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 September 19, 2018

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Colored Sands Forest Preserve

September 19, 2018


PRESENT                                                     STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                  Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                 Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                              Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind – 6:15                                           Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly – 5:32                                                Ann Wasser, Education

Jake Henry                                                      Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program



Alex Mills – Klehm Arboretum



The meeting was called to order at 5:29 PM, by President Barnard.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


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


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for August 15, 2018 were approved. Klehm letter was added to the agenda. Action items were rearranged (budget and tax levy were first) to accommodate a board member’s schedule.



Mike Eickman – Sand Bluff Bird Observatory – After the budget and tax levy were voted on, Mike Eickman thanked everyone for coming out to Sand Bluffs and then gave an update on the wonderful things happening at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory.  He announced that a rare Blandings turtle was seen on the property, and that there have been 2500 birds banded since the first of August.  They have several school groups coming out and they have a few owl nights towards the end of October.  Sand Bluff has had a good year thus far and has been very busy.



Acceptance of Budget & Appropriations Ordinance Layover –The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County fiscal year budget operates from November 1, through October 31.  The Board of Commissioners was presented the proposed 2018-2019 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance for review at the August 15, 2018 meeting.  Since the budget was a proposed budget, there were a few changes made since that meeting.  Mike Holan and Steve Chapman went over the changes with the Board.  In addition, Ann Wasser announced that the Severson Dells Board is proposing hiring a part-time assistant.  The Preserves would be reimbursed for the cost of this position by Severson.  The Board will also request a new Memorandum of Understanding be created to reflect the addition of this position and the details.  The Board consensus to add the new position was 5-1 (Jake Henry did not agree to the addition).  Lastly, The District is required to layover the budget for a period of at least 30 days for public review and comment before it is adopted by the Board.  Audrey Johnson made a motion and Jeff Tilly seconded that the Board will layover the 2018-2019 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance for public review and comment until the October 24, 2018 Board meeting.  Motion passed unanimously.


Levy Ordinance Layover – The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County fiscal year budget operates from November 1, through October 31.  The Board of Commissioners has been presented a proposed tax levy that must be approved to finance the 2018-2019Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance that has been presented to the Board. The District is required to layover the tax levy for a period of at least 30 days for public review and comment before it is adopted by the Board.  Audrey Johnson made a motion and Mike Eickman seconded that the Board will layover the Annual Tax Levy for public review and comment until the October 24, 2018 Board meeting.  Motion passed unanimously.


Bills for August – Gloria Lind made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for August in the amount of $788,593.03.  Motion passed unanimously. 


Changes to General Use Regulations Ordinance – The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Board of Commissioners adopted a General Use Regulations Ordinance as allowed per the Downstate Forest Preserve Act.  The Ordinance regulates hours, permissible and impermissible activities, conditions of use and enforcement while on Preserves properties.  Enforcement regulates fines and penalties and states specifically “Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this Ordinance shall be fined an amount of not less than seventy-five dollars but not more than five hundred dollars for each offense”.  The amount of the fine is not current with minimum or maximum state statutes, nor does it allow for lesser fines for Ordinance violations nor allows additional penalties for restitution.  Amending Section 7-7.B. to state “Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this ordinance shall be fined in an amount not exceeding $1,000.00 for each offense.  Such fine shall not preclude the District from pursuing additional civil penalties in the form of restitution for vandalism or damage to District property” allows fines and penalties to be altered as state statutes change and will allow lower fines to be assessed for Ordinance infractions.  Jeff Tilly made a motion and Gloria Lind seconded, that the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County Board of Commissioners amend the General Use Regulations Ordinance Section 7-7.B. Enforcement:  Fines and Penalties to be accepted as stated above. Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed 4-1 (Jake Henry voted no).


Approval of Budget Appropriation to fund cost of HVAC replacement at Severson Dells Nature Center – The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County has provided funding for Capital Building Improvements as the building is in need of immediate replacement because of a major internal component failure.  The quoted replacement cost for the HVAC unit is $7,800.  Staff is recommending that funds from the 2017-2018 Capital Improvement Fund be utilized to cover the necessary costs associated with the HVAC unit replacement.  There are sufficient funds remaining in order to cover this expense.  Audrey Johnson made a motion and Gloria Lind seconded that the $7,800 shall be utilized from the Capital Building Improvement Fund to pay for replacement of one HVAC unit for the Severson Dells Nature Center.  Motion passed 4-1 (Jake Henry voted no).



Klehm Letter – The Preserves received a letter from the Klehm Board questioning the decrease in funding support.  Mike Holan and Judy Barnard met with Alex Mills and Nancy Lundstrom on September 18, to discuss Klehm’s concerns about the decrease.  Mike stated it was a good meeting, they discussed the monies, their budget and their ability to plan for capital projects, as well as staffing, based on the monies the Preserves is supplying to them.  Mike explained what the Preserves budget reductions have been over the last 10 years, and more specifically since 2014, and the staffing reductions which is approximately 11.5 staff people since 2010.  Mike explained to them the Preserves need to survive as well as helping the partner organizations. Mike will be meeting with Alex Mills, Vaughn Stamm and Tom Hartley to discuss some of the capital projects they have concerns about as well as the capital projects the Preserves has on board so the projects can be prioritized.  In addition, Mike and Judy feel the need to update the Memorandums of Agreement with Klehm as well as all of the other partner organizations.

Hinchliff Forest Preserve – Jake Henry distributed pictures of the entrance to Hinchliff, to show the wash-off of the entrance.  Jake is asking that it be looked at to make it safer, as well as trim the trees at the entrance.  The rock and the road right of way is the responsibility of the Highway department and Mike Holan will contact them.


Macktown Sewer Pump Update – Mike Holan gave an update as to why the sewer pump at Macktown had to be replaced.  Evidently the line going out of the ejector pump goes underneath the road to the sewer line was about 4 feet deep, which in our area should be plenty deep, but because that road is plowed and salted, frost tends to carry deeper when there is no snow on it.  Therefore, the line froze and the pumps burned out.  Once it was decided that the visitor center would be open year round, they bored the line down 5 feet, but the pit that was put in originally they couldn’t go deep enough, due to hitting bed rock, so it is not as deep as it should be.  As a result, this year when the line froze, it froze in the manifold and that is what burned out the pumps.  It has been recommended that the pumps get pulled out, clean them up, do maintenance on the pumps, then Vaughn’s staff will put hay bales around the pit area to try to insulate it, which will allow the visitors center to be open year round.  There will be some restrictions as to the water usage, alarms will be installed and Macktown will need to monitor the alarms.  Then the pit will be pumped out as needed and checked monthly to make sure there are no problems or freezing.  Any further questions should be directed to Mike.



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


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp and Mark Freiman submitted a written report. In addition, Vaughn reported that the POS system was down, Saturday, September 15.  It was down county-wide, which meant the golf courses were affected.  Vaughn gave kudos to the staff for doing such a great job improvising and making everything run smoothly until the systems were back up and running.  Lastly, Vaughn mentioned that Due to this year’s torrential rains, a main water supply line burst at one of the ponds at the Ledges.  It was the line right outside the main pump house that services the irrigation system for the whole course.  It appears as if the PVC line that feeds the irrigation coming out of the pumps, that was buried close to the edge of one of the ponds, is the line that burst.  It is suspected that many years ago some dredging was too close to the edge and prematurely exposed the line, which compromised the pipe over time and was rupturing.  There was approximately 300 feet of 6” PVC rerouted and making it more stable for the soil.  The cost was able to be covered out of the operational budget.


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.  Ann passed out inviations to the Severson Dells breakfast fundraiser scheduled for October 25.


Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report. Kim reported there were 40 R.E.A.P volunteers at Cedar Cliff.  She also announced that the Volunteer Appreciation picnic is Saturday November 3, at the Pecatonica Barn.


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




October 20 – Nurture Nature at a R.E.A.P. Volunteer Workday at Ferguson Forest Preserve, Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-Noon

October 20-21 – Frenchman’s Frolic at Macktown Living History Center, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

October 25 – Severson Dells Annual Benefit Breakfast at the Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms, Thursday from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.



Meeting adjourned at 7:06 PM.

Budget Hearing 5:15 pm, Wednesday, October 24, Preserve Headquarters

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, October 24, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary