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Land Advisory Council Meeting Minutes 5-15-14

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

Land Advisory Council

Minutes of Meeting

May 15, 2014


Members Present: Jerry Paulson, Chairman. Ann Marie Cain, Steve Clark, Pam Cunningham, Bill Hoff, Lee Johnson, James Marshall, Rebecca Olson, Randy Vogel, and Dan Williams.  WCFPD Staff Present: Mike Holan, Tom Hartley, Vaugh Stamm. WCFPD Commissioners Present:  Audrey Johnson


Call to order:  Chairman Paulson called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. at the WCFPD headquarters at 5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford, Illinois.


Welcome and Introductions:  Commissioner Johnson welcomed the members of the new Advisory Council, explained the purpose of the Council and said that she will serve as the liaison to the Council from the Board of Commissioners.  The Council members and WCFPD staff introduced themselves. Paulson said he is still looking for a farmer and financial advisor to serve on the Council.


Conflict of Interest:  Holan distributed a policy statement on Conflict of Interest he had prepared for the Council.  Paulson asked the members to take a few minutes to read the policy and to sign it.  The signed forms will be kept on file in the FPD office.


Financial Disclosure:  Paulson said that as members of a public body each person will need to file a financial disclosure form with the County Clerk.  The forms will be mailed directly to Advisory Council members.


Open Meetings Act:  Paulson said that the Council is subject to the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, and that meeting agendas and minutes will be posted on the WCFPD website, notice of meetings will be sent to the media, and meetings will be open to the public, except for discussion of matters dealing with acquisition of specific parcels of land.  Paulson also said that because the Council will be discussing land acquisition from time to time that all members should maintain the confidentiality of the information discussed in closed meetings.


Review of Council mandate:  Paulson read the mandate to the Council from the Resolution passed by the WCFPD Board of Commissioners re-establishing a Land Advisory Council: “establish a Land Acquisition Policy and a Strategic Land Conservation Plan, with final approval by the Board of Commissioners.”  He said that the next several months will be spent on developing a land conservation plan.  The Council may also review policies on land restoration and management at the request of the Board and staff.


History of Council:  Williams, Chairman of the old Land Advisory Council gave a brief history of the purpose and activities of the Council. They worked to develop the first Boone-Winnebago Greenways and Trails Plan, which shows priority areas for land acquisition, and established the existing policies and procedures for land acquisition and land classification.  They also created ranking criteria to evaluate potential acquisition projects and parcels. Johnson asked Council members to be alert for potential parcels for acquisition and to bring them to the attention of the staff and Council. Hoff asked if staff ever approached specific land owners about buying their land.  Hartley said that land owners along the Sugar River were systematically contacted about protecting their land.


Current land protection program:  Hartley presented a powerpoint explaining the current land protection program.  It focuses on protecting all of the natural plant communities found in the county, expansion of existing forest preserves, and land along the Kishwaukee, Sugar, Pecatonica, Upper Rock rivers and Kinnikinnick Creek. All FPD land is classified as “Reserve, Recreation or Support”; Recreation land is either classified Undeveloped or Developed, including Special Use areas like the golf courses.  About 75% of the land is maintained as natural or is being restored to natural vegetation; 21% is recreation and 4% is support.  Support areas include cultural resources, like Macktown, maintenance shops, and Klehm Arboretum.


The District uses the Greenways Plan as a guide for land acquisition.  There are about 11,000 acres of “Priority Areas” on the plan, with an estimated value of $20,000,000 to $44,000,000.  The District has no land acquisition budget at this time.  Hoff asked what would a referendum bring in for land acquisition funds. Holan explained how an amount for a referendum would be determined.


Meeting schedule:  Paulson asked what time of the day and day of the week is best for regular meetings.  After sharing schedules it was agreed that the Council would hold regular meetings on the first Monday of the month from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.


Next meeting:  The next meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, June 2nd at the WCFPD headquarters.


Adjournment:  Paulson adjourned the meeting at 5:00 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Jerry Paulson, Chairman