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 21, 2019

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Severson Dells Nature Center

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


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

Jeff Tilly – via phone                                      Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program

Jake Henry


ABSENT                                                        GUESTS

Cheryl Maggio                                                Dan Huntley

                                                                       Barbara Williams

                                                                       Alex Mills – Klehm

       Phillip Raines



The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM, by Vice-President Eickman.  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 July 17, 2019 were approved.  Minutes for August 9, 2019 were approved.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Dan Huntley & Barbara Williams – Dan Huntley is the President of the Severson Dells board.  He thanked the board for coming to Severson Dells for the August Board Meeting.  Dan addressed the Commissioners relating to the issue of allowing dogs in the Preserves and Severson Dells.  He stated that the Severson Dells Board disagrees with the decision of allowing dogs on the Forest Preserves and the Severson Dells properties.  He also stated that he was frustrated with how the Forest Preserve Board came to the decision without the Severson Dells Board being consulted.  He encouraged the board to contact him to discuss this issue further.  Dan thanked the Board for their time.  Barbara Williams also addressed the board as she is also opposed to allowing dogs onto Severson property. She strongly believes dogs do not belong in Forest Preserves as people do not abide by the leash rule and there is not enough enforcement.  She also discussed the environmental affects that she believes are important issues to consider.  Barbara thanked the Board for their time.


Severson Dells Nature Center Update – Jessie Crow-Mermel – Jessie introduced herself and stated that Ann Wasser was receiving an award in Cincinnati for Outstanding Director of a Nature Center.  Jessie gave an update as to what is happening at the Dells, which included improvements in the Grove, school programs that will be starting in September, and that there will be two new Americorp members as well at the Dells in September.  Additionally in September, a new event Dance at the Dells will be held, as well as the annual fundraiser breakfast on September 26 at Orchard Ridge Farms.  Lastly, there is a new program in October at the Dells, Scoop the Dells, which is a science event for families.  Jessie thanked the Board for coming to Severson Dells and encouraged everyone to check out the website to checkout upcoming events and programs.



Draft Budget – Fiscal Year 2019/2020 – Steve Chapman distributed the draft Budget Assumptions & Guidelines for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.  He went through the draft budget and announced that the budget will be presented for layover at the September 18 board meeting and the budget levies will be presented for approval at the October 23 meeting.  Steve then presented the draft Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.  Steve reiterated that these are all estimates and the actual costs will be known at the end of the fiscal year.  Vaughn Stamm went through the proposed capital improvement projects.


Outfitter Permit Request – Vaughn was contacted by an individual in Shirland that is interested in renting out tubes, kayaks and canoes to people interested in water activities on the Sugar River, as there is a deficit in that area for providing such a service.  The equipment would be put in at Colored Sands and taken out at Sugar River.  He is not operating the concession on the Preserves property and the renters are responsible for transporting the equipment themselves.  This individual does have an LLC and Vaughn advised him that he would need a Special Use Permit as well as a Certificate of Insurance.  PDRMA was given the documents and PDRMA referred Mike Holan to two ordinances that needed to be considered.  One ordinance refers to a concession agreement. The second ordinance refers to permits in designated areas. This is a fairly new business for this individual and Mike and Vaughn feel that this would get more people into Colored Sands and also Sugar River.  Mike Eickman would like him to be at the September meeting to address the board.  Judy Barnard is suggesting a conditional permit for now.  Gloria agrees that he should be allowed to get started and have him address the board in September.  The general consensus of the board was to proceed and with a conditional permit to allow him to proceed until October and he will address the board in September.



Bills for July – Judy Barnard made a motion, Gloria Lind seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for July in the amount of $657,911.62.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Budget Amendment – Liability Reserve Fund – The Illinois Compiled Statues of 1992 states that “After the adoption of the Annual Appropriation Ordinance, no further appropriations may be made at any other time during that fiscal year except as provided in this Act, provided that the Board of each district may amend such appropriation ordinance from time to time by the same procedure required by this Act for the original adoption of the appropriation ordinance.  By a two-thirds vote of all members constituting the Board, the Board may make appropriations in excess of those authorized by the appropriations ordinance in order to meet an immediate emergency.” The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County maintains a Liability Reserve Fund in the 2018/2019 Fiscal Year budget that holds funds for liability insurance.  PDRMA, whom is the District’s liability insurance carrier, has increased the liability and risk management insurance costs.  The expenditures in the Liability Reserve Fund will exceed the appropriated amount by approximately $15,000.  The Preserves is seeking to amend the Liability Reserve Fund for the 2018/2019 fiscal year budget in the amount of $15,000.  Judy Barnard made a motion and Gloria Lind seconded that the Liability Reserve Fund for the 2018/2019 Fiscal Year Budget be amended in the amount of $15,000 and will be funded from the Liability Reserve fund balance.  In addition, this Ordinance will be in full force and effect immediately upon this adoption.   Motion passes 4-1.  Jake Henry voted no.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Scott Stewart, Scott Wallace, and Bryan Helmold submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.  Tom also announced that on September 5 there will be a rusty patch bumble bee seminar that is being put on by the Illinois Farm Bureau.  This seminar is part of the habitat grant that the Preserves received.


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp and Mark Freiman 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.


Executive Director – Mike Holan announced that Tom Hartley, Director of Land & Development, will be retiring as of September 13.  The Board thanked Tom for his hard work and service to the Preserves.  There will be an open house on September 13 from 11-1:30 in honor of Tom.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:44 pm.  At 6:56 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



September 21 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Cedar Cliff Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – Noon

September 26 – Breakfast for the Dells Fundraiser at The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms, Thursday from 7:30-8:30 a.m.

September 28 – Forest Quest Scavenger Hunt



Meeting adjourned at 6:57 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, September 18, 2019, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary