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, SEPTEMBER 10, 2007
_____________________________________________________________________
 
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 7:34 p.m.
 
PRESENT:   President Jim Crowley, Commissioners Jim Brault, Diana Cohen, Darrell Graham, David Miller, Dennis O’Malley, Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter
 
STAFF:          Superintendents Lambrecht and Wilson
 
ABSENT:      Superintendent Grisamore
 
VISITORS:    John McGovern (NSSRA); Stephen Allison (Wilmette Resident); Eric Anderson (Harris Bank)
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
 
Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Brault seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the August 13, 2007 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 Vicky Loukis, 627 Beaver Road, Glenview thanking the Park District for the services provided to her children over the years.
 
…        Letter from Cynthia Sawyer-Engelen, 907 Lake Avenue thanking the Park District for the upgrades made at the tennis courts.
 
…        Letter from Polly McClellan, 105 Third Street expressing her appreciation for the changes in restrictions for dogs in the parks and Gillson Beach and also provided some suggestions for improvements at Maple Park.
 
…        Letter from Dietrich M. Gross, 769 Michigan Avenue commenting about the loud music emitting from Wallace Bowl on the night of August 10.  Director Porter stated staff was aware of the problem and this band will not be invited to return in the future.
 
…        Letter from Grace Welter, 746 Green Bay Road, Winnetka complimenting the Air Force Band’s performance at the Wallace Bowl which she greatly enjoyed and suggested that lights be installed in the parking lot as a safety precaution.
 
…        Email from Charlotte Adelman asking the Park District to take action on BP Amoco and the Lake Michigan issue.
 
 
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:
 
President Crowley asked John McGovern, Executive Director of the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA), to address the Board. Director Porter explained that Mr. McGovern is here for his annual update on the current and future operations of NSSRA. Mr. McGovern greeted the Board and distributed informational packets. He also asked a parent of an NSSRA participant to attend tonight’s meeting and provide his perspective on NSSRA’s recreational support.
 
Mr. McGovern stated that NSSRA was formed in 1970 and the model developed at that time has worked very well. There are currently 28 agencies like NSSRA that serve 180 different communities in the area. Illinois is the only state that has a system like NSSRA and the park district should be commended for participating. Mr. McGovern stated Director Porter is a very capable and active member on the Board of Directors.
 
Mr. McGovern also provided information on the Enriched Lifestyles for Adults (ELA) program. Once a person with a disability turns 22, they are no longer in the public education system. In addition, the employment rate for disabled adults is 28% which means 72% of those with disabilities are not gainfully employed and/or do not participate in a constructive day program. As a result, NSSRA has combined with another area non-profit organization to help these young adults. This recreation program is currently in its 20th month and runs daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 48 weeks per year. Unfortunately, the Governor of Illinois unexpectedly vetoed some selected state grants which affected this program so NSSRA is now looking at other options to ensure the ELA program continues through the year. It is hoped the legislature will act to restore some of the funding next year. The State of Illinois is also behind in complying with the Federal mandates in this area and the ELA program would be a way for the State to meet those requirements. In the meantime, efforts are being made to cut expenses and to increase efforts to raise funds in other areas.
 
 
Mr. McGovern further stated that NSSRA has now been designated a Medicaid Waiver provider which means those families who are eligible and who used to pay with their own money for recreational services can now pay with their Medicaid Waiver. Also, the NSSRA three-year plan has just been completed and one of the items agreed upon was that public visibility of NSSRA was very low. As a result, plans have been made to upgrade the marketing materials and web site as a key part of the plan. Also, more marketing materials on the benefits of therapeutic recreation will be distributed to schools, doctor offices, and others who would most likely be referring people with disabilities to NSSRA.
 
Mr. McGovern introduced Stephen Allison and asked him to share his experiences with NSSRA. Mr. Allison, a resident of Wilmette for six years, stated he is the single father of two children, seven-year-old Kelly and 12-year-old Jordan. Jordan’s disability lies within the parameters of Autistic Spectrum Disorder and the typical symptoms of this disorder include being somewhat less socially engaged and having difficulty in following directions. Mr. Allison is very pleased that Wilmette is inclusive not only for education but also for recreational programs. If it were not for the support of NSSRA and the Park District, Jordan would not be able to participate in the programs in which he now does. Jordan has used aides from NSSRA about 70% of the time in programs administered through the Park District including summer camps, gymnastics and previously in soccer. Mr. Allison stated he appreciates the support of NSSRA and the aides that have been provided who have been very good at knowing when Jordan needs help and when he doesn’t.
 
Commissioner O’Malley asked if Mr. Allison chose to live in Wilmette because of NSSRA. Mr. Allison replied they moved to Wilmette for many reasons including the lifestyle of the community and the educational programs available, especially for special needs children. The fact that recreation programs are also inclusive has been a blessing.
 
The Board thanked Mr. Allison for his kind words and appreciated his taking the time to attend tonight’s meeting and relate his experiences with NSSRA.
 
Mr. McGovern also stated that NSSRA is receiving the Excellence in Inclusion Award in October. The organization has been a leader with the Park District’s support in including children and adults with disabilities alongside those without disabilities. A total of 1,004 placements have been made so far. Wilmette has had a very large amount of inclusions – approximately one out of every five participants is from Wilmette and Wilmette constitutes about 10% of the inclusion population.
 
Commissioner Miller asked why Wilmette was disproportionate compared to the other communities. Mr. McGovern responded that he believes it is primarily due to the Park District’s programs and camps where there is a lot of inclusion participation. It is also due to Park District staff who are open to allowing the program to succeed and to make everyone feel welcome.
 
Director Porter explained that the inclusion process begins when a participant registers through the park district. This is followed by Park District and NSSRA staff who evaluate the needs of the individual and then NSSRA provides the support. Mr. McGovern stated they are currently reviewing the inclusion policies on how to determine an individual’s needs and on how to conduct the assessments.
 
In addition, Mr. McGovern stated that the ELA program has just been given a national award for innovative programming and the award will be presented at the National Recreation & Parks Congress in Indianapolis in ten days. Due to the many men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with head, neck and back injuries, NSSRA was asked by the US Navy to perform training at the base in North Chicago. Staff is starting to work more closely with them to not only provide training for our communities but to also give the military the information they need so that when service men or women return with an injury, they would have an expectation of what the community can provide to them on a recreational basis.
 
Director Porter added that the ELA program has a limited number of participants with a capability of 25 full-time equivalents but it is also a relatively expensive program. The NSSRA staff provide administrative support but the expenses for the program are provided by user fees (50%) and grants (50%). With a budget of approximately $400,000, NSSRA was looking for $200,000 in grants. When the State cut out the $100,000 in funding, it put the program in serious jeopardy. This is a pilot program which provides a wonderful service to participants and their parents. NSSRA is working to fill the funding gap and to make some cuts but they also want to make sure the program’s quality is not jeopardized.
 
APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
 
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,457,014.67, a copy of which is to be attached to and become a permanent part of the minutes of this meeting.
 
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:
 
Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Brault stated the Committee met last month and the most important item of business was the refinancing of a portion of one of our limited bonds and two of our debt certificates related to the golf clubhouse and course improvements. He then asked Eric Anderson of Harris Bank to address the Park Board.
 
Mr. Anderson stated the Park District was fortunate interest rates moved downward quite dramatically in the last couple of days and that we were able to take advantage of this situation. But the actual work began in January when discussions were held on whether to take on this refunding process earlier than 2008 which was previously scheduled. The Park District’s rating was upgraded last March and the bonds were reaffirmed at AA2 and the debt certificates are now AA2 also. This means the debt certificates are now rated on parity with the Park District’s ability to tax which is somewhat rare and indicative of the Park District’s financial strength. There was no economic benefit from purchasing municipal bond insurance; therefore, the Park District saved money there as well by not buying the insurance. Due to the municipal bond market opening up again, the Park District was able to issue debt at below 4% on the limited bond and 4.01% on the debt certificates which means the combined percentages will be 4.155% to issue both the bond and the debt certificates. From this time last week to this time today, a total of $100,000 was saved over the life of the issue. The debt certificate funds will be advanced on October 1. At that point, the Park District will no longer be responsible for payments on the previous debt certificates which will be paid by the escrow fund.
 
Commissioner Brault asked what the current rate is for the bonds that are being repaid now. Mr. Anderson replied that they have various rates. The debt certificates are in the mid 3’s (3.75 and 3.30) – the 2005C’s were written at 3.20. The 2005C’s and D’s were also long-term in nature but were structured to get on the tax roles. Otherwise, these moneys would have to be paid out of the park district’s operating fund and these are large debt service burdens.
 
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2007-O-8, AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUE OF $5,900,000 IN LIMITED PARK BONDS, SERIES 2007A, OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2007-O-9, AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUE OF $1,000,000 IN DEBT CERTIFICATES, SERIES 2007B, OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.
 


Director Porter pointed out that the debt certificate is new money and will be used primarily for the CRC parking lot. The language in the ordinance is broad and if there is money leftover, it may be used for other projects. Commissioner Cohen asked when construction on the parking lot is anticipated to begin. Director Porter stated that at the previous meeting, the Board authorized starting the process by getting drawings, etc., and construction would likely begin early next year.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner Brault stated the Committee also discussed the Smart & Associates study that was prepared regarding the Park District’s internal risk management. The Committee went through the report in some detail and highlighted areas of improvement. Staff also prepared a response to the Smart Report which included the corrective steps already taken to date. The Committee concluded that the report will be used as a benchmark over the year on how the risk areas detailed in the report can be corrected and improved. Commissioner Brault also stated that the Financial Planning & Policy Committee meetings will now be held on third Tuesday of every month.
 
Parks and Recreation  -- Committee Chair Wolff stated the Committee met on August 20. Under Managers Reports, Kathy Bingham stated that most of the summer programs are completed although extension camps were still running. Preparations are taking place at the CRC for the fall season. Some tile work is currently being done at the CRC but there were some delays with the carpeting so this work will not be completed until later in the year, probably Thanksgiving week. Plans are moving forward to relocate senior programming to the Mallinckrodt Community Center in October.
 
Bill Miller reported that the beginning of the summer was good at the lakefront but the inclement weather occurring since mid-July has hurt business. Rough water, rain and high bacterial counts did close swimming at the beaches on various occasions and unfortunately happened mostly on the weekends.
 
Under New Business, staff reported that the dedication for Mallinckrodt Park was delayed until October. Weather had delayed progress on the park construction so the target date of September 30 could not be met. There was a request from the YMCA for a campout on the weekend of September 22. The Park District allows one major camping program at the lakefront per year and that date is usually held in October. The YMCA was going to look for an alternate site and if unsuccessful, they may return for the October date. It was also reported there are some issues with the July 3rd  fireworks this year due to Sheridan Road construction. Because of budget cuts, Pace may be unable to run the busses from Edens Plaza to the lakefront. In addition, there will be no vehicular traffic because of the construction which could cause a parking issue in the area. This issue will be confronted in the coming months as to whether the Independence Day celebration will even be held.
Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve a license agreement between the Wilmette Park District and Youth Resources Foundation for use of the “Warming House” at Howard Park for the period of September 1, 2007 through August 31, 2009 and authorized the Director to sign the necessary documents.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the bid from Mr. David’s Carpet Service in the amount of $26,514.00 for the replacement of carpeting on the second floor of the Community Recreation Center.
 
Director Porter explained that this is Phase 2 of the project and that the entire project will be $15,000 below the budgeted amount.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Golf Operations – Committee Chair O’Malley reported that Mike Matchen and his crew worked extremely hard to get the course open again. Obviously, there was a lot of damage and many mature trees were lost. In addition, the driving range netting was damaged. With regard to rounds of play, the month of August experienced heavy rain even before the storm on August 23 which caused the course to be closed for most of the month. Plans are being adjusted to make the best of the situation.
 
Commissioner O’Malley stated that much positive feedback has been received about Open Kitchens and their winter schedule will be published soon. Commissioner Wolff suggested that because of the favorable response to Open Kitchens, the park district should publicize it as much as possible when the winter schedule is released. Commissioner Crowley added that the cost of advertising could possibly be split with them.
 
Commissioner Cohen questioned how long the storm rates at the golf course will be in effect. Director Porter responded that they are still in effect and he will discuss with staff on how long they will remain. He also stated that the trees are cleaned up at the golf course for the most part. However, several fairways are in poor condition which means the golfers are not getting the product they usually expect. Normally, the fall rates would be in effect and some aerifying work would be done. Because of the poor condition of the course, the storm rates will be in effect until further notice. Winnetka’s course and other courses further north are in better condition. The biggest problem concerns the fairways which remain in bad condition. The crew has been overseeding areas that are roped off. It will not be an ideal golfing environment for the most of the fall.
 
Centennial Operations – Committee Chair Miller reported that Centennial also had storm related issues. The tennis courts received about 1.5 inches of water but fortunately there was no damage. Centennial also lost electricity but operations were back to normal within a few days at the facilities. Tennis had a successful summer and class enrollment is up this year. Ice is currently in its fall programming schedule.
 
Commissioner Crowley asked for an update on the proposed ice rink in Northfield. Commissioner Miller responded that Winnetka may be getting some positive responses including $3 million in pledges. The Wilmette Hockey Association has received $250,000 in pledges. Discussions have taken place on postponing the deadline date. Commissioner Crowley asked what the effect would be on Centennial and Director Porter responded it appears there is enough demand so that Centennial would not be affected. Director Porter also pointed out that there has been some talk from our ice user groups that the revenues raised by ice are diverted to other activities such as Mallinckrodt or the swimming pool. Staff will relieve these concerns and confirm that Ice money is going back into the ice facility and would not be used for other areas.  
 
 
DIRECTOR’S REPORT:
 
Director Porter updated the Board on the storm related activities. First, the Mallinckrodt dedication has been moved back three weeks as a result of the flooding and will now be held on Sunday, October 21. The formal dedication will be held at 2 p.m. with a variety of activities scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. This is the kick-off event for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Wilmette Park District. The actual anniversary date is February 17, 2008. This dedication is part of the Centennial Celebration year and Mallinckrodt Park seemed like a good place to begin.
 
Director Porter also stated that with the storm damage crisis on August 23, he was very proud and pleased with staff’s hard work, especially Superintendent Lambrecht and his crew and Golf General Manager Mike Matchen and his staff. In addition, all of our facility staff pitched in and performed over and above what would normally be expected of anyone. For example, the ice at Centennial was in danger of being lost but staff was able to rent a very large generator which was hooked up to the compressors. The power came back after 27 hours but the generator was still instrumental in saving the surface on the ice rinks. Many trees were down and flooding was everywhere. The west parking area of Gillson was used as a staging area for the trees that were removed throughout the Village, not just trees from the parks. In addition to tree removal, staff had to deal with the issues of regular park maintenance and the golf course crew had to cut the fairways and greens in addition to the extensive amount of tree removal. As a result, Superintendent Lambrecht was able to find an outside tree removal contractor. Staff will be meeting with FEMA and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the Village to discuss what our overall damages would be. Early spending estimates are well in excess of $100,000 which will be spent specifically for storm related clean up, not counting lost revenue. A majority of that will be tree removal and disposal not covered by insurance. The Park District will receive business interruption insurance for Ice and we are attempting to get it for golf. With regards to structural damage, the generator at Ice and structural damage to the driving range netting, we will receive approximately $20,000-$25,000 in insurance claims. A total of approximately 200 park and golf course trees were lost. Mr. Porter also expressed congratulations to the Village of Wilmette staff for their work as well. In summary, it was a challenging situation but Director Porter stated he was very proud of the way staff responded. Also, all 12 of our rental sailboats were damaged but insurance will cover the equipment and we will also be covered by business interruption insurance. Repair parts were ordered but they have not yet been received.
 
Commissioner Cohen asked if there were any injuries. Director Porter responded that he heard about a small girl in Glenview who was in a car when a tree fell on it but she was not hurt. The Village of Wilmette experienced no known injuries.
 
 
UNIFINISHED BUSINESS:  
 
President Crowley opened the discussion on the issue of BP Amoco and Lake Michigan. It appears they have withdrawn their request for a permit discharge. Commissioner Cohen stated that because of BP’s action and in addition to all of the petitions sent from legislators and elected officials, she believes enough information has been brought to their attention. However, the Board could possibly consider sending a thank you letter to those who have taken action. There is also a letter from Charlotte Adelman in the Board packet which provides a list of resources if anyone would like to take action as an individual.
 
NEW BUSINESS:
 
Director Porter stated there is resolution included in the packet which deals with the fact that due to the storm there was one expenditure which exceeded the $20,000 bid limit. This storm occurred between the Board meetings and it became evident to staff that outside help was needed with the storm-related issues. This is blanket resolution which waives the $20,000 limit bidding requirement and authorizes staff to proceed and, if possible, to obtain two quotes. At this point, the resolution only applies to the tree removal services which will cost approximately $75,000-$85,000.
 
Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2007-R-11, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING AND RATIFYING THE EMERGENCY EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS WITHOUT COMPETITIVE BIDDING FOR MATERIALS, EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES IN CONNECTION WITH DAMAGE TO PARK PROPERTY AND BUILDINGS AS A RESULT OF A SERIOUS STORM ON AUGUST 23, 2007.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2007-R-12, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (COMED).
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to adjourn to executive session for discussion of the employment of a specific employee(s) of the District in accordance with Section 2(c)(1) of the Open Meetings Act.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Graham, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff;  voting No -- None. Absent – None.  Motion carried.
 
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.
 
 
The meeting adjourned to executive session at 8:45 p.m.
 
 
The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened 9:12 p.m.
 
 
Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Brault seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the August 13, 2007 Executive Session.
 
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O’Malley and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.
 
 
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:14 p.m.
 
 
MINUTES APPROVED ON OCTOBER 10, 2007