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 May 16

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
District Headquarters
May 16, 2012

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

Stephanie Lombardi Becky Genoways
Buzz Roeske Jeff Tilly
Tom Giesecke

The meeting was called to order at 5:30 pm. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

Audrey Johnson led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Minutes for April 18, May 7 (closed) and May 9 (closed) were approved.


2011 financial audit – Stephanie Lombardi from Sikich presented the final audit for 2011. She distributed reports to all Commissioners and staff present and summarized the financial statements, highlighting the changes from the year 2011 and 2012. She stated that golf was included in the general fund this year; in the past golf was an enterprise fund. First relating to collateral statements, the investments are still combined with the County. Steve Chapman has talked to Sue Goral about separating them out. Sikich noted that there was a net loss in the operations fund of about 25%, which related to the property tax levy. For fiscal year 2012, the levy is back to what it was in 2010. Lastly, she went over the adoption of new accounting policies, and reminded the Commissioners that financial statements contain estimates that could change from one year to the next. There were no problems in performing the audit, no disagreements with the management, and no proposed audit adjustments. The one immaterial difference related to the replacement tax receivable in the amount of $9800.

April financial report – Steve Chapman went through the April financial report prepared by the Finance Department. He indicated that the replacement tax for April and May bounced back, and spending is down from what was budgeted in all categories. Steve also mentioned the house bill that would take away a significant amount of the replacement tax. He will keep the Commissioners updated on this bill. Tom Kalousek indicated that if this bill goes through, that would reduce the District’s revenue by $560,000. Steve indicated that the County has contacted the Legislators, and he suspects they will not support it. Steve also advised the Commissioners that based on sales ratio studies, the assessed valuation is being reduced by 5.3%, possibly more. Another significant cost to the District is the IMRF rate. Currently the rate is 11.83%, and in 2013 the rate will go up to 15.76%, a 33% increase. That increase is primarily due to a reserve rate and mortality tables. Lastly, Steve wanted to mention the budget process for next year. At the April board meeting, the Commissioners talked about the fund balance deficit of $125,000, most of it coming through the corporate fund. The goal is to try and get the fund balance back up to where the District wanted it to be by end of this fiscal year. Steve would like the Board to consider $34,000 out of the land acquisition fund for the Bernier property. Tom Kalousek will present the 2013 budget guidelines at the June 20 board meeting.

Personnel – At 6:05, Commissioners were polled and the meeting was closed to discuss personnel. At 6:18, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

Propane Auto-Gas – Buzz Roeske & Tom Giesecke from Rockford Industrial Welding Supply made a presentation to the District about the possibility of using propane for District vehicles. They distributed information packets with cost comparisons. Propane fluctuates in price, similar to oil, but not as drastically, which could be a savings to the District. It is a lot cleaner fuel than gas or diesel. Tom Kalousek suggested that Vaughn Stamm and Brian Helmold look through the information and have RIWS come back with some quotes. Cheryl Maggio would like to see what the District has spent the last five years to compare how much it could save and how long it would take to save. RIWS showed price comparisons per vehicle for gas vs. propane.

Public Marketing Trends – Becky Genoways gave a presentation on current marketing trends. She went through a PowerPoint presentation on how traditional marketing has declined in terms of its reach because of the internet. She included information on marketing trends, branding, a marketing plan, traditional media challenges, internet and mobile media. She likes the District’s mission statement and encouraged the continued work on strategic planning.


Bids – Seward Bluffs overlook – After the last board meeting, Tom Hartley redesigned the Seward Bluff overlook. It is now within budget; however, the scope of work was reduced. Tom presented working photo boards with the design. Tom would like to go ahead with the plan. Audrey Johnson made a motion to award the contract for the construction of an overlook at Seward Bluffs Forest Preserve to the low bidder, Bennett Construction in Pecatonica, for a total cost of $58,896, seconded by Gloria Lind. Motion passed unanimously.

IDOT construction easement – Pond & Main – Tom Hartley explained the request from IDOT for an easement at Pond and Main Streets. In January 2012, IDOT requested a temporary construction easement at the District’s Harrison and South Main property due to South Main improvements. The District was paid $4,000 for the 7900 square foot easement. IDOT now has need of another easement on District property for grading and shaping during sidewalk construction and intersection improvement at the intersection of Pond and South Main. IDOT has offered to pay the District $1,400 for an 1135 square foot easement. The cost was determined by an appraisal and by what is being disturbed. Turf grass only will be disturbed and any damaged turf will be replaced with sod and watered until it is established. Tom Hartley and staff recommend approval of this easement. Judy Barnard made a motion to approve an easement to the Illinois Department of Transportation on District property at the intersection of Pond Street and South Main Street, seconded by Audrey. Motion passes unanimously.


Development – Tom Hartley distributed a map study of the soccer fields in Winnebago County. The map showed game and practice fields. The Commissioners asked for this map at the April board meeting.

Preserves – Vaughn Stamm reported that the Arbor Day event was successful and everybody enjoyed themselves. The District received excellent feedback and coverage. Vaughn would like to see the District do that again next year. He also updated the Commissioners that the bridge going across the canal at Four Lakes is almost completed. Vaughn previously mentioned that two of the old structures at the new Four Lakes addition property were put out to bid to be removed or demolished. No bids were received. One of our employees offered to take one of them down and remove it on his own time.

Budget and Personnel – Judi Day is in the process of requesting a tax exemption on the Bernier property and is waiting to see what the disposition of the main building will be.

Marketing – Jamie Johannsen reported that the Atwood Awards/City of Gardens Dinner was a nice event, and she thanked the Commissioners that were there for representing the District. She also reported that BirdFest was at Colored Sands on Mother’s Day weekend and there was a news conference on Friday evening, which gave the event great coverage. BirdFest was well attended with over 1,000 people. The District had a booth there throughout the weekend, along with a drawing for a bird guide book. Jamie thanked Lee, Audrey and Mary who attended and worked the event. She reminded everyone of the upcoming event the Friends of the Kishwaukee River, Love Your River Day on Saturday June 9. This event is kicking off a summer long campaign of education, advocacy and patrolling the river to offset the abuse it is suffering from inappropriate activities from recreationalists. It is a good community effort.

Golf Report – Mike Durand was absent but Tom encouraged the Commissioners to look at the golf report.


Land acquisition – At 7:49, Commissioners were polled and the meeting was closed to discuss land acquisition. At 8:01, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.


Tuesday, June 5, Open House for Roland Olson master plan at 6:00 PM at the Roland Olson Shelter.

Employee luncheon will be on Wednesday June 20. The board meeting will start at 11:00. The luncheon will follow at Atwood Forest Preserve shelter.

Audrey announced that the Executive Committee of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be creating a Conservation Scholarship that will be offered next year for any student that has completed a volunteer project within our forest preserves or within the community. DAR would like to promote the scholarship within the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts community as well as to all of the area high schools. This will be coming through the Community Foundation for Northern Illinois. This will be given on behalf of Hazel Hyde who was known for her activity in conservation in the Rockford community. Audrey is the scholarship chair for DAR.

June 2, Wine in the Wetlands at the Natural Land Institute.

Meeting adjourned at 8:03.
Next board meeting 11:00 AM, Wednesday, June 20, Atwood Forest Preserve

Ronelle Johnson
Recording Secretary