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 June 15, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

June 15, 2016


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                         Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind – via phone                                              Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                         Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly                                                                      Don Miller, Education



  Dan Riggs

                                                                                   Brook McDonald


The meeting was called to order at 5:27 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mike Eickman led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for May 18, 2016 were approved. One change in the agenda included moving closed session to earlier in the meeting to accommodate Attorney Jim Pirages’ schedule. No additional changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Referendum Information – Brook McDonald of The Conservation Foundation – Brook McDonald is the CEO of The Conservation Foundation. He gave an overview of The Conservation Foundation and then went through the general information regarding the referendum, process, polling, successful referendums, and how The Conservation Foundation helps forest preserve districts get a referendum passed.


Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden Update – Dan Riggs gave an update as to all the events and fundraising efforts at Klehm. He also gave a brief overview of a few possible projects and ideas that Klehm is considering for improvements and attractions.



Bills for May – Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, and Audrey Jonson seconded, to authorize the payment of the bills for May in the amount of $506,126.19. Motion passed unanimously.


Land Acquisition –The Land Advisory Council is in the process of completing a strategic plan for the Forest Preserve. The Board of Commissioners has approved adoption of strategic plan options 2-4 for acquisition and any other unique or special opportunities that may occur. The Larson and Johnson Properties are surrounded by the Kishwaukee River and Rockford Rotary Preserves on three sides and are included in strategic plan option 2. The Forest Preserve has negotiated a verbally agreed price for the Larson property using a Forest Preserve appraisal and the seller’s appraisal as a basis for negotiation. The Johnson property appraisal has been ordered but has not yet been finished, so no purchase negotiation has begun. The Forest Preserve staff has been seeking grants to help fund the acquisitions. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Fund is a granting agency that The Preserves have gone to in the recent past successfully and plan to with these purchases. Another funding agency used has been the Grand Victoria Foundation thru their Vital Lands Program. The Vital Lands money is not available directly to the Forest Preserve but indirectly thru nonprofit agencies.


The Natural Land Institute has agreed to submit the Grand Victoria Vital Lands grant on our behalf for the purchase of the two properties. The process may be the same as that used to purchase the addition to Deer Run Forest Preserve in 2011. The Natural Land Institute will apply for the Grand Victoria Vital Land Funds that cover about 30% of the appraised value to hold a conservation easement on the property. They will give their portion of the easement money to the Forest Preserve for the purchase of properties. This arrangement awaits approval by the granting agencies. The grants will cover most of the purchase, but not all. The remaining costs are in the $90,000 range. NLI and granting agencies will need some assurance that the funds to complete the grant will be supplied by the Forest Preserve. Possible funding options include (1) County host fee funds; (2) private donations; and (3) extension of bond payment.


Due to the issues with the Johnson property, including a house on the property, NLI would like to just assist with the Larson property. As such, an amendment to the resolution was needed. Mike Eickman made a motion, Gloria Lind seconded to amend the resolution to state, as to paragraph 6, “WHEREAS, the Natural Land Institute, a not-for-profit organization has agreed to assist in grant applications for the purchase of the Larson property; and, …”, instead of “…assist in grant applications for the purchase of these properties”. Motion passed unanimously.


Jeff Tilly made a motion, and Audrey Johnson seconded, that the Forest Preserve Commissioners approve the purchase of the Larson and Johnson properties (with the above-mentioned amendment), at or near the appraised value, and that the Forest Preserve will cover acquisition costs not covered by the grants and accept the land donation. Motion passed unanimously.


Prevailing Wage – In order to comply with State Statutes concerning bids on construction projects, the District is required to make available to any employers or contractors, the prevailing rate of hourly wages for tradesmen in the County of Winnebago. Mary McNamara Bersten made a motion, and Mike Eickman seconded, to approve a resolution to determine the general prevailing rate of hourly wages in Winnebago County. Motion passed unanimously.



Board Member Donor List – At the May meeting, Cheryl requested each board member submit a suggested donor list. If board members have not done so already, please email Mike your lists.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report. Vaughn also mentioned that the Sugar River Shower house has had some updates, and he encouraged the Commissioners to go see them. He also distributed a 2015 In-Kind Services list provided by the Preserves to Klehm.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report, which also included a Volunteer Program update.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.




Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:09 p.m., to discuss personnel. At 6:45, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.


Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:08 p.m., to discuss land acquisition. At 7:33, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



June 17th – Board Preserves Tour 8:30 am Meeting – 9:00 am Tour

June 18th – R.E.A.P Workday at Macktown Forest Preserve and Early Settlers History Walk

June 22nd – 11:00 a.m., Klehm Arboretum, sculpture dedication



Meeting adjourned at 7:36 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, July 20, District Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary