WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT
HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2008
_____________________________________________________________________
Written notice of said meeting was given to the Commissioners and the Wilmette Life in accordance with the Wilmette Park District Code, Section 2103, and Section 2.02 of the Open Meetings Act.
 
President Crowley called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PRESENT:   President Jim Crowley, Commissioners Jim Brault, Diana Cohen, Darrell Graham, David Miller, Dennis O’Malley, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Tom Grisamore
STAFF: Superintendents Bingham, Bowen, Lambrecht and Wilson; Communications Manager Donoghue
VISITORSNone
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
 
Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the January 14, 2008 Regular Board Meeting.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – NoneMotion carried.
 
COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE: President Crowley acknowledged receipt of the following:
 
. . .       Letter from Shahid Siddiqui, Chair of the Community Relations Commission, thanking Park District staff members for their service and courtesy at the Annual Inter-Faith Community Dinner & Diversity Concert and a letter of response from Director Grisamore.
 
. . .       Letter and magazine article from Charlotte Adelman, 232 Lawndale Street, with regard to creating a one-acre prairie at the corner of Crawford and Wilmette Avenues in Centennial Park.
 
Commissioner O’Malley stated he recently received several positive comments on Mallinckrodt Park and especially the ice rink. Commissioner Brault added he also has received compliments on the ice rink.
 
Commissioner Cohen stated a few residents expressed their concerns about the cleanliness of the fitness center area and she replied the Park District has hired a new cleaning service. Commissioner Cohen questioned if staff would be able to help maintain the area. Superintendent Bingham replied that the times the fitness center staff inspects and maintains the fitness area and exercise equipment have been increased from three to five days per week. Staff also inspects the locker rooms to ensure everything has been cleaned. Director Grisamore added that staff has generally been pleased with the new cleaning service.
 
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:  None
 
APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
 
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,222,167.37, a copy of which is to be attached to and become a permanent part of the minutes of this meeting.
 
Commissioner Brault inquired about the expenditure to Gewalt Hamilton in the amount of $23,000 for the study of the CRC parking lot. Director Grisamore explained that the entire parking lot project is going out to bid shortly to be financed by the $1 million in debt certificates that were issued last year. The total projected cost was $970,000 and staff will be making some modifications to hopefully come in less than that amount. The bids for the parking lot and skate park project will go out at the same time and some of the work will be done simultaneously. It is hoped to have the parking lot completed before the start of summer camps and to have the skate park completed by early fall. Commissioner Cohen asked if there was any way to add additional parking at the CRC to which Director Grisamore replied the only way to do that would be to take away green space.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
COMMITTEE REPORTS:
 
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2008-O-1, AN ORDINANCE MAKING A COMBINED  ANNUAL BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS FOR THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2008 ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2008 as recommended by the Administration Committee.
 
Public Hearing re: Budget & Appropriations Ordinance
 
President Crowley called to order a public hearing regarding Ordinance 2008-O-1, the Budget and Appropriations Ordinance.
There were no requests to comment.
 
Commissioner Brault stated that in the Budget & Appropriations Ordinance, Superintendent Wilson’s position is referred to as the Chief Fiscal Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Director Grisamore replied that both titles were applicable.
 
President Crowley closed the public hearing.
 
Director Grisamore explained that at the January Budget Workshop the Park Board reviewed the entire budget in detail. The budget indicates revenues of approximately $21,210,000 with expenditures of approximately $19,375,000. The $1,800,000 in surplus will be combined with the revenue from the debt certificates that the Park District took in last year to fund the $2.5 million capital expenditures scheduled for 2008. The largest portion of the funds will be used for the reconstruction of the entire CRC parking lot but there will also be funds available for the skate park, technology upgrades, the lakefront study and ongoing repairs.
 
Financial Planning & Policy Committee
Committee Chair Brault reported the Financial Planning & Policy Committee met on February 5 and discussed the current refinancing market for the 2001 and 2002 debt certificates. The market has been very volatile recently but it appears there will be an opportunity to refinance the 2001 and 2002 debt certificates at fairly significant savings. The Committee hopes to present a Parameters Ordinance for Board approval at next month’s meeting. The Parameters Ordinance provides a way for the Board to authorize a committee to move forward on a refinancing if favorable market rates exist and pre-authorized conditions are met. The Committee will provide specifics on the interest rate targets at next month’s meeting.
 
The Committee also discussed the Park District’s fund balances currently totaling $9 million across the board. The size of the balances are being reviewed and compared to other park districts. The Committee will continue to study this issue and will return to the Board with a recommendation.
 
In addition, the Committee discussed the Park District’s overall risk management policies and disaster planning. In actuality, there is no formal plan for disasters at this time. As a result, it is being proposed that each committee prepare a disaster plan for their facilities and programs. It is hoped to have a plan that covers the entire Park District by the end of 2008.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner O’Malley asked if it is customary for other park districts to provide smaller committees with the authority to refinance without going to the full Board. Commissioner Brault replied that many other public entities utilize the Parameters Ordinance as a way move quickly when interest rates are favorable. The Committee would also keep the Board informed during the entire refinancing process. Director Grisamore added that there had been a ten-day window when rates were favorable and if a Parameters Ordinance had been approved, the Park District could have moved forward more quickly on the refinancing. Commissioner Brault stated there will be more information and further discussion at next month’s Board meeting.
 
Parks and Recreation  -- Committee Chair Wolff reported that the Committee met on January 21 and discussed an e-mail that Commissioner Brault received from Joe Feldman of the Youth Commission. Mr. Feldman asked if the Park District would be willing to allow access to our beaches by New Trier students who already have season lakefront passes from the communities of Winnetka, Kenilworth and Glencoe. After discussion, it was agreed there were many questions yet to be answered before any reciprocity agreements could be made. The Committee asked Mr. Feldman to make a presentation to the Committee and if the concept appeared to be feasible, the Committee would further discuss the issue.
 
Commissioner Miller pointed out that Northfield is part of New Trier Township but since it is not located at the lakefront, these students do not have resident lakefront season passes. Commissioner Wolff responded this is one of many issues that still need to be discussed and the Committee is looking forward to the Youth Commission’s presentation to hear more about the proposal.
 
Commissioner Wolff reported correspondence was received from Charlotte Adelman who offered to subsidize a prairie park located somewhere in the Park District. After discussion on where the best place to locate the prairie would be, the choice was narrowed down to the retention area in Centennial Park. However, no decisions have been made regarding this issue. The Committee directed staff to meet with Ms. Adelman to clarify what is meant by “paying” for the project and what the Park District’s costs would be. Commissioner Brault asked who would pay for ongoing maintenance. Commissioner O’Malley answered that the informational packet submitted by Ms. Adelman indicated there would be ongoing maintenance especially for the first two to three years and she will be asked to clarify the costs. Commissioner Wolff added that there is still a lot of investigation that needs to be done on the issue.
 
President Crowley asked for an overview of the lakefront study process which could be discussed now or at next month’s Board meeting. Commissioner Wolff replied that there are many issues regarding the study that the Committee is currently reviewing. Commissioner O‘Malley added that the Committee felt a consultant would have a high level of expertise in lakefront design and in gathering public input. After discussion on whether the public has been adequately informed about the study and the feasibility of moving forward with the hiring of a consultant, Commissioner Graham pointed out that the consultant would assist in managing the entire project of which a major portion would be to set up public hearings and hold meetings with residents to find out what they would like to see at the lakefront.
 
Commissioner Wolff added that there would be no decisions made without input from the community including the possibility of utilizing our Community Relations Committee. President Crowley stated that in his view the foremost issue is to provide the residents with an idea of the scope of this project so that people understand before the Park District starts spending money on consultants.
 
Director Grisamore explained that staff has already received many positive responses following the previous times when this issue was mentioned at Board meetings. The proposed project was publicized in the Leisure Time Guide. In addition, Director Grisamore stated he has received a number of e-mails from residents who are very interested in participating in this process and offering to be on a committee if one is created. As a result and even without much publicity, there is definitely interest in the community from people who want to become involved. The communities of Lake Forest, Highland Park, and Evanston have already gone through this process for their lakefronts. Also, Superintendent Lambrecht met with one consulting company at the IPRA conference.
 
Director Grisamore further explained that the process these consulting companies follow is to interview the Park Board and staff members and then hold sessions with the public which range from small to large groups. The whole process can take a year or two to develop and at that point, they return with plans which we then present to the same groups that were involved during the initial stages. This is a community-wide project involving everyone in the community during the entire process which is why the projects have been successful in other communities.
 
Communications Manager Shelagh Donoghue addressed the Board and stated the lakefront study really became public when Terry Porter was being interviewed in regard to his retirement and both he and Director Grisamore spoke about it as a project for the future. These articles and interviews resulted in many e-mails and phone calls from residents asking to be part of a committee or group to study the issue. Also, the opening of Langdon Park motivated some people to begin asking questions about the Park District’s plans for the entire lakefront.
 
