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 November 12, 2018

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

November 12, 2018


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

Jeff Tilly                                                          Kim O’Malley, Human Resources/Volunteer Program

Jake Henry



   Alex Mills-Klehm Arboretum



The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM, by President Barnard.  Administrative Assistant Kristy Knapp called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Jeff Tilly led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance. A moment of silence was requested in observance of Veteran’s Day.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES      Minutes for the October 24 Budget Hearing and Board Meeting were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Meeting with Chairman Frank Haney – Commissioner Barnard and Mike Holan will be meeting with Chairman Frank Haney on November 19, 2018. The meeting is to discuss the possibility of receiving host fee money for capital improvement projects. Mike wills send an email to the Board Members after the meeting.



Bills for October – Mike Eickman made a motion, Gloria Lind seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for October in the amount of $ 438,462.53.  Motion passed unanimously. 


The Grove Donation – At last month’s Board of Commissioners meeting, The Grove donation was brought forward to the Board of Commissioners. Mike Holan reiterated that The Grove was built through donations given to Severson Dells Education Center and that The Grove was never turned over as an asset to the Forest Preserves. Discussion was held between Mike Holan and Ann Wasser regarding the improvements that need to be made to The Grove. The improvements include the construction of the Art Pod, Leopold’s Shack, Tone Zone music area, Block Lab building area, Performance Stage, Inspiration Tree Fort area, Poetree platforms and the Spider Climbing feature.  The Board of Directors of the Severson Dells Education Foundation has approved the donation of The Grove Nature Play Area to the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County.  This donation is valued at $150,600.56.  The donation is subject to the following condition: Severson Dells Education Foundation will cover the first $2,500 of needed maintenance annually on The Grove improvements, with the Preserves to cover the next $2,500 of maintenance annually and any additional maintenance costs above $5,000 will be negotiated on a project by project basis between the Preserves and Severson Dells Education Foundation. Gloria Lind made a motion, and Jeff Tilly seconded to accept The Grove Donation.  Motion passed unanimously.


Tax Abatement – The Rockford Park District’s Executive Director, Jay Sandine, and Board President, Ian Linnabary, gave a presentation on a potential lease agreement between Rockford Park District and Six Flags Great America to operate the Rockford Park Districts’ Magic Waters facility at the October 24, 2018 Board of Commissioners meeting. Mike Holan provided a recap to the Board of Commissioners regarding the tax abatement request from the Rockford Park District. Prior to the Board meeting, Mike sent a copy of the recent assessment from Kevin Crowley to the Commissioners. The assessment shows the amount would be about $580.00 per year, with a 10 year total of around $6,000.00 including possible increases. The Rockford Park District is currently exempt from real estate taxation pursuant to Section 15-105(b) of the Illinois Property Tax Code, 35 ILCS 200/15-105(b) but the leasehold interest and appurtenances created as a result of the Lease might be subject to the levy of real estate taxes pursuant to Section 9-195 of the Illinois Property Tax Code, 35 ILCS 200/9-195. The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County has the authority to abate taxes for a maximum period of 10 years at one time per Illinois Property Tax Code, 35 ILCS 200/18-165(a)(7) but can extend the abatement for an additional 10 years after the original 10 year period has expired. A precondition to the commencement of the Lease is an agreement that all eleven (11) applicable taxing bodies abate any such real estate taxes that apply to the Magic Waters property for a period of 20 years or upon termination or expiration of the Lease, whichever is earlier. The Intergovernmental Agreement drafted by the Rockford Park District transfers authority to the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners, pursuant Section 5 of the Illinois Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, to extend the tax abatement, agreed upon by the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County, upon the expiration of the original 10 years for not more than 20 years from the beginning of the original abatement. Pursuant to the provisions of the Intergovernmental Agreement, the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County agrees to abate taxes to the Magic Waters property per the Lease agreement between Rockford Park District and Six Flags Great America for a period of 10 years. Pursuant to the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County transfers authority to the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners to extend the tax abatement for not more than 20 years beyond the beginning date of the original abatement. The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County agrees to abide by the terms of and sign the Intergovernmental Agreement between the Rockford Park District and all eleven (11) taxing bodies affected by the Lease between the Rockford Park District and Six Flags Great America. After much discussion between the Commissioners, Jake Henry made a motion, and Audrey Johnson seconded, to approve the Tax Abatement for Magic Waters.  Roll call vote taken.  Tax Abatement passes 5-1. (Jeff Tilly voted no). Commissioner Gloria Lind is requesting a copy of the Ordinance for her personal records.


