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 Commissioners Minutes May 22

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

BOARD MEETING

Klehm Arboretum

May 22, 2013

 

PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard- President                                             Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Gloria Lind                                                                 Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                         Judi Day, Budget & Personnel

 

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Randy Olson                                                               Lee Johnson

Dan Riggs

ROLL CALL

The meeting was called to order at 5:40 pm.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

 

INVOCATION and PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Judy Barnard led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for April 24, 2013 were approved.  There were no additions, changes or corrections to the agenda.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Dan RiggsKlehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden – Judy Barnard introduced Dan Riggs and thanked Klehm for hosting the May board meeting.  Dan welcomed everyone to Klehm and gave a brief history of the arboretum.  As Executive Director, his goal is to support the arboretum and the foundation.  He briefly described a few of their fundraisers (annual plant sale, Garden Fair and Woodsong Concert Series).  Klehm recently entered into a billboard campaign through Lamar Advertising in the hopes that it will increase exposure.

 

ACTION ITEMS

Payment of Bills – Mike Eickman made a motion to authorize the payment of the May bills in the amount of $423,641.82.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

Date for tour of preserves – The Commissioners will be taking a tour of the preserves, and this tour will focus on the northwest part of Winnebago County.  The tour will include Sugar River Alder, the bird banding station, and stopping at Seward Bluffs to see the improvements and bridge repairs.  Commissioners are to email Mike Holan which Fridays in June and July they are available.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

New Logo – Gloria inquired as to new stationary for Mike and if a new logo was still being considered.  Judy advised that is something that will be worked on.

 

BOARD DISCUSSION

Land Acquisition/Resource Committee – During strategic planning the Commissioners talked about creating an endowment fund or land acquisition fund so that if someone wants to bequeath land to the District, there are plans and procedures in place.  Judy would like to create a Resource Committee that will brainstorm ideas for alternative sources of revenue.  She would like this committee to meet between now and the June board meeting to talk about revenue discussions.  Commissioners are to let Judy know if interested and she would also like staff to participate as well.  Audrey would like to see this set up soon as it has been talked about for a year.  Mary inquired what the difference would be between this Committee and the District’s land acquisition fund.  Judy would like it set up as a different fund and used strictly for the District’s land acquisition projects.  Judy would then like recommendations to come out of that committee.

 

NEW BUSINESS

IMET – Mike Holan talked to Steve Chapman and Brian Cutler regarding the District’s investments and how the monies are being invested.  He would like to look further into investment strategies.  There is a company called IMET that is pulling in government funds and the percentages on returns are higher.  Lsitor Allen from IMET is willing to come in and do a presentation to the Commissioners.  Mike will work with Steve to get her scheduled.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Board Governance Committee – Mary McNamara Bernsten – The committee has met and reviewed the McHenry Conservation District’s Resource Guide.  They are in the process of re-writing their guide to fit the District’s goals and missions, and are hoping to have a preliminary draft done by next month’s board meeting.

 

STAFF REPORTS

Preserve Operations – Vaughn reviewed the most recent figures for camping, shelter houses and equestrian pass sales.  Camping reservations have picked up now that the weather has gotten better.  Also, due to the weather being better, shelter reservations are also increasing.  Mike Holan reported that even though the figures for Pecatonica campground have gone down, probably due to the electricity issue, it appears they are going to the other preserves because the dollar figures are very close to the average of the last few years.  Gloria thinks it is time to consider charging non-resident fees.  Vaughn and Mike have talked about that and it may be time to make those adjustments.

 

Vaughn also gave an update regarding the spring burns.  Due to the weather the scheduled burns were not going as planned (this year the plan was to burn 1300 acres), but this spring only 483 acres have been burned, which typically it is closer to 1,000.  Mike Groves is hopeful that there will be more of an opportunity to burn this fall.  In addition, there have been 500 trees planted this spring.

 

Vaughn secured a $454 grant to get an AED.  This grant will cover about half the cost of a new AED.

 

Golf report – Mike Durand submitted a written report.  Even though golf operations are down due to the weather, this past month has kept up with the three-year average.  Favorable weather should allow this position to be held for the next couple of months.

 

Land and Development – Tom Hartley gave an update on the electricity at the campgrounds.  Lowell Larson of Ohman Ernest Martin Architects evaluated the systems and will be doing a cost analysis on replacing the systems.  Mr. Larson’s preliminary field review of the electric systems is that they are all old enough that they cannot be repaired and should be replaced.  There are no immediate safety concerns at the other three locations.

 

Tom also reported that the old maintenance shop was removed at Severson Dells.  In addition, specifications for quotes were sent to three masons for tuckpointing of Ironwood shelter in Laona Heights and Oak Ridge shelter in Seward Bluffs forest preserves.

 

Marketing and Community Relations – Judy thanked Mike Eickman and Lee Johnson for a very successful Bird Fest, and Jamie Johannsen for a successful Nature Fiesta.  Jamie then distributed the new summer edition of the Four Rivers guide.  She mentioned that the District will have a booth at Klehm on June 8 for Garden Fair, and a booth at Love Your River Day.  Jamie then gave a slide presentation and an overview of Nature Fiesta’s success.  There were at least seven different schools that attended Nature Fiesta and an estimated 500+ people that attended.   Partnering and co-sponsoring with the schools was a success.

 

Mike announced that Jamie worked with Laurie at Kane County to redevelop the booth for Illinois Association of Conservation of Forest Preserve Districts, which was displayed at Parks Day.  Jamie did a great job redesigning the booth.

 

Law Enforcement report – Terry Nordberg submitted a written report.  Cheryl asked if the alcohol restriction issue was going to be re-visited, and if the alcohol ban at Kishwaukee was causing problems at the other rivers.  Vaughn reported he has not heard of any issues other than last fall there were a few that had moved to Sugar River.  Judy asked Vaughn and Mike to talk to Terry to see if there are any additional issues.  Cheryl also wanted to know if PDRMA rates are higher because alcohol is allowed in the preserves.  Vaughn indicated that the rates are based mostly on budgets, but the staff will take a look into it.

 

Mike Eickman reported that there were 747+ visitors that attended Bird Fest.  It was a great turnout.  The weather was rainy and cool, but that did not deter people.  The speaker was a huge success and unfortunately they had to turn people away because the room was full.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

Open house at Klehm Tuesday, May 28 – 7 new environmental directors

 

Judy showed a picture of the tree that was planted in memory of Commissioner Cheryl Maggio’s mother.

 

CLOSED SESSION

Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:59 p.m. to discuss land acquisition.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:20 p.m.  No action taken in closed section.

 

Land Acquisition – The board voted 5 to 1 to seek an appraisal for the Bowers property.

 

Land Acquisition – The board voted 5 to 1 to have Tom Hartley and Ray Ferguson enter into negotiations with the Winterses for the purchase of their property up to the appraised value with the understanding that any offer extended is contingent upon successful grant funding.

 

The meeting went back into closed session at 7:22 p.m. to discuss personnel matters.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:34 p.m.  No action taken in closed session

 

Leave of Absence – Audrey Johnson made a motion to approve the extension of the IMRF Benefit Protection Leave and leave of absence for Richard Eertmoed from May 13, 2013 through July 28, 2013.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

ADJOURN

Meeting adjourned at 7:38 pm

Next board meeting 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 19, Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center (tour at 5:00) – 13735 Cook Road, Pecatonica

NOTE:  change in place and time for June Board meeting

Ronelle Johnson, Recording Secretary