January, 2021 Minutes

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Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District Board Meeting

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Directors
January 20, 2021

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 January 20, 2021.  The board met in the heated garage at the Klinger Farm 3901 S. Farwell Bridge Road.


Roll Call: Present at the time the meeting was called to order were board members Jim Hutchison, Barb Klinger, Seth Wenzel, and Matt Schlachter; District employees Lorna Chezem, Administrative Coordinator and Aaron Dinderman, Resource Conservationist.

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Approval of Minutes: Jim Hutchison moved to approve minutes of the December SWCD board meeting, seconded by Seth Wenzel. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.  


Bills to be Paid: Matt Schlachter moved to approve the bills as listed on the monthly budget sheet for January, seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.


Review and Approval of Employee Time Sheets: Employee time sheets were passed. Jim Hutchison        moved to approve the timesheets; seconded by Matt Schlachter. Voting aye: all. Motion passed.          


Action Items:

Stephenson County Board Report:  Garrett Miller

  • Garrett introduced himself; he is a 6th generation farmer, and he filled an open seat on the Stephenson Co. Board in December. He is fairly new but has promised to keep the District informed and be our voice. He has been teaching government at a local youth leadership camp called “Boy State” for many years.
  • There are a couple of new buildings going up in the County – a house on River Road where the old trailer park was located.
  • Mill Race solar project has moved down the list to #15; so that will not happen for quite a while.
  • The County will be resealing 30 miles of Baileyville Road from Lamm to Montague.


Freeport City Council Report:  Randy Bukas, City Manager

  • Randy introduced himself to those present; he has been involved in local government for 40 years. He was the Finance Director before becoming the Freeport City Manager.
  • Comprehensive plan was adapted in November for the east side of Freeport (east of the Pecatonica River). Working with FEMA to acquire 140 properties at fair market value; this has gone through the first round of approvals. They believe there are approximately 300 properties that could be purchased. Many of the property owners have signed a voluntary agreement but there are some that refuse to move. The plan for the east side would be to tear down all the houses and turn the area into a wetland site.
  • A Flood Mitigation grant was also submitted to purchase another 140 properties.
  • HP Plastics site was purchased as part of the plan.
  • Park District has not said what will happen with Taylor Park. It could remain as is.
  • 2 properties were sold to the Land Bank in the Adams street area; they will become rental property after rehab.
  • A $5,000 grant through HUD was applied for work in the Adams corridor for rehabilitation of properties; the City will oversee the work.
  • The developer that was looking at the old Kmart building decided not to pursue due to COVID.
  • There is work being done at the old Eagles grocery store site by the Lincoln Mall, but no one seems to know who is doing it or what is going to be done with the building.
  • Road work is being done on Empire street between Burchard and Park. Road work on Chicago street between Jackson street and Douglas street will be the next project.
  • A two-million-dollar grant was applied for to complete replacing water lines throughout the City that contain lead.
  • Eight million dollars is the cost for improvements in phase one to the wastewater plant.


Conservation Plans & CPO’s:  Aaron

  • No new plans or CPO’s have been written yet.


Contribution Agreement:  Lorna/Aaron – No update


CRP Update:  Aaron

  • Producers have been getting organized for spring burns; that means modifying plans. Some filter strip mid management plans are being modified to mowing.
  • January 4 thru February 12 is the General sign up for CRP.
  • Sign up incentives/rental rates for Continuous CRP water practices are higher.
  • NRCS has been posting bulletins about updating processes – signature and entry system.
  • Getting clarification about Status Review process and when to bill; 12-24 months before the contract ends.


EQIP Update:  Abby – No update


CSP Update:  Abby – No update


Programs / SWCD Updates:  Lorna/Aaron

  • Absentee ballots and absentee ballot paperwork were available for everyone at the meeting.
  • Poster contest winner list was passed, and gifts were discussed. No suggestions were made for changing so we will be doing the same as previous years. Buying ribbons and getting Culver gift card.
  • Newsletter article content was discussed along with the reminder that only two issues will be distributed in 2021.
  • CPP – the final project was paid out at the end of December using all of the FY19 money and some interest from the account. There are two waterway projects that will use all of the FY20 funds. One has been submitted to IDOA and we are waiting for approval to pay. The other project is finished but waiting on completion of paperwork. All FY20 projects included a STAR form for each field the project encompassed. Ranking projects was discussed and how much of a challenge this can be since we never know when funding will become available. We will just take applications if people are interested in completing a CPP project in the future.


Approve Reports as E-Mailed: Barb Klinger moved to approve the reports as e-mailed from: Lorna Chezem, Aaron Dinderman, Abby Mielke, Hanna McWhirter, and Luke Tweeten; seconded by Jim Hutchison. Voting aye: all. Motion carried.


Informational Items:


  1. Illinois Extension holiday card passed.
  2. National Watershed Coalition newsletter and membership request was passed; no action was taken.


Other Business:

  1. AISWCD annual report and guide to SWCD’s was passed. Lorna will request extra copies of the guide to SWCD’s for the Stephenson County board; it may clarify who the SWCD’s are and the lack of funding resources.



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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