2019 Board Meeting Schedule – Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act, the Board of Commissioners of the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County is required to provide public notice of the date, time and location of its regularly scheduled meetings.  The Commissioners will hold regular meetings during the year 2019 and may hold additional meetings at such other times as may be determined.  The regular meetings will be held at 5:30 pm in the conference room at the Forest Preserves Headquarters, or at a partner location on the 3rd Wednesday of every month throughout 2019.  Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed.  Any changes, deletions or additions to times or locations in this schedule shall be posted 48 hours in advance at Preserves Headquarters and distributed to any public media requesting notice of such meetings.  Jeff Tilly made a motion, and Gloria Lind seconded to adopt the 2019 Board Meeting Schedule. Motion passed unanimously.


Budget Amendment – Director, Tom Hartley, spoke on the request for a budget amendment. The budget amendment is to transfer funds not spent from capital improvement in 2018 to 2019. The funds are from private sources: one is money Ray Ferguson donated for Macktown Improvements the other is money given by Julie Grandau for Blanding’s Turtle habitat. The transfer of Macktown funds will allow the reroofing of the Mack House and new Macktown Historic Village signage. We are investigating ways to spend money for the Blanding’s Turtle but don’t have a project selected. The Forest Preserve has received extra non-budgeted money for projects at Macktown to be completed in 2018, not all money was spent. The remaining $11,000 should be transferred to the 2019 capital budget. Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Gloria Lind seconded, to approve the budget amendment ordinance.  Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed unanimously.


Approval for Commissioner Expenses – The Preserves Board of Commissioners adopted the Travel Expense Policy for the Preserves to be compliant with the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act.  The Policy allows Commissioners to attend educational conferences related to their duties as representatives of the Preserves and be reimbursed for expenses related to such conferences.  Commissioners have attended the two day IAPD Soaring to New Heights Conference in Chicago in past years and Commissioner Judith Barnard wishes to attend the January 2019 conference.  The Fiscal Year 2018/2019 budget contains a Corporate Board Fund that appropriates monies for such expenses incurred by Commissioners and contains sufficient funds for the maximum incurred expenses. During discussion, Commissioner Barnard stated that she would like to amend the Ordinance. She would like to remove the meals per Federal Travel Regulation of $120 and Mileage Reimbursement (200 miles) of $109. The new amount for maximum incurred expenses will be $505.00. Audrey Johnson made a motion, and Gloria Lind seconded, that Judith Barnard will either be reimbursed for expenses she incurs while attending the Conference and/or will have those related expenses paid for in advance by the Preserves of approximately $505.00 for the IAPD January 2019 conference.  Roll call vote taken.  Motion passed unanimously.



Executive Director – Mike Holan reported that the Commissioners should have received their final 2019 budget book. The budget book is revised with pictures and departmental mission statements and what will be accomplished in the upcoming year. The 2019 calendars have arrived and were passed out to the Commissioners. The calendars were limited to 1,200 this year, so Mike asked that we limit the numbers taken and donations are appreciated. At last month’s Board meeting, there was discussion in regards to the Union. On October 29, 2018 the Forest Preserve was notified from their attorney that on October 25, 2018 the Union filed a Declaration of Disinterest Petition, which means the Union no longer wants to represent the bargaining unit staff. At this point, bargaining unit staff are no longer part of the Union. Pertaining to a question Commissioner Jake Henry asked regarding the policy about closing of the administrative office, Mike mentioned that the Forest Preserve is looking into rewriting Forest Preserve policies. When the policies are finished, they will be brought to the Board for approval.


Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Scott Stewart, Scott Wallace & Bryan Helmold submitted a written report.


Land and Development – Tom Hartley submitted a written report. Tom reported that due to the grants the Forest Preserve received, he will need to bring a budget amendment forward at next month’s Board meeting.


Golf Operations – Vaughn Stamm, Rich Rosenstiel, Tyler Knapp & Mark Freiman submitted a written report. Vaughn reported that all three courses are closed at this time.


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


Environmental Education – Ann Wasser submitted a written report.


Human Resources/Volunteer Program Report – Kim O’Malley submitted a written report.


Law Enforcement – Sheriff’s Department submitted a written report.



December 14 – Employee Appreciation & Recognition Luncheon at The Ledges from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm


Mike Holan announced that the Mitten Tree was set up again this year. Donations will be given to the Lathrop School.  Lathrop is a school that has partnered with the Forest Preserves in the past. Hats, gloves and mittens are needed for school aged children.



Meeting adjourned at 6:27 PM.

December board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, December 19, Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Kristy Knapp

Administrative Assistant