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 December 17

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Macktown Living History Center

December 17, 2014


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind                                                                 Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly                                                                     Don Miller, Education


The Tilly Family

Ray & Char Ferguson

Lee Johnson

Jerry Paulson

Nancy Williamson



Commissioners Jeff Tilly and Cheryl Maggio were sworn in by Judge Randy Wilt. They were each installed for 6 year terms.


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



The meeting was called to order at 5:38 PM, by President Barnard. 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 November 19 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Illinois Wildlife Action Plan – IDNR – Nancy Williamson – Nancy gave a presentation about the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan. She explained that the wildlife action plan was implemented in 2005. It is something that every state has to have in order to receive federal monies. She explained why the action plan was created, the statewide goals and strategies. She displayed a map showing Winnebago County’s threatened and endangered species. She went into detail about the Conservation Opportunity Areas, and that the Sugar-Pec River, the Rock River Area and the Kishwaukee River are all conservation opportunity areas.


Village of Rockton TIF District Proposal – Tricia Diddick, the Director of Economic Development for the Village of Rockton, gave a presentation about the village exploring opportunities for a downtown TIF for the redevelopment of the downtown area. There has been no formal action yet, but right now they are simply reaching out to the taxing districts so that when the board takes the first steps toward the TIF they will have the taxing districts on board. Over the life of the TIF it would make up approximately 120 properties. There are a few projects proposed within the first 5 years or so. There are property owners interested in redeveloping properties within the next year, but it is contingent on the TIF status.


Update on Macktown – Ray & Char Ferguson – Char Ferguson stated that Macktown has had a big year and gave a recap of the events that occurred. She then mentioned all of the programs they have coming up for 2015. She laid out the goals for 2015 which included increasing membership, programs and volunteers. Ray Ferguson then recapped the development projects that are ongoing at Macktown, one of which includes a Trappers Cabin being built by an Eagle Scout.



Bills for December – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded, to authorize the payment of the bills for December in the amount of $495,973.60. Motion passed unanimously.


2015 Fee Schedule – Annually the board historically has approved the fee schedule. In November a fee change was brought to the golf fees. Mary made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to approve the 2015 Fee Schedule. Motion passed unanimously.


Budget Amendment – The proposed budget amendment covers three items that will not increase the budget, but will change the Improvement and Development 3302 and Land Acquisition 3306. The amendments are (1) all of the $32,000 crop rent money is requested to be transferred from the I&D fund to the Land acquisition Fund; Audrey made a motion, Gloria seconded, roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously. (2) the Oak Ridge Erosion control project identified in the I&D budget be reduced from $45,000 to $25,000; Mike made a motion, Mary Seconded, roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously. and (3) the $50,000 DCEO funded project for the Macktown Barn needs to be carried over from the 2013-2014 I&D budget to the 2014-2015 I&D budget because the project is not complete. Mary made a motion, Mike seconded to approve an ordinance for a budget amendment/transfer in the 2014-2015 budget. Motion passed unanimously.


Purchase of 3.17 Acres of Land – The Oak Ridge Erosion project is most economically solved with an addition of property. Adding property will allow for the continuation of the equestrian trail which is currently blocked due to severe gullying and provide sufficient land to detain current runoff and prevent additional erosion. We are purchasing just enough property to solve the erosion problem and to allow continuation of the equestrian trail. The purchase also makes possible construction access via Preserves property. A budget amendment is necessary to make funds available for the purchase (See Budget Amendment action item above). Mike made a motion, Mary Seconded, roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously.


Macktown Crop Management Bid – The western portion of Macktown Forest Preserve has been unused since about 2000 when residential use of the property was terminated. The property is essential for future plans of Macktown Historic Village, but it may take some time for the plans to be accomplished. Recently a portion of the property was allowed to be used for the Highway Department’s salt storage area but 17.5 acres west of the existing gravel drive is grassland and remains undeveloped. The property was purchased for its recreation potential and no grant funds were used in the acquisition. In an effort to gain the Preserves additional funds, and save maintenance, the property has been open to bid to allow farming of the 17.5 acres of grassland. The notification that the property was available for crop lease was advertised in two newspapers, the Forest Preserve website, the Winnebago County Farm Bureau website and six area farmers were contacted. One bid was received for farming, by Michael Black for $180.00 per acre for three years from 2015-2017. Audrey made a motion Gloria seconded, to approve a resolution to award the highest bidder, Michael Black, a farming contract for the western portion of Macktown Forest Preserve. Motion passed unanimously.


Land Acquisition Priorities & Procedures – Jerry Paulson advised the Land Advisory Council was appointed by the Board to set priorities for acquisition, preservation and possibly management of land for consideration for the Preserves. The Council has put together procedures that the staff will follow to evaluate the parcels to be brought to the Council and then reported to the Board. Mary moved, Gloria seconded to adopt the Land Acquisition Priorities and Procedures. Motion passed unanimously.


Tax Abatement – The Board had previously approved a tax abatement for a company that was locating its business to Roscoe. The company is now established, however the resolution did not specify the parcel number and legal description. Therefore, the Resolution needs to be presented again with the parcel number and legal description included in the resolution. Gloria made a motion, Audrey seconded to approve Resolution 12-1407 Tax Abatement with the parcel number and legal description. Motion passed unanimously.


Forest Preserve Emails – Mike Holan mentioned that State law requires all board members have email addresses so the public can contact board members at that email address. Currently all commissioners have a forest preserve address. All commissioners need to be able to receive those emails and check those emails. Mike is asking the Commissioners to check those email addresses once or twice per week.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.


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 7:28pm to discuss personnel. At 7:45 pm, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



Audrey, as Secretary of the Board, read the Code of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board, for election of the President and Vice-President. She sought volunteers and nominations from the floor. Mary McNamara Bernsten expressed her desire to be President and presented her reasons. Judy Barnard then reviewed the accomplishments of the Board for the past few years, and stated she would like to be considered for re-election as President.


Mike Eickman made a motion to nominate Judy Barnard as the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County President.


Gloria Lind made a motion to nominate Mary McNamara Bernsten as the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County President.


No further nominations were made.   A roll call vote was taken. Judy Barnard was elected President of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County 4-3. Judy Barnard accepted the position of President.


Judy Barnard then nominated Mary McNamara Bernsten for the position of Vice President of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Mary declined the nomination


Mary nominated Audrey Johnson for position of Vice President for the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Audrey accepted the nomination.


No further nominations were made. A roll call vote was taken. Commissioners unanimously voted Audrey Johnson as Vice President of Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. Audrey accepted the position of Vice President.




Jamie Johannsen and the Natural Resources staff worked on the EERP program and the team won an award for Chicago Wilderness 2014 Excellence in Ecological Restoration, Silver Accreditation. Mike Groves spoke for the agency at the ceremony. Pictures are on the Preserve’s Facebook page.


The 2015 Calendars are done. The calendars now contain all programs and events for 2015, as well as the budget scales and strategic goals.


January 31 is the Chicago Wilderness Conference. Judy advised it is a great conference on nature related topics. It is at the UIC – Downtown Chicago campus.



Meeting adjourned at 8:14 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, January 21, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary