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 16, 2016

Forest Preserves of Winnebago County


Preserves Headquarters

November 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                                                             Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Jeff Tilly                                                                       Don Miller, Education

Kim O’Malley, Volunteer Coordinator



The meeting was called to order at 5:38 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll. Jeff Tilly arrived after the roll call vote was taken at approximately 5:45.


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


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for October 26, 2016 were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Bills for October – Mike Eickman made a motion, Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for October in the amount of $459,193.03. Motion passed unanimously.


Land Acquisition – Larson & Johnson Properties – The Board of Commissioners has approved the purchase of 36.24 acres from the Larson trust to add to Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve and 1.33 acres from the Estate of George Johnson to add to Rockford Rotary Forest Preserve. The land is classified as management reserve (conservation property). Gloria Lind made a motion and Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded, to approve the land acquisition of 36.24 acres to add to the Kishwaukee River Forest Preserve and the 1.33 acres to add to the Rockford Rotary Forest Preserve, as well as the approval of the land classification.  Roll call vote taken. Motion Passed 6-0 (Jeff Tilly not present for the vote).


2017 Board Meeting Schedule – The Board of Commissioners is required to provide public notice of the date, time and location of its regularly scheduled meetings.   The Board will hold regular meetings during the year 2017 and may hold additional meetings at such other times as may be determined. The meetings will be held in the conference room at the Forest Preserves Headquarters or at a partner preserve, the third Wednesday of every month throughout 2017, with the exception of the October meeting, which is held the fourth Wednesday of October. The meeting schedule and locations is posted at the Preserves Headquarters. Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion and Mike Eickman seconded, to approve the 2017 Board meeting schedule. Motion passed unanimously.


Great Lakes Basin Railroad – An updated letter of concern to the Surface Transportation Board was distributed to the Commissioners. The letter states the Preserves position on the effect the railroad will have on the wildlife, woodlands, river corridors, wetlands, storm water runoff and farmland. The letter will also be posted on the Preserves website, will be sent to the County Board, as well as the Preserves partner organizations. Gloria Lind made a motion, Mary McNamara Bernsten seconded to approve the letter of concern to the Surface Transportation Board.   Motion passed unanimously.


Strategic Plan Update – Land Acquisition – The Board and senior management staff developed a three year Strategic Plan. The Plan contains goals and objectives whereby annual staff work plans are developed to accomplish those goals and objectives. The 2014-2017 Strategic Plan was adopted on February 19, 2014. The Board reviews the Strategic Plan annually for updates, additions or deletions. The Preserves refinanced $1,000,000 in General Obligation Bonds for the purpose of land acquisition. The Strategic Plan has no goal or objective related to the acquisition of land in Winnebago County. The Board has determined that the Strategic Plan should include a goal and objectives relating to the acquisition of land. Mary McNamara Bernsten, made a motion and Gloria Lind seconded, to layover this issue until the December Board meeting.


Board of Commissioners Procedures and Policy Handbook Updates – Mike Holan stated that in reviewing the manual in preparation for a new Commissioner coming, there were a few changes that needed to be made to the Handbook. The Preserves play a critical role in promoting preservation, recreation, and education while making and effecting its long-term plans and policies for the Preserves. It is in the best interest of the Preserves that standards be set by which the Board shall operate and discharge its duties. The Board Governance Committee composed effective standards by which an efficient, earnest and ethical Board may operate on behalf of the Preserves. The Board passed a Resolution at the October 24, 2013 Board meeting to adopt the Board of Commissioners Procedures and Policy Handbook that was written by the Board Governance Committee. Some minor revisions to the Handbook needed to be made to update the Handbook to current Preserves information and to correct some minor grammatical errors. Similar revisions may need to be made to the Handbook in the future, and the Board approves minor revisions to be made by authority of the Executive Director as long as the revisions are solely to update Preserves information or correct grammatical errors but do not alter the content or meaning of the Handbook. Mary McNamara Bernsten made a motion and Mike Eickman seconded, to accept the Revised Board of Commissioners Procedures and Policy Handbook. Motion passes unanimously.



Auditor Services – Judy Barnard received a request that this discussion be laid over until December.


Bond Sale – Steve Chapman announced that the bond sales were closed on November 9.



Thank you for Your Service – Judy Barnard recognized and thanked Steve Chapman, Don Miller and Mary McNamara Bernsten for their service to the Preserves. Steve has been a county employee for 39 years, as well as served as the Forest Preserve Treasurer for the past 6 years. Don Miller has been employed with Severson Dells for 27 years, and Mary McNamara Bernsten has been a Commissioner for the past 6 years.


Grant Writer – Judy announced that she has spoken to Ellen Burgeson regarding possible grants for the Forest Preserve. Ms. Burgeson would be willing to talk to the Commissioners about possible federal grants and her services. Judy will contact Ms. Burgeson to make a presentation at a future board meeting.


Severson Dells Bus – Mike Holan announced that the chairman and the Winnebago County board passed a resolution to obtain a bus. A bus has been offered to Severson. Information is being gathered about the costs of the bus, liabilities, etc. The Severson Dells Foundation Board will be meeting to further discuss and vote on the issue. Mike Holan asked the Board for a consensus as to whether or not Severson Dells should proceed with the donation, due to the fact that the Forest Preserves holds the liability. Judy has requested further research and information and this will then be revisited in December.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


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.


Law Enforcement – Terry Nordberg submitted written report.



Audrey made a motion to go into closed session at 6:41. At 7:32, the meeting returned to open session. No action was taken while in closed session.



Holiday Party – December 6, 2016 at Klehm Arboretum from 11:30am-2:30 pm



Meeting adjourned at 7:35 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, December 21, Severson Dells Nature Center



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary