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 July 15, 2020

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

BOARD MEETING

Preserves Headquarters

July 15, 2020

 

PRESENT                                                       STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                   Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                  Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson – via phone                           Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                       Ann Wasser, Education

Cheryl Maggio                                                 Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program

Jeff Tilly

Jake Henry – via phone at 6:08pm

 

GUESTS

Daniel Huntley

Dennis Johnson

Thomas Walsh

Craig Campbell

Ryan Pnakovich

Alex Mills – Klehm Arboretum

 

ROLL CALL

The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM, by President Tilly.  Recording secretary Ronelle Olszewski called the roll.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Gloria Lind led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for June 17, 2020 were approved.  No changes or additions were made to the agenda.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Severson Dells’ Dog Discussion – Dan Huntley – President of the Severson Dells Foundation Board addressed the Preserves Board regarding the Board’s opposition of having dogs at Severson Dells due to the interference they cause with education programs and the impact with wildlife.  He is urging the body to reverse the change of allowing dogs at Severson.

 

Proposed Hog Farm – Tom Walsh and Dennis Johnson – Tom Walsh addressed the board regarding the proposed hog farm.  He stated they are not farms, they are factories.  The farms start out at 5,000 heads and gradually grow in a few years to 10,000 heads.  These farms produce a hundred tons of manure per day.  Manure will be spread in the watershed near the Sugar River.   Dennis Johnson then addressed the Board.  He stated that there are native plants that grow in the Sugar River Valley.  It is a pristine area and will be affected negatively by the hog farm.  Within 5 miles of the proposed farm, there are 8 Preserves owned by the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. There are endangered plants and species that will ultimately be affected. They are seeking a resolution from the Preserves stating they are opposed to having hog farms in our area that will affect the Preserves.

 

IPARKS – Ryan Pnakovich – Ryan is a representative from IPARKS Risk Management.  He gave an overview of what IPARKS is.  They are a risk sharing pool in Illinois that have been in business for 30 years.  He stated it is an exceptional program with broad coverage for parks, preserves and conservation districts and it will serve the Preserves well, as well as save the Preserves in insurance costs.

 

 

 

NEW BUSINESS

Hononegah Campground Electric Service – The campground located within Hononegah Forest Preserve has an aging electric service that has and continues to fail, and is in need of replacement if the current level of campground service is to be continued.  The underground wiring and service panels, which provide power to the campsites, are estimated to be over 40 years old.  Numerous ground fault issues required electric service to be terminated at several campsites.  Over the past 6 years the electrical service systems have been replaced at Sugar River and Seward Bluffs Campgrounds.  Because of the high cost for replacement compared to the insufficient use and resulting minimal revenues, the electrical service at Pecatonica Campground was not replaced and this area has since been converted to a Youth and Scout Camping area.  Campground revenue has been declining steadily and annual revenues only slightly outpace expenses associated with running each of the campgrounds.  Historically the preserves facilitated the campgrounds with paid hosts.  The hosts are on-site over the weekends and are responsible for assisting campers with registrations, selling firewood, cleaning outhouses and shower-house and assisting management and law enforcement on any issues that may arise over the weekends.  These positions have been difficult to fill over the past several years.  As part of the 2020 fiscal year budget, money was allocated to provide for an engineering cost analysis and project design.  Staff has created a revised campground site configuration that reduced the number of sites, improved current site layout and provided required ADA changes.  The cost analysis was completed in June of 2020.   The cost for the new electrical, will be approx. $185,000, in addition to approximately $50,000 for ADA improvements.  Revenue brought in from the campground is approximately $16,000 per year.  After much discussion, it was decided to lay this over until the August board meeting to see if any grants or any type of funding is available for this project.

 

ACTION ITEMS

Bills for June – Cheryl Maggio made a motion and Judy Barnard seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for June in the amount of $650,308.86.  Motion passed unanimously. 

 

Land Acquisition Contract – Property Adjacent to Severson Dells – The Land Advisory Council has recommended that the Preserves purchase an 868.6 acre property adjacent to Severson Dells Forest Preserve.  An appraisal has been done by Harrison & Associates, appraising the property at $5,100,000.  The property owners reached an agreement with the Preserves to sell the property to the Preserves at a bargain sale price of $3,519,000 with the remaining $1,581,000 considered a gifted donation to the Preserves.  The Clean Energy Foundation has awarded the Preserves a grant in the sum of $3,000,000 toward the purchase of this property and the Preserves will need to contribute $519,000 toward the purchase.  The Preserves has sufficient land acquisition funds for the purchase.  Judy Barnard made a motion and Audrey Johnson and Gloria Lind seconded that the Preserves purchase the 868.6 acre property adjacent to Severson Dells Forest Preserve.  Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

Authorization of Membership into IPARKS Risk Management PoolIPARKS is a cooperative agency consisting of 174 members including park districts, forest preserve districts and conservations districts.  The Preserves has been accepted for membership from IPARKS to receive such liability and worker’s compensation insurance coverage.  The Board has received and reviewed the Bylaws, Intergovernmental Agreement and Risk Pooling Agreement of IPARKS and recommends membership.   Mike Eickman made a motion and Judy Barnard seconded to authorize membership into IPARKS Risk Management Pool. During the discussion, it was noted that the Preserves policy limit with PDRMA is currently $21,500,000. IPARKS allows coverage from $10,000,000 – $15,000,000 and after consulting with Ryan Pnakovich, it is not a problem to raise the limit to $15,000,000.  As a result, Gloria Lind made a motion to amend the Resolution for membership into IPARKS and the amended motion was seconded by Audrey Johnson. The amended states that the Preserves will hold a liability limit of $15,000,000 with IPARKS.  Motion passed 5-0 (Jake Henry voted yes only to a $10,000,000.00 liability limit and was not present for the vote on the amended Resolution for a $15,000,000 policy limit).

 

Disengagement from Current Risk Management Pool (PDRMA) – On August 22, 2002 the Preserves adopted a resolution authorizing membership into the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA).  The District membership with PDRMA was effective as of December 1, 2002 and has been continual since that date and renews for a 3 year term as of December 1, 2020.  To relinquish membership with PDRMA, it is required that the Board pass a Resolution to be delivered to PDRMA at least 120 days prior to the renewal date.  Mike Eickman made a motion and Gloria Lind seconded to relinquish the membership with PDRMA.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

Resolution to Prohibit Dogs at Severson Dells Forest Preserve – Up until 2019, dogs were not allowed at Severson Dells Forest Preserve and Nature Center.  The Preserves staff allowed dogs into the Severson Dells Forest Preserve on a trial basis in 2019 and 2020.  The Severson Dells Board of Directors has passed a resolution asking that dogs once again not be allowed at Severson Dells Forest Preserve for the protection of the children participating in the educational programming and for the environmental effects of dogs at Severson Dells Nature Center and the surrounding Forest Preserve.  The Preserves Commissioners feel it is in the best interest to provide for the general safety of the children visiting Severson Dells Nature Center and Forest Preserve in the absence of their parents.  Audrey Johnson made a motion and Cheryl Maggio seconded to revert to the policy of allowing no dogs at Severson Dells Forest Preserve.  After discussion, it was discovered that there is no written policy regarding dogs at Severson Dells.  Therefore, Audrey Johnson made a motion to amend the resolution to state that the motion is to revert to the practice of allowing no dogs at Severson Dells Forest Preserve.  Once the language was made clear, Audrey Johnson made an additional motion to amend the resolution to read that at Severson Dells there will be no dogs allowed and appropriate signage will be posted.  Gloria Lind seconded.  Motion passed 5-0 (Jake Henry’s vote was not considered due to the Resolution being amended.)

 

STAFF REPORTS

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

 

Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp & Mark Freiman submitted a written report.

 

Land and Development – Natural Resource Staff submitted a written report.

 

Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.  Ann announced that the AmeriCorps members have been doing hikes and they will continue those hikes through December.  Bike rides will be added to the schedule.

 

Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report.  Kim announced the dates for the Employee Appreciation Picnic, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be multiple dates for the different departments.

 

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

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

R.E.A.P. day cancelled for Saturday – due to heat.

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 7:47 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, August 19, Preserve Headquarters

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Olszewski

Recording Secretary