WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE 

BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT

HELD IN THE COUNCIL ROOM OF WILMETTE VILLAGE HALL


MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2005
_____________________________________________________________________

 

 

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 Miller called the meeting to order at  7:30 p.m.

PRESENT: President David Miller, Commissioners Jim Brault, Diana Cohen, Jim Crowley, Richard Marcus,  Henry Wolff, Secretary/Director Terry Porter

STAFF: Business Manager George Kush, Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht

ABSENT: Commissioner O’Malley

VISITORS: David Yablong, Dave Schmidt

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of November 14, 2005.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.   Absent --  Commissioner O’Malley.   Motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE:  President Miller acknowledged receipt of the following:

. . . E-mail dated November 24, 2005 from Dave Schmidt, 922 Cherokee expressing concerns about the condition of the golf course.

President Miller referred this correspondence to the Golf Operations Committee.

. . . E-mail dated December 2, 2005 from Cheryl Smith, 1121 Chestnut Ave. regarding issues at Langdon Park. 

President Miller referred this correspondence to the Parks and Recreation Committee.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Parks and Recreation -- Committee Chair Marcus reported that the Committee met on November 30th.  At that time, a request was reviewed from the Arts Guild to hold their annual Fine Arts Festival In Hibbard Park next summer on the weekend of July 15th and 16th.  After some discussion, the Committee approved the request.

Commissioner Marcus stated that staff presented a quick overview of the 2005 Lakefront Report.  It was noted that the first session of the Aquatics Camp was slow due to the cool weather the previous year.  However, the second session was much improved.  There was also an adult supervisor at the Sailing Beach this past year and it was agreed to continue that practice.

Commissioner Marcus reported that the Committee reviewed the proposed Lakefront Budget.  It was noted that staff had budgeted for a more average year as opposed to the busy season in 2005.  As mandated by the Financial Planning Committee, all fees were increased by at least three and a half percent.  With the fee increases and including transfers to the Capital Projects Fund and the Capital Reserve, the budget shows a net income of $36,648.  Commissioner Marcus noted that funds have been included in the Police Security Fund to cover the cost of off duty police personnel patrolling the overlook on weekends.  He also noted that staff stated that funds are required in the five year plan to replace the 25 year old play equipment at the beach as replacement parts are no longer available.  After discussion, the Committee agreed to recommend approval of the budget with the fee increases to the Board.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Lakefront Swimming and Sailing Fees as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Commissioner Brault pointed out that in the 5-person pass area, the fee increase for the resident is in the 10-18% range while the non resident fee increase is only in the 7-8% range.  In dollars, the resident family is paying $13.00 more while the non-resident is paying an additional $12.00.  He felt that this is putting the cost burden more on the resident and there should be some adjustment.

Extensive discussion followed regarding the overall philosophy and structure of the “fair share” fee system, which has been the pricing policy of the Park District.  President Miller stated that at some point, it is necessary to draw the line as far as fee increases for non residents so as not to discourage “fair share” usage by making it too expensive to use the lakefront and Centennial Pool. It has been the pricing philosophy to essentially double the fee for the non resident.  He noted that if you look at the 5-person pass fee at the Lakefront, the non resident still will pay more than double of what the resident will pay even with the slightly greater percentage increase for residents. He added that a good deal of the Park District’s revenue is derived from non residents and is planned for in the budget.  Commissioner Cohen added that non residents also spend money at concessions, for parking, etc., which is a good source of Park District revenue, and she would not like to discourage non resident usage by making the fees out of reach.  It was also pointed out that park land is a public trust, which is for use regardless of residency.

Superintendent Grisamore explained that the Lakefront has come to relay on non resident usage to a large extent in order to keep rates down for residents.  He noted that beginning in 2003, more of the burden was put on the non resident to support the operation.  Director Porter noted that the District is “walking a fine line” in non resident pricing and if the fees become too high, the volume of non resident usage could dwindle, which in turn would cause a decrease in revenue.

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to amend the motion to change the additional individual fee for a 5 person pass for a non resident to $14.00 per person.

By a roll call vote on the amended motion, voting Yes  -- Commissioners Brault, Crowley, and Marcus;  voting No – Commissioners Cohen, Miller, and Wolff.   Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion failed.

By a roll call vote on the original motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.   Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried.

Commissioner Marcus further reported that the Committee reviewed the proposed Recreation Fund Budget, which includes increases for wages and utilities as set forth by the Financial Planning Committee.  He explained that overall the fund is in good condition, but the fund balance remains below the targeted level and needs to increase.  Staff reported that costs in the Performing Arts area include a truck rental to move scenery for productions and that a leasing arrangement can be made which will reduce the cost on an annual basis.  After the third year of the lease, the truck can be purchased for one dollar. After Committee discussion, it was agreed that staff should proceed to negotiate a deal to lease the truck.  Commissioner Marcus also reported that the Committee discussed whether the relocation of the Senior Center to Mallinckrodt will increase participation.  Staff explained that it is anticipated that since Mallinckrodt is more centrally located than the CRC, and the facility will be within a building of residents who are potential users of senior services, participation should increase.  Commissioner Marcus also reported that the fitness center is doing well and money is included in the capital plan for upgrading some equipment.  The Committee agreed to recommend that the Recreation Fund budget be adopted by the Board as proposed.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Recreation Program and Summer Camp Fees as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Commissioner Cohen noted that the Park District summer camp programs average  costs are about $4.00-$7.50 per hour, which are very reasonable prices for child care.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff;  voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried.

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee met on Saturday, December 3rd at the Wilmette Golf Club. He explained that the first part of the meeting was the Annual Users Meeting. Several golfers were in attendance who made comments and suggestions with regard to the condition of the course, the Keep Pace program, the new irrigation system and fees.  Golf Operations Manager/Course Superintendent Mike Matchen and Golf Manager Dennis Callaghan were in attendance to hear the comments and to answer questions from golfers.

At the regular business meeting, the Committee reviewed the budget, talked about the condition of the course, and discussed the food service operation.  It was reported that rounds of golf for the current season totaled 41,000, which is an increase of 239 rounds played over the previous year.  It was felt that since the course was under construction for most of the season, this was a good result.  It was noted that the 18th green is now completed and that the new putting green will be open next spring.

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Golf fees as recommended by the Golf Operations Committee.

During discussion, it was noted that in addition to the mandated lesson fee increase of 3.5%, the only raise in the proposed 2006 fees is in the membership area.  It was stated that it is important to keep the greens fees competitive with the other public golf courses in order to attract players.  In response to a question from Commissioner Wolff, Commissioner Crowley explained that the golf fees are in line with the other public courses in the area. Commissioner Brault asked if it would be possible to make an adjustment to the non resident daily greens fee during the season based on gauging daily play.  It was determined that it would be unfair to make changes in the middle of the season when the fees have already been published, and it would not be a good move from a public relations standpoint.  Director Porter pointed out that the revenue from non residents is necessary to keep costs down for resident players.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried.

Centennial Operations – Committee Chair Wolff reported that the Committee met on November 14th.  The Committee reviewed the 2005 Pool Report and discussion was held on the need to remain fully staffed for the entire summer during the very hot, dry weather which was experienced and kept crowds down at times. Discussion was also held on the implementation of the “debit card” feature for season passes for the 2006 season.  The Committee felt this was a promising idea which should be implemented.  Commissioner Wolff further reported that the Committee reviewed the proposed 2006 Pool Budget and staff noted the increasing cost of natural gas, electricity and water.  It was also pointed out that the budget was predicated on a normal weather year. 

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Centennial Pool fees as recommended by the Centennial Operations Committee.

Commissioner Wolff commented that the proposed fees are still lower than the fees charged at many of the neighboring pools.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried.

Commissioner Wolff further reported that the Committee reviewed the 2005 Ice Budget.  He explained that the Ice operation would not meet its budgeted goal as a result of decreased ice usage in the summer in the rental and competitive areas. He noted that  discussion was held at the meeting on how to improve summer activity for next year.

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Centennial Ice Rink fees as recommended by the Centennial Operations Committee.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried.

Commissioner Wolff moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the proposed 2006 Centennial Tennis fees as recommended by the Centennial Operations Committee.

Commissioner Wolff commented that the Tennis operation has always been a good source of revenue for the District, and there seems to be an even greater demand for tennis instruction in recent years.

Director Porter stated that people seem to enjoy playing at Centennial and that staff has been very adept at assessing changing market conditions and making appropriate adjustments to the programs.  He added that the tennis operation has been the District’s most consistent performer over the years.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller,  and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried

Commissioner Marcus left the meeting at 8:25 p.m.

Financial Planning & Policy

Public Hearing re: Ordinance 2005-O-7  President Miller opened the meeting for a public hearing regarding the Tax Levy Ordinance.

There were no requests to comment.

President Miller closed the public hearing.

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2005-O-7, AN ORDINANCE LEVYING AND ASSESSING THE TAXES OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT FOR THE YEAR 2005 as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.

Director Porter explained that at the November meeting, the Board passed the Truth in Taxation Resolution, identifying the estimated tax levy increase for next year to be 2.1%, excluding the Bond and Interest Fund.  The tax cap allows a 3.3% increase.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioners Marcus and O’Malley.  Motion carried

 Commissioner Marcus returned to the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Real Estate Committee –  President Miller reported that the Real Estate Committee held its initial meeting prior to tonight’s meeting in the Village Hall first floor conference room.  He explained that there were three real estate requests on the agenda. Ms. Janice Lee and Mrs. Macaire Trapp both requested purchases of small parcels of Park District property, which are part of Shorewood Park.  The third item on the agenda was a request from Judith Yablong and Sam Judlo that the Park District support their petition asking the Village of Wilmette to vacate a 66 foot right-of-way adjacent to the property at 2447 Birchwood Lane and the Community Playfield with ten feet being sold to them and the remaining 56 feet being deeded to the Park District at no charge.  Ms. Yablong and Mr. Judlo’s petition had already been reviewed by the Village’s Plan Commission, which recommended denial of the request.  Ms. Yablong and Mr. Judlo subsequently asked for a continuance of the Village Board determination on this matter pending the outcome of the Park District’s decision whether to support the petition.

Director Porter explained that with regard to the property purchase requests, both parties realize that there is no support from the Committee.  However, they asked that the requests not be brought before the Board for a vote until the January meeting.  With regard to the Yablong/Judlo request for support of their petition to the Village, the Committee agreed that this is a Village matter and the Park District should not become involved in the request.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that the Ice Task Force met on November 28th.  Commissioners O’Malley and Wolff represent the Park District on the task force and representatives from the Wilmette Hockey Association, the Winnetka Hockey Club, the New Trier Hockey Association, and the Loyola Hockey Club were in attendance.  He explained that the group is aware that there must be major fund raising efforts on the part of all the associations involved.  Director Porter stated that there was discussion regarding the location of the proposed sheet of ice, parking requirements, the construction costs involved, the Park District’s possible contributions, and how the major ice users could work together to raise funds and equitably share prime ice time.  Director Porter noted that the Glenview Park District is in the process of working with a consultant on a cost analysis for another ice rink and will share the figures once they are available.  

Commissioner Wolff commended Commissioner O’Malley on how he conducted the meeting and the excellent interaction between all the parties involved.  Commissioner Marcus stated that he was present at the meeting and that Commissioner Wolff also did an excellent job of working with all the groups attending the meeting

It was noted during discussion, that due to constantly escalating construction costs, the window of opportunity for constructing a second indoor full size ice rink at Centennial Park is very short. If it cannot be started within the next year or two, it would not be feasible to consider this project.


NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2005-R-9, A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, APPROVING AN AMENDMENT TO THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT FLEXIBLE BENEFIT PLAN.

Director Porter explained that the Wilmette Park District participates in a Section 125 Flexible Benefit Plan.  This program allows employees to set aside a portion of their paychecks on a pre-tax basis for qualifying medical expenses or dependent care coverage.  There is a requirement that money set aside in a specific calendar year must be used in that same calendar year.  The proposed amendment in Resolution 2005-R-9 extends the period during which an employee may seek reimbursement for qualifying expenses for an additional two and a half months.  The change has no financial impact  to the Park District.  All dollars contributed to this program are employee generated.  The only Park District expense is a modest administrative fee which is paid to a benefits service.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2005-R-10, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (BY COMMONWEALTH EDISON).

Director Porter explained that periodically, large property taxpayers in the community file appeals to their assessments.  If the assessment appeal is in excess of $100,000, local units of government are given notice and have an opportunity to intervene in the pending property tax assessment appeal.  He noted that the law firm of Robbins, Schwartz, Nicolas, Lifton, and Taylor, Ltd. has represented the various local governments in New Trier Township in challenging these appeals.  The legal fees are then proportionately shared by the Village of Wilmette, School District 39, School District 37, New Trier High School, and the Park District.  Typically, the Park District  share of the legal expense is approximately ten percent of the total.   The loss of tax dollars to the Park District if Commonwealth Edison is successful in its appeal would be approximately $3,500.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2005-R-11, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (BY J. CLARKE BAKER & COMPANY).

Director Porter explained that the loss of revenue to the Park District from the J. Clarke Baker appeal would be approximately $1,300.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried

Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to approve the 2006 Regular Board Meeting Schedule as follows:  January 9, February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, October 9, November 13, and December 11 with the Annual Meeting immediately following the Regular Board Meeting of May 8, 2006.

Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Marcus seconded a motion to amend the motion to reschedule the December 2006 Regular Board Meeting to December 4th.

By a roll call vote on the amended motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion to amend carried

By a roll call vote on the original motion, voting Yes -- Commissioners Brault, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Absent – Commissioner O’Malley.  Motion carried

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

MINUTES APPROVED ON JANUARY 9, 2006