Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting
Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
August 21, 2019
Call to Order: Chairman Jim Hutchison called the meeting to order of the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board at 8:06 am on August 21, 2019. The board met at 1620 S. Galena Avenue, Freeport Illinois.
Roll Call: Present at the time the meeting was called to order were board members Jim Hutchison, Chad Alderks, Barb Klinger, and Seth Wenzel; District employees Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator; Aaron Dinderman, Resource Conservationist and NRCS employee Abby Mielke, Soil Conservationist.
Not in attendance – Dan Diaz, Josh Franks, Dennis Carr
Approval of Minutes: Seth Wenzel moved to approve minutes of the July SWCD board meeting, seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Bills to be Paid: Jim Hutchison moved to approve the bills as listed on the monthly budget sheet for August along with the payment of the Farm Bureau membership seconded by Chad Alderks. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed around. Chad Alderks moved to accept the employee timesheets, seconded by Barb Klinger. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Stephenson County Board Report: Scott Helms
- The county board is neck deep in the budgeting process; there are a lot of challenges with the main one being the implementation of the State’s court fee waiver. Effective on July 1st you only need to produce a link card to have your court fees waived. This will greatly affect the general revenue fund (estimated loss between $50,000 – $250,000).
- The nursing home is also projecting a deficit again this budget year. The county is considering leasing the nursing home or shutting down one or two wings. County is responsible for making up shortages of employee wages and benefits. There were two incidents at the nursing home this year that resulted in major fines from the State; one of the incidents resulted in a federal fine. The county owns the nursing home and the only way to sell would be if it passed referendum. Currently in the State of Illinois there are only 12 County owned nursing homes.
- With all of the gloom and doom talked about above the Stephenson SWCD request for funding was reduced to a big fat 0!
Freeport City Council Report: Dennis Carr/No report
CAP/Ag in the Classroom Update:
- Peggy accepted a high school teaching position and the CAP board will be advertising for a new person.
Conservation Plans & CPO’s: Abby/Aaron
- Five conservation plans/CPOs were on the list for August; this was passed to all board members – 3 projects were waterway re-enrollments and 2 were new CP23’s.
- Barb Klinger made a motion to approve all five plans and CPO’s on the list; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Contribution Agreement Abby
- Lorna sent out some letters per the administrative agreement and Aaron continues to spend most of his time working on CRP.
CRP Update: Abby/Aaron
- There are approximately 45 CRP projects on the list as of today. New projects continue to come over; Friday Aug. 23 is the deadline to enroll. Abby completes a feasibility statement and Aaron completes a status review for all new CRP projects.
- Abby clarified the difference between a CP23 and a CP23A. The CP23 acres must be in a 100-year floodplain and the CP23A’s are not but must have soils that are suitable.
- People installing wetland and filter strips can choose the length of their contracts 10 or 15 years.
- Soil rental rates are currently low.
- Stephenson County has a total of 891 CRP contracts; 755 continuous and 136 general.
EQIP Update: Abby
- 4 new contracts signed; two dropped off and chose to apply as CSP.
CSP Update: Abby
- 10 people were interviewed, and applications were entered. 5 of those 10 got moved to pre-approved.
- Usually in October Abby sends letters to CSP contract holders saying that she needs paperwork in order to make payments. This year that process will be started in September due to her maternity leave.
- 5 contracts got pulled for review, this is due by Nov 15.
Programs / SWCD Updates: Lorna/Aaron
- Well Water Testing Program- water samples were shipped back to the lab on Tuesday, August 20. Twenty-six people bought kits; 6 people tested multiple wells totaling an additional 7 wells. 32 Nitrate, 29 Pesticide 22 Metal and 26 Bacteria testing kits were sold.
- County Board Meeting was discussed; Jim, Barb and Lorna felt put on the spot by the financial questions that were being asked of us at the meeting and the fact that Chairman Hadley informed Jim Hutchison that he had to keep things short because they had a very full agenda.
- Employee Contracts/Reviews – this was put off until the September meeting.
- Scholarship letters and checks were passed for signature. A discussion was held about paying the whole scholarship amount in one payment beginning next year.
- 4 CPP Projects were passed for the board to look at; one waterway, two well decommissioning and 1 cover crop project. Barb Klinger made a motion to approve all 4 projects; seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- Practice Component List for FY20 was passed and discussed. Barb Klinger made a motion to approve the FY20 Practice Component List as is and to apply the FY20 rates to all FY19 projects; seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- Cost Share Rate discussion was held about increasing from 60/40 rate to 75/25. Barb Klinger made a motion to change the cost share rate to 75/25 for all FY20 projects and apply the 75/25 rate to all FY19 projects; seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Lorna Chezem, Aaron Dinderman, and Abby Mielke; seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.
- AISWCD/Grant Hammer thank-you for the auction basket.
- Thank-you from U of I Extension/4 H sponsorship of Natural Resources Award.
- Request from Highland Community College for our annual donation for their Legacy Gala. Seth Wenzel made a motion to donate a bat house and a bluebird house; seconded by Barb Klinger. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- We held brief discussions about hemp being planted and processing facilities in our county along with solar farms and possible windfarms coming into the county.
Having no other business, Chairman Hutchison adjourned the meeting at 10:45 am.
Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem