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Board of Commissioners Minutes July 31

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

BOARD MEETING

District Headquarters

July 31, 2013

 

PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard – President                                           Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson – via phone                                                  Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Gloria Lind                                                                 Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara Bernsten

Randy Olson                                                               GUESTS

Lee Johnson

Linda Johnson

Sarah Wolf

Judy Roby

ROLL CALL

The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM.  Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.

 

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

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for June 19, 2013 were presented for approval.   Cheryl Maggio requested a correction to the minutes.  Gloria Lind made a motion to approve the June 19 minutes with corrections.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Discovery Center play space – Sarah Wolf – Sarah is the CEO of the Discovery Center.  She presented the new play space at the Discovery Center to the Board.  The Discovery center has about 150,000 visitors a year. There is a national movement among children’s museums to try to expose children to more experiences in natural settings.  There are studies being done specifically with children with autism showing that they benefit from being in a natural setting and having more exposure to plants and wildlife.  The Discovery Center has an outdoor science section that sits on the banks of the river and next to that is a plot of land that, up until now, has had no functionality.  Architect Tom Lind designed the new play space as a secret garden.  The three major donations were given by Blazer Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, and the ProAm.   Part of the layout is to have sections of plants, a butterfly garden, a sensory garden, a small water feature, and eventually a section with a platform to do programming. Sarah explained how the District could be a part of the play space, through brochures at a media center inside the play space, programming, and creating exposure through a sponsorship.  Judy Barnard, Don Miller from Severson, and the Discovery Center have talked about partnerships which will refer guests to each sponsor’s venue.  Judy would like to meet with Sarah and Don to see if there are grants available for both projects and make this a project all three organizations can be involved with.

 

ACTION ITEMS

Payment of Bills – Steve Chapman presented the July bills and explained the expenses for the month.  Mike Eickman made a motion to authorize the payment of the bills totaling $643,918.70 for the month of July, 2013.   Motion passed unanimously.

 

Intergovernmental agreement with Highway Department – The District has, in the past, entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Winnebago County Highway Department for services such as construction, plantings, maintenance of roads and right-of-ways, traffic studies and bridge inspections.  Gloria Lind made a motion to approve the agreement between the District and the Winnebago County Highway Department for various reciprocal services.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

Board training – For the past few years, Pam Clark Reidenbach has facilitated the strategic planning process for the Board members.  Judy would like to have Pam come in and talk about a policy and procedure for in-kind services, board training and related processes.  Gloria made a motion to continue the contract with Pam Clark Reidenbach for board training not to exceed $2,000 for this fiscal year.  Motion passed 6-1 with Audrey Johnson voting No.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Discovery Center play space sponsorship – Sponsorship of the Discovery Center play space will be carried over to the September board meeting and placed on the agenda as an action item.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Budget – Judy mentioned that she and Mike met with Steve Chapman about the budget cycle, and Steve has made up a tentative budget calendar for the next three months.  The budget calendar was distributed to the Commissioners.  She announced that the budget has to be approved by the end of October.

 

Volunteer program – Judy reminded the Commissioners that one component of the strategic plan was to develop a volunteer program.  Judy has asked Mike to find some funding for a volunteer coordinator program, develop a volunteer handbook and also develop job descriptions, so volunteers can be utilized.  Severson and NLI have both been successful with their volunteers and have work crews that help with invasive species removal and different projects.  She believes these may be things the District can benefit from.  Mike is going to look into the budget and see if he can find some funding.   Cheryl inquired if the union has issues with the District using volunteers.  Vaughn indicated that if the union workers hours aren’t reduced, then it hasn’t been a problem in the past.  Cheryl would like to check with the union to be sure the District doesn’t violate any rules.  Mike indicated that Lake County has quite a few volunteers and they don’t have any issues with the union and they have the same union the District does.

 

Grants – Judy Barnard, Mike and Judy Roby met regarding possible grant opportunities.  Judy Roby gave them a lot of ideas for different types of grants, like tourism, marketing, and utilizing ComEd for more efficient use of electrical service.  Judy Barnard and Mike are going to meet with her again, and visit some of the preserve sites and see if she can come up with something to expand the District’s monies.  Judy Roby worked for the Rockford Park District for a number of years, and Judy believes she is one of the best in the community.  Judy Barnard would like her to make a presentation to the Board.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Finance – Steve Chapman – Steve gave an update on the revenues and expenditures through end of June with some reflecting revenue and expenses through July. Steve went through the summary, answered questions as to deficits, revenues and expenditures.  He then passed out the budget calendars.

 

Board Governance – Mary McNamara Bernsten has finished the Resource Guide and she distributed a copy to all Commissioners.  She advised that the committee will meet between now and the next board meeting to come up with a final guide and it should then be ready for approval in September.

 

STAFF REPORTS

Preserve Operations – Vaughn gave a revenue report for July 2013 for shelterhouses, equestrian passes, flying field pass sales, metal detecting pass sales, geocache pass sales, youth camp reservations, and camping and firewood revenue, which included a comparison to July 2012 revenues.  Vaughn informed the Commissioners that there has been a lot of storm damage and that has been consuming a large portion of their time.  Seed picking for the Resource Department is well underway, as well as a lot of general maintenance projects, and keeping up with shelterhouse use.

 

Golf report – Mike Durand submitted a written report indicating that while golf revenues are still down due to the weather, he is hoping that the rest of the summer and fall will be dry.  The courses are in good playing condition and the golf maintenance managers and their staff have done a great job this season with all the weather challenges.

 

Land and Development – Tom Hartley gave an update of the electrical services at the campgrounds.  Pecatonica River electrical service was discontinued earlier this spring due to safety concerns.  The District hired an electrical engineer to evaluate the rest of the campgrounds for safety, and to be sure there weren’t any electric code violations.  The engineer recommended replacing electrical service at all campgrounds.  Tom and the staff recommend replacing the electric service in stages at the three highest volume campgrounds, which are Sugar River, Hononegah and then Seward Bluffs.  The staff is not recommending replacing the electric service at Pecatonica River because revenue statistics indicate that the campers have relocated to the other campgrounds.  Campers with recreational vehicles are still allowed to use generators during permitted hours at Pecatonica River.

 

Tom Hartley also showed a map of the soccer fields in Winnebago County, and distributed a chart that indicated number of game fields and number of practice fields.  When the contract for Roland Olson soccer field came up for renewal, the Commissioners asked Tom to put a map together of all the soccer fields in Northeast Winnebago County.   The agreement for use of Roland Olson soccer fields ends in October, and Roscoe is making new fields.  The Hononegah Youth Soccer Association will eventually move to the new fields.  This will be an action item at next meeting to discuss the renewal.

 

Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen gave a report on the most recent promotions that have been on the radio, TV, and in the newspaper.  She distributed the new Visitors Guide and map and gave a use and attendance report that shows the number of people using the preserves at the various organized programs, events and activities.  Jamie asked for volunteers to work at the District’s booth at the Winnebago County Fair.

 

Law Enforcement report – Terry Nordberg submitted a written report.

 

CLOSED SESSION

Land Acquisition – Audrey made a motion to close the meeting at 7:01 to discuss land acquisition.  The meeting returned to open session at 7:59.  No action was taken while in closed session.

 

Personnel – Audrey made a motion to close the meeting at 8:00 to discuss personnel.  The meeting returned to open session at 8:08.  No action was taken while in closed session.

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

Judy would like Kip Kochmeier to come in and speak to the Board about ways to work with the Illinois Legislature.

 

Employee picnic Thursday, August 8, at 11:30, Atwood Forest Preserve

 

ADJOURN

Meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.

Board tour – 8:45 AM Friday, August 9, District Headquarters

Special board meeting – 2014 budget – 5:30 PM. Wednesday, September 4, Headquarters

Next regular board meeting – 5:30 PM. Wednesday, September 18, Colored Sands Birdbanding Station