WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
Committee-of-the-Whole
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
6:30 p.m. – Mallinckrodt Community Center


Present
Commissioners: President John Olvany, Vice President Amy Wolfe, Shelley Shelly, Bryan Abbott, Stephanie Foster, Ryrie Pellaton, Gordon Anderson

Secretary/Executive Director Steve Wilson
Staff: Jeff Bowen, Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht, Ken Eppelheimer, Marlon Rodas, Steve Holloway,  Jeff Groves, Adam Kwiatkoski, Nick Marfise, Sean Flynn, Liz Cox, Julie Nichols, Darrell Smith, Barb Jenkins, Joey Sanchez, Mike Kharpak, Lindsay Thomas, Katy Bradford, Carol Heafey, Amy Lambrecht, Libby Baker
 
Attendees Absent
None

I. Meeting  Called to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:32 p.m.
A. Roll call taken.

II. Approval of Minutes
A. Commissioner Pellaton moved and Commissioner Wolfe seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the Committee-of-the-Whole Meeting of November 9, 2016, as amended; Page 2 of 3, Item IV. B, 4th paragraph,   the word “visual” was changed to “priority”; all voted yes, the motion carried.

III. Communications and Correspondence
None

IV. Recognition of Visitors
Director Wilson recognized former Director Tom Grisamore.
The Attendance Record will become part of the permanent record.

V. New Business
A. 2016 Tax Levy
President Olvany introduced the tax levy, and directed the Board to Page 1of the Tax Levy Report, specifically the “Tax Capped Funds” and noted that the Park District is recommending an increase of 1.61% in these funds which is above the tax cap limit but will account for any taxes available to the Park District from new property growth.  To account for this, the Park District will direct the County, through resolution, to reduce the tax in the Corporate Fund for any over estimation.

Superintendent Eppelheimer reported that staff discussed the new property growth at the last Financial Planning & Policy Committee and explained that it is an opportunity to capture any taxes that are available. He noted that the levy is always a year behind, and went on to explain the process and calculations the County goes through to come up with the rate.

Superintendent Eppelheimer stated that the Special Recreation Fund pays for membership and companions with the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) and ADA improvement projects and added that this fund has a ceiling limit; if the EAV goes up the Park District could capture more taxes, which in turn would increase the total levy.
 
President Olvany then directed the Committee to the Levy History page which shows the % change year to year and noted that the Park District has had a very conservative philosophy about tax increases and the current increase is more than three times the rate of inflation, which is a big change in the philosophy.  He stated that he is concerned that we are still raising taxes even though we are paying down our debt.
 
Commissioner Pellaton shared his view that the increase is a fiscally responsible way to raise dollars versus passing a referendum.

Commissioner Abbott added that the Committee did discuss the increase and recognized that it is a change of philosophy.

Commissioner Anderson noted that with the possibility of the property tax freeze now is the time to capture this money that may not be available in future years.

In response to a question, Director Wilson shared his view that some form of freeze is going to take effect some time in the future.

B. 2017 Annual Budget  Review
Director Wilson began by introducing all the staff in attendance.  President Olvany thanked the staff for their hard work.

President Wilson recognized Lindsay Thomas for the motivational “word cloud”   she created and presented each Board member with a framed “word cloud” which represents the Wilmette Park District.

Director Wilson gave an overview of 2016, highlighting significant numbers and statistics related to memberships/passes, activity enrollments, and recreational spaces, resulting in a projected $1 million surplus after capital expenditures.  The capital improvements in 2016 included: updated pool heaters, new passenger bus, new Zamboni, paving at golf maintenance, 2 renovated park playgrounds and the bird habitat.  He also mentioned that the Park District participated in the triennial PDRMA Loss Control Review and received an outstanding score and the District was awarded best overall entry in the Wilmette Holiday Parade for the 5th year straight.

Director Wilson reviewed the organization chart, noting that the Wilmette Park District is the single largest employer in Wilmette.

Superintendent Eppelheimer presented the 2017 Budget Basis which includes a 3% fee increase.  He gave a preview of the 2017 capital projects; Centennial paging and security system, Gillson and Maple Park playgrounds, work at Keay Nature Center, additional platform tennis courts, parking on Manor Rd., golf car replacement and continued Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements.

Superintendent Eppelheimer presented and discussed the budget summary and explained how the District works within a fund structure.

Superintendent Eppelheimer described the 2017 proposed operating revenues by each facility.  He continued by reviewing the outstanding debt as of 12/31/16, and by describing the tax history for the past 13 years, noting that the Tax Levy is still below the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the last several years. He also mentioned that fee revenue continues to increase, fund balance reserves have been building steadily and are above the $4 million target (close to $7 million), and the total expenses for the Budget and Appropriation Ordinance are $25,556,942.

Director Wilson then presented and reviewed a financial forecast model developed based on various assumptions.  The model was reviewed by the Financial Planning & Policy Committee and Commissioner Abbott requested that it be reviewed again by the Committee of the Whole.

Commissioner Abbott reviewed a copy of the model that he had modified to demonstrate the volatility of the variables; fees, capital, taxes, fund balances.

President Olvany recommended that the FPPC work on the assumptions to come up with a variety of scenarios, to include a base and negative scenario for the Board to review and understand.

Commissioner Anderson stated that he felt the model was completely unrealistic noting that the District would act in a conservative way towards negative scenarios. Director Wilson concurred and added that staff would not allow this scenario happen.  Staff makes adjustments accordingly when circumstances change.

Commissioner Pellaton commented that it’s important to think long term when deciding on fee increases and not to look only at a one year scenario.

President Olvany concluded the conversation by highlighting the results of a recent Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) survey, which showed that 2/3 of the revenue collected by park districts (those that participated in the survey), comes from non-tax supportive fees.  In comparison, 48% of the Wilmette Park District’s revenue comes from taxes.  This is significant because it demonstrates that the District has worked hard to maintain fees and rely less on taxes.  Staff should be proud of the services being provided.

Superintendent Eppelheimer explained the process for the Budget and Appropriation ordinance and noted that the public hearing will be held at the January 9th Board Meeting.   The budget is balanced and has a surplus of approximately $215,000.  The Budget and Appropriations Ordinance legal document and supporting reports will be available for inspection by the public for thirty days beginning December 9th.

Commissioner Abbott acknowledged the donation from the Ouilmette Foundation.  This will be formally presented at the December 12 Board Meeting.

VI. Adjournment
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at
7:53 p.m.