sugar River. The property would be a conservation addition, and is forested wetland. The Land Advisory Council has recommended acceptance of this property. Gloria Lind made a motion, and Audrey Johnson seconded to accept the donation of land to Calvin and Sophia Ferguson Forest Preserve. Roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously.
Early Retirement Incentive Program – Retirement criteria has been established for an Early Retirement Incentive Program to employees for the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. The Preserves will be offering an Early Retirement Incentive Program only to employees who meet the criteria. The early retirement incentive program will be offered as soon as Mike Holan notifies the Union. Once employees can start submitting their paperwork, employees must notify their Department Heads by March 31, 2017 at 4:00 p.m., and must retire on or before October 31, 2017. Audrey Johnson made a motion and Jeff Tilly seconded to accept the offer of the Board of Commissioners of the Preserves Early Retirement Incentive Program to the employees of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County that meet the criteria. Motion passed unanimously.
Appointment of Board of Commissioners Officers – For 2017, the Officers will remain the same as follows: Steve Chapman, Treasurer, Cheryl Maggio, Assistant Treasurer and Mike Eickman, Secretary.
Great Lakes Basin Railroad – Jake Henry has submitted a proposed Resolution with regard to the Railroad. It will be put on the agenda as an action item at the February Board meeting.
Hinchcliff and Indian Hill Forest Preserves – Jake Henry questioned why the garbage cans at Hinchcliff Forest Preserve have been removed. He would like to see them put back as there are a lot of people who fish near there. Mike Holan will look into getting the garbage cans put back. Additionally, Indian Hill Forest Preserves is very underused and he would like to see that preserve being utilized more. He was inquiring as to if the grassy area could be turned into a dog park as there is no dog park in that part of the county.
Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report. Jeff Tilly requested that Commissioners be notified in advance of the deer management program. Judy also requested a five year history of the deer management program.
Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.
Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report. Tom gave an update on the South Rock River property. The grant was submitted on January 18, 2017.
Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.
Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.
ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMUNICATIONS
Gloria Lind announced that Mr. Kasch’s son, a longtime employee of the Forest Preserves, has passed away.
Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:00 pm. At 6:20, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.
Meeting adjourned at 6:41 PM.
Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, February 15, Preserve Headquarters