February, 2019 Minutes

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Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
February 20, 2019

Call to Order: Chairman Jim Hutchison called the meeting to order of the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board at 8:02 am on February 20, 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 and Aaron Dinderman, Resource Conservationist; NRCS employees Jim Ritterbusch, District Conservationist, and Abby Mielke, Soil Conservationist.

Not in attendance –Dan Diaz, Lori Toelke,  


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 and the addition of the D&O Insurance renewal, seconded by Chad Alderks. 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 Chad Alderks. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Action Items:

Stephenson County Board Report:  Scott Helms

  1. The County Board is moving ahead with fee schedule increases for County Clerk, Treasurer, Sheriff etc; the last increase was done in 2008.
  2. Stewart lease for building/office space will be renewed for another 5 years.
  3. Looking at health insurance options and considering going back to self insured plan.
  4. Jane Adams trail all the bridges need to be replaced from the trail head outside of Freeport to Wisconsin border – 19 bridges total ranging in cost from $12,000 to $75,000 each.
  5. A new state mandate was discussed – people under a certain income level now do not have to pay court costs or legal fees.


Freeport City Council Report:  Tom Klemm

  1. Fencing requirement for solar projects within the city – fence not to exceed 6 feet.
  2. Water and Sewer manhole projects beginning at the Country Club and going down Park Blvd.
  3. $12M medical facility permit approved for the old Newell Warehouse building.
  4. Old Car Quest building on Stephenson Street sold.
  5. City is looking at replacing vehicles at 1 per year; some of these vehicles are 2005 and older.
  6. Major water main breaks occurred due to the extreme cold temperatures.
  7. A hotel chain called “Sugar or Honey Bee” bought the old Holiday Inn building.
  8. Gladewood bridge replacement project is being held up because black mussels were discovered in Yellow Creek.
  9. Budget talks ongoing; Water and Sewer Department was combined into the Publics Works Department.
  10. 2 new wells will be drilled in the Burchard Hills area.
  11. Honeywell is adding 150 jobs in Freeport/Plant 4.
  12. Mike Shiffman head of Freeport School District is moving to Pearl City School District.
  13. Spring project on Float street; complete road rebuild Jefferson to Empire or Galena streets.
  14. Old City Hall has been demolished; clean up of the site continues. Problems with buildings that have adjoining walls; the ground has to settle before the issues can be addressed.






CAP/Ag in the Classroom Report:  Peggy Trone

  • Peggy passed a summary sheet of program topics and number of programs to everyone present it will be included with the board minutes.
    • November 74 programs; December 65 programs and January 57 programs completed for a total of 196 programs reaching 2,940 students.
    • Almost all of the Stephenson County schools are participating with the exception of Jones Farrar and Dakota.


Conservation Plans & CPO’s:  Jim / None this month


Contribution Agreement   Jim

  • Lorna continues work for the Admin. Agreement


CRP Update:  Jim

  • Aaron continues to do mid-management practice modifications to CRP contracts.
  • Aaron and Lori were looking at contracted ground and sending status review letters for 70 – 100 CRP contracts that are expiring.
  • Lori is looking at CRP waterways and finding that most are too narrow and/or in terrible shape.


EQIP & CSP Update:  Abby

Completing maintenance, modifications and payments on existing contracts until the details of the new farm bill are rolled out.


Programs / SWCD Updates:  Lorna/Aaron

  • Election Paperwork:
    • Economic Interest Statements were passed for signatures for Jim Hutchison, Chad Alderks, Barb Klinger and Seth Wenzel. Dan Diaz was not at the February meeting so he will have to sign at the March meeting.
    • Acceptance of Office forms were passed for Jim Hutchison and Barb Klinger to sign.
    • Chairman Jim Hutchison signed the accomplishments for 2018 and the financial report that were included in the winter newsletter.
    • Chairman Jim Hutchison signed the Election Counting Record.
  • Tree Sale – orders are coming in; but seem a little on the light side compared to last year. Order form was included in the winter newsletter for the 2nd
  • Fish Sale –a press release was sent on February 1st and the order form was included in the winter newsletter that was mailed on February 6. No orders have been received to date.
  • Keeper’s of the Land – clarifying speakers for the April 30th
  • Burn Workshop is being planned for Saturday, March 16th at the Farm Bureau from 9:00-11:00 A.M; this was also included in the winter newsletter. 3 registrations have been received to date.
  • Conservation Planning Boot Camp – letter was signed by Chairman Jim Hutchison for recommending Aaron for the program. Chad Alderks made a motion approving Aaron’s attendance in the boot camp; seconded by Barb Klinger. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
  • Star Program – Aaron attended a meeting where they modified the Champaign County form for northern Il. The program is on a field to field basis (one form per field); ranking must be completed yearly and the scoring sheet translates into how many stars the producer’s field scores. The directors agreed with Aaron that this might be a hard program to push unless there is some sort of an incentive for the producer.


Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Aaron Dinderman, Lorna Chezem, and Jim Ritterbusch; seconded by Chad Alderks. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.





Informational Items:


  1. Natural Resource 4-H award request letter was shared. Barb Klinger made a motion to sponsor the 4-H award again this year; seconded by Chad Alderks. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
  2. A copy of the check closing the LUC Envirothon account was shared. This money was split equally between the 6 counties of the LUC; per the original agreement of the committee when it was originated.
  3. We received a 1099 tax form from a company called Nextera; this is an energy company in which we completed an NRI. Lorna will put it with the audit stuff for the end of the fiscal year review.


Other Business:

  1. April 3rd is Jim Ritterbusch last day. Josh Franks will take the DC role for our area. NRCS workload and staffing issues were also discussed.
  2. A mark up of and advertisement for Northwestern IL Farmer publication for Ag week was passed and OK’d.
  3. Jim Hutchison signed the paperwork that will be sent with the check for renewal of the D&O Insurance policy.
  4. LUC meeting notice was shared; the meeting is in Mt. Carroll on March 14.



Having no other business, Chairman Hutchison adjourned the meeting at 9:40 am.

Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary                     Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem

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