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 August 20

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

BOARD MEETING

District Headquarters

August 20, 2014

 

PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Mike Eickman                                                             Mike Holan, Executive Director

Audrey Johnson                                                          Steve Chapman, Finance

Gloria Lind                                                                 Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Tom Hartley, Land and Development

_____________________________             Mike Durand, Golf Operations

______________________________          Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Judy Barnard                                                              Jerry Paulson               Ron & Becky DeShazo

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Dan Williams              Cleo & Elnora Whitlock

Randy Olson                                                               Lee Johnson                Thelma Harvey

Betty Agnew              Mary Anastase

 

ROLL CALL

The meeting was called to order at 5:31 PM, by Audrey Johnson, in President Barnard’s absence. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Mike Eickman led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for July 16, 2014 were approved. No changes were made to the agenda.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Camping fees – Three users of the campgrounds expressed their feelings regarding the increase in rates for non-residents.

 

Mary Anastase – She and her friends, camp at Seward 2-3 times per year for the past 40 years.   Due to the increase in fees, their group will not be camping there any longer. She wanted to know why the increase, along with the rest of the forest preserves, when, in her opinion, there have been no additional changes, or better upkeep. She believes attendance has dropped off due to prices, as young families and senior citizens believe $30/night is too expensive to stay out there.

Cleo Whitlock – He is the Wagon Master at Cabin Club, is a retired teamster, and has several different organizations that camp along with them. He has been camping at the preserves for almost 40 years. While there have been a few changes, there are still old toilets, no running water, and he feels he can’t even drink the water. The fees have increased twice what it was last year, and it seems like a big increase at one time, which is difficult. He would like to know if anything can be done about the fees, and to reconsider the increases. Unfortunately, due to the increases, he won’t be camping, and their friends won’t be camping at the District’s campgrounds either.

 

Rebecca DeShazo –  She loves Seward Bluffs, as it is one of her favorite campgrounds. She and her husband are Ogle county residents and have enjoyed many years of camping at Seward Bluffs with their camping group, friends, and family. She lives closer to Seward Bluffs than many of the people in Winnebago County, yet she pays a higher fee. She objects to the huge fees put onto people outside the District. She feels the District will be losing out horribly and not only because of increased fees. She feels sad it has become unaffordable for non-residents.

 

ACTION ITEMS

Bills for August – Gloria Lind made a motion, seconded by Cheryl Maggio, to approve the August bills in the amount of $681,240.29. Motion passed unanimously.

 

Investments – Steve Chapman and Mike Holan have looked into other options for investing district funds that bear higher interest. Steve and Mike have met with the Executive Director of Illinois Metropolitan Investment Fund (IMET) and researched their investment funds. They have determined that, at this time, the District’s rate of return would be higher with IMET funds than the funds the District is currently invested in. Gloria made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to authorize Steve Chapman to invest District funds in the IMET fund based on his recommendations. Motion passes 3-1, Cheryl Maggio voted no.

 

Bids for Administration Building Roof – The Administration Building is in need of a new roof. At the July meeting a verbal approval was given to transfer funding for the Oak Ridge Erosion project to the Administration roof. The existing cedar shake roof will be replaced with architectural asphalt shingles. There were four bids received July 23. The low bid was by Sterling Commercial Roofing Inc., for $41,000. The budget available for the work is $50,000. The staff recommends awarding the project to the low bidder, Sterling Commercial Roofing, Inc. for $41,000. Mike Eickman made a motion, Gloria seconded, to approve the installation of a new roof for the Headquarters Administration Building for $41,000 by Sterling Commercial Roofing, Inc. Motion passes 3-1, Cheryl Maggio voted no.

 

Bids for Macktown Horse Barn – The first bids for the construction of a Horse Barn at Macktown were rejected at the July board meeting due to the bids exceeding the budget and the low bidder not complying with the prevailing wage. The project was simplified and rebid. Three bids were received August 7, 2014. The project bid allowed for a bid price using treated pine (bid 1) for the siding, and one using cedar siding (bid 2). Alternate 3 is the construction of a screen fence/feeding trough and a necessary part of the project. Staff recommends that bid 1 by American Red Door Contractors for $37,769 and alternate 3 for $1,290 for a total of $39,059 be accepted. Tom Hartley is recommending that the Board approve their bid at $39,059.00. Grant funding for the project is $50,000. Electrical work, fencing, and finished grading remain to complete the project. Gloria made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to approve bid 1 for $37,769 and alternate 3 for $1,290 for a total of $39,059 by American Red Door Contractors. Motion passes 3-1, Cheryl Maggio voted no.

NEW BUSINESS

Presentation of the draft 2014/2015 fiscal year budget – Steve Chapman presented the 2014-2015 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance. He reported that the staff has diligently cut the budget. The District is looking at a reduction in assessed valuation of about 5.5%

 

Cheryl requested a special board meeting for September 3 due to the fact that there were three board members not in attendance. A special board meeting will be held on September 3, at 5:30p.m., at District Headquarters.

 

STAFF REPORTS

 

Executive Director – Mike Holan responded to the complaints from campers as to increased rates for non-residents. Last year the Board voted to raise fees. Per Mike’s experience, camping and dog parks get the most calls and complaints for fees being raised. Usually calls are made within the first year and then it stabilizes. As for the revenues, the revenue from the increased fees are double last year’s fees, and more than double what they have been for the last 3 years. Camping is up 4.5% on average and 9% over last year. 2012 was a great camping year and revenues are right in line with 2012, even though there have been approximately 500 less campers than 2012. Revenues are increasing, with less campers. District fees have not been raised in 10 years. Cheryl Maggio is requesting a letter be sent to all campers that have camped within the last 3 years to let them know what improvements have been made and the camping amenities that the District does offer. She also suggested Mike do a guest editorial in the Rockford Register Star.

Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.

 

Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. He announced that aerifying dates have been chosen for the courses. They will be as follows: September 8 at Ledges, September 15 at Macktown, and September 22nd and 23rd at Atwood. These dates are significant because the courses are closed for the aerifying process. Atwood will be done over a 2 day period, as only 9 holes will be closed at a time. Dates are subject to change due to weather.

 

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. Don then thanked those who came out for the opening of The Grove. He appreciated and thanked the District for their help and assistance in this project.

 

Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.

 

CLOSED SESSION

Mike Eickman made a motion to go into closed session at 5:40 pm. At 5:58 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

Special Board Meeting, September 3, 2014, 5:30 pm, District HQ

Work day, Oak Ridge Forest Preserve, September 6, 10:00 am-2pm

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 7:08 PM.

Special board meeting, Wednesday, September 3, District Headquarters

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, September 17, Sand Bluff Bird Observatory at Colored Sands FP

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary