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 18, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

May 18, 2016


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Mike Eickman                                                             Mike Holan, Executive Director

Audrey Johnson                                                         Steve Chapman, Finance

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                         Tom Hartley, Land and Development

   Mike Durand, Golf Operations

   Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

   Don Miller, Education

   Kim O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator


ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Judy Barnard                                                              Lee Johnson

Jeff Tilly                                                                      Carol Paschal, Sikich

Gloria Lind                                                                  Jon Bates, CFNIL



The meeting was called to order at 5:32 PM, by Vice-President Audrey Johnson. 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 April 20, 2016 were approved. One change in the agenda, the Ledges Pool Association was moved from unfinished business to new business. No additional changes or additions were made to the agenda.



CFNIL – Grant Opportunities – Jon Bates – Jon Bates from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois gave a presentation about the Carroll Starr Endowment Challenge. He also distributed an information sheet about Agency Endowments and a fact sheet about the Challenge. He gave an overview of the Community Foundation and how they can assist the Preserves. The purpose of an endowment is to have a perpetual reservoir of revenue. It is a challenge grant and the Community Foundation will match $1 for every $3 raised, between $5,000 and $50,000. The application time frame is from July 1 through August 1. There is an information session on July 11, for grant seekers.


Sikich Audit Report – Carla Paschal distributed the annual financial report and the board communication report. She highlighted a few items on the annual financial report, and then reviewed the board communication. The report showed no severe internal control weaknesses. Sikich gave some recommendations regarding some internal controls. They recommended reviewing older assets and develop a detailed listing of capital assets. She reported that the staff is always very cooperative and was impressed with the changes the Preserves have made the past few years.



Bills for April – Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for April in the amount of $698,523.36. Motion passed unanimously.


City of Rockford Property Tax Incentive Program – The City of Rockford is proposing a Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program to homebuyers purchasing single family homes within the corporate city limits of Rockford as their principle residence. The homes must either be foreclosures or short sales purchased between March 17, 2016 and December 31, 2016 and the sale closed by March 31, 2017, or new construction homes that a construction permit be obtained between March 17, 2016 and December 31, 2016 with an occupancy permit by December 31, 2017. The City developed this program with RPS 205, Rockford Park District and the Rockford Realtors Association and is asking all 11 taxing bodies within Winnebago County to participate in the program. Conor Brown from Rockford Realtors Association presented the program to the Board at the March 16, 2016 board meeting. The Board discussed the program in open session at the April 20, 2016 board meeting. There was no action taken at that meeting regarding the program. The Board has come to the general consensus that the program is a good concept but would have detrimental effects on the Preserves budget and operation and possibly not be legal for the Preserves to participate in. Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, Cheryl Maggio seconded, that the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County will not participate in the Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program proposed by the City of Rockford. Roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously.


Replacement of Rental Golf Cars for Atwood Homestead Golf Course – Atwood Homestead Golf Course currently has a rental golf car fleet of Fifty (50) model year 2005 EZ Go golf cars. Bid documents to replace twenty-five (25) or replace 50 golf cars were prepared and publicly bid through Winnebago County Purchasing Department. A total of 2 bids were received at the bid opening on May 13, 2016. The low bid for Alternate 1 was submitted by EZ Go in the amount of $107,400. Funds are available in the 2016 capital budget in the amount of $75,000 for the replacement of the rental golf cars at Atwood Homestead Golf Course. Funds are available in the 2016 cash balance of the capital fund in the amount of $32,400 in addition to the budgeted amount of $75,000 in the 2016 capital budget for the replacement of the rental golf cars.   Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion and Mike Eickman seconded, that the Preserves accept Alternate 1 bid of purchasing fifty new 2016 EZ Go TXT golf cars in the amount of $107,400 (net cost after trade allowance) from EZ Go division of Textron, Inc. Augusta, Georgia. Roll Call vote was requested by Cheryl Maggio. Roll call vote taken. Motion passes 3-1. Cheryl Maggio voted no.


Macktown Visitor Center Stain Removal and Stain Application – During budget preparation for 2016 a price of $12,000 from a local painting contractor to apply stain to the Macktown Visitor Center was obtained. The budget was set at $12,000. In the search for a list of contractors to bid the proposed work, it was discovered that there were many contractors who specialized in log home care.   Twelve contractors were contacted. All except one recommended removing the existing oil base stain and replacing with an acrylic latex based stain. Surface preparation is important and involves (1) removal of existing stain, (2) sanding, (3) borate treatment to curtail growth of fungus, mildew and insect infestation, and (4) application of stain. Prior to a formal bid a quote for $32,000 was obtained for the above described process. As previously mentioned a total of 12 log home contractors were contacted and the project was advertised in the Rockford Register Star. Two bids were received. The low bid was $28,623 and was received by the Log Doctors of Eastwood, LLC. This amount is well above the budgeted amount but fortunately the replacement of the Macktown sewer pump was well under the budgeted amount. The surplus from the sewer pump will cover the additional required to complete the Visitor Center. Cheryl Maggio has requested Tom Hartley or Mike Holan call for references of Log Doctors of Eastwood to be sure they came in at or under budget and their work performance. Mike or Tom will call for references. Mary McNamara Bernsten, made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to accept the bid from Log Doctors of Eastwood, LLC for $28,623, in the event the references check out positively. Motion passed unanimously.



Ledges Pool Association – In the fall of 2015, the pool association asked the Preserves to remove bushes along the wall of the sidewalk from the parking lot to the pool area. Preserves staff did remove the bushes. There is a retaining wall that runs along the sidewalk behind the pool area that is made of railroad timbers that need to be replaced. Mike has talked to Jimmy Rosso, one of the pool association officers, and mentioned the wall will need to be replaced within the next few years. The Ledges Pool Association agreement states they have to take care of anything inside the fence, but they do not have to take care of any areas outside of the fenced in area. The agreement does not specifically say who is required to take care of the area outside the fence, but the way the agreement reads it loosely indicates it is the Preserves responsibility. Staff has decided to plant Little Blue Stem in that area and the wall will not be replaced yet since it has not been budgeted in the Preserves budget. Mary would like to add the topic of the pool association to the strategic plan discussions.


Grant Opportunities – Audrey would like the Commissioners to consider the information presented tonight from Jon Bates at CFNIL and consider the Carroll Starr Endowment Challenge. Cheryl would like the Commissioners to come up with a list of 25-50 people before June that could be possible donors. She would also like Commissioners to seriously consider if the Preserves would be ready to apply by the time the grant application deadline ends. After more discussion, the Commissioners agreed to postpone applying for the Carroll Starr award for 2016 and hopefully apply for the challenge in 2017.


Colored Sands – Mike Eickman requested a defibrillator for Colored Sands. He feels it would be really important with the different activities and many people that visit there. Mike and Vaughn will look into it.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


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. Jamie reminded everyone that Nature Fiesta is May 21.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.


Volunteer – Kim O’Malley announced there are now 445 volunteers and there is a REAP event coming up on May 21.



June 17th – Board Preserves Tour – 8:30 a.m. meeting – 9:00 a.m. Tour



Meeting adjourned at 7:08 PM.


Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, June 15th, Klehm Arboretum, 4:30 for a tour of Klehm.


Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary