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 August 16, 2017

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

August 16, 2017


PRESENT                                                     STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                 Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                             Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                     Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                               Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jake Henry                                                    Ann Wasser, Education

Jeff Tilly – 5:36 pm                                         Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program



   Kerry Knodle

   Bill Howard



The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM, by President Barnard.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Cheryl Maggio led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for July 19 were approved.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Introduction of Naturalist Educator – Ann Wasser introduced Greg Rajsky to the Commissioners as the new Naturalist Educator for Severson Dells.  Greg then gave his background.


Deconstruction Presentation – Kerry Knodle/Bill Howard – Kerry Knodle and Bill Howard from Comprehensive Community Solutions, Inc., introduced themselves and presented a program on deconstruction as an alternative to demolition.  Deconstruction provides jobs, is good for the environment and is good for the community.   It also allows for reusing and preserving salvageable building materials, as well as reduces landfill impact.  They then gave ideas for the Preserves to consider deconstruction as an option for the Kishwaukee (Hoisington) Project.



The Ledges Pool Agreement – At the July meeting, a few Commissioners voiced concerns about the Ledges Pool Agreement.  There are several issues with the Ledges Pool Agreement currently that Mike Holan would like to look into and consider modifying.  One of the issues is that the current agreement is in effect until the year 2070, however it is able to be terminated with a 180 day notice.  If the board chooses to change or modify their agreement, Mike would like to let them know by Labor Day weekend, so they can pass on any changes to their membership.    Also, in the major and minor repairs section of the agreement, it is very vague and Mike feels that section needs to be spelled out in more detail.  Mike gave the board three options for this agreement.  (1) Leave the agreement as it is; (2) Eliminate the agreement all together and give the Ledges Pool Association 180 days notice, and after notice is given, do the demolition work and get rid of the pool; and (3) Keep the agreement but modify it to build in costs for improvements and maintenance for the health and safety of the families that are members of the association.  Judy would like Mike to sit down with their Board and tell them the issues and costs that the Preserves have recently incurred.  In addition, Judy would like the Ledges Pool Association know that the Commissioners are considering changing the Agreement.


Solar Developer – Tom Hartley received a phone call regarding the northeastern part of the Four Lakes property.  Josh Rabe is with National Land Realty Company, and they are seeking out land to install solar fields for a company called Soltage, which is a solar field developer.  They are looking to develop solar fields in this area.  They seek out land that they can lease for a 20+ year term in which they pay up to $1,000 per acre/per year, for a minimum of 20 acres.  Mike is seeking general consensus from the Board as to whether or not to pursue this alternative revenue source, which could amount to approximately $20,000 per year.  Consensus from the Commissioners was that there is not enough acreage available that is not tied to grant money, so they are not interested at this time.  However, they are not closed to the idea if there were to be 20 available acres in the future.


Draft Budget – Fiscal Year 2017/2018 – Steve Chapman presented the draft budget for 2017/2018.  He gave an overview of the increase and decrease in funds.


Healthcare Insurance – Mike Holan inquired with the County as to whether or not the Preserves can stay on the County’s Healthcare Insurance Policies.  They have decided they would leave the Preserves on their policies; however Mike has not gotten the cost figures as of the date of this meeting.  Mike went ahead and got a quote from IPBC (Illinois Public Benefits Cooperative).  With the increases in the County’s policies and what the cost of the Preserves being on their own, Mike’s thoughts are that if the Preserves are going to separate from the County’s insurance policies, now is the time to do so.  Dave Cook and Kim Ponder will be happy to sit down with Mike and Kim O’Malley to compare policies and rates.  Dave Cook will also meet with the Board at a future board meeting.


Amerock Hotel – Jeff Tilly met with the Mayor (of Rockford), and the Mayor was curious as to whether or not the Preserves had a position on the Amerock Hotel project, and if the Preserves is in support of the TIFF district for the hotel.  Judy would like to have the staff look into the project for more information. Steve Chapman commented that the Preserves opposition to the TIFF would not prevent it from being allowed.



Bills for July – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for July in the amount of $556,880.24.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Travel Policy – On January 1, 2017, the State of Illinois passed into law the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act which requires all local non-home rule units of local government, including forest preserve districts, to regulate travel, meal and lodging expenses for officers and employees through the adoption of an ordinance or resolution.  The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County is a non-home rule unit of local government.  The Preserves currently has a Travel Expense Policy that is not compliant with the Local Government and Travel Expense Control Act and therefore has been revised. The Travel Expense Policy is now compliant with the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act.  Audrey Johnson made a motion, Gloria Lind seconded, to adopt the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Board of Commissioners Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy.  Motion Passed 5-1 (Jake Henry voted no).


Administrative Services Contract – Winnebago County Administrative Officials, office and departments have provided administrative services in the past under an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.  An Intergovernmental Agreement between the Preserves and the County has been prepared to outline the duties and responsibilities of the various County offices which assist in the administration of Preserves functions.  The County Board of the County of Winnebago, Illinois resolved the Intergovernmental Agreement on June 22, 2017.  The Intergovernmental Agreement establishes payment for services rendered by the Winnebago County offices.  The Intergovernmental Agreement will start October 1, 2017 between the County and the Preserves for the 2017-12018 fiscal year.  The Preserves will pay the County $85,000 payable in four equal installments on October 1, 2017, January 1, 2018, April 1, 2018 and July 1, 2018.  In October of 2018, the Preserves will pay the County $100,000 payable in four equal installments on October 1, 2018, January 1, 2019, April 1, 2019 and July 1, 2019.  Jeff Tilly made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded to approve the Administrative Services Contract between the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County and the County of Winnebago.  Motion passed.  5-1 (Cheryl Maggio voted no).


Buffer Addition to Severson Dells Nature Preserve – The main purpose of the Forest Preserve is to preserve and protect natural areas.  The mission of the Nature Preserves Commission is to “assist public and private landowners in protecting high quality natural areas and habitats of endangered and threatened species.”  The Severson Dells Nature Preserve is a high quality plant community and is part of a larger nature preserve expansion.  The Preserves, Natural Land Institute, Byron Forest Preserve and John Nelson of the Nature Preserves Commission have prepared a proposal to expand the existing Colman Dells/Severson Dells Nature Preserve.  The expansion of the preserve was to be presented to the Nature Preserve Commission in May 2017, but was delayed until this month to coordinate the expansion with all parties involved.  The proposed buffer expansion is 88.3 acres.  The expansion offers additional protection for the dells geologic feature, its ground water and natural community types.  Mike Eickman made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded to proceed with the nature preserve buffer addition to Severson Dells Nature Preserve.  Motion passed unanimously.


Aerator Bid – There are two walk behind greens aerators at Atwood Golf Course that need to be replaced.  $45,000 was allocated for two aerators in the 2017 budget in the Improvement and Development Fund.  Three bids were opened on August 8th, with all three meeting or exceeding the required equipment specifications.  Staff recommends awarding the purchase to the lowest bidder, J.W. Turf in the amount of $28,782.25, which comes in under the budgeted amount.  Gloria Lind made a motion, Jeff Tilly seconded to award the contract for the purchase of the John Deere Aercore 800 Aerators to the low bidder meeting specifications, J.W. Turf, for $28,782.25.  Motion passed 5-1 (Jake Henry voted no).




Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Holan submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.


Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Sheriff’s Department submitted a written report.



August 19 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Severson Dells Forest Preserve, Saturday

from 9:00am – 12:00pm.

September 15&16 – Forest Quest Scavenger Hunt

September 16 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve,

Saturday from 9:00am – 12:00pm.





Meeting adjourned at 8:01 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, Severson Dells Nature Center



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary