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 March 16, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

BOARD MEETING

Forest Preserve Headquarters

March 16, 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                                                             Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                           Don Miller, Education

Jeff Tilly

 

GUESTS

Lee Johnson

Barbara & Dan Williams

Heather Lavin, Intern

Conor Brown

 

ROLL CALL

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

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Cheryl Maggio led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for February 17, 2016 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.

 

PRESENTATIONS and PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Feral Cats – Barbara Williams, spoke to the issue of feral cats in the preserves. She is a longtime supporter of the Forest Preserves and is concerned that feral cats are an issue in the preserves. Winnebago County Animal Services and PAWS has a trap, neuter and release program. When a feral cat is trapped it is taken in, neutered and released back where it was caught. The forest preserves could potentially be full of roaming cats and she would like to be sure that the Preserves has policies and procedures in place for dealing with wandering domestic animals. These wandering domestic animals put the various species that live in the forest preserves at risk. She is aware of the restriction of animals being released into the preserves, but she is not aware of any policies about domestic animals that wander into the preserves. Mike Holan then reiterated that there is a general ordinance that does not allow the release of any wild or domestic animals. Mike will write a letter to Winnebago County Animal Control and will be sure to touch base with their Executive Director, Jennifer Stacy.

 

Property Tax Incentive Program – Conor Brown from the Rockford Area Association of Realtors spoke about the Homebuyer’s Property Tax Refund Program, which is a new property tax incentive program rolling out on March 17. The program would offer purchasers of foreclosed or short-sale homes, as well as newly-built homes, in the City of Rockford, a property tax refund for three years. The refund would be issued at the end of each tax year in a lump sum, it would cover up to 100 percent of the owner’s property tax bill, if all taxing bodies approve the program. Conor Brown is asking the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, as one of the 11 taxing bodies, to consider adopting this program.

 

 

 

ACTION ITEMS

Bills for February – Gloria Lind made a motion and Mike Eickmann seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for February in the amount of $381,001.95. Motion passed unanimously.

 

Acceptance of Bids for Fertilizers & Chemicals – Bids on fertilizers and pesticides have been received. These materials are used for application on Preserves golf courses and forest preserve restoration sites. These products are handled and applied by personnel licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. These quantities are similar to last year’s and are budgeted out of various departments. All the fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides included in this bid are registered through the EPA and have been approved for use on public golf courses and forest preserves. Audrey Johnson made a motion and Gloria seconded to approve the purchase of fertilizers and chemicals for a total price of $73,131.22. Motion passed unanimously.

 

HYSA Agreement – Hononegah Youth Soccer Association is seeking use of the soccer fields for the 2016 season. HYSA previously used the Roland Olson Forest Preserve, but last October decided not to renew the agreement. HYSA has contacted the Preserves asking to renew the agreement at Roland Olson. Since the Roland Olson soccer fields are being converted to prairie this spring, they are asking to use another soccer field practice area. The Preserves have suggested Kieselburg, since there are 2 soccer fields already at that location. HYSA will use the soccer fields for tryouts, practices and soccer camps for boys and girls up to age 19. They are requesting an agreement for one year. The Preserves will mow and maintain the soccer fields. If HYSA agrees to the terms, they will pay an annual fee of $2,000 to the Preserves for mowing, maintaining and use of the soccer fields at Kieselburg Forest Preserve. Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion and Gloria and Audrey seconded, to enter into an agreement with HYSA to use of the soccer fields at Kieselburg Forest Preserve. Motion passed unanimously.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS/DISCUSSION

Alternative Revenues – Judy asked the Commissioners to review the list she provided of Alternative Forms of Revenue. It will then be discussed at the April board meeting.

 

Gaming Implementation – Mike Holan gave an update on the gaming at Macktown Golf Course Clubhouse. Mike reviewed the timeline of events from August 2015 to the present date, as machines are still not installed at the Clubhouse. Triple 7 Illinois does not want to install the machines at Macktown Clubhouse due to the fact that the clubhouse only operates approximately 8 months out of the year. However, Sky High Gaming may be interested in placing video gaming terminals at Macktown. Mike Durand has been in contact with Sky High Gaming and the Illinois Gaming Board and is awaiting the transfer of the agreement between Triple 7 Illinois and Sky High Gaming. It is possible 3 machines could be installed at Macktown by April 1.

 

NEW BUSINESS

Update of Strategic Plan – Goal 5 –  Goal #5 is Fulfill high standards of compliance, safety, and maintenance of property, infrastructure and equipment. The first objective is to meet requirements and guidelines of regulatory agencies pertaining to Safety & Risk Management. This is a big component of what the staff does daily, to be in compliance with PDRMA, OSHA, Illinois Labor Board, preventing accidents, and safety precautions. Objective 2 is to comply with State and Federal A.D.A. guidelines. Tom Hartley indicated that the master plans include improving A.D.A. compliance. There have been some A.D.A. changes done as needed. Judy would like the website updated to reflect the ADA compatible areas. The third objective is to maintain infrastructure and equipment to maximize life expectancy. Staff is in the process of getting as much history as possible on the equipment or infrastructure, especially the older it is. Once the history is collected, the information is centralized, and then a plan is put in place to get the equipment/inventory on a replacement schedule if needed. Since leasing isn’t always a good option, Mike would like to get a replacement fund established. He would like to take any extra monies not spent at the end of the year and put it into a replacement fund. Objective 4 is maintain property for intended use. This goal includes mowing, maintaining picnic areas, ball diamonds, and dredging lakes. If ball diamonds or other areas are not being used as often, they are mowed less. The more property the Preserves owns, the staff has to be spread out more and determine priorities of what is to be done to maintain those properties well. Judy has asked Mike to contact the US. Fish & Wildlife service to see what grants they have available to assist in dredging, etc. Tom Hartley and Vaughn are working with Heather the intern to develop inventories of various aspects.

 

Executive Director Evaluation – Judy distributed an annual performance evaluation for Mike. Mike will also be evaluating himself as well as all Board members will participate in the evaluation. Judy would like an individual meeting with each Commissioner to evaluate Mike’s performance, within the next 30 days. She will be contacting each Commissioner to set up those times.

 

STAFF REPORTS

Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report. Vaughn updated the Commissioners on the deer management program and reported there were no reported cases of CWD. Population control will still be monitored. Vaughn also reported that due to the state budget the IDNR cannot provide the fish stocking for the Hooked on Fun Kid’s fishing event. Staff is seeking sponsors to help supplement the cost of Hooked on Fun.

 

Prescribed Burns – Vaughn reported that this year’s early spring has allowed staff to burn approximately 500 acres, which is about half of what was burned this time last year.

 

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.

 

Wildflower Walkabouts – Don Miller announced that the Wildflower Walkabouts is a series that Severson Dells has been doing in conjunction with the Natural Land Institute for several years. There are scheduled 11 walks this year, they are free of charge and are on Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 6pm.

 

Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.

 

CLOSED SESSION

Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 7:27pm. At 7:46, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS

Botanica Lunch at Klehm – Friday, April 8th, classes starting at 9:30 am, lunch at 11:30 am

Natural Land Institute (NLI) Dinner – Tuesday, March 29th, starting at 6:00 pm

Commissioners need to bring their board binders to the May meeting for updates

Volunteer Open House – April 9 – 11am-1pm at the Resource Center

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting adjourned at 7:47 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, April 20th, Colored Sands Forest Preserve

 

Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson, Recording Secretary