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, DECEMBER 10, 2012
(*Change from Regularly Scheduled Meeting Time)
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.
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
STAFF: Superintendents Bingham, Bowen, Eppelheimer, and Lambrecht; Communications Manager Donoghue
VISITORS: See Attached List
2012 TAX LEVY PUBLIC HEARING
President Brault called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm and stated the meeting would begin with the Truth-in-Taxation public hearing and followed by the regular Board meeting.
Superintendent Eppelheimer reported the tax levy process began last August when each committee reviewed the 2013 proposed budget and determined what was needed to support the District’s finances. This hearing is required when the tax levy is 5% or more of the previous year’s levy. However, even though we are proposing less than 5%, it was decided to still hold a public hearing in the interest of transparency. The notice for this public hearing was published in the Wilmette Beacon on November 28, 2012.
Superintendent Eppelheimer stated the tax levy is comprised of several types of taxes – the tax-capped amounts, non-taxed-capped amounts, and amounts derived from funding ordinances such as debt issuances. The tax levy represents approximately 40% of the District’s total budget for revenue and 60% of that revenue comes from user fees which puts the District in an enviable position. The tax levy for 2012 to be collected in 2013 consists of $1,826,960 for general program purposes such as park maintenance and administrative support; $300,000 for recreation purposes such as special events and no-fee based recreation; $675,000 for tax purposes to fund the employer’s portion of Social Security and Medicare; $770,000 for IMRF to fund the employer’s portion of the retirement fund; $55,800 for security purposes to fund the employer’s portion security of park aides specifically at Gillson and Langdon; $470,000 for liability insurance for the District’s risk management program (including property and liability insurance and workers compensation claims); and $20,000 for auditing purposes to fund the annual review of the District’s accounting records and its audit report.
The above amounts make up the aggregate tax levy which is capped at 5% or what the CPI was for the prior year which results in a 2012 tax levy of 3% for a grand total of $4,117,760. The non-tax capped funds include special recreation with a total of $501,250 for special recreation purposes which includes the District’s contribution to NSSRA. It also funds some of the District’s costs for compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) which brings the levy’s sub-total levy to $4,619,010 for a decrease of .13% from the 2011 extended levy. Lastly, the District will levy $3,792,260 for principal and interest payments on bond indebtedness to retire debt issued as part of its funding capital improvements. In summary, the total 2012 levy is an increase of $294 in the 2011 extended levy and we are at an inflation rate of 0%. The 2012 levy is also approximately $92,000 greater than the 2011 levy ordinance which was in place a year ago for an increase of 1.1%.
Commissioner Murdock highlighted that this year’s levy was at 0% which was the same percentage as last year’s levy. President Brault asked if any visitors would like to comment on the proposed tax levy for next year but there were none.
Commissioner Crowley moved and Graham seconded a motion to adjourn the 2012 Truth-in-Taxation public hearing of the Board of Park Commissioners.
By a roll call vote, voting Yes – Commissioners Benz, Brault, Crowley, Graham, Murdock, Olvany, and Shelly; voting No -- None. Absent – None; Motion carried.
President Brault called the regular Board meeting to order at 7:15 pm. Director Wilson conducted the roll call and a quorum was established.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Commissioner Olvany asked that a correction be made on page 5 which stated the Financial Planning Committee had been discussing whether to increase the Park District’s unfunded liability level or not. He stated the term “unfunded” should be changed to “funded”. He also indicated that in the last sentence of that same paragraph the word “industries” should be changed to bond rating “agencies”.
Commissioner Shelley moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the November 12, 2012 Regular Board Meeting as amended.
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:
President Brault reported the Board had received approximately 70 pieces of correspondence related to the Lakefront Master Plan and a summary will also be attached to these minutes. President Brault then called the Lakefront Master Plan Public Hearing to order and asked that those who wish to speak be respectful to the Board and to the other visitors in the audience. He added that the District’s lakefront consultants were also in attendance in case the Board has questions about the plan. Once the public input portion of the meeting has been completed, the Board will compile the questions that were asked and pass them along to the consultants for their review.
RECOGNITION OF VISITORS:
Jamie Gilson, 777 Michigan Avenue, stated the professional consultants have provided six alternate lakefront plans and each one of those had several choices. They then asked what the public wanted. However, what the consultants do not know is what absolutely must be done to make our parks safe and accessible and we would like to know how much that would cost since without that number how could the public make smart choices. She also asked what were the District’s priorities, what is the budget, and where is the money coming from. She added people want to keep it simple with lakeshore parks that we can safely swim, sail and stroll in its natural beauty. We also want to stay within the budget and we trust that as our elected representatives that is what you want too.
Jerry Gilson, 777 Michigan Avenue, stated he was here on March 12 and he considers this meeting to be an extension of that previous meeting which focused on lakefront fencing. The most troubling aspect of the proposed fencing is that it is too soon after the meeting in March to consider another fence on the beach. The new fence would mirror the old, would be twice as long, would restrict public access, and would also change the natural beauty of the beach. The proposal indicates an access point every 50 yards which would be very inconvenient and for many people an obstacle for the disabled. He believes the District should stick with their mission statement which is to create and maintain open space. He then suggested that the Board cancel the fence proposal as soon as possible.
President Brault replied that while looking at the potential improvements at the lakefront for almost two years, the Board has not made any decisions on what to do or what not to do. The goal of this meeting is to hear feedback on these specific proposals. A fence is being considered but there would be no reason to redo our fence discussion from last March.
David Terman, 1420 Sheridan Road, stated he has lived here for almost 45 years and remembers when there was no parking lot on the beach and only sand all the way back to the bluff. We can’t go back in time but that parking lot was the first encroachment to the beauty of our lake. He is dismayed that this is the third time within a year he has come before the Board to stop them from doing something. He thinks all of those previous proposals share a certain characteristic which is that they are grandiose and expensive although we don’t yet know what the costs will be. The proposed plans are out of the touch with the needs of the community and its desires. He understands that something needs to be done with the beach house but to increase the number of buildings on the lakefront and the park is greatly misplaced and almost as bad as building a parking lot on the beach which had been done 40 years ago. We are not Coney Island and we do not know how much money these elaborate plans will cost.
Howard Sandroff, 1008 Greenleaf, stated he has lived in Wilmette for 40 years and had also addressed the Board three different times this year as well. He agrees with Mr. Terman that the plans are grandiose. He doesn’t mind paying taxes or supporting public activities as long as they don’t send him to the “poor house”. He also hasn’t seen any information on how much this would cost. If the District is so flush with their budget then they should return money to the taxpayers. If the beach is eroding or some other problems occur, he has no problems with the District addressing these issues. However, the current plans are way out of context with what we want here in Wilmette. Also, the idea that we are conserving the natural environment by putting up a fence doesn’t make sense. However, h does fully support the Board’s ideas about putting in bathrooms and being compliant with the ADA.
He concluded by saying that whether not Commissioner Murdock’s actions were legal or not, they were immoral and unethical. Commissioner Murdock replied that he fundamentally disagreed with Mr. Sandroff. President Brault stated that if Mr. Sandroff wanted to talk about what the Park District does and about our plans, the Board would welcome those comments. He added, however, that if Mr. Sandroff had comments about issues unrelated to tonight’s Park Board meeting, this was not the forum.
Marcia Heeter, 910 Tenth Street, stated her biggest concern is how little exposure we now have to the natural world and how everything seems to be made out of concrete and electronics. She values Gillson and Langdon Parks and walks there throughout the year. She participated in a bird walk and was amazed with the birds who fly through there when migrating. In regard to fences around the dunes, we need to remember that this is a natural land and we don’t need fences. She is asking that the District protects Gilson and doesn’t build too many things.
Tom Scanlan, 1005 Chestnut, stated he and his wife have lived in Wilmette since 1982 and their family enjoys all three beaches. As a family, they reviewed the plans and also wondered what the cost was for this project since it’s difficult to make a valid decision without providing a cost. It seems that the Board is not going through the same process as it has done with other budgetary issues such as the Centennial ice rink chiller and the golf course renovation project which he is knows were necessary. He understands there is $5 million in the reserves – $2.5 million for ice skating and another $2.5 million for the golf course. Also, the paddle tennis court is budgeted for $1 million which is in excess of the reserves. He believes the community needs to know if there will be major funding requirements for the lakefront project since that would mean the District would have to go to a bond issuance and then decide what is really necessary.
President Brault stated that the Board made a conscious decision to first ask the public for their input to make sure that any plan would be based on public input and would result in the Board having a better idea of the potential cost. Some good feedback has already been submitted and the consultants will then put a plan into place which will allow us to put cost numbers for the potential redevelopment of the park and make an informed decision about ultimately what we should do with our lakefront.
Commissioner Murdock stated in response to Mr. Terman’s comments that no one on the Board is advocating for a fence or for a larger Lakeview Center or pier. At this point the Board wants to hear from the community about what they think is important. He also agrees that before any decisions were made the Board wants to better understand what the costs will be. As reported earlier in the meeting, this will be the second time in four years that the District has not increased the levy and we are not advocating anything right now. President Brault added that the process of the golf course redevelopment entailed that the Board and staff identify the deterioration of certain elements of the course and decided it was time improve it to keep it from deteriorating even further. We also had discussions with our primary users about what the community would like to include in the renovation of the course. Our consultants came back with five different options on what to include and each of those were based on input from the users. We looked at each of those options which represented a wide range of costs. The Golf Operations Committee and ultimately the Board selected an option thought to be the best fit for the users and what the costs were relative to making the overall allocation. The process for the lakefront plan will be very similar to that which means the Board will receive input first and once the costs are determined there will be one final debate with input from the public related to those improvements that will be recommended.
Fred Fitzsimmons, 2229 Crestview Lane, stated he has lived in Wilmette for 34 years his family have been users of the District’s facilities and services during that time. He thinks the Board has done a very credible job during this two-year process and agrees that we do need to know what the community wants before putting a price on it. He pointed out that President Brault mentioned all correspondence received was available but there were only the summary sheets. President Brault apologized and informed everyone copies would be made available at the end of tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Fitzsimmons also stated he has been in support of Gillson and Langdon Parks and agrees with needed refurbishments to make it a 50-year facility. He attended all of the Lakefront Commission meetings over the course of two years but feels the public should be made aware that those facilities lie unused for seven to nine months a year while still incurring maintenance and upkeep costs but without generating any revenues. What has been presented to the public does not address those issues of year-round use but rather it focuses primarily on three to four months of use during the summer. For example, people must understand that the beach house was built in 1972 and is now outdated and not ADA-compliant. There are currently 700,000 to 800,000 users of the facilities at this point in time compared to 1972 when there were considerably fewer people. The landscaping reforestation, flood control, parking lots, roadway repairs and the beach house, etc., will all have to be done regardless of the two-year plan. He would also like to know if the Board would be prepared to request our consultants to come back to us with a fourth option which would include many of the things that were supposed to be included in the third option but were never included.
Bill Arnold, 751 Michigan Avenue, stated he is a member of Centennial Tennis and a Wilmette resident for 38 years and has lived on Michigan Avenue for 30 years. He learned how to sail on the beach and has had a Hobie Cat located there. His daughters learned how to sail, play tennis and ice skate and it’s wonderful to live across the street from Gillson Park. He now has five grandchildren living in Wilmette and they use both Langdon and Gillson Parks. The parks are a part of our lives and he doesn’t think of it as a revenue facility. It is just a part of Wilmette for families and tradition. He then asked for a plan that reflects his feelings and that his children and their children will have that same wonderful experience in that beautiful place.
Mary Ann Sandroff, 1008 Greenleaf, stated she has been a resident for 40 years and had owned the Center of Creative Dance in Wilmette for 40 years which she recently closed. She feels there is a big separation in what the Board is saying and what is happening since the Board has not changed anything and we are hearing the same thing over and over. She wishes that the Board would open up their minds to hear more of what the people want and what the Board wants.
President Brault replied that the purpose of this process is to help identify what we should do at the park, prioritize those items and then do them. Whatever we come up with it may be last over a period of time so the feedback people are providing tonight may be incorporated into the plan.
Peter Baugher, 1310 Sheridan Road, stated he lives close to Langdon Park which is passive and quiet – just 3.5 acres in size. It seems the main message from those who live near Langdon is to keep it that way and that it should be respected and preserved. One of the ways to preserve it would be to enhance the views to the lake and there had been some clearing done this past fall which would accomplish that objective. Benches that would allow people to look at the lake would be wonderful and to the extent possible, possibly cutting down invasive plant species to enhance the natural environment on the bluff. Putting in grasses would also be a plus. In addition, it would be possible to improve the roadway down to the beach so that it curved and was a little smoother and more reliable. This could be done in a way that would not be too expensive and be aesthetically pleasing to everyone. The other items that would enhance the park would be to replace the old playground equipment with new equipment. Another improvement would be the shed where the lifeguards go in the summer and there are portable toilets in the park as well. If it were possible to incorporate a small structure into the bluff so it is out of sight, we could accommodate both lifeguards as well as bathroom facilities and allow us to get rid of the portable toilets. All of these are relatively minor and inexpensive changes that would enhance the park. There is no need for an elevator and installing stairs to the beach is not a good idea since ice would build up on them. There is also no need for an automobile drop-off. His principal purpose is to keep it as beautiful as it is now for as long as possible. He also hopes to protect the District’s budget and the decision-making process. He and his wife Robin sent an email to Director Wilson a couple of months ago and he will provide the Board with another copy in case it had not been received.
Edie Rowell, 1625 Sheridan Road, stated she is a 37-year resident and applauds the efforts the Board has made to work out what would not only be best for today but also for the next 30 years from now. She has concerns about the finances and suggested that the Board focus on what is needed on a five- or ten-year plan as well as potential deterioration and repair on the buildings along with just the minimum that you would need for safety and ADA compliance. Then when a wish list is finalized and you get to the point where you can identify the cost, the plan could be brought back to the residents and include those dollar amounts. There would also be a listing of what our unfunded pension liabilities and other expenses are for the rest of the items which would help the public to have a more informed trade-off in terms of what we might want.
Jay Heidekat, 1013 Linden, stated he has worked as Great Gillson Camp’s Assistant Director for the past three summers and a counselor for four years before that. He would like to think he’s speaking on behalf of the over 300 children who spend their summers at Gillson each year as well as staff members who also enjoy the park. He thinks the current playground as it currently stands is very popular with children and has some unique aspects that newer playgrounds are missing. In addition, one of the plans is to remove the sand volleyball court from the grass area adjacent to the park but there are courts already there. The campers and park patrons like it as well so he thinks we should keep that. If anything should be added he suggested putting in a basketball hoop since the one they have now is basically in the street and works only half the time. He is generally opposed to the fence but is in favor of the bathrooms.
John Bowman, 321 Washington, stated a couple months of ago there were hearings at the lakefront wherein plans were presented which were very helpful. He then asked if a list could be created of the requirements that we are trying to address. There had been a discussion of putting a list on the web site of items to be replaced but he hasn’t seen one yet. As a result, he is now asking for a list of these items that will need to be addressed over the next three to five years in order to have an idea of what the alternatives are and if they would be something we would really need to address.
Richard Huszagh, 1619 Elmwood Avenue, stated he has lived here for most of his life and has been in his current home for 26 years. They often walk to the beach which is a part of their regular routine. He thanked the Board for what they do and is willing to assume that everyone is working hard to do what’s right for everyone which could involve some trade-offs. He would be in favor of a low-impact plan especially in regard to the man-made elements. The vision he would prefer would be something that preserves the natural beauty of the park which it already has now. There will obviously be some necessary buildings that will need to be upgraded to be in line with current laws and he is hoping that can be done without causing a clash with the natural beauty of the lakefront. He suggested the Board look at those needs that are more pressing and then carefully come up with a solution which is consistent with the beautiful harmony of that location. If it is really necessary to have a parking garage, he hopes it would be done on the lowest possible profile in terms of visual impact. The annual parking fee for the swimming beach lot could also be raised so that the traffic needs are accommodated. If that has to be done he hopes it would be done with minimal impact since people don’t generally like multi-level parking garages. He is not in favor of cutting down trees along the lakefront if it is not necessary since the birds really enjoy them. In terms of the fencing, his sense is that people do use the sand paths and they haven’t been overrunning the grass that is already there. We also are hearing more about the notion of “nature deficit disorder” since the new generation has grown up with all of their electronics. As a result, this natural area would be an antidote to that. He then urged the Board to maximize the ability of the park to fulfill that wonderful function.
Annie Wolter, 1134 Oakwood, thanked the Board for providing residents to have a voice in this process. She grew up in Wilmette and has a 40-year history with Gillson Park working over the years as clean-up staff, concession worker, camp counselor, and now as parent. She thinks our village is unique in that it has an undisturbed lakefront for everyone to enjoy. As residents of Wilmette it is our responsibility to preserve and maintain the wild, natural character that we treasure. As the Lakefront Master Plan evolves, she would like to see reforesting of the uplands, restoration and expansion of the wildflower gardens and hedges, and possibly a nature center housed in the current Lakeview Center. She and her children have enjoyed springtime bird walks in Gillson over in the past and they would love to see some nature trails or a foot path which would facilitate a quiet reflective stroll. We have already lost enough old-growth trees so we don’t need any additional enhancement of the views unless it consists of the removal of invasive species. She hopes that the Board takes these thoughts under consideration as work on the master plan continues.
Karen Glennemeier, 719 Laurel, stated she is a biologist with the Audubon Society and is knowledgeable about migratory bird habitats. She has heard many people talk about how important the natural areas are. There are some very simple ways we could help people to enjoy those natural areas such as the footpaths mentioned earlier surrounded by wildflowers and maybe some informational signs about migrating birds. It would also be nice to have a small nature center in the existing Lakeview Center. Ideas like this would capitalize on what is already there and maybe help people out a little more.
Barb Clayton, 1321 Maple, stated she moved to Wilmette in 1984 because of its park district and the library. She has also been active in the tennis program for years and enjoys walking in Gillson Park along the harbor and cross country skiing in the winter. They have always walked down the rustic paths to Langdon Park and it would be nice to leave those paths alone. She was shocked when the Lakeview Center was built which she felt was too costly with limited results. If Lakeview Center has to be renovated anyway, why not make it a really “swank” facility like the golf course clubhouse. She enjoys sitting on the overlook so maybe a coffee shop located there with a view of the lakefront along with a second floor for the summer campers would be nice. Another option would be to enclose the Wallace Bowl to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus during the performances. She also endorses Go Green Wilmette’s stance on the lakefront and it seems to her that it is very complicated so maybe the hearings could be broken down into separate meetings to address specific items such as the buildings or cart paths.
Bob Kersh, 126 Woodbine Avenue, stated he has lived in Wilmette for 25 years and he strongly supports the volleyball court in the sand. He also thinks that in terms of the memorials at the park, there needs to be a better process whereby it is used for educational purposes. He doesn’t think there are many tree names on the memorials and would like to know which trees in the park are particularly unique and maybe point out which trees should be there but are not.
Mary Shea, 735 Michigan, stated she is a 35-year resident and hopes the Board received her detailed letter this week. She had been an observer for two years at the Lakefront Commission meetings so is somewhat objective about the plan but did not actually vote. Twice during the commission meetings, staff stated they would like to see diagonal parking on the upper drive. Although no vote was taken, they urged the Lakefront Commission to consider this option and described it as having minimal impact. She believes the road belongs to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) so she doesn’t know how that would work. She feels that diagonal parking on the upper road would not be minimal. In fact, it would require doubling the width of the road to accommodate twice as many cars. Residents have spoken three times – in 1982, 1991 and 2012 – about no more cars being allowed in the park. She is not in favor of more cars on the upper roads since it would not serve anyone’s purpose except for weddings and the harbor patrons. It would also destroy the roadway on either side which she doesn’t think is commensurate with the District’s mission statement.
Bob Bernstein, 803 Michigan Avenue, thanked the Board for their public service and it is deeply appreciated. He also congratulated the Board on the tax levy tonight which shows we are moving in a fiscally responsible manner. He stated it seems the Board is making life a little harder that it needs to be. He understands wanting to get input in order to obtain cost structures but it seems the general issue concerns regulatory and safety issues, environmental issues, and aesthetic issues. He felt if the Board keeps putting off talking about the costs it is essentially insulting the group as a whole and we know that this is not the Board’s intent. Lastly, the park is there year-long and outdoor sports in the winter would be great if those areas could be expanded.
Glen Noren, 222 Linden, stated after listening to the comments tonight it seems that everyone is saying keep it natural. I agree with that but no one has really mentioned that the parks are also supposed to be fun. He thinks there is a way in these plans to maintain the natural environment but there does need to be improvement in the park, especially the beach house. We should be able to develop some ideas and incorporate them in to the plan.
President Brault closed the public hearing session and stated that even though the hearing is closed for this evening, it does not mean we do not want to continue hearing from the public as we move through this process. As discussions continue, the Board still wants the public to provide feedback. The plan is comprehensive with many components but we still want to know what people like or don’t like. At this point, we are charging our consultants to come back with a comprehensive synthesis and then ultimately come back to the Board who will then make a final decision.
Director Wilson stated the next steps will consist of the Board closing this phase of public input and then turning over all the information with direction to the consultants. The target date for receiving the synthesis from the consultants is sometime in late spring of 2013 and then there will another round of public input meetings on the specific plans and cost estimates.
President Brault asked for comments from the Board.
Commissioner Crowley stated he agreed with Mr. Baugher’s comments about possible improvements at Langdon Park and on how the park should be laid out. Commissioner Crowley also stated we need to come up with a “must-have” list of items to be done such as ADA requirements, functional bathrooms, etc. His suggestions have provided a helpful starting point as the Board continues to review the options.
Commissioner Olvany stated that relative to the visitor who indicated people were struggling to figure out how to provide feedback to the Board, he has also struggled with it as well. Even with this environment of electronic media and meetings, it still seems people are frustrated when trying to provide input in terms of what does or does not make sense. As a result, maybe we need to have a better plan of communicating with the public. He then asked those in attendance to not get frustrated with this process but continue to provide feedback to the Board in order to keep the public dialogue alive.
Secondly, Commissioner Olvany agrees that it would be extremely helpful to get a better handle on what some of the different components would be. He would also like people to think of the project in a much longer timeframe as opposed to short-term solutions. The lakefront is a treasure of this community and we understand that this is important to everybody.
Commissioner Benz thanked everyone for participating in these meetings. He stated he has also been listening closely to those who are frustrated with the process. In addition, it would be nice to hear from people we have not yet heard from. As a result, it is hoped that residents who have not yet provided input will do so at our upcoming meetings.
Commissioner Murdock thanked everyone for attending tonight’s meeting and recognizes people have expressed frustration about the proposed fence among other items. However, we are not advocating any particular element of this plan at this point but rather we are listening to what the public has to say. However, we are still in the information gathering stage and as Commissioner Benz pointed out the Board has heard frustration that the process hasn’t gone quickly enough. He agrees this has been a lengthy process and asked that the public provide a little time for the Board and consultants to synthesize all of the feedback. He believes that a potential plan would be returned in the spring.
Commissioner Shelly thanked everyone for providing specific information which has been very helpful. She agrees with Commissioner Murdock that the Board is not advocating a lot of these items in the plan at this point. However, we continue to want feedback as to what people want or do not want. She also agrees with Commissioner Crowley that Mr. Baugher did a great job of talking about Langdon Beach. There are also other specific items that need addressing such as the parking issues and beach house. We are still in the very early stages of trying to figure out what people want. After this next step, the Board will be able to start bringing more concrete information back to the public.
Commissioner Graham stated it is critical with these large projects that people come out to express their views about a plan that is long-term in nature and one that should be done over a period of time. As President Brault mentioned we would look at those projects that absolutely need to be and then make the improvements in phases. In order to have a comprehensive plan we need to make sure everything fits together in a long-term plan with other aspects of the park. To that end, the Board has tried to come up with a plan which would address the necessary repairs to the park as well as to enhance the park through natural or recreational additions to the park. The Board is also very conscious of their fiscal responsibilities but we also want to increase the benefits of the park to the public which is what this plan is about. He agrees with looking at the plan in stages and hopes the consultants come up with a plan like that. Also, there will be people in the community who may disagree on some items such as parking so some concessions may be need to be made. Overall, the public’s comments have been very helpful to us.
President Brault thanked everyone for their input and civility. In terms of the length of time for this process, he believes it is critical to evaluate everything in great detail. He also recognizes that the money spent is actually the residents’ money so the Board wants to continue gathering input on how to spend that money which will be ongoing for the next several months.
President Brault stated the Board should consider whether or not we want additional formal input before charging the consultants with the next step in the process. Commissioner Crowley thought that we should let the consultants do their due diligence with the information gathered tonight. He would also like to see more direction on what the “must have” items are as well as a thorough process on the costs would be for new bathrooms, etc.
Commissioner Graham stated he liked the idea of having a plan and a cost structure in place for the different phases. We could also then put that on our web site for the public which would help in determining what we need to do.
President Brault stated at this point there seems to be a consensus in regard to the next step in the process which is to charge JJR with incorporating those items offered during public session as well as comments from the Board.
The meeting adjourned for a brief recess at 8:30 and reconvened at 8:35 pm.
APPROVAL OF VOUCHER LIST:
Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve the Voucher List in the amount of $4,318,724.74, 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 Board’s Committee-of-the-Whole met with staff on December 5 to review and discuss the District’s tax levy and budget but no decisions were made at this meeting. The tax levy was presented this evening and the Bond & Appropriations Ordinance will be presented at the January 14, 2013 Board meeting. There is also an action item tonight to approve a resolution calling for a BINA public hearing (Bond Issue Notification Act) in regard to the District’s issuance of debt. In addition, there is a property tax appeal resolution which we see only when a property owner is seeking a reduction in their assessment in excess of $100,000. Under New Business, the 2013 Board Meeting Schedule was included for approval and the Board meetings are typically held on the second Monday of each month.
Financial Planning & Policy Committee – Committee Chair Olvany reported Financial Planning did not meet this month. However, as mentioned earlier, there was a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting which included a lengthy review of the 2013 budget, tax levy, and all of the funding aspects of the budget for the coming year. As a result of that meeting, there are two motions included for approval.
Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve Ordinance 2012-O-10, AN ORDINANCE LEVYING AND ASSESSING THE TAXES OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT FOR THE YEAR 2012 as recommended by the Financial Planning & Policy Committee as well as the Committee of the Whole.
Commissioner Olvany moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2012-R-8, A RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE MANNER OF ANY REDUCTION OF THE AGGREGATE EXTENSION OF THE 2012 TAX LEVY OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY ILLINOIS, IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE PROPERTY TAX EXTENSION LIMITATION LAW as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.
Commissioner Murdock moved and Commissioner Graham seconded a motion to approve Resolution 2012-R-9, CONSIDERATION OF A RESOLUTION CALLING A PUBLIC HEARING CONCERNING THE INTENT OF THE BOARD OF PARK COMMISSIONERS OF THE WILMETTE PARK DISTRICT, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS TO SELL $950,000 GENERAL OBLIGATION TAX PARK BONDS as recommended by the Financial Planning and Policy Committee.
Director Wilson explained this motion is strictly for authorizing the notification and does not authorize the issuance of any money. Commissioner Murdock added we would not need a hearing if the District decides to issue debt certificates for the golf course.
Parks & Recreation Committee – Superintendent Bingham reported the Parks & Recreation Committee met on Monday, November 19. Staff distributed the Lakefront Report and reported on the survey which went to the sailors in November. So far a total of 170 responses have been received. Staff is preparing to make recommendations for the sailing beach operation and making a decision on the stand-up paddle boards. The Committee asked staff to prepare alternatives for the sailing beach and to have that information for the next meeting on January 21, 2013. Staff also distributed the camp summary and reported on Halloween Happening which took place at the end of October. The event was a huge success with 730 children registered and when including their parents, the number totaled over 1,000. Evaluations were sent to all participants and the results were very favorable. The first Mother and Son event was held at the CRC with 15 mothers and their sons participating. It was reported the basketball league season began and the football season ended. Tackle football coaches were surveyed to gather post-season feedback and evaluations will be sent out to the participants. Early Childhood held an open house on December 1.
The annual Thanksgiving dinner for seniors was held at Mallinckrodt with 70 attendees and 20 volunteers. This is annual dinner has been sponsored for more than 20 years by the Wilmette Rotary Club. Liz Cox has been hired as our new Assistant Manager at the fitness center and she began a couple of weeks ago. Representatives from Williams Architects were present at the meeting and presented a review of paddle tennis hut facilities. Staff was then asked to prepare more details for the Committee to review including what our fee structure would potentially look like.
Commissioner Murdock asked if staff could seek feedback from the flag football coaches as well. There had been a very large group of sixth graders and it was hoped there would be a team for seventh graders.
Commissioner Olvany stated that as part of this survey process has anyone asked the tackle football coaches if they know how to evaluate children who may have head injuries since there is currently a lot of focus on concussions and their long-term effects. He added this is true for lacrosse as well. Superintendent Bingham stated staff has been providing information to the coaches in terms of being aware of any symptoms. Carol Heafey and her staff are currently evaluating an online certification program which also addresses behavioral issues in addition to concussions and this will be definitely incorporated into our program. These coaches also work on a voluntary basis.
Golf Operations Committee – Committee Chair Crowley reported the Committee met on Saturday, December 8, and included the annual Golf Users Meeting. Golf Course Architect Greg Martin presented a hole-by-hole presentation and a lot of good feedback was received from those in attendance. The Committee also talked to the users about sharing 25% of the cost of the redesign via a per-round surcharge for five years and totaling approximately $500,000. The users seemed to be generally in agreement with that option. In addition, rounds of golf for the year were up as were pro shop sales.
Centennial Operations Committee – Committee Chair Graham reported the Committee met on November 26 and focused mainly on the pool schedule for next summer. Over the last couple of years there had been multiple discussions on how to open up the main pool during the 5-7 pm time period. Discussions were held with the various users of the pool and several proposals were created. After several meetings, the Committee and staff ultimately came up with a final schedule which has been well received by the community and the different user groups including the New Trier Swim Club (NTSC), general residents, the Evanston Masters, and lap swimmers. The new schedule was distributed to the press and is also posted on the District’s web site.
Commissioner Murdock stated he had heard from some lap swimmers who were disappointed about a few of the changes and he hopes the new schedule will not negatively impact too many people. When beginning this process and following it through to the end, it turned out to be a worthwhile endeavor. Several residents expressed their concerns about losing their open swim time between 5 and 7 pm but their fears were alleviated due to each group giving a little bit which resulted in a cooperative “buy-in” from all of the different groups.
President Brault added that the pool schedule process was “Solomon-like” in nature and was very well done. Commissioner Shelly pointed out that the general public will now be able to swim in the 50-meter pool until 9 pm which is later than their previous 8 pm close.
OLD BUSINESS: None
Commissioner Benz moved and Commissioner Olvany seconded a motion to approve 2012-R-10, A RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING INTERVENTION IN A PENDING PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT APPEAL (73 INDIAN HILL ROAD).
Commissioner Crowley moved and Commissioner Murdock to approve the 2013 Regular Board meeting schedule as follows: January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, and December 9 with the Annual Meeting schedule for May 13 immediately following the Regular Board meeting and directed the Secretary to publish the notice.
President Brault stated this is the Board’s last meeting of 2012 and he wanted to thank staff and his fellow Commissioners for all of their hard work. It had been a very interesting year and he wished everyone a very happy holiday.
There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
MINUTES APPROVED ON JANUARY 14, 2013.