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Board of Commissioners Minutes December 21, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Severson Dells

December 21, 2016


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

Jeff Tilly                                                                      Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jake Henry                                                                 Ann Wasser, Education



Dan Olson



The meeting was called to order at 5:33 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Gloria Lind led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for November 2016 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Introduction of Ann Wasser, Director of Nature Education – Mike Holan introduced Ann Wasser, the new Director of Severson Dells, who has been in her position for approximately three weeks. Ann then introduced herself and gave her background. Judy Barnard then thanked Jeff Tilly, Mike Eickman and Mike Holan for participating in the interview process.


Dan Olson – Executive Director for the Champaign County Forest Preserve District – Dan was here to observe Forest Preserves in the area. He thanked Mike Holan for having him and gave an overview of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District.


2017 Restoration Manual – Tom Hartley presented the 2017 Restoration Manual. He highlighted the various projects completed in 2016 and what is coming up in 2017.



Bills for November – Mike Eickman made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for November in the amount of $466,467.74. Motion passed unanimously.


Clubhouse Food Service and Gaming – Wild Rhubarb has decided not to continue with food service at Atwood and Ledges Clubhouses. The Preserves intends to self-operate the food and beverage service at Macktown, Ledges and Atwood for the 2017 season. This will give the Preserves the opportunity to add gaming machines at all clubhouses. In February of 2014, the Board approved gaming machines in the clubhouses. The original Resolution was signed in November of 2014 which included all clubhouses; however Macktown was the pilot program for gaming machines. A new Resolution is not needed to put the gaming machines at the additional courses; however Mike is seeking Board approval for adding the gaming machines to Atwood and Ledges clubhouses, since Macktown was a pilot program. Judy Barnard called for a voice vote to add video machines at Atwood Golf Course and Ledges Golf Course. Judy also mentioned that if at any time they prove to not be profitable we have the option to remove them. Passed 5-2, Jake Henry and Audrey Johnson voted no.


Budget Amendment – Bonds & Land Acquisition – On October 26, 2016, the Commissioners approved the sale of a general obligation bond for the purpose of land acquisition. The sale yielded $1,065,000. Sale of the bond requires two new budget funds, one for in use land acquisition, and one to pay the interest on the debt. The proposed budget amendment is adding $760,000 from the bond sale to fund the in use land acquisition fund. The $760,000 is allocated as follows: $90,000 for the purchase of the Johnson and Larson properties, $574,000 for a future purchase for property on the Rock River and finally $100,000 for an unforeseen acquisition opportunity. Interest to pay the bond also created a new debt service fund. It is anticipated that $20,502 of payment will be due fiscal year 2017. The debt service is payed from tax revenue. Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Jeff Tilly seconded to approve the budget amendment ordinance.   Roll call vote was taken. Motion passed unanimously.


Budget Amendment – Improvement & Development – In 2015, money was budgeted to resurface part of the Hononegah Forest Preserve camp road. Due to a scheduling conflict, the contractor, the county highway department, did not complete the project. The proposed budget amendment transfers Improvement and Development money from fiscal year 2015-2016 to fiscal year 2016-2017 so that the project can be completed in 2017. Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Mike Eickman seconded, to approve the budget amendment ordinance. Motion passed unanimously.


Rock River Land Acquisition Grant –The Land Advisory Council has recommended the Forest Preserve purchase a property along the Rock River in Southern Winnebago County. The Preserves has applied for matching land acquisition grant money on a majority past acquisitions in order to extend existing land acquisition funds. The Preserves has $950,000 in its land acquisition funds for land purchase. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation offers up to 80% match for the acquisition of natural areas in two grant cycles per year. The next cycle of natural areas grants from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation is due January 19, 2017. Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Gloria Lind seconded to approve the application of a natural areas acquisition grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation of the property along the Rock River in southern Winnebago County. Motion passed unanimously.


Grant Writer – The Preserves has been financially impacted due to the loss of the Assessed Valuation of Winnebago County resulting in the loss of approximately 30% of tax revenues. The Preserves have numerous capital improvement projects that are unfunded or underfunded. One possible source of income would be additional grants to fund outstanding projects. Grant writer Ellen Burgeson, a former Landscape Architect of the Preserves, has extensive experience preparing, writing, submitting and writing final reports for federal, state and local grants. She has indicated an interest in pursuing grants for the Preserves (in areas other than land acquisition) when the opportunity arises. Such grants will be written with the prior notification of the Commissioners. The Executive Director will determine the areas in which to pursue grants, based on grant availability. In addition, such contracts will continue until such a time as one or both parties deem it unnecessary or unsuccessful. She will be paid out of contractual services. Depending on the grant, administrative services are also reimbursed, therefore her costs may be recouped. Gloria Lind made a motion, Cheryl Maggio seconded, to authorize the Executive Director to enter into a contract with Ellen Burgeson to seek grants for the Preserves on an as-needed basis. Motion passed 6-1. (Jake Henry voted no).


Auditor Services – Steve Chapman reminded the Commissioners that in October 2016, he brought a proposal to the Commissioners regarding auditor services, along with William Crowley and Brian Cutler. The cost would be approximately $1,000 per month. It would provide additional internal controls and reviews to the policies and procedures already in place. Mike Holan reviewed the list of services the Auditor Services would provide. The vote has been held over until this meeting. The Commissioners gave their thoughts as to whether or not the service is needed. No motion was made as the general consensus by the Board was that the services were not needed. Judy asked for a voice vote. Denied 6-1 (Jake Henry abstained).



Land Acquisition Goal for Strategic Plan – The Preserves Strategic Goals did not include any goals for land acquisition. The Land Advisory Council has drafted a Vision, Goal and Objectives. A copy was distributed to the Commissioners. The Strategic Plan will be reviewed in January and February, and the Land Acquisition Goal and Objectives will be discussed and incorporated at that time.



GLB Railroad – Jake Henry showed a map of the new proposed route. He would like to see the Board pass a resolution or recommendation that the railroad is not feasible. Judy Barnard would like to form an ad hoc committee. Jake Henry will be on the committee and Commissioners are to let him know if they would like to be on the committee.



Election of Officers – Mike Eickman opened the floor for nominations for President. Gloria Lind thanked the current officers and she nominated for Judy Barnard for President, Cheryl Maggio seconded the nomination. Judy accepted the nomination. Mike Eickman asked for other nominations from the floor. No other nominations were made and nominations were closed.


Mike Eickman asked for nominations for Vice President. Judy Barnard nominated Jeff Tilly for Vice President, Cheryl Maggio seconded the nomination. Jeff Tilly accepted the nomination. Mike Eickman asked for other nominations from the floor. No other nominations were made and nominations were closed.


Audrey Johnson, moved, Gloria Lind seconded that the nominated slate be the elective slate. Voice vote for President and Vice-President taken.   Vote passed unanimously.



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. Jamie reported that Kim and Jamie met with a volunteer and while he was there he gave a generous donation to the volunteer program.


Education – Don Miller submitted a final written report.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:56 pm. At 8:10, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.





Meeting adjourned at 8:17 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, January 18, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary