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, JUNE 14, 2004
_____________________________________________________________________

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

PRESENT: President Henry Wolff, Commissioners Cecelia Carlson, Diana Cohen,  Jim Crowley, Richard Marcus, David Miller, Dennis O’Malley, Secretary/Director Terry Porter, Treasurer/Business Manager George Kush.

 

VISITORS: Eric Anderson (Harris Bank Public Finance Division), Jill Aybar, Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Crowley seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 10, 2004 Regular Board Meeting.

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

 

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

. . . E-mail from Robert LaMantia, Deputy Chief, Wilmette Police Department, to CRC Manager Kathy Bingham dated May 20, 2004 complimenting CRC staff on their response to an emergency situation which occurred at the community center on May 18th.  Deputy Chief LaMantia noted that he was at the fitness center as a patron at the time.  He stated that he couldn’t be more impressed with the staff’s efforts in that situation.  He also noted that the staff is very professionally trained and friendly to the patrons.

Commissioner Carlson noted that she was in the senior center on the day of the incident and she can attest that everyone, including several older patrons, were escorted out of the building by staff safely and quickly.

President Wolff extended his congratulations and thanks on behalf of the Board to CRC staff.

. . . E-mail dated June 10, 2004 from Christopher Bischoff, 114 Central Park  reiterating his support for allowing dogs at the Mallinckrodt property. 

President Wolff noted that this issue will be discussed later in the meeting and that Mr. Bischoff had been notified and invited to attend the meeting.

.  . . Letter dated June 8, 2004 from Kathleen Wright, New Trier 2004 Graduation Party Committee Secretary thanking Director Porter and Park District staff for allowing the use of Gillson Park for the graduates’ Sunrise Party.  She noted that the event was a great success.

. . . Letter dated June 1, 2004 from Richard Nopar, 3923 Fairway Drive regarding his concerns with the appearance of the south side of the proposed golf clubhouse.

President Wolff referred the letter to the Golf Operations Committee.

. . . Copy of letter dated May 25, 2004 to State Senator Jeff Schoenberg from President Henry Wolff and Past President Richard Marcus thanking him for all his efforts in helping the Park District to receive the $2 million grant for Mallinckrodt from the Department of Natural Resources.

Commissioner Cohen noted that Senator Schoenberg has been a true friend to the Park District and the north shore community.

. . . Letter dated June 11, 2004 entitled “Grievance” from Jill R. Aybar, 105 5th Street regarding the cancellation of her daughter’s solo in the ice show due to missing dress rehearsal, and outlining her concern with the way the situation was handled by ice staff.

Commissioner Cohen explained that the letter was reviewed by the Centennial Operations Committee when they met prior to the Board meeting.  She stated that after discussing the letter and reviewing letters regarding the issue from two other parents who agreed with the staff’s decision, the Committee agreed that they supported the staff in the way the issue was handled.

Commissioner O’Malley stated that he wished to recognize the New Trier Girls Soccer Team, which is most likely the greatest soccer team in Illinois State history.  He noted that many of the girls on the team came out of the Wilmette Park District program.

President Wolff extended the Park District’s congratulations on behalf of the Board. 

 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:

President Wolff recognized Jill Aybar.

Ms. Aybar stated that she has been a resident of Wilmette for eight years and is a long time user of Park District programs, both professionally as a skating instructor and as a parent and resident.  She referred to her letter which had been delivered individually to the commissioners at their homes prior to the Board meeting and stated that unfortunately, the situation could not be resolved nor reversed since the ice show was past.   However, she felt it important that the Board be aware of serious problems in the ice program before the Park District is negatively impacted.

President Wolff noted that Ms. Aybar had arrived at the meeting shortly after her letter had been discussed.  He explained that the Centennial Operations Committee had reviewed the letter and concluded that they support staff’s actions with regard to this issue.  He also noted that this is a personnel matter and not in the purview of the Park Board. 

Ms. Aybar responded that she was very disappointed with the way that staff has handled the situation.  She felt that her daughter and the other girl who was also denied her solo in the ice show were unfairly punished because they did not attend the dress rehearsal and that they had followed all the other rules.  In her opinion, actions such as these could impact the Park District financially and the Park Board should be concerned. 

Commissioner Cohen pointed out that show dates and rehearsal schedules were published well in advance, including a requirement of attendance at all rehearsals unless granted an excused absence by the skating director.  Therefore, everyone was subject to the same rules and it would be unfair to the other skaters if the rules were relaxed for certain individuals.

After discussion, the Board agreed that even though they were sympathetic to the girls’ disappointment in not being able to perform their solos in the ice show, they supported staff’s decision in the matter.  President Wolff thanked Ms. Aybar for attending the meeting and discussing the issue.

 

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List  in the amount of $1,286,707.72, 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 Carlson, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Financial Planning & Policy – Committee Chair Miller reported that the Committee met on June 7th and discussed three topics, which were the golf clubhouse and course projects financing, the possibility of doing a Request for Proposals for auditing services, and the impact of the delay in tax receipts this year. The majority of discussion pertained to the financing of the golf clubhouse and course improvements.

Commissioner Miller asked the District’s financial advisor, Eric Anderson of the Harris Bank Public Finance Division, to outline the financing proposal for the golf clubhouse and course improvements, which had been discussed at the committee meeting.

Mr. Anderson explained that this process was begun last summer shortly after the clubhouse fire.  At that time, it was already anticipated that a new clubhouse would require some additional financing.  Once the insurance settlement was determined, he  met with the Financial Planning Committee and  Park District staff to investigate ways to  restructure debt to accommodate the additional funding necessary to complete the projects. Mr. Anderson noted that all commissioners had received a letter, including several charts and graphs, which outlined in detail how the financing would be accomplished.

Mr. Anderson stated that the financing option he proposed would include issuing a debt certificate over a reduced retirement period, which would become due in 2008.  This shorter retirement period would reduce cost and give the Park District access to its non- referendum bonding tax levy authority three years sooner.  Interest only payments would be made through 2007 from Park District operating revenues.  He explained that these interest-only payments could be funded through a surcharge on golf course greens fees as well as other Park District revenues through 2007.  It was also recommended that a portion of the debt be issued in the form of Capital Appreciation Bonds (CAB’s), which would reduce the amount of interest only payments required from Park District funds.

Mr. Anderson explained that in order to shorten the debt certificate retirement period, it would be necessary to restructure some existing debt.  Specifically, this would entail a partial refinancing of the 2001 pool referendum bond issue without extending the term of the pool debt, and a full refinancing of the 2003 refunding bond issue.  He noted that this option is time sensitive and would require the Board to adopt the necessary ordinances no later than the August Board meeting.  Mr. Anderson stated that he felt this plan takes into consideration not only the Park District’s current financing needs, but where the District will be in twenty years time.  The plan also does not sacrifice the District’s approach for minimal additional taxing of Wilmette residents.  He added that the 2004 bonding program schedule as proposed will accommodate any debt that the District may issue, up to the District’s remaining referendum bonding authority without disturbing the District’s stated debt management goals.  He noted that Chapman and Cutler has reviewed the plan and has stated no objection.

During discussion, it was noted that there is a possibility under this plan that there will be some funds which will not have to be used for the golf clubhouse and course improvements.  Mr. Anderson stated that the District would have the ability to use these funds for other capital projects not related to the golf operation. 

President Wolff thanked Mr. Anderson for his excellent presentation and complimented   the creative financing proposal.

Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Carlson seconded a motion to authorize Harris Bank Public Finance Division to prepare the necessary documents for a partial refunding of the Series 2001 bond issue, full refunding of the Series 2003 bond issue, and issuance of Series 2004 debt certificates in the amount of $4,995,000 as recommended by the Financial Planning & Policy Committee.

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

Parks and Recreation --  Committee Chair Marcus reported that the Committee met on May 18th.  At that time, the license renewal with the Youth Resources Foundation for use of the Warming House at Howard Park as a teen drop-in center was reviewed. 
Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Crowley 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 January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2006 and authorized the Director to sign the necessary documents as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Commissioner Cohen stated that this is a very worthwhile endeavor and offers an excellent  service to the community.  Commissioner Marcus agreed and stated that the staff who runs the facility are very dedicated and work very well with young people.

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

Commissioner Marcus reported that staff advised that the roof over the west portion of the building at Howard Park is in very poor condition.  This is the section of the building which was used to house the refrigeration equipment for the old outdoor ice rinks.  The system was a brine system and as a result, the steel structure and roof deck of the building are completely rotted out.  Staff estimates that the roof can be replaced in house for about $6,000, which is substantially less than the $40,000 it would take to replace the steel structure and deck.  The Committee agreed to review the budget in the fall to see if there are resources available to replace the roof.  Commissioner Marcus noted that currently the football and softball programs are working out of a trailer because the building is so wet.  He added that staff has also taken precautions to protect the electrical service for the  building that controls the field lighting.

Commissioner Marcus further reported that Lakefront Manager Betty Duguid reported that the Sailing Beach opened on May 15th and staff continues to dig out the lowest row of board boat racks.  She noted that the beach grading was much more extensive this year than in past years, that Lakeview room rentals have been very good, that the dog beach use is very good, and that permit sales are ahead of last year.

Commissioner Marcus also reported that CRC Manager Kathy Bingham reported that the majority of camp registrations are doing very well, that the building is very busy with many room rentals, and that the theater has been very busy with rentals, including a group renting for two weeks in August   Ms. Bingham also reported that IAPD has a grant program available to establish fitness programs for 10 to 17 year olds.  The deadline for the $3,500 grant was June 1st and staff was working with Fitness and some outside groups to put together a program including exercise, nutrition, and health.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2004-O-3, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING AN ORDINANCE REGULATING THE USE OF THE PARKS AND PROPERTY OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT as recommended by the Parks and Recreation Committee.

Commissioner Marcus noted that at the meeting, staff and the Committee discussed the current Park District dog ordinance which prohibits dogs in the parks with the exception of the Dog Beach and an area adjacent to West Park.  It is the staff and committee  recommendation that the ordinance be amended to conform more closely to the Village’s ordinance regarding dogs on public property as the Police indicated that if the ordinances were compatible, they would be willing to enforce the rules in the parks and issue tickets when necessary.

Commissioner Marcus explained that the ordinance would require that all dogs must be restrained by a substantial leash not exceeding ten feet and must be in the control of a competent person, that no person may walk a dog in the parks unless such person possesses and uses a sanitary and practical means for the prompt  removal of the dog’s excrement, and that dogs are not allowed in building interiors, tot lots, the Aquatic Center, the swimming & sailing beaches, at the golf courses, and at Gillson Park during Park District special events, such as the Independence Day Celebration.

Commissioner Cohen expressed concerns about allowing dogs in all of the parks with regard to safety for other patrons and children playing in the parks.  She asked how many dog bites are reported yearly in the community.  Director Porter stated that the Police told him that there are reports of approximately 20 to 22 dog bites per year.  However, there is no way of knowing how many bites go unreported.  Commissioner O’Malley stated that he feels that the only reason for changing the ordinance is the enforcement issue, and in his opinion, that is not a good reason.  President Wolff stated that he agrees with Commissioner Cohen and Commissioner O’Malley that the ordinance should not be changed.  Commissioners Carlson and Miller noted that even with the current ordinance prohibiting dogs in the parks, there are dogs illegally in all of the parks and the Park District does not have the authority to issue tickets and levy fines.  If the ordinance were changed, Park District staff would at least have the ability to specify the rules to offenders, and if necessary, call the Police to issue tickets.  Commissioner Carlson commented that the restrictions are excellent with regard to where the dogs would not be allowed. 

Commissioner Cohen suggested that the motion be amended to include a provision that the matter be reviewed after one year.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to amend the motion to include a provision that the amendment to the dog ordinance be reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Committee at their June, 2005 meeting.

By a roll call vote on the motion to amend, voting Yes -- Commissioners Carlson, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

On the original motion as amended, by a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Carlson, Crowley, Marcus, and Miller; voting No – Commissioners Cohen, O’Malley, and Wolff.  Motion, as amended, carried..

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Crowley reported that the Committee met on June 5th.  A letter had been sent to residents of the Fairway Drive/Bunker Lane area inviting them to the meeting to review the plans for the new golf clubhouse and planned course improvements.  Three residents attended the meeting and their comments were positive.

Commissioner Crowley moved and  Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve the insurance settlement in the amount of $615,885.00 for business interruption/extra expense related to the golf clubhouse fire and authorized the Director to sign the necessary documents subject to review by counsel.

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

Commissioner Crowley further reported that Golf Superintendent Matchen explained that one of the well pumps was broken and needed emergency replacement.  Replacement would include enlarged piping.  Two quotes were received, and the Committee approved the low quote of $24,825 for the repair work. Golf Manager Dennis Callaghan reported  that rounds of play despite the poor weather of the last four weeks are up about 1,400 rounds. Commissioner Crowley also noted that the new golf website now has 2,000 names on the list. The site is being used to fill up times which are available and has proved very beneficial.

Commissioner Crowley stated that since the clubhouse fire last year, it has been a very difficult situation for golf course staff.  He said it has been a tremendous job to pull everything together and he appreciates the way everything has been handled and commended the staff for their professionalism, hard work, and excellent attitude towards the patrons.

Centennial Operations – Committee Chair Cohen reported that the Committee met on May 10th.  She noted that Mr. Rick McMahon of  the Wilmette Hockey Association was in attendance at the suggestion of Commissioner O’Malley to answer any questions relative to WHA ice time needs during the discussion of an expanded ice facility.

Commissioner Cohen reported that Ice/Pool Manager Terry Juliar reported that sales of ice for the summer competitive program are ongoing. He also noted that two additional guest professionals will be bringing their students to Centennial this summer.  With regard to the 2004 pool season, two employee orientations were held. Minor repairs and painting were completed prior to filling the pools.

Commissioner Cohen further reported that Superintendent Grisamore explained that staff has been directed to secure letters of commitment from user groups relative to usage if a third rink were constructed. He explained to Commissioner Carlson, the new Committee member, that the previous Committee had authorized Commissioner O’Malley and Director Porter to meet with potential contributors to discuss the cost of a new facility, while at the same time staff was to solicit commitments from ice users.

Terry Juliar reported that letters had been received from the Wilmette Hockey Association, Loyola, New Trier, Winnetka Park District, Winnetka Youth Hockey, Skokie Valley and Hockey North America regarding their ice needs.  He explained that the estimated hours and income for a new ice sheet which would be used from September through May for a total of 2,232 hours would be $513,360.

Commissioner Cohen further reported that Superintendent Grisamore and Terry Juliar had begun work independently on estimating expenses for another rink and the numbers being generated indicated that a third rink could be profitable if money for construction were provided by a source other than the Park District. However, if the District tried to finance the facility itself, it would run a significant deficit due to the additional debt repayment.

Following discussion with Rick McMahon of the WHA on the need for additional ice, Commissioner Carlson asked where a third rink could be located. Superintendent Grisamore showed her the updated site drawings done last July which indicated the facility could be located in the south parking lot with new parking added north of the pool to replace that lost by the new rink. Commissioner Carlson felt the neighbors and gardeners might take offense to the location of parking and the loss of green space. 

Commissioner Cohen explained that the Committee directed staff to prepare estimated revenue and expense projections for a new facility for the next meeting. Commissioner O’Malley stated that he felt that user groups could begin to generate support to cover the cost of a new rink.

During Board discussion, Commissioner Miller suggested that underground parking could be considered, which would eliminate the problem of the location of the additional parking and the lost green space.  Commissioner O’Malley noted that the user groups will be putting together a financing package for the additional ice, and will bring it to the Board within 60 to 90 days.

 

MALLINCKRODT PROPERTY:

Commissioner Marcus reported that the negotiations with the Village and Oculus-Pickus regarding the sale of the building are going very well.  He anticipates that there may be a contract within the next week or two.  He noted that he had participated in a telephone conference with Village Manager Mike Earl, Trustee George Pearce, Community Development Director John Adler, the Village Attorney, Park District Counsel, Director Porter, and representatives from Oculus-Pickus and their attorney, which had been very productive.  There are still some issues which require resolution, such as how parking will be structured and the build out of the Park District space.  Commissioner Marcus noted that Oculus-Pickus is aware that the Park District has to have the money in hand by December 31st in order to repay the taxable bond issue.

Director Porter explained that the zoning process has to be completed between now and December 31st.  Negotiations are continuing and Director Porter stated that he feels that all parties are moving toward resolving the remaining issues.  Director Porter added that he feels it is time to schedule public hearings regarding the development of the open space at Mallinckrodt.  He explained that President Wolff recommends that the Parks and Recreation Committee should conduct the hearings.

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to authorize the Parks and Recreation Committee to conduct public hearings regarding the park land portion of the Mallinckrodt property.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Carlson, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.

After some discussion, it was agreed to schedule the hearings for June 28th and July 19th.  Commissioner Marcus stated that even though the Committee will give the Board full reports on both hearings, he hopes that all the commissioners will attend these meetings to hear what the community has to say first hand. 

Commissioner Marcus moved and Commissioner Miller seconded a motion to authorize the staff to prepare documents requesting proposals for design services for the park land portion of the Mallinckrodt property.

Commissioner Cohen stated that she thought the process was going to be as was done with Maple Park by starting with a blank page and filling in the recommendations and desires of the residents who participate in the public hearings. In other words, leaving the design of the park to the community, which has proven to be a very successful approach.

Superintendent Lambrecht explained that the idea of hiring a planner would not be to design a plan prior to public input, but to be fully aware of public comment prior to any proposed park design.  The consultant would not submit any plans for the open land prior to the hearings, but could be present at the meetings to hear what the public has to say, and proceed from there using the input which has been received to come up with a design. 

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

President Wolff stated that the community owes a debt of gratitude to Commissioners Marcus and Miller and Director Porter for all of the time and effort they have put into seeing the Mallinckrodt project through.  He added that he and the rest of the members of the Board appreciate their work and also the special efforts of Superintendents Grisamore and Lambrecht and Business Manager George Kush.

 

DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Porter reported that today was the first day of the summer camp program, and everything went very well.  Also, the pool opened full time.  All the summer activities have gotten off to a good start.


NEW BUSINESS:

Commissioner Carlson moved and Commissioner O’Malley seconded a motion to approve the bid of Sheffield Press, Hammond, IN in the amount of $61,973 for printing of four 2004-05 Leisure Time Guides and the Golf/Tennis Lottery Guide.

Commissioner Carlson explained that Sheffield Press has been the Park District’s printing firm for several years and has always done an excellent job.  She noted that their bid came in at $6,000 below the budgeted amount.

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

Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2004-O-4, AN ORDINANCE ADOPTING PREVAILING WAGE RATES TO BE PAID TO LABORERS, MECHANICS, AND OTHER WORKERS PERFORMING CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC WORKS FOR THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes -- Commissioners Carlson, Cohen, Crowley, Marcus, Miller, O'Malley, and Wolff; voting No -- None.  Motion carried.
Commissioner Carlson moved and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to appoint the law firm of Friedman and Holtz to serve as ethics adviser to the Wilmette Park District.

Commissioner Carlson reported that she had attended a seminar regarding the new ethics ordinance mandated by the State of Illinois, and she had found the seminar to be very informative.  Friedman and Holtz will act as adviser to the Park District if there are any ethics violations allegations.

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

Director Porter explained that as part of the ordinance, the District must appoint an ethics commission to conduct any hearings which may be necessary.  He noted that the commission will consist of three people.   Park District Counsel  recommends that the commission consist of individuals in the community who are familiar with governmental activity, but are not sitting members of the Park Board.  He noted that the ethics commission does not have to meet on a regular basis.  The only meeting requirement is in the event of a need to hear an ethics violation allegation.

After discussion, it was agreed that the Board will begin the process of seeking members for the ethics commission, possibly beginning with former commissioners.  The plan will be to appoint the commission within the next 60 days.

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

 

Minutes approved July 12, 2004