NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2000 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

EUREKA CITY HALL
531 K STREET, EUREKA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

 

 

            CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Jehn called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.

 

A.                 ROLL CALL

            Directors present:  Chair Robert Jehn, David Ripple, Allan Hemphill, Daniel Opalach, Robert E.

            Simonson, Max Schlienger, and by telephone Jake MacKenzie.

            Also present:  Executive Director Max H. Bridges, General Counsel Christopher J. Neary, Property         

            Manager Cyndee Logan, Consulting Accountant Russ Mustola, and Administrative Assistant    

            Pamela Fishtrom.

 

B.        PRESENTATION HONORING BOARD MEMBER COMPLETING TERM

            Chair Jehn honored Jack McKellar with a plaque for his service as a Director for the Board as the       

            Cities Representative.

 

C.        INTRODUCTION OF NEW BOARD MEMBER

            Chair Jehn introduced Dir. MacKenzie, replacing Jack McKellar as the Board’s Cities 

            Representative, who described his interest in transportation.

 

D.                MINUTES

            Approval of Minutes of the July 19, 2000 Regular Board Meeting

 

             Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the Minutes with the following changes: note that Executive

             Director Bridges’ absence was due to his attendance at the California Transportation Committee

            (CTC) Meeting, and change the heading to reflect the correct address; seconded by Dir. Ripple. 

            Vote taken; Dir. MacKenzie abstained; motion carried.

 

E.                 AGENDA APPROVAL

 
            Dir. MacKenzie moved approval of the Agenda with addition of Item G.6 Repair of Haystack

            Landing Swing Bridge and Item G.7 Consider Extension of Commencement Date of Permanent

            Operating Agreement with Northwestern Pacific Railway Company, LLC (NWPY); seconded by         

            Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

F.                  PUBLIC COMMENTS

            Fred Carmichael, long-time proponent of the Railroad, read a letter he wrote supporting his position  

            for balance between rail and truck shipment, and he recommended a moment of silence before each

            Meeting.

 

 

 

G.                CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

            1.   Presentation by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition (NPRSC)                     

Kaye Strickland, Chair of Citizens for Port Development (CPD), presented the Board with a press release issued that states the goals of NPRSC, a sub-committee of CPD. 

 

            2.   Presentation by Northern Counties Logging Interpretive Association (NCLIA)

    Marcus Brown, President, presented his ideas for a first-class logging/railroad museum which

    includes a scenic train trip around Humboldt Bay. 

 

            3.   Adopt Single Year Audit of Fiscal Year 1998-1999

     

      Dir. Hemphill moved to adopt the Single Year Audit of Fiscal Year 1998-1999 presented by

      Aycock and Edgmon, CPAs; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed   

      unanimously.

 

4.   Approve Firm to Provide Single Year Audit of Fiscal Year 1999-2000

      Executive Director Bridges reported Aycock and Edgmon, CPAs, were the sole responders to

      NCRA’s Request for Proposal to Provide an Independent Audit.

 

      Dir. MacKenzie moved to authorize Executive Director Bridges to enter into an Agreement  

      with Aycock and Edgmon, CPAs; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed  

      unanimously.

 

5.   Consider Approach to Southern Division Repairs to Class I Status

      Executive Director Bridges reported Herzog Contracting Corp. (Herzog) may be willing to

      complete the Southern Division repairs and CalTrans has indicated possible contract approval

      under a sole-source procurement.  However, CalTrans will not recommend reimbursement for    

      work performed by Rail-Ways, Inc. due to an audit which found exception to record-keeping 

      practices.  Chair Jehn recommended Mr. Bridges proceed with a course of action to get the  

      Railroad re-opened.

 

            6.   Haystack Landing Bridge

      Executive Director Bridges reported the Coast Guard has ordered the Bridge be repaired. 

      Although the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) owns the bridge, NCRA is 

      responsible for its repair.  NWPRA offered to loan NCRA $125,000.  

 

      Dir. Hemphill moved to authorize Executive Director Bridges to enter into a contract with  

      Vortex Diving not to exceed $150,000; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  A roll call vote was taken; 

      each Director responded affirmatively; motion passed unanimously.

 

7.   Consider Extension of Commencement Date of Permanent Operating Agreement with   

      NWPY

 

      Dir. Simonson moved approval to extend the start-up date of the Operating Agreement with

      NWPY to September 20, 2000; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

 

 

H.                 LIAISON REPORTS

             1.   Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) – Executive Dir. Bridges

        Dir. Hemphill said NWPRA reported on the governance of the Railroad by so many agencies, 

        and he reported to them on funding issues, re-opening the Railroad, and administration.   

 

             2.   Legislation – Executive Dir. Bridges

        Mr. Bridges reported there is a bill penned by Assembly Member Strom-Martin that will     

        allow increased flexibility of Transit Capital Improvement funds designated for NCRA.

 

             3.   Passenger – Chair Jehn

        No report.

 

  4.   Cities – Dir. MacKenzie

        Dir. MacKenzie reported he looks forward to working with the Board and Executive Director  

         in making sure communication with the cities along the line is “wide open.”

 

             5.   Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission (SMART) – Chair Jehn

        Chair Jehn reported SMART will meet September 13 and will approve a final draft of the    

        document outlining commute rail start-up between Cloverdale and San Rafael beginning as 

        early as 2005.

