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 April 20, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Colored Sands Forest Preserve

April 20, 2016


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Jeff Tilly                                                                      Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Kim O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator


ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Gloria Lind                                                                 Lee Johnson



The meeting was called to order at 5:34 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mary McNamara Bernsten led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for March 16 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Proposed Great Lakes Basin Transportation – Rail Line – Tom Hartley attended a hearing on April 19, regarding the Proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad. He gave an overview of the rail line route and reviewed the map of the railway and the Winnebago County preserves that would be affected. The rail line would be 278 miles that would travel from Indiana to Wisconsin. The purpose of the hearing was a public scoping for the environmental impact statement. The majority of the comments at the hearing were in opposition of the rail line. Concerns about the railroad can be sent in writing to the Office of Environmental Analysis by June 16. Judy would like the staff to draft a letter of concern on behalf of the Preserves.


Sand Bluff Bird Banding Station Update – Mike Eickman stated that this year, Bird Fest is May 14-15 (the weekend after Mother’s Day). The volunteers are working hard on preparations and there are some great speakers lined up for the event. Additionally, Colored Sands was awarded a grant for solar powered cameras to be installed in blue bird houses. The cameras are installed in the houses and if an internet connection can be established, the cameras could go live. Mike Eickman is looking into different companies to see if internet service is possible in the area. Lee Johnson is leading a wildflower walk in June at Colored Sands.



Bills for March –Cheryl Maggio made a motion, Jeff Tilly seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for March in the mount of $369,402.59. Motion passed unanimously.



2015 Fiscal Year– Steve Chapman announced that there was a tax allocation error whereby an overpayment of the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax by the Illinois Department of Revenue affects the Preserves by approximately $79,000. Steve then went over a Comparison of Actual to Estimated statement from the 2015 fiscal year. As a result, the fund balance will have to be reduced by the $79,000 error.


Hononegah Youth Soccer Association Agreement – Mike Holan gave an update on the agreement with HYSA. The HYSA board rejected the agreement with the Preserves and they are no longer using the Preserves fields.


City of Rockford Property Tax Incentive Program – In March, Conor Brown from the Rockford Area Association of Realtors, presented information regarding the new property tax incentive program. At that meeting, Judy asked Mike Holan to check into whether or not the Preserves could legally participate. Judy received information from the State’s Attorneys office advising that the County is not eligible to participate in the program. In addition, Mike Holan was contacted by the School District’s outside counsel, and they have indicated there is no case law indicating whether or not the School District can participate. Judy and Mike are seeking more information and are looking to the Downstate Forest Preserves Act as the governing guide. It will be put on the agenda for May as an action item for voting.



Proposed Stream Mitigation Project– First Midwest Group – Mary brought this to the Commissioners after speaking to Rebecca Olson and Tom Okite about a possible mitigation project. The development project is on 173 and Perryville Road, parallel to Rock Cut State Park north of 173. There is a stream that needs to be re-routed that will allow commercial space to be gained. Tom Hartley, Mike Holan & Judy Barnard met with Rebecca Olson & Tom Okite and gave them a couple of ideas regarding the mitigation project. Mike will keep the Board updated as to the project.


Announcement of Carroll H. Starr Endowment Challenge – Judy announced that the Carroll Starr Endowment Challenge grant is taking applications, which are due in August. The Community foundation matches $1 for every $3 raised, for $5,000-$50,000 and you have 3 years to raise the funds. It would be a great way to start building the Forest Preserve Foundation. Judy would like the Commissioners to look at the information she distributed before the next meeting. At the May meeting it will be on the agenda as an action item to vote on whether or not the Board thinks it should be done or not. Mary McNamara Bernsten would like to have Jayme Bastian come in and speak to the Board about this Challenge, or at a minimum have Mike talk with her and report back to the Board.


Board Commitments – Judy distributed an Annual Board Calendar of Events and reminded the Commissioners that she would like to have at least 2 Commissioners at each event. She also indicated that she would like to have 1 or 2 Commissioners attend one board meeting of the partner organizations.


Board Preserves Tour – Mike Holan announced that instead of doing a driving tour, the staff would like the Commissioners to have tours of three specific preserves, Kishwaukee Gorge, Severson Farm natural resource area and Kilbuck Forest Preserve. Mike Holan asked the Commissioners to contact him with good dates for the Fridays in June for the tour.



Volunteer Day at Natural Resource Department (Severson Farm) – Kim O’Malley – Kim reported that there was a great kickoff to the season. There were 38 participants that attended. Kim distributed a volunteer program update. There are now 372 volunteers that have donated approximately 671 hours. While the volunteer hours are under reported, Kim is very happy with all that is being accomplished through the volunteers. Kim then gave an overview of all the different programs that have already taken place this spring, their attendance, and all of the upcoming events in the Preserves.


Atwood Award (Atwood Outdoor Education Center) – Jamie Johannsen – Jamie reported that the Atwood Award ceremony was held on Wednesday, April 13 at Atwood Outdoor Education Center in New Milford. There were approximately 60 attendees, the individual award was given to Reverend Jim Roberts and the corporate award was given to Keeping Northern Illinois Beautiful.


Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. The installation of the gaming machines started on Wednesday, April 20.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:57. At 7:28, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.


Property Consideration –   Land advisory council is presenting four properties that they believe the Preserves should pursue for purchase. Tom Hartley is seeking permission to contact the land owners, and have a private donor contact property owner(s).


Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:32 to discuss personnel. At 8:15, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.


Personnel – Annual review of Mike Holan.



New Board Calendar – Kristy emailed the calendar to all Commissioners and it is also on the website.

April 23 & 24 – The Gathering at Macktown Forest Preserve

Saturday & Sunday, 9:00am – 4:00pm

April 30th – Citizen Science-Butterfly Monitoring Training at Forest Preserve Headquarters

Saturday, 9:00am – 12:00pm

May 14 & 15 – Birdfest 2016 at Colored Sands Forest Preserve

Saturday, 8:00am – 4:00pm & Sunday, 8:00am – 3:00pm

May 21st – Nature Fiesta: Bilingual Celebration of Nature at Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve

Saturday, 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Judy extended a very special Thank You to Colored Sands for hosting the April meeting.



Meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM. JT made motion MMD seconded.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, May 18, Preserves Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary