The Kendall County Forest Preserve District Board narrowly rejected a request from the district director to have electrical work done on a house owned by the district in the Pickerill-Pigott Forest Preserve in a split vote Tuesday, Jan. 16.
The house will serve as living quarters for a forest preserve district employee, who will maintain the house, according to Forest Preserve Director Dave Guritz. The forest preserve is located in Kendall Township along Minkler Road near Hilltop Road. As planned, the forest preserve district would lease the home to the employee for a period of 12 months, with an option to extend the lease.
The proposal was for electrical system improvements at the house from Riemenschneider Electric Inc., of Yorkville, at a cost not to exceed $1,947.
The district board, which consists entirely of County Board members, voted 5-3 in favor of approving the purchase, but Guritz said they needed six positive votes to approve the purchase.
District Board President Judy Gilmour and board members Matt Kellogg, Matthew Prochaska, Audra Hendrix and Lynn Cullick voted to approve the contract, while Scott Gryder, Robert “H.D.” Davidson and John Purcell voted against it. Board members Elizabeth Flowers and Tony Giles were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Guritz said after the meeting that he cannot bring back the exact same proposal to the next board meeting, but can bring back an amended proposal. He said he will ask for direction from Gilmour on what she wants to do regarding the rejected contract.
“That proposal was what we felt needed to be addressed, based on our evaluation of the house,” Guritz said. “Just the basics, to make sure ... somebody living in there isn’t at risk for electric shock or a building fire, for that matter.”
The district board approved radon mitigation for the house at its Dec. 19 meeting. Purcell and Davidson voted against that purchase as well.
After the meeting, Gryder explained why he voted against the contract.
“I’ve been fundamentally opposed to throwing more money at the homes the forest preserve owns,” he said. “We have a lot of land that we have not been able to open to the public and don’t believe we should continue throwing money at them. We’ve had some very big dollar amounts at Ellis [Equestrian House near Minooka] and I am concerned about heading down this path at the new home.”