February 2020 Minutes

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Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
February 19, 2020

Call to Order: Chairman Jim Hutchison called the meeting to order of the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board at 8:08 am on February 19, 2020.  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, Barb Klinger, and Seth Wenzel; District employees Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator; and Aaron Dinderman, Resource Conservationist; NRCS employee Hannah McWhirter.

Hannah McWhirter and Amy Schultz (CAP/Ag in the Classroom) were both introduced to those present.

Abby Mielke, Soil Conservationist entered the meeting late.

Not in attendance –Chad Alderks, Dan Diaz, and Josh Franks

 

Approval of Minutes: Seth Wenzel moved to approve minutes of the January 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 February; seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.

 

Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed around. Barb Klinger moved to accept the employee timesheets, seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.

 

Action Items:

Stephenson County Board Report:  William Hadley

  • Chairman Hadley made a request to have someone from SWCD come to the Planning and Development Committee meeting in March and give a report but did not have the date for that meeting.
  • Chairman Hadley also indicated that the SWCD should send in their request for funding in the same time frame as last years was sent.
  • The County Board voted to reduce the size of the board from the current 22 members to 16. Districts will be reduced from 11 to 8 but each district will continue to have 2 representatives. Committees will remain the same.
  • Stephenson County nursing home and town hall meeting was discussed. According to Chairman Hadley they are not planning on leasing, closing or selling the nursing home. An interim administrator has been found until a full-time professional administrator can be hired.

 

Freeport City Council Report:  Lowell Crow

  • Lowell explained his City Manager position and the differences between a mayor/city manager position.
  • City has approved the boring of a deep well for the Burchard area along with a new water treatment facility. Test wells were drilled at Willow and Burchard. Brook Street well will be shut down.
  • Storm Water study of retention and detention ponds will be conducted.
  • The City has received a federal pollinator grant (administered through the State) for the green space on the east side of Freeport.
  • A town hall meeting was held about Taylor Park School. The school will be abandoned due to the increased flooding issues. The options discussed were building a new school; bring in modular units to existing schools or adding on to existing elementary schools.
  • A discussion was held about the recent flooding and flood stage levels. In 2018 the river was above flood level for 122 days: in 2019 for 182 days. The flood stage levels have been changed to 17.4 feet for a 100-year flood; two feet above last year’s level and 19.8 for a 500-year flood.
  • Housing Authority is increasing regulations to take down houses on the east side; in 5 years no houses will remain.
  • The solar site at the water treatment plant is generating more power than anticipated.
  • The leach system at the landfill needs to be repaired, it is leaking.
  • The engineering design has been approved for the Chicago/Stephenson street art corridor.
  • Chicago street has wood water mains and there are other areas that have asbestos water mains that need to be replaced. The City has 5 years to replace these according to the US EPA.

 

CAP/Ag in the Classroom Update:  Amy Schultz

  • Amy has been completing about 50 programs per month.
  • She has attended one training session in DeKalb area and has another scheduled.
  • Prep/freeze fundraiser is coming up if anyone is interested.
  • Ag Adventures for 5th grade students is set for April 29th, still looking for speakers.

 

Conservation Plans & CPO’s:  Aaron

  • No new plans; still completing revisions.
  • Workload will pick up after the general sign up deadline at the end of February.

 

Contribution Agreement:  Aaron/Lorna/Abby – No Update

 

CRP Update:  Aaron/Abby

  • FSA has made a lot of changes – new practices and process.
  • NRCS changing their contracting program from Toolkit to Conservation Desktop will impact the process.

 

EQIP Update:  Abby

  • No new signup announced; not much going on.

 

CSP Update:  Abby

  • Payments for 2019 crop year are now done! About 50 payments were made in a two-week period.
  • Renewals – 2014 contracts were offered a 1-year extension and will be offered a 5-year extension. 2015/2016 contracts will also be offered a 5-year extension.
  • 26 Eligibility letters will be sent soon for renewing contracts. There is a stipulation that the ground enrolled in the contract can only be enrolled for 10 years.

 

MOU/MOA: Aaron/Lorna/Abby

  • MOU was passed for Chairman Jim Hutchison to sign.

 

Programs / SWCD Updates:  Lorna/Aaron

  • Election Paperwork – election counting record was passed for Jim Hutchison’s signature. All other paperwork will be completed at the March meeting.
  • CPP Projects – no new projects this month. Two projects are pending approval for payment by IDOA.

 

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 Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.

 

Informational Items:

Correspondence:

  • Request from U of I Extension to sponsor a 4-H award. Barb Klinger made a motion to sponsor two natural resources categories; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
  • Scholarship recipients’ transcript was passed.
  • Thank-you note from Sondra/State Envirothon for the contribution was shared.
  • Annual report from AISWCD was passed.

 

Other Business:

  • Seth Wenzel talked to the board about a company called Liberty Power that is approaching landowners in the Lena/Kent area about a large wind/solar project (300 megawatts: with 70% of the megawatts coming from wind towers).

 

Adjournment:

Having no other business, Chairman Hutchison adjourned the meeting at 9:30 am.

Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary                     Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem

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