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Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners - December 18,2012


Board Members Present:     

President Mike Reid

Commissioner Michael W. Alter

Commissioner Jerry B. Clarito


Others Present:                     

Director/Secretary John V. Ohrlund 

Treasurer William G. Schmidt

Superintendent of Parks Michael Rea

Superintendent of Recreation and Facilities Michelle Tuft

Assistant Superintendent of Recreation Jon Marquardt


Floyd Bendarz, 8051 Knox, Skokie, IL

Bonnita Potter, 7621 N. Tripp, Skokie, IL

Richard Toth, 8110 Knox, Skokie, IL

Howard Jacobson, 9026 Lacrosse, Skokie, IL

Resident, did not sign in



Commissioner Susan Aberman

Vice President Maureen Yanes



President Reid called the regular meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners to order at 8:00 p.m., followed by the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.


Mr. Floyd Bednarz, 8051 Knox, asked the Board to consider reducing the 4.87% tax levy increase being presented to the Board.  Mr. Bednarz stated the tax levy increase is too high. Mr. Bednarz stated the Skokie Park District does a good job, but there are ways to reduce the costs, and make the increase more in line with the cost of living and inflation.  He has reviewed the budget in general and requested a more specific budget so he can make some suggestions to the Board in the future. Mr. Bednarz asked the Skokie Park District to consider using zero based budgeting. He asked the Board to consider the needs of the Skokie residents.

President Reid responded that the Board goes through an extensive budget process. The Park District keeps the tax increase as low as possible to keep up the superb services, facilities and parks.

Mr. Bednarz said there is a group of citizens that are concerned about safety in some of the parks. He knows that the Park District is working with the Skokie Police. The group of citizens would like to offer some suggestions.

President Reid said the Park District and Skokie Police want citizen input. The citizens are an extra set of eyes and the Park District can always use that help. Mr. Bednarz thanked the Board and hopes the Board takes his concerns to heart.

Bonnita Potter, 7621 N. Tripp Avenue, asked the Board to consider other options rather than increasing the tax levy. She thinks that citizen comments and suggestions should be taken seriously.  Everyone is facing financial challenges and if everyone works together more creative ways can be found with the budget. She feels some fees are too low at the Park District.

President Reid stated that the Park District is extremely competitive with other park districts.  President Reid stated that to maintain the parks and programs, some increases are needed.  President Reid stated that the Park District budgets extremely conservatively and expenses are closely monitored.

Executive Director Ohrlund asked if Ms. Potter had some specific thoughts on revenue production areas or cost cutting the Board and staff would like to hear them.


With no items removed from the Consent Agenda, Commissioner Alter moved to approve the Consent Agenda.  Commissioner Clarito seconded the motion.  On a roll call vote, all Commissioners voted aye. Commissioner Aberman and Vice President Yanes were absent. Motion carried. The Consent Agenda consisted of: Minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of November 20, 2012; Bills Payable for the months of November /December 2012; Treasurer’s Report; and Staff Reports.


Treasurer Schmidt thanked the citizens for attending the meeting because the tax levy affects property owners. He said not to confuse the tax levy with the budget. The tax levy is how the District raises its money and the budget is how the money is spent.  We do use zero based budgeting for all of our programs. The Superintendents go through their programs and the programs are expected to make a certain percentage over cost.

Treasurer Schmidt then explained the request for 4.87% increase in the tax levy.  In January the District finds out the consumer price index increase that is used for the next year’s tax levy. It is usually a year behind when we receive the increase. Treasurer Schmidt explained that we do not know what the multiplier factor is going to be. The multiplier is based on the equalized assessed valuation plus or minus any new property, TIF property that was added and things like that. The multiplier rate depends on what that denominator is. It takes the prior year levy and multiplies it by 1.03%. That is all the County will allow you unless the equalized assessed valuation, meaning all of the property values in the Skokie Park District changes, then that multiplier can go up or down. We request more than the 3% so the Park District does not lose any money.  The County will probably only allow the 3% increase which is the CPI that was given in January for this year’s tax levy.

Treasurer Schmidt stated that in 2015, the freeze on the downtown TIF District property in Skokie will expire and the new money will come on board as part of the equalized assessed valuation which will help.

Commissioner Alter moved to approve the 2012 tax levy Ordinance #12-013 in the amount of $7,541,000.  This does not include Debt Service Costs.  Commissioner Clarito seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, all Commissioners voted aye. Commissioner Aberman and Vice President Yanes were absent. Motion carried.


