Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting
Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
September 16, 2020
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 September 16, 2020. The board met in the Blackhawk room at the Stephenson County Farm Bureau.
Roll Call: Present at the time the meeting was called to order were board members Jim Hutchison, Barb Klinger, Dan Diaz, and Matt Schlachter; District employee Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator; and NRCS employee Abby Mielke, Soil Conservationist.
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Approval of Minutes: Jim Hutchison moved to approve minutes of the August SWCD board meeting, seconded by Dan Diaz. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Bills to be Paid: Matt Schlachter moved to approve the bills as listed on the monthly budget sheet for September; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed. Barb Klinger moved to approve the timesheets; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
Stephenson County Board Report: William Hadley
- Three supplemental requests for funding were denied at the last County Board Meeting – the Stephenson SWCD funding request which will go to the Finance Committee. A request for 65 thousand dollars to fix the Kent monument; the board would like someone else to take control of the monument and land which most likely will not happen because it is a historical site. It may be possible that private donations can be raised for repairs. The third supplemental request was for increased funding for the Jane Addams trail (increase from 9.3 to 16.5); this request was laid over until the October meeting.
- SWCD board member, Dan Diaz talked to Chairman Hadley about the value of farmland in the County and the tax revenue that comes from farmland. He feels that this alone should be a consideration of the County Board when talking about SWCD funding and Agriculture in our county. Chairman Hadley’s suggestion was for a Stephenson SWCD board member to contact Steve Fricke to advocate.
- The roads in the County are in terrible shape; one County Board member wants to request the move of one million dollars from general revenue to fund some of the needed repairs.
- Still no progress in locating a qualified candidate for the County Assessor position which has been vacant for almost a year. The State of Illinois just gave the testing again.
Freeport City Council Report: Randy Bukas, City Manager – NO REPORT
Conservation Plans & CPO’s: Lorna/Abby
- List was passed to those present of 65 CRP contracts that CPO’s and plans have been written and signed by the landowners. Barb Klinger made a motion to approve the CPO’s and plans listed on the sheet; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- Lorna has been making calls and helping get signatures on a couple of stragglers that had not made it into the office to sign.
Contribution Agreement: Lorna/Abby
- Lorna has been working with Josh to get needed information for an extension for Aaron for the Conservation Planner Certification which needed to be complete by October 1st.
CRP Update: Lorna/Abby
- Josh Franks has been pushing FSA for a list of CRP contracts due to expire in 2021 so that Luke and Hannah can start working on status reviews when the crops are harvested.
- Abby explained to the board members the FSA/NRCS responsibilities of CRP.
EQIP Update: Abby
- Nothing new
CSP Update: Abby
- Payment letters were mailed to participants. This year payments cannot be made until after October 1 but have to be made by November; this is earlier than past years.
- Making modifications for those that were losing land.
Programs / SWCD Updates: Lorna/Aaron
- Employee Contracts – this item was moved to the last part of the meeting so the board members could discuss.
- Barb Klinger made a motion to change the insurance payment cap in the personnel policy from the current $300.00 to $500.00; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- Jim Hutchison requested that the Personnel Policy be put on the agenda for the October meeting as they would like to go over it in closer detail.
- The board increased the employee’s salaries; new contracts will be typed and signed at the October meeting, but the increase will go in effect as of Sep. 1.
- Highway Cleanup needs to be done; Lorna will leave some afternoon and ask her husband to help.
- Fall Fish Sale – post cards were mailed on 9/10/2020. Pick up is scheduled for Sep. 23rd at 11:00. We ended up with pretty decent sales/orders for a fall sale.
- Annual Plan of Work was reviewed by those present. Barb Klinger made a motion to approve the 2021 Annual Plan of Work; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.
- CPP Projects – Three payments were made on 9/9/20: two wells and a grade stabilization structure.
Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Lorna Chezem, Abby Mielke, Hanna McWhirter, and Luke Tweeten; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.
- Amy Schultz Ag in the Classroom/CAP popped into our meeting and gave and update on her activities, which have been limited due to COVID-19:
- She has only been allowed entry into Aquin so far this school year and has been going on a weekly basis. She believes that Orangeville will be allowing her to come in soon as she has children there.
- She has been making and distributing Ag bags to teachers – they contain lessons and activities.
- A newsletter will be going to the teachers soon
- She has been doing video tours; going to the Freeport Public Library and doing some outdoor Ag in Freeport.
Having no other business, Chairman Hutchison adjourned the meeting at 10:15 am.
Barb Klinger, Treasurer/Secretary Notes recorded by Lorna Chezem