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 19

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


District Headquarters

March 19, 2014


PRESENT                                                                 STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                              Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                             Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Gloria Lind – 5:40 pm                                                 Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Cheryl Maggio                                                            Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Randy Olson                                                               Attorney Tom Green

Tim Savage

Joe Vanderwerff

Jackie Pierce

Lee Johnson



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 February 19 were approved.  No changes were made to the agenda.



Joe Vanderwerff, Sr. PE, County Engineer – Joe Vanderwerff introduced himself and gave an overview of the bike paths of Winnebago County, specifically the Charles Street Path, the Perryville Path and the Pecatonica Prairie Path.  He explained the Pecatonica Prairie Path route which is a total of 12.50 miles, and that the County is working with the different Villages on some amenities, and a possible grant for a trailhead at Hoisington Road.  He then explained the Perryville Path route and that as the State of Illinois continues to construct 173, they are planning on building a pathway system from the entrance of Rock Cut to Hutchins Blvd.  The County is applying for a grant that would allow the County to go from Hart Road and eventually connect Swanson to McDonald Road, and hopefully connect to the Stone Bridge Trail.  The elected officials would like to see the Perryville Path continuing to go north so that it could potentially connect north into Wisconsin.  Joe then addressed the issue of signage directing people to District Headquarters.  He advised that currently, there are no signs on the state highway system directing people to headquarters.  There are two signs on Bauer Parkway.  According to the State of Illinois, signing is allowed on state highway system, but the District has to apply for directional signing, and that State looks for thresholds of 50,000 people per year going to the location.  If they approve the signage, the signs are provided for free.


Tim Savage of Machesney Park – TIF District – Tim Savage and Tom Green, representatives of the Village of Machesney Park, presented information regarding the 251/173 TIF.  The original TIF is 23 years old and ends in 2014, but can be extended up to 12 years, for a total of 35 years.  The Village of Machesney Park is seeking a 12 year extension on a portion of the original 251/173 (Gateway) TIF.  There are two continuing problems that this TIF would benefit.  The first is the older Menards building and the second is the vacant lot at Machesney Crossing.  The state legislators are requesting that the life of the TIF be extended for these two pieces.  With an extension, legislators request letters of support from the taxing bodies.  The District is one of the last of the nine taxing bodies that the Village needs a letter of support from.  Once the letters of support are gathered, they go through the legislation process and hopefully will be approved this summer.  The District will receive approximately $6,642.10 as a result.


PDRMA – accreditation award – Jackie Pierce is a Risk Management Consultant from PDRMA.  She gave a background of PDRMA and explained the criteria for accreditation.  The District has reached all of the criteria and has earned their first PDRMA accreditation.  Jackie then thanked all of the District’s staff for their hard work, and dedication.



Bills for March – Mike Eickman made a motion and Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded the motion to authorize the payment of the March 2014 bills totaling $881,471.85.   Motion passed unanimously. 


TIF District Extension – Machesney Park –  The Village of Machesney Park is seeking a 12 year extension on a portion of the original 251/173 (Gateway) Tax Increment Financing District created in 1991.  Since legislative action is required by the State of Illinois, the Village would like the support of the nine taxing bodies involved.  The Village has received support from all taxing bodies.  Audrey Johnson moved, Gloria Lind and Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded the motion to approve the request for support of the extension of the Village of Machesney Park TIF District extension.  Motion passed unanimously.


Personnel Policy change – Mike Holan has been working with Lisa Knotts, the Payroll Manager in the Winnebago County Finance Department to database all employees’ leave accruals.  The accruals will be automatically calculated and adjusted electronically and will be displayed on each individual employee’s paycheck.  Currently the accruals are recorded by hand.  Chapter IX, G. 5 of the Personnel Policy vacation leave states that “up to 40 hours vacation may be postponed up to 90 days after the anniversary date, but no longer.  Postponed vacation hours must be scheduled with your supervisor by the anniversary date.” The payroll system cannot manage the 90 day postponement.  As a result, Mike would like to change the policy to read “A maximum of 40 hours of vacation may be carried over for up to one (1) year after the employees anniversary date, but no longer.  A request to carry over vacation hours must be made and approved by your supervisor prior to your anniversary date.”  Cheryl Maggio moved, and Gloria seconded the motion to revise the Personnel Policy, Chapter IX, G.5, as mentioned above.  Motion passed unanimously.



Campground Electricity update – The design is underway for the campground electric.  It will be an improvement over existing conditions.  The improvements include pedestals for each site with proper grounding, an increase of 50 amps per site, from the previous 5 sites to 14 sites, all work conforms to national electric code, and all of the improvements make the campground safer.  The first phase is going out to bid, and hopefully the bids will be in before the April 16 board meeting.  Weather permitting the project will be complete before the Memorial Day weekend.


Logo design – Mike gave an update as to the meetings with the marketing design agencies.  Six responses were received from local agencies.  Interviews were held with each of the agencies.  Mike Eickman, Audrey Johnson, Judy Barnard and Mary McNamara Bernsten all participated in the interviews.  It was decided that KMK Media Group will be hired to design the new logo.  Mike reiterated that due to budgeting, entrance signs will be replaced as needed, but initially, the new logos will be placed on the trucks, patches for work shirts and the website.


Meeting with Legislators – golf – Judy announced that she is starting to meet with legislators about getting on their list for their legislators initiative monies.  The District has received some of those funds in the past.  The first meeting will be with Senator Steve Stadelman.  A request has been made to Senator Syverson, and Judy is waiting for dates from him.  Judy would like to have them all done within the next 30 days.


Evaluation FormsMike mentioned that he is updating the employee evaluation forms.  Mike is hoping that the new forms will be complete by October.



Year-end report 2013 – Steve Chapman distributed Comparison of Anticipated Versus Actual Fund Balance at 10/31/2013 and Comparison of Anticipated Versus Actual Fund Balance at 10/31/201.  Steve reported that the District is in good shape, given the budget challenges.  Most funds showed a positive balance with the exception of the land acquisition fund, which is due to the recent Winters purchase.  The area the District is somewhat behind in is golf revenue and that has to do with the season pass sales.  Expenditures are in line for this time of year.  Steve directed the Commissioners to call him with any questions, but he feels good that the District is right on track.


Regional Birdwatching initiative – Judy distributed a recap of a meeting regarding the regional birdwatching initiative held on March 12, at Klehm.   The Rural and Natural Tourism Project is designed to bring new visitors into Rural Winnebago County.  The initiative has developed a site selection committee, and a marketing committee.  There will be a couple of websites created ( and that will include written and online materials in cooperation with the Winnebago County Farm Bureau, the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service and the Rural Tourism Program.  The websites will be overseen by Winnebago County, and will link to other agencies and villages.  Judy will keep the Board apprised as things move forward.


Art in the Park – Judy passed around a brochure for Art in the Park.


Executive Director evaluation – Judy would like to meet with the board members to talk about the evaluation process.  Judy will Doodle out some dates for Commissioner’s availability for the weeks of April 7 and April 14.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.  Mike Holan mentioned that even though numbers are down, revenue is up 60% due to fee increases.  Last month Randy Olson inquired as to the District’s policy regarding concealed carry.  Vaughn informed the Commissioners that PDRMA has issued a release to all of their members advising of the act, what the rules are, and the general signage that is used in prohibited areas.  PDRMA sent a sample of the guns prohibited sign.  All buildings and information boards will have the firearms prohibited signs.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report.  Mike mentioned that there is no opening date as there is still a lot of snow coverage.  Announcements of opening dates will be made with PSA’s and website updates.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report, and asked for commissioners to submit their ideas to him about the Ferguson preserve.


Marketing and Community Relations – Jamie Johannsen submitted a written report.


Education – Don Miller submitted a written report.  He reminded everyone of the Spring Awakening on March 22.



Land Restoration Open House – April 1


Family Tree Planting Event – April 26 – 1-3pm.  Approximately 400 trees will be planted such as Whipstock saplings, as well as some larger trees.  Water and mulch will be available.  The event will be at Blackhawk Springs. Staff will be on hand to get people tools, explain how to plant trees.


Bird Fest is May 10-11 at Sandbluff Bird Observatory


Tom has been working on the Stone Bridge Forest Preserve press conference.  Commissioners are to let Julie know their availability.


NLI Dinner – March 25 at Cliffbreakers at 6:00 pm.  If Commissioners are interested in attending, let Mike know.



Meeting adjourned at 7:24 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, April 16, Klehm Arboretum



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary