Laona Heights Sugar River Colored Sands Sugar River Two Rivers Ferguson Hartley Memorial Trask Bridge Four Lakes Pecatonica River Pecatonica Wetlands Crooked River Grove Creek Seward Bluffs Klehm Forest Preserve Severson Dells Fuller Memorial Cedar Cliff Indian Hill Hinchliff Memorial Kilbuck Bluffs Trailside Kishwaukee Gorge South Kishwaukee Gorge North Rockford Rotary Kishwaukee River Oak Ridge Blackhawk Springs Deer Run Espenscheid Memorial McKiski County Line Kieselburg Roland Olson Stone Bridge Clayton Andrews Ledges Hononegah J. Norman Jensen Millrace Isle Macktown Atwood Homestead Forest Preserve Headquarters

Board Meeting Minutes March 21

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
District Headquarters
March 21, 2012

Randy Olson – President Tom Kalousek, Executive Director
Judy Barnard Mike Durand, Golf
Mary McNamara- Bernsten Tom Hartley, Land and Development
Audrey Johnson Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations
Cheryl Maggio Jamie Johannsen, Marketing
Lee Johnson Steve Chapman, Finance

Gloria Lind

The meeting was called to order at 5:34 pm. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE Judy Barnard led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES Minutes for February 15 were approved.

I-Pad demonstration – Byron Forest Preserve District – Executive Director Todd Tucker and office manager Janet Dahlberg gave a presentation regarding the use of iPads and how it has worked for the Byron District. Byron has been using iPads since January 2012 and they purchased 13 iPads for use by Board Members, the Director and department heads. Todd distributed a fact sheet to the Commissioners outlining the costs, why they chose to go green, how it works, features, and the negatives. Janet explained and gave a demonstration of the document storage, the usage policy for staff and commissioners, and how the iPad works at monthly meetings.

Change to IMRF – new employee status – Employees participating in the IMRF pay into the fund at the rate of 4.5% of their gross wages. The District is currently paying an additional 11.9% of each employee’s gross wages. IMRF has two options for exempting seasonal or part-time employees from participating in the plan. The first being for employees who work less than 600 hours per year, and the second is for employees who work less than 1000 hours per year. The District has been operating under the IMRF 600-hour plan. Adopting the 1000-hour plan would save the District the 11.9% for any employee who works less than 1000 hours. This would not affect any current employees as they are grandfathered and would abide by the 600-hour rule. Mary McNamara-Bernsten made a motion to adopt the annual 1000-hour standard for IMRF participation, seconded by Audrey Johnson. Motion passed unanimously.

Strategic Planning Committee Report – Judy Barnard gave an update of the different goals groups that have met since the strategic planning meeting in February.

Goals teams report – Pam Clark Reidenbach distributed reports from the goals meetings and gave a presentation on each goal. Pam identified each goal and then gave the strategies and activities for each.
The four goals were: (1) Stewardship – Demonstrate excellence and good stewardship in management of natural resources and physical assets; (2) Engage Community – Engage the public to increase awareness of the forest preserves and their value to the region; (3) Program – Expand opportunities for educational and recreational activities for all ages; (4) Financial Stability – Promote community-supported, value-driven, mission-centered revenue streams.

Pam then explained the next steps and gave her recommendations: developing a timeline, accountability, and determining the financial impact/resources on the staff. Pam also suggested that when the plan is complete, the District will need to build strategic planning into the monthly board agenda. This will keep the District on task and moving ahead. Randy Olson made a motion to accept the plan with the caveat to move forward to the next steps. Audrey seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously. Tom Kalousek would like to have Pam meet with the staff and come up with a priority list and a timeline of how to get some of the goals started. The staff will add details and in approximately 60 days have a complete plan. Once that has been accomplished, the Mission Statement will be revisited.


Financial Report – Steve Chapman – Steve distributed budget schedules for fiscal year ending October 31, 2011 for the Corporate Fund, Capital Improvement Fund, Botanical Garden Fund, Retirement Fund, and Liability Reserve Fund. With the audit finalized he wanted to compare what was estimated, and the summary sheet outlines where the District ended up, including the fund balance difference. Two areas he is concerned about are the Corporate Fund and the Liability Reserve Fund. Steve has met with the staff to see how they can make some changes in the coming year. Regarding the Liability Reserve Fund, the expenditures were higher than anticipated, due to some higher unemployment costs and higher PDRMA costs. In this fund, revenues are limited to property taxes, and expenses are pretty much fixed; therefore, the only variable is the cost of unemployment. He then went through budget schedules for November 2011 through February 2012.

Four Lakes conceptual development options – Tom Hartley presented the Four Lakes Forest Preserve Addition Conceptual Plan at the Commissioners request. Tom showed a power point presentation of the existing buildings and conditions at the recently purchased tract. He further explained the two different conceptual plans – estimating costs with the buildings, and estimating costs without the buildings.

The second plan completely removes the buildings. The ponds on the property are not adequate for fishing, and would need to be excavated (this cost is included in each plan). Development may be eligible for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant (OSLAD). Developing this site without the buildings but including fishing, parking, and a gravel path is estimated at $436,375.

The first plan modifies the buildings for public use, which would include improving building facade, restrooms, enlarge interior meeting area, and change above-ground electric to underground. There is also a pavilion that could be used for weddings, concerts, and other events. Tom believes this site could handle a seventy car lot and that the site could handle approximately 150 people. Renovating the building sufficient for public use and ADA requirements, and including the site development noted above, is estimated at $717,200.

Vaughn Stamm then put together an Operational Impact Statement with loose estimates as to the annual maintenance costs of $33,700 with a building and $11,600 without the building.

Randy Olson would like to see it usable for the upcoming season. Judy Barnard would like to see a bigger fishing pier that is accessible to multiple people. Tom and Vaughn will develop more conceptual plans to include more options to make it accessible, introduce paths, and develop a wetland in the front.

Golf report – Mike Durand presented the golf statistics for this season. He reported that Atwood opened on March 10, and the Ledges and Macktown opened a week later. This is the earliest golf season the District has had in the past 12 years. So far this season, golf is ahead of last year in terms of greens fees and cart rental. It is a good start to the season.

Marketing report – Jamie Johannsen gave a list of the upcoming spring events that the District is participating in. The District will be participating at the Community Earth Day event at Rock Valley College on April 21. There will be a display, brochures and the District will be giving a presentation on “Hidden Gems and Native Plants of the Winnebago County Forest Preserves”. On Thursday, April 26, the Seth B. Atwood Park and Conservation Service Award will be presented as part of the Rockford Park District City of Gardens Kick-Off Dinner to be held at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens. Commissioners will be getting their invitations in the mail. Klehm is celebrating Arbor Week Monday, April 23, through Friday, April 27 by planting trees at 25 different Rockford area schools throughout the week. Bird Fest will be held on Saturday May 12, and Sunday May 13, at Colored Sands. The new Guide to Birding will be distributed and “unveiled” on Saturday morning.

Jamie distributed the new “Path and Trail Map of Winnebago County” which was done in partnership with the Rockford Park District. It is a comprehensive guide to all paths in the county and will be available at District facilities, Rockford Park District facilities, and the Rockford Visitors and Convention Bureau.


The meeting was closed at 7:45 to discuss possible land acquisition. The meeting re-opened at 7:55. Randy Olson announced that no action was taken while in closed session.


Earth Day, April 21, 11:00 to 3:00, Rock Valley College.

Atwood Park and Conservation Service Award, City of Gardens Kick-Off Dinner, April 26, Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.

Arbor Day, April 27.

IAPD legislative conference, May 1-2. If interested in attending, contact Tom Kalousek by April 2.

New Commissioner orientation is tentatively scheduled for 6:30 PM, April 10, District Headquarters.

Meeting adjourned at 7:55 PM.
Next board meeting 5:30 PM Wednesday, April 18, District Headquarters.

Ronelle Johnson
Recording Secretary