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 July 16

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Severson Dells

July 16, 2014


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Audrey Johnson                                                          Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Gloria Lind                                                                 Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara Bernsten

Randy Olson


David Stocker

Lenae Weichel

Drew Helge



The meeting was called to order at 5:37 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Judy Barnard led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for May 28, 2014 were approved. No changes were made to the agenda.



Tour of “The Grove” – Tom Hartley, along with Dave Stocker and Drew Helge gave a tour of the new “The Grove” at Severson Dells.  Dave and Drew explained what each section was, what materials were used and the inspiration and vision for many of the areas.


Get Outside! Update – Jamie Johannsen gave an update on the Get Outside! schedule of events. There are only a few more dates left for the summer. To date, 27 events have taken for a total of 936 people that have attended. The feedback received has been excellent. Jamie would like to try this event for a few years to get people aware of the activities the forest preserve has to offer.



Bills for June – Mary McNamara Bernsten made motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to authorize the payment of the June bills totaling $630,157.51. Motion passed unanimously.


Bills for July – Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion, Gloria Lind seconded, authorize the payment of the July bills totaling $566,088.11. Motion passed unanimously.


Prevailing wage – In order to comply with state statutes concerning bids on construction projects, the District is required to make available to any employers or contractors the prevailing rate of hourly wages for tradesmen in Winnebago County. The wage is to be posted and required for any contractors that are hired. Randy Olson made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded, to approve a resolution to determine the general prevailing rate of hourly wages in Winnebago County. Motion passed unanimously.


Amendment to the General Use Regulations Ordinance – Mike Holan explained that Forest Preserves are not exempt from the concealed carry act of the State of Illinois. Playgrounds and buildings can be posted that no firearms are allowed, however there is ambiguity on shelters and bathrooms. As a result, a change in the ordinance needs to be made. The Winnebago County Forest Preserve District adopted a General Use Regulations Ordinance whereby Section 7-6. F. Weapons and harmful substances, regulates the possession of weapons on forest preserve property. On July 9, 2013 the Illinois General Assembly approved Public Act 98-0063 and enacted the Illinois Firearm Concealed Carry Act which supersedes restrictions imposed by WCFPD Ordinances and therefore makes Section 7-6.F. of the Ordinance out of compliance with the State Law. “Except as otherwise provided or required by state law” was added to the beginning of the ordinance. The statement was approved by Attorney Scheurich and PDRMA. Mike Eickman made a motion, Audrey Johnson seconded, to approve an amendment to the General Use Regulations Ordinance. Motion passed unanimously.


Bids for Macktown Horse Barn – Tom Hartley advised that bids were received by June 17 for the Macktown Horse Barn. The lowest bidder did not comply with the prevailing wage. Tom is recommending that all bids be rejected and the project be rebid. Gloria Lind made a motion, Randy Olson seconded, to approve a resolution to reject all bids for the Macktown Horse Barn and to rebid the project with a more basic bid package. Motion passed unanimously. This project is totally funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.



OMA Training – Mike sent the Commissioners an email regarding the Open Meetings Act training. Any elected official is required to go through OMA training. Mike clarified with the Attorney General’s office that elected officials only have to take the test one time. In the event of a re-election, the test does not need to be re-taken. Certificates have to be on file at Headquarters. Julie Swanson is designated as the OMA Officer at the District. Randy then suggested that the Commissioners take Ethics Training for elected officials and staff. Randy will email Judy the information.


Logo Design – The logo change is complete. Mike reviewed the objectives that were given to the marketing firm and revealed the new logo. It is very simple, clean, and unlike any of the other Forest Preserves. The logo change will take time to completely change over due to budget constraints, but the new logo will be incorporated as things need to be changed. Judy asked Jamie to look into the DCO Marketing grant to see if the changing of the logo and all that entails would fit into that grant program.


Strategic Plan Quarterly Update – Mike Holan distributed a second quarter update to the Commissioners. Judy would like to have these and future updates put on the website so the public is aware of the progress being made on projects.



Video Gaming – Mike Holan has been looking into ways to pursue non-tax revenue sources. It has been casually brought up by board members about the possibility of video gaming. While he does not think it fits into the preserves, it could quite possibly fit in at the golf course clubhouses. Mike, along with Mike Durand have talked about it with senior staff. Currently, there are three park districts that have brought in video gaming. Mike Durand has done some preliminary research as to what it would take. There are several guidelines and regulations. After Mike Durand studied the guidelines and reservations, it would be feasible to have video gaming at each golf course. You have to have a liquor license to have a video gaming machine in any establishment. The concessionaires hold the liquor license at each clubhouse. The District does not have a liquor license. Therefore the District would have to negotiate revenue sharing terms with the concessionaires. There are some legal and logistical issues to be addressed. There are requirements as to where the machines are configured within the building. There can be up to 5 machines at each facility. The concessionaires can maintain the hours and days they currently have. Mike Holan advised that one advantage in doing this is there would be no monetary costs to the District because the concessionaire has the liquor license, the gaming person brings the games in and the District gets a percentage off of the gaming machines. Mike Durand and Mike Holan are looking for a consensus from the Board as to how to proceed. If the decision to proceed is positive it could start as soon as next season. Judy asked for all Commissioners opinion. Discussion ensued amongst the Board members and it was decided that staff should determine if video gaming is feasible. Judy would like Mike to find out if there are any other preserves and golf courses that have video gaming machines. Mike Holan advised that Byron’s board voted it down, but they will revisit the issue next year. The District’s staff will explore all options.


Monarch Butterfly Program – Judy mentioned that the monarch butterfly continues to grow as a concern. She thinks the District should create a program to develop more habitat for them, and possibly incorporate school programs, plant more milkweed, etc. Jamie advised that there are currently a lot of sites that are abundant with milkweed. Deer Run is thick with milkweedand there are lots of monarchs. Jamie will get more information to the Board and expressed interest in holding a Monarch event.


Budget – Mike has met with Steve Chapman and Bryan Cutler regarding the upcoming budget. Basically the budget is 5.3% down from last year, which is approximately $120,000 in the Corporate budget and $75,000 in the Capital budget (which is due to a decrease in equalized assessed value). Staff has been working very diligently on cutting expenses. Mike has asked Steve to present a balanced budget at the August meeting. In addition, Mike would like to implement a replacement fund. It is tough for the District to do it, but sometimes there are small amounts left over in the budget and he would like to start putting those into a replacement fund. Mike and Steve are working toward getting the replacement fund started.


Board Governance Committee – Mary McNamara Bernsten would like to have a sub-committee regarding legal representation. If interested, let Mary know. Audrey, Gloria and Judy will be sitting on that sub-committee.


Mission and Purpose – Mary would like to see the mission and purpose laminated and distributed to the information locations at the District’s kiosks. She would also like a laminated copy given to all the Commissioners.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report. Tom also mentioned that design work is still ongoing to control erosion at Oak Ridge Forest Preserve. Since the erosion is so close to the property line, to solve the problem will need to use some of the neighboring farm land. As a result, Tom would like to transfer funds that were set aside for the erosion to replacing the roof at the Administration Building. Costs for both projects are about the same. The Board was in agreement that the transfer in project funds was appropriate.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand 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 7:14 p.m. At 7:37 p.m., the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.





Meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM.

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




Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary