Wilmette Park District
Parks & Recreation Committee Meeting Minutes
Monday, October 20, 2014
6:30 p.m. – Village Hall Training Room

Attendees Present

Commissioners/Committee: Chair Amy Wolfe, Shelley Shelly, James Brault
Staff:  Kathy Bingham, Bill Lambrecht

Commissioner James Crowley
Staff: Steve Wilson, Jeff Bowen, Ken Eppelheimer, Carol Heafey, Jeff Groves, Cindy Felicicchia

Attendees Absent


I. Meeting Called to Order

Meeting called to order 6:32 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes

A. Committee approved minutes for the August 18, 2014; by general consent.

III. Communication and Correspondence


IV. Recognition of Visitors


V. Manager Reports

Carol Heafey (Program Manager) reported on the following topics:

  • Sarah Heston’s last day was August 22nd. Julie Nichols is the new Arts Supervisor. Her first full day was today. She previously worked at the Palatine Park District and was running the dance programs for both Palatine and Lake Zurich.
  • The Eagles football is winding down. Jim Rome is retiring next week.
  • The combined heavy weight football program (Winnetka and Wilmette) has worked well. Eagles travel football is down 13 kids this year and 12 kids for the house leagues.
  • The Community Recreation Center is being transformed starting today and preparation is in full swing for Halloween Happening this Friday. There are currently 256 children registered; parents are free. We expect it will jump to close to 600 participants the day of the event.
  • After School programs are going well.

Jeff Groves (Facility Manager) reported on the following topics:

  • Classes started today with 1,635 participants enrolled in the gymnastic programs. There are 60 kids on the competitive team. The first competition will be November 1st and 2nd.
  • Mike Kharpak is reviewing proposals for the new layout design for gymnastics. This renovation will provide more space for additional classes. Commissioner Brault asked about the gymnastic revenue being down this year. Jeff Groves stated that is it because of the Olympic swing. Last year gymnastics was at an all-time high coming off the Olympics. Superintendent Bingham stated that the ice rink enrollment numbers were at the all-time high after the winter Olympics this past year. She stated that gymnastics is already starting to come back as seen in the Fall I session numbers.
  • A new six week fitness program, “Fall into Wellness” has started. 40 participates are enrolled.
  • There are currently 1,867 members in the Fitness Center.
  • Mallinckrodt held their 5th Annual Shred Event on September 27th which was well received with several hundred people in attendance.

VI. Proposed FY 2015 Parks & Planning Budget Review

Superintendent Lambrecht stated that the budget includes all the standardized increases set forth by the Financial Planning & Policy Committee. He stated outside of that there are no real significant changes within the budget. There is a 2.4% increase over the 2014 budget.

Commissioner Shelly asked about the increase in staff under salaries and wages. Superintendent Lambrecht stated it is a position in building services that was open last year that was not filled yet.

Superintendent Lambrecht walked committee through the details of the line items on the capital plan budget. Committee discussed drainage and what that entails.

Commissioner Brault asked about Wilmette Baseball Association and their agreement with the District. Superintendent Lambrecht stated that Wilmette Baseball will maintain the little league fields for at least, next year. The District and Wilmette Baseball association will be discussing this further.

VII. Proposed FY 2015 Recreation Budget Review

Superintendent Bingham thanked Carol Heafey and Jeff Groves along with their staff for the many hours that they have been putting in getting the budget ready. Superintendent Bingham walked the committee through the details of the budget. The first section, recreation operations consists of items such as special events.

Commissioner Brault asked if there was a way to get a detailed breakdown of each department. Superintendent Eppelheimer will include a report.

Commissioner Brault asked about the after school clubs. Carol Heafey stated the projected budget for 2015 is $268,000.

Commissioner Brault asked about the line item of contract fees which are for credit card services. Superintendent Bingham stated that there is a huge increase in credit card fees because every year more and more people are using credit cards and online registration. Commissioner Wolfe asked about alternate ways to reduce these fees.  Superintendent Eppelheimer stated that the District just changed providers, which will save about 15-20%; the volume is what is driving the increase. Commissioner Brault suggested looking into options. Commissioner Wolfe stated possible options with incentives. Commissioner Crowley asked about charging a surge charge. Superintendent Bingham stated that traditionally the service charge is built into the fees. Commissioner Brault suggested we could explore or put a pilot program to look at this but ultimately this is the way the world is going.

Commissioner Shelly asked about the health insurance premiums and why they are down. Superintendent Bingham stated it is because of changes in staff. Superintendent Bingham walked committee through the details of the line items on the capital plan budget. Commissioner Brault asked about gymnastics equipment and spreading the fees out over the next several years. He stated that gymnastics generates a lot of revenue. He stated that this is a primo program and does it make sense to spread it out over several years. Superintendent Bingham stated that if something needs to be done in gymnastics we replace it as we go along. There are always capital expenditures for gymnastics to replace equipment as needed. Superintendent Bingham stated that there is a replacement plan in place to make sure equipment is taken care of.

Commissioner Wolfe asked why performing arts children’s theater show fees went up 50%. Superintendent Bingham stated that it was to offset the costs. She stated that the District is by far the lowest priced in the industry. Commissioner Shelly asked about the theater shows. She stated the District needs to pick better shows. Superintendent Bingham stated that the District is looking at shows that are more main stream and involve children. Superintendent Bingham stated that the adult theater program will be looked at closely this upcoming year. The District will utilize all the resources available to us to see where the adult program will be.

Commissioner Shelly asked about the sports field rental rates and how the field layout fee and field use fee will go over. Director Wilson stated that the District is just trying to cover their cost to maintain the fields. Commissioner Brault suggested doing a fee comparison to show. Superintendent Bingham stated that the District has tried to do that but everyone is doing it so differently and it was not comparing apples to apples.  She stated that staff is working on ways to compare.

Superintendent Bingham pointed out that Mallinckrodt fee increases were basically for room rentals. She stated that rentals are picking up and can handle the 5% increase. Superintendent Bingham reported on rental revenue below projection due to losing a weekly Sunday school rental.

Superintendent Bingham reported on the Fitness Center’s recommended fee increases that vary from the proposed 3% from Financial Planning & Policy committee. Commissioner Brault asked how often the initiation fee for fitness is incurred. Superintendent Bingham stated that it used to be a lot more frequently that these fees were being waived. It is between 70-75% that pay it now.  Superintendent Bingham stated that staff is recommending a six month membership due to large amounts of requests for people who are out of town for half the year. Commissioner Brault asked if the District anticipates losing annual members because of this change. Superintendent Bingham stated that she thinks it will benefit the District because the system that was in place, which she was unaware of, allowed members every time they were going out of town to suspend their membership which could go on for years. The option now would be the six month membership. She stated that the staff will try it this way for a year to if it still makes sense.

Superintendent Bingham stated that the $33,200 (7.9%) fee revenue above projection is due to fee increases and increased participation in classes and personal training.  The staff has been working on building up their membership base with marketing options. The membership fees for residents in 2014 are down. Commissioner Wolfe asked about childcare at the fitness center. Superintendent Bingham stated that they do offer babysitting services, on a very limited basis. Superintendent Bingham and her staff are looking into accommodating these services. Director Wilson stated that the $60,000 in the capital for 2017 is for room partitions in 206 and 207 to accommodate more room space on the first floor. This will be discussed more at the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting and moving these expenses to 2015. Superintendent Bingham walked committee through capital plan for fitness.

VIII. Unfinished Business

A. West Park Reservoir Update

The construction project is in progress.

IX. New Business


X. Adjournment

There being no further business to conduct, the meeting was adjourned at
8:03 p.m.