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 of Commissioner Minutes April 24

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


District Headquarters

April 24, 2013


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard- President                                             Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                                 Mike Durand, Golf

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                         Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Randy Olson                                                               Judi Day, Budget & Personnel


GUESTS        Dan Williams    Jerry Paulson    Lee Johnson


The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


INVOCATION and PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Randy Olson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for March 20, 2013 were approved.  Mark Spangler’s presentation was removed from the agenda and he will be presenting his program in June.



Dan Williams – History of Land Advisory Council – Judy Barnard introduced Dan Williams.  Dan is in his second term as President of the Natural Land Institute.  He gave the background of the Land Advisory Council, created in the mid-60’s, which was made up of citizens with several different areas of expertise and backgrounds to advise the District with respect to land acquisition.  Dan was appointed as the conservation representative in 1975.  Dan gave the history of the land acquisition process of the District from 1975 to the present date.  The focus was on natural area pieces and acquiring land along the county’s four rivers, particularly the Kishwaukee River.  He believes that, from this point forward, the Commissioners need to strategize land acquisition funding and referendums.  He also believes that educating the citizens about the need for land preservation is critical.



Appointment – Chairman of Land Advisory Council – Tom Hartley, Judy Barnard and Mike Holan met to talk about appointing Jerry Paulson as the Chairman of the Land Advisory Council.  Jerry would work with the Land Acquisition Committee, the staff and the Board to help guide, provide information and involve the community regarding land acquisitions.  Judy reiterated that this Council is strictly advisory and that the Board does not have to take the recommendations given by the Council, but it gives the Board additional resources if a referendum is needed.  Audrey Johnson made a motion to approve the appointment of Jerry Paulson as Chairman of the Land Advisory Council.  Motion passed unanimously.  Jerry Paulson then thanked the Board for the appointment.  Judy indicated that the first step is that Tom, Mike, Jerry and Audrey (chairman of the Land Acquisition Committee), will develop a framework for the Council and its goals.  The Board will start soliciting people for the Council.


Payment of Bills – Cheryl made a motion to authorize the payment of the April bills in the amount of $344,621.47.  Motion passed unanimously.


Bids – Seward Bluffs overlook, phase II – Tom Hartley announced that there were two bids received for phase II of the Seward Bluffs overlook.   The bid is $9,476 over the budgeted amount of $45,000, and the staff is recommending that the funds appropriated for the Seward Bluffs bridge repair be transferred to the overlook account so this project may be completed.  Randy Olson made a motion to award the contract for the completion of the construction of the overlook at Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve to the lowest bidder, Stenstrom Excavation and Blacktop Group, for a total cost of $54,476.  Motion passed unanimously.


Bids – Seward Bluffs bridge repair  –  Tom Hartley announced that there were only two bids received for the bridge repairs, and the bids were over the available budget of $23,000.  The lowest bid for the bridge repair was $52,574.  The bridge is an historic bridge, it is in need of repair but it is not a public danger.  Tom believes the bridge should be saved.  The work required to repair the bridge includes drainage channel cleanup and placement of rock rip rap in the channel; installation of culvert pipes in existing bridge arches and filling empty space with grout; construction of concrete gutters; repaving road surface; and rebuilding the limestone guardrails.  Some of that work would be able to be done in phases.  The staff is recommending that the bridge repair bids be rejected and the money be set aside to repair the bridge be transferred to the Seward Bluffs overlook project so that can be completed.  Mary McNamara-Bernsten made a motion to reject both bids for the bridge repair at Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve and transfer the appropriated funds for this project to the Seward Bluffs overlook, phase II.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Budget Amendments – Mike Durand is asking board to approve a transfer of funds previously allocated for the position of Golf Maintenance Manager.  The Golf Maintenance Manager resigned in December, and the administrative staff preferred to transfer the remainder of the position’s salary to seasonal personnel for each of the three golf courses, rather than replace the Golf Maintenance Manager.  The transfer of the Golf Maintenance Manager’s remaining salary will not result in additional labor or personnel expenses to the golf operation.  Mike then said the work is being divided between himself, golf supervisors, and the seasonal maintenance labor.  The maintenance supervisors will report to Mike.  Gloria Lind made a motion to approve the ordinance amending the 2013 budget moving appropriations for the repair of the bridge at Seward Bluffs and for golf personnel.  Motion passed unanimously.



Procedure for Commissioner employment recommendations – The past few meetings the Commissioners have discussed an employment recommendation form.  Citizens may approach a Commissioner and ask for assistance in obtaining a job with the District.   Having a job recommendation form will make the process much smoother and will allow a chain of command to be followed.  A job recommendation form has been created and two copies were given to each Commissioner.  Gloria made a motion to adopt the procedures and job recommendation form.  Motion passed unanimously. 



Electric service at campground – Electrical service at Pecatonica River Forest Preserve campground has been interrupted, is deteriorated beyond repair and requires almost complete replacement for safe service.  The wiring was installed in 1975.  The connectors are rusted and grounding is no longer functional, making it a safety hazard.  In early April a complaint was received from a campground user that experienced electrical problems while camping in 2012.  After meeting with Krup Electric (who originally installed the electric in 1975), it was determined that it is not safe to use, because of the lack of grounding, deterioration of wires, and the age of the system.  The approximate cost to replace entire system would be $65,000.  The recommendation is to shut off the electric at that preserve for the 2013 season.  It is possible the repair work could be done in phases.  Judy would like the staff to get some estimates on different phases, and different ways to replace the electric at that facility.  Judy would also like to get bids on all of the campgrounds, and the ability to phase the work, to spread the cost out over the next several years, so the District knows what possibly lies ahead for cost of electric replacement.


New Logo – Gloria would like to consider a new logo.  With a new director on board and the changes in the Board, she feels a new logo should be considered.



Year-end financial report – Steve Chapman distributed the 2012 year-end financial report for the District to the Commissioners.  He announced that the audit has been completed and the annual report has been issued.  Steve then went through the individual funds.  All in all, the District ended up better than anticipated, which is good considering all of the unknowns that were faced.   Steve also passed out the annual report put out by the Finance Department and certified by the auditors.    He passed out the information that was produced by the auditors, which includes the management letter that states what issues, if any, there were with the audit.  The main issue was dealing with collateral statements and the District establishing separate collateral agreements.  Steve is planning on having a meeting with the bank to see what exactly that would entail.  It will cost the District additional monies, so once all the information is received, he will report back.  Judy then announced that prior to the May 22 Board meeting, Steve will be there at 4:30 to talk to the Commissioners about the budget process if anyone is interested, has questions, or needs clarification on anything budget related.  At that meeting, he will go into greater detail about what falls into the different funds.   Gloria thanked Steve for his work and appreciated his efforts in making it easier to understand.  Steve put together budget vs. actual comparison charts for each fund, through the end of March.  All in all there is a small negative balance in the Corporate Fund, but that should straighten out over the summer months.  Next year will be more of a challenge.  However, on a positive note, IMRF rates for next year will be going down about 4.4%, so that will give the District a little relief.


Preserve operations – Vaughn Stamm  reported that shelterhouse sales have been good to date.  Equestrian pass sales are down due to the weather, as there are several trails under water.  Sales will increase once they can ride on them again.  Campgrounds are also down, because of the weather and the flooded areas.


Golf report – Mike Durand reported that due to the bad weather and delayed opening, rounds played are down.  To date there have been mostly partial days of golf.  As the weather gets better, the golf revenue will pick up.


Marketing & Communications – Jamie Johannsen gave a summary of some of the events coming up in next few weeks.  The Gathering at Macktown historical village is April 27-28.  A new video is on the home page about Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and inviting people to Birdfest.  Saturday, May 4  from 3-4pm, Jamie will be on WNTA (100.5fm) radio show highlighting preserve events and talking about the District.  Ads will also be on WNTA promoting Nature Fiesta, which is Saturday May 18.  The Rockford Register Star will be featuring Nature Fiesta in the Go section.  It is also being promoted through RPS205 elementary schools and Harlem schools.


Law Enforcement report – Terry Nordberg submitted a written report.  A few preserves are still under water, but Sugar River was re-opened late afternoon, April 24.


Board Governance Committee – Mary McNamara Bernsten announced that the committee has met, and they are reviewing the McHenry County Resource Guide.  The Committee is working on creating and adopting a resource guide for new Commissioners to be used throughout their time as a Commissioner.  Board education training opportunities were also discussed, as well as formal establishment of a code of ethics.





Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:25 PM to discuss land acquisition.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:41.  No action was taken while in closed session.



Atwood Award on April 25 at Nicholas Conservatory


Judy read a letter from Sand Bluff Bird Observatory inviting Commissioners to be their guests at Birdfest.  Michael Ward is the featured speaker at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, May 11.  All staff is invited, and if they wear their uniforms they will be able to attend with their families for no charge.


Judy would like to have each Commissioner meet with Mike Holan individually at the earliest opportunity.



Meeting adjourned at 7:43.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM Wednesday, May 22, Klehm Arboretum with Budget Information Education meeting to be held at 4:30.

NOTE:  Change in date and location for May Board meeting

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary