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Board of Commissioners Minutes April 15, 2015

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Klehm Arboretum

April 15, 2015

PRESENT                                             STAFF

Judy Barnard                                           Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                          Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                      Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                               Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                         Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara Bernsten                   Don Miller, Education

Jeff Tilly


Dan Riggs

Ray Ferguson



The meeting was called to order at 5:32 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Jeff Tilly led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for March 18, 2015 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Klehm Update –Dan Riggs thanked the Preserves for being at Klehm. He then gave an update on staff member, Dawn. He handed out the 2015 Schedule of Events and gave updates on the Arboretum’s projects, the new contemporary perennial garden, and the sensory and demonstration garden. Klehm is also coordinating and has enrolled the City of Rockford in the America in Bloom Competition for 2015. America in Bloom is a national organization that promotes community beautification. Tour dates for the tours throughout the city are June 18 and 19.



Bills for April – Gloria Lind made a motion, Mike Eickman and Audrey Johnson seconded, to authorize the payment of the bills for April in the amount of $381,157.06. Motion passed unanimously.


Budget Amendment – The proposed budget amendment covers an oversight in the 2015 budget. Revenue from the $5,000 award of the Green Regions grant for signs was omitted from the capital budget. Only matching money of $5,000 was accounted for in development projects. This amendment is to correct that omission and add another $1,000 to the budget with the money obtained from the Oak Ridge electric easement. The budget total will then be $11,000. The Green Regions grant only partially funded the design and installation of interpretative signs. There were to be ten signs at an estimated cost of $20,320. The goal with the projected budget is to have all ten signs designed and five of the ten manufactured and installed. The remaining five signs will be budgeted in next year’s budget. Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, Audrey seconded, to approve an ordinance for a budget amendment in the 2014-2015 budget. Roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously.


Steve Chapman then made an announcement that the County Clerk’s office is in the process of finishing up the tax bills that will go out in May. In the Budget, the tax rate was projected to be .12cents, and based on the final calculations the rate ended up at .1199cents.



Board Bus Tour dates – Mike announced that a date needs to be selected for the annual board bus tour. Board members have mentioned that it would be nice to do a spring tour instead of a summer tour. The office staff will send around some dates. Board members are to let Mike Holan know what specifically they would like to see on this year’s tour.



Formation of Committee to Seek Requests for Proposal for Professional Services – Judy Barnard announced that over the last few years, it has been brought up by several Commissioners, that the Preserves have had the same legal representation for quite a long time. The board has talked about options from time to time, and thinks it is time to seek proposals for legal services. Judy asked Mary to think of some interview questions for legal services from law firms. Mary thinks there are a number of issues particular to forest preserves and thinks finding attorneys that have more expertise in forest preserves would be wise. Mary and Audrey will serve on that committee and any other Commissioners interested in serving on the committee are to contact Judy.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. In addition, he gave an update on his meeting with a US Foot Golf Director. The equipment has been backordered, but hopefully it will be in in time for spring foot golf.   Cheryl then requested that the Concessionaires food service times are listed on the website. In addition, Mike announced that TripAdvisor ranked The Ledges number 9 in top 10 golf courses to play. Judy would like the public to know that information on the website and a possible press release.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report. Jamie added that the 4th training session was held for volunteers working in preserves. 21 people attended and 7 of them signed up to be volunteers for collection data management.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report. Don gave an update on staff member Kathy who has been ill. He also announced that Betsy has decided to retire at the end of June. Don mentioned that James Marshall, who is on the foundation at Severson Dells and has a research project he has been doing at Severson, he is netting birds, banding them, and then recording what they eat during migration. During his project, he banded a golden ring warbler, which is on the endangered species list, and his finding has received national news and recognition.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.


Strategic Plan Quarterly Update – Mike Holan submitted a written report.


LAC Strategic Planning Update – Mike Eickman, Judy and Audrey attended the Land Advisory Council meeting in which they developed guidelines for possible purchases. A plan is being put together and Jerry Paulson will present the plan when it is completed.


Natural Resource Open House – On April 9, the second annual natural resource open house was held and approximately 12 people attended.




Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:46.


At 8:17, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



Wildflower Walk-About Schedule – Judy will email out the schedule to the Commissioners, and she is encouraging all Commissioners to attend at least one of the walks.


Macktown has the Gathering the 25th and 26th from 9-4. Board members all will receive a free pass.


Atwood awards are April 23 at 5pm, at Klehm. Lenae Weichel will be receiving the individual award and Illinois Clean Energy will be receiving the organization award.


First REAP session at Kishwaukee Gorge will be Saturday, April 18 from 9-12.


Mike announced that Summerfield Zoo was hit hard after the big storms in the area. They requested some assistance with their fencing, as they knew the Preserves had old fencing materials. Vaughn mobilized crews and loaded up the fencing materials and assisted them with the fence.


Mike made calls to Fairdale Police, Fire and Village Hall regarding Fairdale tornadoes to see if they needed assistance with skid loaders, front end loaders, needed any trees cut up, etc. He is waiting for a call back. Jeff Tilly has been to Fairdale assisting with the fire department, and they are in need of labor, monetary donations and clean up supplies. Jeff will contact some people he has met to see how the Preserves can assist.


Mike Eickman announced that the 17th Annual BirdFest will be Mother’s day weekend, May 9 and 10, at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory in Colored Sands Forest Preserve.



Meeting adjourned at 8:24 PM.

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



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary