Wilmette Park District
Committee of the Whole
Date: November 12, 2013
Location: Community Recreation Center – Room 106
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Attendance: Board Members: B. Abbott, G. Benz, J. Brault, J. Crowley, J. Olvany,
S. Shelly and A. Wolfe.
Staff: S. Wilson, K. Bingham, J. Bowen, K. Eppelheimer,
1. Call to Order
2. Communications and Correspondence
3. Recognition of Visitors
4. New Business
1) The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm by President Crowley
2) Communications and Correspondence – None
3) Recognition of Visitors – None
4) New Business
a. 2014-2018 Capital Improvement Plan – President Crowley asked Superintendent Eppelheimer to brief the Committee on the Five Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The CIP is a working document to ensure that the District’s facilities remain in excellent physical condition. Descriptions of each project were provided to assist the Board and staff in determining the necessity for the project along with a reasonable cost estimate. Priorities are then assigned that help ensure essential improvements are slated for completion within the proposed budget year. Going forward, we are asking staff to complete the worksheets when capital items are proposed so that we can capture the requirement earlier in the process, obtain better cost estimates, and provide information so we do not have to make critical decisions on items that are in dire need of repair or replacement.
President Crowley discussed how to review the CIP document and discussion followed on how to ensure our primary facilities are maintained at a high quality and that infrastructure improvements do not require large, emergency-type of expenditures. It was then decided to have each Committee Chair review their capital items in their respective areas or facilities.
Discussion took place on why the Lakefront Master Plan was not included in this document and Executive Director Wilson pointed out that until recently no real costs were known. Commissioner Brault indicated correctly that the CIP represented ongoing operationally funded capital improvements. Funding of larger projects may be accomplished through the building-up of reserves and then spending those reserves down. Since we have a fund balance policy in place, it allows us to better manage a safe financial position when making capital decisions. Larger capital improvements may be funded in other ways. Taking the full five-year CIP into account, a larger share is being invested in our primary facilities such as the CRC.
Commissioner Abbott asked about the District’s overall debt. Superintendent Eppelheimer replied that a detailed chart is available during the annual budget review which indicates the outstanding debt, its retirement schedule, and the District’s debt capacity. The majority of debt is referendum-based with some issues of debt service extension base and debt certificates.
The first capital area reviewed was Golf Operations, chaired by Commissioner Brault, and discussion took place on paying out the retainer of the course master plan and driving range net replacement. There was also discussion on delaying the non-“A” items until the second half of the year. A consensus was also made to proceed with the range net replacement in the spring.
Superintendent Lambrecht reviewed the improvements made at all of the parks and discussion ensued on the irrigation of fields that experience heavy use versus how the replacement or addition of artificial turf field would change the need for irrigation. Superintendent Lambrecht indicated we would continue to have a need for the fields and that any different kind of mix would diminish this demand.
Substantial discussion was also held on the general replacement of the playgrounds which are on an approximately 20-year replacement cycle and are reviewed whenever they begin to show up in the five-year plan. There was a proposal to replace a playground every year but the overall plan needs to be in balance and there are 13 playgrounds. This led to a discussion of the Langdon playground and that the replacement needs to be in conjunction with a park master plan which is currently under development. The Forest Park tot lot was moved from 2015 to 2014 as a result of this discussion.
There was dialogue about the north end of Shorewood Park where President Crowley asked if the shelter and picnic area was in the same location as the toy train.
West Park items included expenditures for various parks, equipment replacement schedules for parks and other facilities, and managing the ADA improvements. There was debate on a certain amount placed in future years for additional platform tennis courts.
In the Administration area, computer hardware and software investments included replacement of PCs, a server and office support software replacement (Microsoft Office).
There was discussion on the replacement of the lights at the Centennial Tennis facility. With the recent light replacement on courts 3 and 4, staff has been asked repeatedly when the other courts will be upgraded. This project will be partially (25%) funded by grants. There was an observation that a neighboring park district installed an outside ice rink with boards and glass. As a result, staff will research the cost and determine if the endeavor is successful.
Superintendent Bingham briefed the Committee on the CIP items which included the CRC roof replacement (over 30 years old) and items for the different program areas.
President Crowley summarized the discussion and the Committee agreed to place the 2014 CIP items in the 2014 budget and to include the Forest Park Tot Lot replacement in 2014.
b. 2013 Tax Levy – President Crowley asked if there were any questions on the tax levy. Commissioner Brault asked about the over-funding of the IMRF fund and it was suggested that we use the funds for which they were intended since the District is in an underfunded position. There was no other discussion on the tax levy.
Conversation took place on the Lakefront Master Plan and the affect a debt issuance would have on overall taxes. The way to obtain funds for the project could well be a referendum so that the District could issue new bonds and spread the cost across 20 to 25 years. Discussion ensued on how to inform the residents about decreasing some taxes while upgrading the Lakefront.
The next Committee of the Whole meeting will be held on December 11 when the 2014 Annual Budget will be presented.
5) Adjournment – With no further business to discuss, the Committee adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
Minutes were taken by Ken Eppelheimer.
MINUTES APPROVED ON DECEMBER 11, 2013.