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, AUGUST 13, 2012
7:30 P.M
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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 Brault called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Executive Director Wilson conducted the roll call.

PRESENT: President James Brault; Commissioners Gary Benz, James Crowley, Darrell Graham, Michael Murdock, John Olvany, and Shelley Shelly; Secretary/Director Stephen Wilson; Assistant Secretary Judy Ostrem

ABSENT: None

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

VISITORS:  Karl Sheffer, 110 Fourth Street; Clare Lane, Wilmette Beacon; Dave Drees, 5558 N. Lakewood Avenue, Chicago; Holly Gilson, 510 Central Avenue.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the July 9, 2012 Regular Board Meeting.

By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, Olvany, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

COMMUNICATIONS & CORRESPONDENCE

… Email from Myrna Siegel regarding dog owners who do not leash their dogs when in the parks.

… Letter from Stasha Rosenthal requesting a park bench be installed at the Locust Park tennis courts. President Brault referred the letter to the Parks & Recreation Committee.

… Letter from Nada Becker of the Wilmette/Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce thanking the District for assisting with this year’s Summerfest.

… Letter from NSSRA thanking the District for its support of their Bowl-a-Thon which raised over $42,000 for the purchase of a 14-passesnger accessible vehicle.

… Flyer from the editor of Make it Better magazine which highlighted the Centennial Aquatic Center as being one of the “Best of 2012” places to swim in the Chicago area. 

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS: None

APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:

Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $1,909,621.70, 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 Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, Olvany and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT:

Director Wilson reported the summer is always a very busy time of year for the District. Our summer camp season had over 5,000 enrollments in all of our various camps. Most of those camps concluded on August 3 and he is pleased to report it was a safe and fun-filled summer for our campers. There are still some specialty and extension camps running up to the start of the school year but the bulk of the enrollments concluded on August 3. In your packets and under Parks & Recreation there is an action item for the renewal of the lease with the Warming House Youth Center at Howard Park. This organization utilizes our building which we lease to them. The primary changes are that they had historically had programming for only high school age children but have since gradually moved to include junior high school age children as well which has now been added to the lease agreement to make it official.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) that were sent out for submissions of architects to design the paddle tennis facility at West Park came back on August 6. Seven submissions were received and each one basically outlined their credentials, provided examples of previous work they had done, and enclosed some photos as well. Staff now plans to go through the seven submissions, narrow them down to four, present them with a program for the building, and have them come up with light designs. The next step would be to present the finalists to the Parks & Recreation Committee at its September meeting. Superintendent Lambrecht and I will be reaching out and looking for further input as we move forward.

Staff met today with the architects from Smith Group JJR about the Lakefront Master Plan and the three alternatives. Director Wilson stated he and Superintendents Bingham and Lambrecht met with them to review the rough sketches of the three alternatives. As expected, there was a wide range of possibilities and we look forward to bringing those to the public hopefully during the weeks of September 17 or October 8 depending on everyone’s schedule. We would like to conduct our public meetings in the same way as we did with the first round of meetings when staff initially gathered input from the public from our two public hearings – one located on the east side and one on the west side of Wilmette in order – in order to reach as many people as possible so that we can work on creating a master plan.

The firm of Smith Group JJR is the same company the District engaged to do the Wilmette Harbor engineering study for us. Staff is close to receiving a final version of that draft and it is hoped to present a final report to the Board within the next week or two.

President Brault asked how we planned to disseminate the public meeting information beforehand. Director Wilson replied staff will attempt to follow the same blueprint as we did before and gather as much as we can on the alternatives by utilizing graphics and narratives that will be posted on our web site, emailed to our database, and direct mailed to all households in Wilmette inviting them to the meetings. In addition, staff is always available to answer questions during the process. Notices will also be going out to the local newspapers.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Olvany reported the Financial Planning Committee did not meet in June but did meet on July 23 for the first meeting of our new Committee. Discussion took place on the resuscitation of the Ouilmette Foundation. This foundation has been in existence for a number of years but has been dormant for awhile. As a result, the Committee discussed potentially restarting this foundation and putting it together with members of the community in order to potentially raise funds for various projects and scholarships. Staff will be returning to the Committee with ideas on how to move forward.

Also discussed at the meeting was the 2011 tax levy. Commissioner Olvany stated he had made copies of a couple of graphics that Superintendent Eppelheimer put together for this meeting. The first pie chart indicates the District has levied on average a 6.66% increase of everyone’s tax bill in Wilmette which is consistent with the last five years at 6.6% and 6.8% over that time period. The second part of the additional handout is a document that provides tax levy history. Essentially, the assessed value of the real estate declined by 10% over last year based on what Cook County has indicated. The dollars that this Board has asked for of the community increased in the neighborhood of 3.95% over that time period which is basically the document called the Tax Levy Extension. Cook County then takes our dollar amount that we asked for, looks at all the different properties and then comes up with everyone’s individual change in the amount of their taxes from one year to the next. Our final tax rate was .451 which is the highest level the District has had since 2003.

Commissioner Olvany stated the last items the Committee discussed were the debt payment schedule and discussion of a bond issue for the autumn of 2012. Our debt payment schedule declines rather rapidly in 2015 and the Committee talked about the potential for issuing bonds which would be part of the debt service extension base. Basically, the Committee looked at alternatives between one and three years to pay for some of the capital projects that are on the agenda. The Committee will be hearing back from staff about recommendations on different types of structures over that time period in order to finance some of their capital projects that are currently on the table.

Commissioner Olvany stated discussion also took place on the first half financial results for the District and he wanted to commend staff on their efforts. The District had a spectacular first half of the year and seven out of our eight different operating units (Pool, Tennis, Golf, Ice, CRC, Fitness, Gillson and Older Adults) operated at a surplus for that first half of the year in the amount of $5.2 million. The eighth unit – Older Adults - was budgeted to not operate at a surplus but ended up being close and was within $5,000 of making its budget. Overall, a fine job was done by staff.

Parks & Recreation Committee – Committee Chair Murdock reported the Committee met on July 16 and a fairly lengthy conversation was held on paddle boards. Some residents were concerned that rules were now being imposed upon them. There were also some questions on whether District employees were issuing tickets which was not the case. However, there is still some ambiguity about who was actually out there. There was also a question on whether parents could be on paddle boards with their children and if more than one person could be allowed on a paddle board at the same time.

Discussion also took place on the camps that have now concluded with the exception of some extension camps. It was a very successful camp season with a tremendous amount of participation again this year. We talked about the soccer program and that the deadlines had been pushed up. Also discussed was the south overlook including the changes made this past season which seem to be working quite well. It appears most users of the overlook have pretty much adjusted to the new procedures instituted.

Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the license agreement between the Wilmette Park District and the Warming House Youth Center for use of the warming house at Howard Park for the period of September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2014 and authorize the Director to sign the necessary documents.

Commissioner Murdock asked why the lease agreement is for only two years since he assumes the organization is going to be there for a long time. Director Wilson replied the reason the lease agreement is for two years is that it has always been two years. However, staff can explore extending it after discussing the pros and cons but for right now it keeps everything flexible for both the District and the Youth Center. President Brault suggested making it a five- or ten-year agreement and then giving either party the right to cancel it after every two years. Commissioner Murdock added the Warming House does provide a wonderful service to our community so maybe they have an idea on how long this lease should run. In addition, he is open to some sort of an adjustment if the other commissioners are as well. President Brault stated that for now we will be approving the text of the agreement as is.
 
By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, Olvany and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.

Golf Operations – Committee Chair Crowley reported the Committee met on Saturday, August 11. Rounds of play as of August 3 total 25,000 vs. 21,000 last year at this time. Total revenue at this point is up to $1,469,374 compared to $1,269,735 last year. Pro Shop sales are up slightly at $127,000 this year compared to $108,000 last year. Driving range sales currently total $77,000 compared to $62,000 last year. Both the Junior Golf Academy and the Tennis/Golf camp have ended for the summer and everyone did a great job. The Tiny Aces program for younger children had 104 participants and the program is doing amazingly well for only its second year. A total of 25 trees have been taken down so far as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer and an additional 40 trees have also been scheduled to come down.

Special thanks go to our ladies golfers at the course and their Guest Day was held with 101 players participating. The green and cart fees totaled over $4,000 so it was a job well done. It is always nice to see that kind of revenue come into the facility in one day.

President Brault stated it looks like the rounds were about the same as two years ago but our revenue is up significantly with the same number of rounds. Commissioner Crowley stated that Superintendent Bowen did an analysis for the Committee before the meeting. It showed that our rounds were down slightly from a two-year average but up 9% compared to that. Rounds were also a bit down as of August 3 but the revenue is up.

Commissioner Olvany stated that one theory for that is because there has not been any rain and the course has only issued a few rain checks. When someone uses a rain check, it counts as two rounds but we are only getting revenue out of one of them. Commissioner Brault asked if staff thought it was a change of either non-resident vs. annual or even resident play. Commissioner Crowley stated he thought the overriding key is what Commissioner Olvany has been saying in that he thinks there may be some skewing on the short numbers in some other areas as well as residents and non-residents. President Brault stated he thought that since it was a perfect weather year it would be the best time to assess our pricing when it’s not thrown askew by things like that. Commissioner Crowley agreed this would be a good year to look at pricing. 

Centennial Operations – Committee Chair Graham reported the Committee met earlier tonight prior to the Board meeting. Discussion took place on our tennis camps which had increased enrollment this year thanks to staff. The locker rooms should be completed by August 26 and the Tennis Lottery will be conducted on August 25. It was reported pool usage is up this year because of the good weather. Also discussed were the Starguard ratings the pool received this summer for safety. The three audits resulted in a 5-star, 4-star and 4-star for the season. The 4- and 5-star ratings put Centennial in the top 10%-15% of all Starguard ratings. Also discussed at the meeting were the end-of-season preparations at the pool. With many lifeguards returning to school at the end of the season, staff has worked hard to bring in new lifeguards so they can keep the pool open through Labor Day compared to other pools in the area. Also, a lot of pools in the area only have weekend hours whereas our staff tries to have weekday hours as well.

Commissioner Graham reported discussion also took place on the next Centennial meeting when the Committee and staff will discuss pool usage for next year and review different scheduling issues that have come up at other meetings. Commissioner Shelly asked if it would work to send out an email to the members this year to see if they plan on returning. Director Wilson replied that staff has planned to do so.
 
OLD BUSINESS

Director Wilson stated there is on the agenda a ComEd lease agreement which was deferred from last month. However, it still needs to go through some more attorney review before bringing it to the Board.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:  None

NEW BUSINESS:  None

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 7:54 p.m.

MINUTES APPROVED ON SEPTEMBER 10, 2012.