NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2000 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

HEALDSBURG CITY HALL
401 GROVE STREET, HEALDSBURG, SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Jehn called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

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

            Simonson, and Jake Mackenzie.

            Directors absent:  Max Schlienger

            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.

 

C.        MINUTES

            Approval of Minutes of the August 16, 2000 Regular Board Meeting

 

            Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the Minutes as written; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken;      

            motion carried.

 

D.                AGENDA APPROVAL

 
            Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the Agenda with addition of an Action Item after the Closed     
            Session entitled Approval of Debt Repayment Plan; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken;             
            motion passed unanimously.

 

E.                 PUBLIC COMMENTS

            Dana Fuller recommended avoiding a 10 mile per hour restriction by bringing the Line to Class 2

            simultaneously with work to bring the Line to Class 1 in that it only requires three more ties per 39          

            foot section.

 

            David Schonbrunn, Marin Advocates for Transit, congratulated the Directors for their gumption in   

            sticking with this organization through rough times, and applying so much of their time to the   

            extremely difficult tasks which have brought this agency renewed respect.  

 

F.                  CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

            1.   Passenger Committee Appointment

With Board concurrence, Chair Jehn appointed Dir. Hemphill to the Passenger Committee in his stead. 

 

            2.   Consider Agreement for Legal Services

    Executive Director Bridges recommended the Board enter into an agreement for legal services   

    with General Counsel Neary and pay him for his past work. 

 

    Dir. Hemphill moved approval to enter into a contract for legal services with Mr. Neary and 

    pay him for his past work when funds become available; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote   

    taken; motion passed unanimously.           

 

            3.   Consider Cost of Living Wage Increase for Non-Management Employees

      Executive Director Bridges recommended the Board provide a 5% cost of living adjustment for

      the non-management employee because it has been two years since the last increase in wages. 

      Mr. Bridges indicated he will perform yearly employee evaluations for staff under his authority.   

     

      Dir. Simonson moved approval to provide a 5% cost of living adjustment for the non-

      management employee for Fiscal Year 2000-2001; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken;

      motion passed unanimously.

 

4.   Consider Providing Employee Health Insurance

      Executive Director Bridges reported an offering of health insurance is necessary to attract a

      Project Manager.  Membership in CalPers provides access to health insurance, therefore, Mr.

      Bridges recommended NCRA provide up to $200.00 per month per employee toward health

      insurance.  The decision would not impact Mr. Bridges as any benefit represent a reduction in

      his salary.

 

      Dir. Mackenzie moved to authorize Executive Director Bridges to proceed with the steps

      necessary to contract with CalPers with the understanding that the employer contribution by

      NCRA will be up to $200.00; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken; motion passed  

      unanimously.

 

5.      Discuss Arrangements for Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Anticipated Resumption of

      Service to Petaluma

      Chair Jehn requested input from Directors and members of the public to augment his idea to

      invite the Governor to ride a train to the re-opening celebration near Petaluma. 

 

6.      Extension of Start-Up Date for Northwestern Pacific Railway Co. LLC (NWPY) and

      Northwestern California Railway Engineering Corp. (NorCare) Permanent Operating  

      Agreement

      General Counsel Neary recommended extending the start-up date to the September meeting.

 

      Dir. Simonson moved approval to extend the start-up date to the October Meeting; 

     seconded by Dir. Ripple. Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

7.      Property Management Issues

a.      Approve Fee Structure

Property Manager Logan requested approval of the fee structure for leases as presented based on the Property Management Committee’s suggestions.

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the fee structure for leases as stated in the proposal and defer the fee structure for encroachments until a fair market value is determined, factoring in the cost of administration, and allowing an opportunity for input by the public; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

           

b.      Rail Employees/Residents on Railroad Property

Property Manager Logan proposed a policy statement for dealing with residents on Railroad property.  Dir. Simonson recommended exchange of the word “unauthorized”  for “illegal.”  Executive Director Bridges indicated the issue is insurance.  Mr. Darling, President of Rail-Ways, Inc. said he would indemnify authorized Railroad residents who provide security.

 

Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the proposed policy statement exchanging the word “unauthorized” for “illegal;” seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

8.      Request Copier for Eureka Business Office

Executive Director Bridges recommended purchase of a used copier for $536 for the Eureka office. 

 

Dir. Simonson moved approval of the purchase of a used copier for $536 for the Eureka office; seconded by Dir. Mackenzie.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

G.                LIAISON REPORTS

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

       Mr. Bridges reported NWPRA requested collateral for an anticipated loan to NCRA for

       $250,000 to repair the Haystack Landing Bridge.  Due to collisions and vandalism, General

       Counsel Neary requested addition of an emergency item to the Agenda – Consider Providing

       Security on the Haystack Landing Bridge.  Mr. Neary recommended the Board authorize Mr.

       Bridges to put security in place at the bridge until repair work begins in approximately 30 days.

 

      Dir. Mackenzie moved to agendize as emergency items: 1) Security for the Haystack Landing   

        Bridge, and 2) Collateral for NWPRA loan; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  A 4/5 vote of the

        entire Board was necessary: all Directors present needed to vote affirmatively.  Vote taken;

        motion carried.

 

       a.  Security for the Haystack Landing Bridge

 

            Dir. Mackenzie moved to allocate up to $7500.00 towards half of the cost of providing

            security for the Haystack Landing Bridge in partnership with NWPRA; seconded by Dir.

           Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

       b.  Collateral for NWPRA Loan

 

       Dir. Hemphill moved to allocate a loan of up to $250,000.00 to repair the Haystack        

       LandingBridge, and pledge the proceeds of the sale of the Ukiah Depot to repay such  

       loan from NWPRA; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  A roll call vote was  taken.  All Directors 

       voted “aye;”  motion carried.     

 

  2.   Legislation – Executive Dir. Bridges

        Mr. Bridges reported AB1093 passed.

 

             3.   Passenger – Dir. Hemphill

        Chair Jehn announced his replacement by Dir. Hemphill.

 

  4.   Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

         Dir. MacKenzie reported he will consider contacting representatives from each City on the

         Line electronically as items come up, such as, alerting each about the proposed increase in

         encroachment fees.        

 

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

        Chair Jehn reported SMART is hiring a project manager then applying for the $37 million in

        funds allocated to them in the Governor’s Budget.       

 

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

        Ms. Logan reported Mr. Bridges attended the Mendocino Council of Governments meeting

        when money was set aside to be used for railroad crossings throughout the county.  Chair Jehn

        recommended the Directors and staff visit Sonoma County and Humboldt County Association    

        of Government meetings. 

       

  7.   Web Site – Chair Jehn

                   Chair Jehn reported visitation to the site is about 4,000 hits per month with 137 subscribers. Mr.

                   Bridges recommended additional uses for the web site including downloads such as

                   encroachment applications, and that the Board may consider hiring a professional web master.    

 

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

  Opalach

                     Dir. Opalach reported DEAL meets quarterly: the next meeting will be held in November. 

                    

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

                     John Darling, President of Rail-Ways, Inc., reported NWPRA is investigating vandalism of

                     the Brazos Bridge.  In addition, the power cable at Black Point Bridge is severed.  With Mr.

                     Bridges approval, it will be repaired by the end of the week.  He reported contact with

                     shippers eager to use the Line: a marketing officer has been hired. 

                    

H.          EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Mr. Bridges

               Mr. Bridges reported he will make a presentation on the status of NCRA to the Public Transit

               Committee of the California Transportation Commission next week in San Francisco.  The

               Agenda also includes five applications for funds from the Transportation Congestion Relief

               Program (TCRP); $10 million for debt reduction, $1 million for re-opening Willits North, a

               portion of environmental funds, a portion of matching funds, and funds to repay the Q-fund.  

               CalTrans has been very helpful with the applications, the consultant selection process, and the 

               sole-source procurement for Herzog to re-open the South End.  The Request for Proposals for

               Engineering Services process may need correction.    

 

I.           LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

1.      Proposed Bidding Policy

Mr. Neary provided a proposed bidding policy for the Board to review and consider at the next Board meeting.

 

2.      Proposed Special Legislation for Public Contracts Code

Mr. Neary presented special legislation to formalize policy in issuing public contracts for the Board to review and consider at the next Board meeting.

 

3.      Establishment of Prevailing Wage Rates for NCRA Public Works Contracts

Mr. Neary reported CalTrans has determined NCRA needs to establish the payment of prevailing wage rates in all public works contracts.  He has requested and expects issuance by the Department of Industrial Relations prior to the next meeting.

 

Additionally, Mr. Neary reported termination of the temporary restraining order issued in the matter of Green v. NCRA, and that Mr. Green dropped his application for relief.

 

J.          MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

             Dir. Opalach reported appearing before the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on August 22

             to discuss the status of NCRA including an overview of the TCRP, repair of the South End, and the

             Environmental Assessment with FEMA/OES.  He reported receiving much support, much interest,

             and the Supervisors expressed happiness in the Railroad’s progress and willingness to help.

           

K.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

              Regular Board Meeting – October 18, 2000 10:00 a.m.

              Willits City Council Chambers, 111 East Commercial Street, Willits, Mendocino County, CA

 

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

 

M.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 1:00 pm

             1.   Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                   Government Code Section 54956.8

                   Concerning Sale of the Ukiah Depot

                   Chair Jehn announced the Board received information from Ms. Logan

 

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

                   Government Code Section 54956.8

        a.   Pacific Bell

                    b.   Qwest Communications

                          Chair Jehn announced the Board received information from Ms. Logan

 

 3.    Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

  Government Code Section 54956.9

        a.   Rail-Ways, Inc. v. California Western (CWR)

                          Chair Jehn announced Mr. Neary provided information and was given direction.

 

                     b.  Claim of CWR

                           Chair Jehn announced Mr. Neary provided information and was given direction.

 

c.   NCRA v. Green

   Chair Jehn announced Mr. Neary provided information and was given direction.

 

                     d.   Green v. NCRA (2 Cases)

                            Chair Jehn announced Mr. Neary provided information and was given direction.

 

                      e.   Claim of Richard Reid

                            Chair Jehn announced Mr. Neary provided information and was given direction.

 

4.       Personnel Issue

                     Government Code Section 54956.7

                     Employee Performance Evaluation – Executive Director

                     Chair Jehn announced due to time constraints this item was continued to October’s meeting.

 

N.          APPROVAL OF DEBT REPAYMENT PLAN

        Executive Director Bridges presented a summary of judgment debt, trade debt, and contingent

        debt for approval.  NCRA intends to use the money from the CTC to satisfy all the judgment debt

        and the principal portion of the trade debt.  Property revenue will be used to satisfy the interest. 

 

        Dir. Mackenzie moved approval of the debt schedule with one modification: the Meecham car

     debt be moved to a contigent debt with  agreement by Dir. Hemphill to contact the creditor to see

        what can be worked out; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.   

 

O.          ADJOURNMENT 

              Chair Jehn adjourned the meeting at 1:05 p.m.