 

 6.   Mendocino Council of Governments Technical Advisory Committee – Ms. Logan

        Ms. Logan reported the 10% set-aside of State Transit Improvement Program funds is                

        approved by the Mendocino Council of Governments to be used for Railroad Crossings. 

        The cities and counties will recommend which crossings are to be repaired first during

        November.

 

  7.   Web Site – Chair Jehn

                   Chair Jehn reported visitation to the site continues to be about 3,000 hits per month, and  

                   143 subscribers.  In addition, a more sophisticated map will be added with the help of a   

                    volunteer.

 

8.      CalTrans District 1—District External Advisory Liaison Committee (DEAL) – Dir.    

  Opalach

                    Dir. Opalach reported attending his first meeting August 2 with fourteen members of the 

                     community.  He gave an update on the funding provided to the Railroad by AB 2928, and 

                     feels being invited to participate in regional transportation issues indicates CalTrans views

                     the Railroad as an important part of the transportation system.  Meetings are quarterly; the

                     next meeting is November 1. 

 

               9.   Contractor – Northwestern Pacific Railways Company, LLC (NWPY)

                     John Darling, President of Rail-Ways, Inc., reported Rail-Ways, Inc. is being replaced by   

                     NWPY that adheres to the accounting procedures as required by 49 CFR, 48 CFR, and 44    

                     CFR.    

 

                      He is working with Herzog and NCRA to remain within the budget for completing Southern

                      Division repairs by utilizing the people most familiar with the Line. 

 

                      He reiterated the Board’s concern that the Haystack Landing Swing Bridge will continue to        

                      be a problem even after repair in that it is obsolete.

 

                      Tomorrow he, Herzog, and Chair Jehn are meeting with the Federal Railroad              

                      Administration (FRA) to discuss compliance with Emergency Order 21 and an approach to 

                      the Southern Division re-opening.  

 

                      To open to Willits, Mr. Darling indicated it will be between 90-120 days beyond the date of  

                       re- opening to Petaluma.

 

I.           EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Mr. Bridges

              Executive Director Bridges reported he will attend a meeting in Ventura next week where the

              California Transportation Commission will discuss guidelines to dispersing AB 2928 funds.  In  

              addition, he attended a workshop in Oakland on the State Freight Rail Plan.    

 

J.           PROPERTY MANAGER – Ms. Logan

              Property Manager Logan reported collecting approximately $25,000 in past due property

              accounts last month.  This months billing will go out after the Property Management Committee

              Meeting at the end of this month.

 

K.          LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

              No report.

 

L.          MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

              Chair Jehn informed Dir. MacKenzie he would be unable to join the Closed Session 

               telephonically.

           

               Dir. Opalach volunteered to give a presentation to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on

               August 22.

 

M.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

              Regular Board Meeting – September 20, 2000 10:00 a.m.

              Healdsburg City Council Chambers, 401 Grove Street, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California

 

N.          CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:15 p.m.

              1.   Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                    Government Code Section 54956.8

                    Concerning Sale of the Ukiah Depot

              2.   Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Fiber Optics – Ms. Logan

                    Government Code Section 54956.8

        a.   Pacific Bell

                    b.   Qwest Communications

3.      Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

        Government Code Section 54956.9

         a.   Rail-Ways, Inc. v. NCRA, California Western (Including Consideration of Rail-

                Ways, Inc. Claim)

                      b.   NCRA v. Green

                      c.   Green v. NCRA (2 Cases)

                      d.   Claim of Richard Reid

                 

              

              4.   Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

                    Government Code Section 54956.9

                    a.   California Western

                    b.   Bushnell Enterprises v. NCRA (Consideration of Stipulation)

 

O.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 1:55 pm

             1.   Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                   Government Code Section 54956.8

                   Concerning Sale of the Ukiah Depot

                   General Counsel Neary reported the Board gave direction to Ms. Logan.

 

             2.   Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Fiber Optics – Ms. Logan

                   Government Code Section 54956.8

        a.   Pacific Bell

                    b.   Qwest Communications

                          General Counsel Neary reported the Board gave direction to Ms. Logan.

 

 3.    Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

  Government Code Section 54956.9

        a.   Rail-Ways, Inc. v. NCRA, California Western (Including Consideration of Rail-   

              Ways, Inc. Claim

                          General Counsel Neary reported he received direction from the Board and the matter

                          was continued to September Board Meeting.

 

                     b.   NCRA v. Green

                           General Counsel Neary reported he was given direction by the Board.

 

                     c.   Green v. NCRA (2 Cases)

                           General Counsel Neary reported the Board authorized $322,000 retention pending

                            resolution.

 

                     d.   Claim of Richard Reid

                            General Counsel Neary reported this matter was continued to the September Board

                            Meeting.

 

              4.    Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

                     Government Code Section 54956.9

                     a.   California Western

                           General Counsel Neary reported he was given direction by the Board.

 

                      b.   Bushnell Enterprises v. NCRA (Consideration of Stipulation)

                                   General Counsel Neary reported a claim was approved by the Board for          

                             $180,044.27 subject to review of the document to be prepared by Bushnell  

                             Enterprise’s counsel.

 

P.          ADJOURNMENT 

             Chair Jehn adjourned the meeting at 1:57 p.m.