Superintendent Tuft requested approval of a new exhibit for the Exploritorium.   The exhibit is an interactive table for kids play.  The table has three features.  There is a gear table, a light table and a magnetic table.  This is a custom built item by Boss Display.  $20,000.00 has been budgeted in the Building Improvement Fund for this exhibit. The cost is $23,000 plus $1,600.00 for shipping which is $4,600.00 over what was budgeted.  Cost savings in other projects will ensure that the funds are available for this exhibit.

President Reid inquired where the exhibit will be located. Superintendent Tuft responded that it will replace one of the music walls.

Commissioner Alter inquired if the children can play in the center of the exhibit. Superintendent Tuft responded yes.  A lot of children can play at one time on this exhibit.

Commissioner Clarito moved to approve the custom designed exhibit from Boss Display for a cost of $24,600.00.  Commissioner Alter seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, all Commissioners voted aye. Commissioner Aberman and Vice President Yanes were absent. Motion carried.


Superintendent Tuft requested authorization to bid generators for special events.  Superintendent Tuft stated that the District packages services to receive better pricing. The special events are Festival of Cultures, 4th of July and Backlot Bash. The bid will include an option to renew for up to five years.

Commissioner Alter moved to authorize staff to prepare bid specifications for the rental of generators for the Backlot Bash, Festival of Cultures and 4th of July. Commissioner Clarito seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, all Commissioners voted aye. Commissioner Aberman and Vice President Yanes were absent.  Motion carried.


President Reid confirmed the date of the January Board Meeting with the other Commissioners. The next regular meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners will be held on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 7:00P.M. 


Commissioner Alter complimented the Skatium event that took place on Monday evening .The Skatium hosted a hockey clinic featuring Blackhawk legend Denis Savard. He performed his famous Spin-O-Rama move.

Executive Director Ohrlund expressed a special commendation to Steve Glickman, Hockey Director, for organizing the special event as well as all the Skatium staff.  The revenue from the program benefited the Village of Skokie Community Giving Program in the amount of $1,695.00.

President Reid had been asked by Vice President Yanes prior to the meeting in her absence to discuss public safety in light of the Newtown tragedy.  Superintendent Tuft responded that the Safety Committee has discussed facility safety extensively.  Tornado and fire drills and lock down drills are performed at the facilities such as Tot Learning Center and Devonshire Center.   PDRMA has sent out some safety recommendations which will be discussed at the January Safety Committee Meeting.

Executive Director Ohrlund stated that public safety is a top priority.  This is cause to re-examine our safety procedures taking a critical look and meeting with the Police Department.

President Reid said Vice President Yanes complimented the Fundamental Fitness program, Jon Marquardt and Sarah Natalie for beginning this new program.  President Reid said that he saw the Fundamental Fitness flyer on the School District 68 website.  Superintendent Tuft said that during the budget presentations the Fundamental Fitness program will be discussed.

Commissioner Alter complimented the Park District staff for their assistance with the residents that were displaced during the fire at the Cook County Senior Center next to the Weber Center on Monday.    Soon after the fire occurred, the Park District was contacted by the Fire Chief and the Department of Human Services requesting assistance. The residents were directed to the Weber Center Gymnasium.

Executive Director Ohrlund announced that the mobilization and remediation process has begun at Skokie Sports Park East. This will be a long process; probably two years or so with another year before all the environmental testing is complete and a no further remediation letter is received. Following that hopefully we will be able to develop the property. We are just starting the planning process.

Executive Director Ohrlund reminded the Commissioners about the Open Meeting Act training that is required by the end of the year.

Executive Director Ohrlund reported he received a call from an attorney for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District concerning the Monarch Asphalt Orange Crush property just south of Dammrich Rowing Center.  They have approached the District about allowing the Park District to lease the property once it has been environmentally cleaned up. The property goes from Oakton Street down to the Swift tracks.  The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District attorney inquired if the Park District had any feelings about this project being delayed about 10 years or so. Executive Director Ohrlund commented that the Park District has many projects competing for funding in the future including Skokie Sports Park East. President Reid said there were no issues in waiting for the property.

Commissioner Clarito inquired about the status of the Department of Human Services request. Executive Director Ohrlund said discussions with the Village are ongoing and that there is no change in the status.


A motion was made by Commissioner Alter to adjourn the regular meeting. Commissioner Clarito seconded the motion.  On a roll call vote, all Commissioners voted aye. Commissioner Aberman and Vice President Yanes were absent.   Motion carried.  The regular meeting ended at 8:31 p.m.  


________________________________                 _______________________________

Michael Reid                                                                 John V. Ohrlund

President                                                                       Secretary