Director Grisamore added that the users of Langdon were told the Park District was not moving forward with a permanent structure at the park because of Sheridan Road construction and also because the entire lakefront was being reviewed. This project is going to be interesting and there have already been many positive comments and many people are interested in becoming involved in the process.
 
Director Grisamore stated the next step is to send out the Request for Proposal (RFP) and then the final three or four proposals would be presented to the Committee for interviews. Commissioner Crowley stated his personal feeling is that we should be garnering input first before interviewing consultants. Director Grisamore responded that the Park District is looking to hire someone who is going to work with us to set up the timetables and schedules for receiving input from the Board, from staff members and especially from the entire community. Once the consultants receive all of the input, they will return with ideas and hold additional community meetings. Commissioner Brault suggested a notice or link on the web site to publicize the proposed project. Director Grisamore stated this could be done as part of our whole web-site redesign.
 
Commissioner Cohen asked for clarification on the Committee minutes about the predictive abilities of the new technology being considered for testing water quality at the lakefront. Director Grisamore replied that the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) is currently testing models at various locations along the lakefront in Cook and Lake Counties that measure variables such as wind conditions, currents, water temperatures, sunlight, etc. resulting in a “predictive” model for testing. The IDPH will provide grant money for this new technology. Our staff will still have to manually track the water tests for at least a couple of years so that IDPH can refine the predictability of the system. Staff is planning to apply for State Grants to cover $20,000 which is the cost of the system. In addition, they have already committed to covering the cost of our testing supplies for next year. The meeting with IDPH was held at the lakefront with representatives from other surrounding suburbs in attendance. The new models are over 95% accurate.
 
Golf Operations Committee – Committee Chair O’Malley reported the Committee met on January 26. Mike Matchen ordered 180 tons of new sand for the traps. The crew is removing leftover stumps from the storm. They are also cleaning up and preparing the equipment for the upcoming season. Golf membership sign-up has started as have sign-ups for the Al McLean Jr. Championship.
 
Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Miller reported the Committee met this evening. The tennis lottery will be held in April. The Committee also met this evening with parents from the New Trier Hockey Club who are looking to move their starting time up by 30 minutes next year to coincide with the new state driving laws that lowered the driving curfew for high school students this year. Also, inquiries were received for use of the pool by a group from Iron Man Training and approval was given to Evanston Master Swimmers for an adult swim meet to be held in August.
 
DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
 
Director Grisamore reported that negotiations with potential providers for the cell phone tower at Mallinckrodt have heated up. T-Mobile indicated they are receptive to using the second spot on the tower and will take primary responsibility and assume the liability. If this occurs, then US Cellular who was willing to pay for the top spot will also be in the deal since they were initially willing to do the initial construction costs and ongoing maintenance but not willing to assume the liability. As a result, it now appears that T-Mobile will have the second spot on the tower and US Cellular will have the top position. Director Grisamore also stated our attorney Jim Wascher is still in talks with Cricket Wireless who are checking to see if the height of 75 feet on the third position of the tower would work for them. If it does, they would be interested in the taking the third position. It is hoped that a license agreement will be presented to the Financial Planning & Policy Committee in the near future.
 
Commissioner Brault asked if the antennas on the chimney would be visible. Director Grisamore replied that they would be on the outside but not visible. The chimney would look the same now as it did before and the view from Elmwood Avenue would not change.
 
Director Grisamore reported that the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee is attempting to schedule a meeting and asked Commissioners Graham and O’Malley to check their availability for the suggested meeting dates of February 27 or 28. Also, Director Grisamore suggested if any other Board members have any topics they would like to see discussed, please let him know.
 
The first Centennial Celebration event of 2008 will be held at Centennial Ice from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, February 17. There will be free skating, free rental, a DJ, giveaways, and cupcakes. This event marks the beginning of the Park District’s 100-year celebration and the date of February 17 is the actual date of the first Park Board meeting. As this is an event for the community, there will be no formal speeches or  dedications. All commissioners are welcome to drop in along with their families.
 
Director Grisamore stated President Crowley will be addressing the League of Women Voters on the topic of “The State of the Village” on April 3. Other Wilmette Village presidents will be in attendance and if anyone else would like to attend, please let him know.  
 
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: 
None
 
 
NEW BUSINESS:
None
 


 
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
 
 
 
 
MINUTES APPROVED MARCH 10, 2008.