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 13, 2010
______________________________________________________________________ 

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 O’Malley called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.

PRESENT: President Dennis O’Malley; Commissioners James Brault, James Crowley, Darrell Graham, David Miller, Michael Murdock, and Henry Wolff; Secretary/Director Thomas Grisamore

ABSENT: None

STAFF: Superintendents Bingham, Bowen, Lambrecht, and Wilson; Communications Manager Donoghue


APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the August 9, 2010 Regular Board Meeting.

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


COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE:
President O’Malley acknowledged receipt of the following correspondence:

…. Letter with attachments from Richard Sobel requesting a change to the Park District policy requiring a photo ID for resident season passes at Wilmette’s beaches.

President O’Malley referred the correspondence to the Parks & Recreation Committee.

…. Four letters regarding the head golf professional situation at the golf course.


RECOGNITION OF VISITORS: None


APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Brault seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,708,011.85, 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, Crowley, Graham, Miller, Murdock, O’Malley and Wolff; voting No -- None. Absent – None. Motion carried.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:
Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Graham reported the committee met earlier this evening and discussed the five-year capital plan. Also discussed was the list of future major projects which the District is reviewing and when and how these projects would be planned. Among those projects are the golf master plan which includes drainage issues and upgrades to the course as well as other issues. The ice compressor at Centennial has had persistent problems and needs to be replaced within the next few years. Also discussed was the Irrigation at Community Playfield, the Lakefront Master Plan, and paddle tennis. No decisions have been made at this time but there was good discussion on these issues.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Commissioner Brault reported the Committee met on August 19. As a result of ongoing discussions on Wilmette Eagles football, there are now 68 players in the house league in 4-5th grade, the 6th grade has both flyweight and mid-weight teams, the 7th grade has one or possibly two lightweight teams, and the 8th grade has one heavyweight team with about 25 players. In general, the football program seems to be doing well. Discussion also took place on the roof at Lakeview Center which is deteriorating on the building’s perimeter so a bid proposal was approved but the Committee then agreed to defer the work until 2011 when both exterior perimeters and eventually the gutters can be replaced. Also discussed were the new improvements made at the Thornwood Park Tot Lot. Some of the neighbors raised the entire $10,000 for the piece of equipment they had requested which would have exceeded the District’s budgeted amount. The swimming season at the lakefront has concluded and it was very successful. The weather was terrific and it was overall one of our best years financially.

Director Grisamore added the roof replacement bid for Lakeview Center came in approximately $30,000 over our budgeted amount. As a result, the decision was made to re-budget the project for 2011.

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to authorize the Parks & Recreation Committee to begin public hearings on the viability and possible locations of a paddle tennis court facility.

Commissioner Miller stated discussion took place at the Financial Planning Committee meeting this evening on the public hearings to be held for the Lakefront Master Plan and on potential hearings for the Golf Course Master Plan as well as what is the actual purpose of public hearings. Are they just to determine if there is an interest in a project and/or is it a way to promote the project. Also discussed was the prioritization of the other capital expenditures that need to be completed over the next few years including the golf course and the compressors at Centennial Ice and if holding hearings for a paddle tennis facility would be detrimental for the hearings to be held for other projects. Commissioner Miller feels that before we determine if the District conducts paddle tennis hearings, the Board should at least set priorities for the District’s spending to determine if this project is a top priority or not and where it would be placed on the list of capital expenditures.

Commissioner Murdock stated he had not participated in a public hearing process before. However, he feels the Board and staff recognize there are some serious infrastructure issues needing to be addressed and that it would be virtually impossible to do the Gillson Park project without receiving public support through the form of a referendum. It may take over the next two or three years to decide what the District needs to do with some of the larger long-term issues such as the golf course. The paddle tennis situation is different and he sees the hearings as a better way for us to gauge interest, continue information gathering and then ultimately make a decision. He believes that hearings would provide valuable information that would be necessary prior to a Board vote on a paddle tennis facility.

Commissioner Graham stated he had a problem with conducting hearings for paddle tennis. A realistic assessment must first be made on whether there are enough funds to support the project and if there would be enough money to do the other projects that need to be done. After that is done then public hearings could be held to build a case for paddle tennis courts. Looking at the financial situation which was discussed tonight, he has very strong doubts that there will be enough financial resources in the future to support paddle tennis programming. In addition, there are some phenomenal assets that need to be improved including Gillson and the golf course so we need to move forward with the master plans and determine the timing of what needs to be done. After that we can take a look at moving forward on projects like paddle tennis. The hearings on paddle tennis could create a distraction for staff and create a public perception and expectation that the District will be building a paddle tennis facility when in fact we may not have the resources to do so. As a result, he thinks public hearings on paddle tennis under the current circumstances are not a good idea at this point.

Commissioner Brault disagreed with Commissioner Graham’s assessment in terms of the District’s financial picture. The District does not have enough information on what the golf course requirements will be and in terms of the Ice Rink it could take three to five years as was discussed at the Financial Planning meeting. When more information has been received, the consideration of paddle tennis would probably coincide with the process of receiving more information on the Lakefront and Golf. At that time, the data could be analyzed to determine if it would be prudent to begin a new project. However, we do not yet have that data. Once there is more information on the other projects that would be the time to decide where resources will be allocated. But until that additional data is available, we should proceed so that we are better informed on how we invest in the future.

Commissioner Graham stated that if the purpose of doing the paddle tennis hearings is just to determine public interest instead of promoting the possibility of doing this project that is a mistake. Part of the public hearing process is to promote the idea of paddle tennis and he believes the District is not in a position to do that in this economy while facing the other budget issues we currently have. We do not have the ability to make that type of commitment.

Commissioner Brault added that one of the reasons this item was on the agenda was because paddle tennis was previously considered as part of the lakefront plan. As a result, one of the designs of having this motion was to exclude paddle tennis from the lakefront plan. Commissioner Brault stated he would like to withdraw the motion since he does not think it belongs in the lakefront plan.

President O’Malley stated he felt the other commissioners had a good point about the timing issue. There is a punch list of major capital items to be completed and it is not known what the public wants and what type of funding there will be. In addition, there have not been a lot of paddle tennis proponents attending any of our Board meetings.  We have to figure out where we are with major projects for the next five to seven years. The key issue is the viability factor and we do not yet know what that will be and if it would be a self-sustaining entity where we could make money on an annual basis.

Commissioner Brault added he thought the initial paddle tennis survey indicated there was enough interest to do the project. Commissioner Wolff stated we currently have a very ambitious agenda for other major projects and with the poor economy being what it is and personal lives being affected by loss of jobs, we need to be responsible to the community and know what we are doing money-wise and prioritize judiciously.

The Board then agreed to vote on the original motion.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Crowley, Murdock, and Brault; voting No – Commissioners Miller, Graham, Wolff and O’Malley. Absent – None. Motion failed.

Golf Operations Committee – Committee Chair Crowley reported the committee met on Saturday, August 28. It was reported the summer was very hot and humid and there was also very heavy rains which unfortunately resulted in some damage on the course under the very hot sun. Now that the weather has cooled off, the course is recovering from the stress. Dennis Callaghan has resigned and has moved on. Jamie Locke has now taken over as interim head golf professional and we wish him well. The men’s and women’s annual championship tournaments were both played in September. The golf master plan was awarded to Martin Design Partnerships. Golf Course Architect Greg Martin visited the golf course on Saturday and spent a few hours touring the course and taking notes. Staff will be hearing from him in the near future. The Golf Users Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, October 9 so the September 25th regular meeting will be part of the October 9th meeting. Greg Martin will also be in attendance. Year-to-date, a total of 34,508 rounds have been played which is approximately 1,500 more than last year at this time.

Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Miller reported the Committee did not meet in August but will be meeting on Monday, September 27. Commissioner Murdock added that last year the Board decided to attempt to fully staff the pool until the end of the season. Last year unfortunately the weather did not cooperate so most residents were not aware that extra efforts and expense had been made to allow for extended use of the pool during the second half of August. This year however the weather did cooperate and staff heard many favorable comments from residents on being able to use the pool later on in the season compared to last year. Thanks go to staff for making sure our facilities could stay completely open longer than they have in the past.

DIRECTOR’S REPORT
Director Grisamore reported staff met last week with representatives from JJR regarding the Lakefront Master Plan. Terry Porter has agreed to be the Lakefront Commission Chair and a schedule was created that at this point appears to work for all parties involved. At the October 11th Board meeting the plan is to bring those residents who volunteered to serve on the commission to be formally appointed by the Board. The plan is to have two meetings, possibly on October 19 and 27, that will basically be planning and organizational meetings for the commission itself. Another meeting will be held on November 9 which will be a technical meeting with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers, IDOT, and all other groups who are involved in the project to update the commission on the rules and regulations that apply to the project. The first two public hearing workshops are tentatively scheduled for November 17 and 18. One will most likely be held at Lakeview Center and the other at the CRC. These hearings will provide an opportunity for public input on what people would like see at the lakefront and discuss possible problems and solutions. Staff is excited that this process is finally beginning.

The timetable for the Park District elections has been moved up since the last election which is determined by Cook County and the State of Illinois. The election for commissioners is set for April 5, 2011 and candidates can begin circulating petitions on September 21. The petitions must be filed at the Park District office with Judy, Steve or myself anytime between December 13 through 20. This is about a month earlier than the 2009 election. The required number of signatures on the petitions is based on the last election. As a result, for this election at least 67 signatures are required for Commissioners. The 2011 Candidate Guide is not yet available but should be ready from Cook County and the State of Illinois shortly. There are four Commissioner openings in the 2011 election.

Superintendent Lambrecht provided an update on the Thornwood Tot Lot playground which went out for bid and involved both staff and the neighbors. During meetings with the neighbors, they requested a specific piece of equipment they wanted to be placed in the playground which would have put the project over-budget. As a result, staff challenged them to raise the money and after about three weeks they were able to raise $10,000 for the requested equipment. Construction is scheduled to begin at the beginning of October and should be completed this fall if the weather remains cooperative and the rubberized surface has a chance to form correctly. The equipment is geared for older children and is somewhat more challenging.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS:  None


NEW BUSINESS
Commissioner Graham moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2010-R-7, A RESOLUTION PERMITTING PARK BOARD MEMBERS’ PRESENCE AT AND PARTICIPATION IN PARK BOARD MEETINGS BY VIDEO OR AUDIO CONFERENCE AND ESTABLISHING RULES FOR SUCH PARTICIPATION.

Commissioner Graham asked if this resolution pertained to just Board meetings or for committee meetings as well and Director Grisamore replied that the rules apply to all Board and committee meetings. Commissioner Brault asked if the rule that requires a vote at the beginning of meetings on whether or not to allow participation via video or audio covers just one meeting or does it cover a series of meetings. Director Grisamore replied that Board members must vote with a quorum present on whether to allow participation via video or audio at every Board and committee meeting.

Commissioner Crowley stated that this meant sitting members at the Board meeting could vote to not allow a commissioner to participate. Director Grisamore agreed that could happen but it is required by State law. Commissioner Crowley stated he believes that is a flaw in the law and counterproductive.


Director Grisamore explained that Exhibit A is an attachment to the resolution and considered part of the resolution. This exhibit contains the rules established by the legislature. Commissioner Brault noted that in a worst case scenario it could be used to put an item on the agenda to be voted upon and depending on who is calling in, could be used to manipulate a vote. Director Grisamore stated agenda items are prepared in advance so in order to add an item on the agenda at the meeting there needs to be five affirmative votes. Commissioner Murdock agreed that the law is flawed and that improvements could be made but our hands are tied. It is probably better to provide an opportunity for an absent commissioner to participate rather than not participate at all due to not being present at the meeting. We all agree that being present at these meetings is very important since it is part of what we have agreed to do as Commissioners. Board members certainly want to be present at these meetings and if you look at the attendance record we do attend regularly. However, when a situation does arise and we are unable to attend, we can now at least participate electronically.

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

Commissioner Brault moved and Commissioner Murdock seconded a motion to appoint Stephen P. Wilson as NSSRA Board Representative and Kathy Bingham as Alternate NSSRA Board Representative effective October 1, 2010.

Director Grisamore stated he is currently serving on the NSSRA Board and his term would normally expire on December 31, 2010. However, in discussions with NSSRA Board members and Executive Director Craig Culp, we felt it was extremely important that my successor be on the Board for their budget process which began at their last meeting at which Steve and I were both in attendance. Now Steve can be involved as NSSRA moves forward.

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


Commissioner O’Malley moved and Commissioner Wolff seconded a motion to adjourn to Closed Session for the purposes of review, approval, or release of minutes previously closed under the Open Meetings Act and for approval of the destruction of the verbatim audio recordings of closed sessions of the Board of Park Commissioners which took place not less than 18 months previously in accordance with Section 2(c)21, and for the discussion of the employment of a specific employee of the District in accordance with Section 2(c)1.

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


The meeting adjourned to closed session at 8:11 pm.

The Regular Board Meeting was reconvened at 9:13 pm.
 
Commissioner Miller moved and Commissioner Wolff  seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the Closed Session of May 10, 2010.


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


Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner seconded a motion to approve the destruction of the audio recording of the March 9, 2009 closed session.


There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 9:15 pm.

MINUTES APPROVED AS AMENDED ON OCTOBER 11, 2010.