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 September 16, 2015

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District


Colored Sands Forest Preserve

September 16, 2015


PRESENT                                                                  STAFF

Judy Barnard                                                               Mike Holan, Executive Director

Mike Eickman                                                              Steve Chapman, Finance

Audrey Johnson                                                          Vaughn Stamm, Preserve Operations

Cheryl Maggio                                                             Tom Hartley, Land and Development

Mary McNamara Bernsten                                          Mike Durand, Golf Operations

Jeff Tilly                                                                       Jamie Johannsen, Marketing

Don Miller, Education


ABSENT                                                                    GUESTS

Gloria Lind                                                                   Lee Johnson



The meeting was called to order at 5:12 PM, by President Barnard. Recording secretary Ronelle Johnson called the roll.


PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE     Jeff Tilly led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.


APPROVAL OF AGENDA and MINUTES     Minutes for August 12, were approved. No changes or additions were made to the agenda.



Budget & Appropriations – Treasurer Steve Chapman presented the upcoming fiscal budget. Mike Holan announced that earlier in the year that Steve gave the Directors an idea of what the percentage change in the budget would be. Mike Holan then told the Directors to adjust their budgets according to the 2% loss in the budget. This coming year the taxpayers will be asked for less money due to the assessed valuation decline of approximately 1%. Steve went over the income, expenses and the different funds/balances. Mike announced that some funds need to be taken out of the capital fund balance to replace some equipment and do some maintenance repairs. He then went through all the repairs and replacements that need to be completed this fiscal year.


Legal Firm Search Committee – Mary McNamara Bernsten, Audrey Johnson, Judy Barnard and Mike Holan met with the law firms that the committee chose to interview. They asked all firms that were interviewed, a series of the same questions. Mary then gave an overview of the qualifications of each of the firms.


Sand Bluff – Lee Johnson gave an update on the activities and happenings at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory and Colored Sands Forest Preserve. He mentioned several species of birds and plants that have been discovered in the Preserve over the years. Mike Eickman mentioned this year there has been a lot of kayakers to Colored Sands.



Bills for September – Audrey Johnson made a motion, Mary seconded to authorize the payment of the bills for September, 2015 in the amount of $644,255.17. Motion passed unanimously.


Auditing Services – Steve Chapman presented an agreement for auditing services. Each year, the Preserves is required to complete a year-end audit of their financials with an outside auditing firm. The County sent out a Request for Proposal for auditing services, and they included the Forest Preserves in that proposal. The Preserves Finance Director and Accounting Manager were part of a team that reviewed and interviewed the auditing firms that submitted proposals. Six individuals were interviewed and the County and the review team has recommended the firm Sikich, for one year with four one-year options. Mary made a motion, Mike Eickman seconded, to approve the execution of an agreement with Sikich to perform the year-end auditing services for the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County for 2015. Motion passed unanimously.


Acceptance of Budget & Appropriation Ordinance Layover – The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County fiscal year budget operates from November 1 through October 31. The Board of Commissioners has been presented the proposed 2015-2016 Annual Budget and Appropriation for review and adoption. The Board is required to layover the budget for 30 days for public review and comment before it is adopted by the Board. It is requested the Board will layover the 2015-2016 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance for public review and comment until the October 21, 2015 Board meeting. Audrey made a motion, Mary and Jeff seconded, to approve a resolution to layover the 2015-2016 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance for public review and comment until the October 21, 2015 Board meeting. Motion passed unanimously.


Legal Firm Services –The Forest Preserves of Winnebago County decided to seek proposals from legal firms to best represent the Preserves in legal matters, other than employment matters. The Preserves sent out a Request for Proposals and received proposals from six firms. The Committee Chair, Mary McNamara Bernsten, chose to interview two firms that submitted proposals. The firms were evaluated based on the firms experience, experience and education of personnel assigned to the Preserves, and previous work of similar nature and cost.   After discussion, Mike Eickman made a motion, Cheryl seconded, to layover the vote for legal firm services until the October 21, 2015 board meeting. Motion passed unanimously.



Strategic Planning Meeting – Judy Barnard presented a new set of dates for the strategic planning meetings. She mentioned that the meetings will be 2, two hour sessions and the dates will be sent out to all Commissioners.



Update on County Contracts – Cheryl Maggio asked about the status of the Sheriff’s contract. Steve Chapman advised that it was accepted unanimously by the County Board meeting and will be effective October 1. The Administrative Services and IT services contracts are still being considered by the County Board.


Partner board meetings – Judy and Mike attended the Klehm Arboretum board meeting earlier in September. Judy encouraged Commissioners to attend the board meetings of any of the partner organizations.


Fundraising – Judy attended a fundraising seminar on September 16, and came away with some good ideas. Judy discussed some ideas for a possible fund raiser for the Preserves.



Preserve Operations – Vaughn Stamm submitted a written report.


Golf Operations – Mike Durand submitted a written report. Mike announced that the Video Gaming Establishment License was approved on August 25.


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 a written report.


Executive Director – Mike Holan submitted a written report.



Friday, September 21, Klehm Arboretum wine tasting

Friday, September 25, City Market in Downtown Rockford from 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 3, Fall for the Forest Preserves at Atwood Homestead from 12:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m.

(Rain date is October 10, 2015)

Saturday, October 17, Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Seward Bluffs starting at 11:30 a.m.



Meeting adjourned at 6:53 PM.

Next board meeting 5:30 PM, Wednesday, October 21, Forest Preserve Headquarters



Respectfully Submitted,

Ronelle Johnson

Recording Secretary