NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2000 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

FORTUNA CITY HALL
621 11TH STREET, FORTUNA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

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

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair Robert Jehn, First Chair David Ripple, Robert E. Simonson, and Allan Hemphill.

            Directors absent:  Max Schlienger, Jake Mackenzie, and Daniel Opalach.

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

            Manager Cyndee Logan, and Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom.

 

C.        MINUTES

1.    Approval of Minutes of the October 18, 2000 Regular Board Meeting

2.            Approval of Minutes of the November 6, 2000 Special Board Meeting

 

Dir. Ripple moved approval of both sets of Minutes; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

D.                AGENDA APPROVAL

 
Mr. Bridges requested removal, under Item J, of the discussion regarding Richard Robinson and Associates, Inc.  Mr. Neary requested removal of Item F.6, and to move Item F.8 so that it follows Closed Session.   

 

Dir. Hemphill moved approval of the Agenda with the requested changes; seconded by Dir. Ripple.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

Dir. Opalach arrived at 10:03 am.

 

E.                 PUBLIC COMMENTS

            None.

 

F.                  CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.            Trails and Rails Presentation

Jennifer Rice represented Redwood Community Action Agency’s Natural Resource Division and Friends of the Annie & Mary Rail-Trail in presenting an update on their efforts to create a trail on the out-of-service rail corridor from Arcata to Korbel.

 

2.              Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition

Kaye Strickland, speaking for several civic agencies, offered to assist in garnering support in Humboldt County for the Line and in contacting political representatives on funding issues. 

Pete Oringer discussed the economic importance of rail service in the Humboldt area in terms of the Port and tourist train opportunities.  He offered the Board convey why this relatively benign area cannot be separated from the Eel River Canyon in pursuing repair under the Improved Project as was done on the South End through categorical exclusions.    

 

3.         Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District Presentation (HBHRCD)

David Hull, Chief Executive Officer, provided an up-date of Port activities.  He indicated on-going discussions with Mr. Bridges to utilize $275,000 of Intermodal Service Transportation for the 21st Century funds (TEA-21) pledged to their agency for use on the Railroad, and on issues in support of a marine terminal.  

                       

4.         Consider Contracting with Fiber Optic Consultant

Mr. Bridges and Ms. Logan recommended seeking the expertise of a fiber optic consultant to determine the value of the opportunities presented in that area.

 

Dir. Ripple moved to take the recommendation of staff and direct staff to negotiate a contract; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion carried.  

     

5.               Approve First Amendment to Lease Agreement with Sonoma County for Cloverdale Depot

Mr. Bridges recommended approving the amendment he negotiated with Sonoma County to lease the Cloverdale Depot for one year at $100 per month and two years at $150 per month less the cost for providing janitorial services for the public restrooms.

 

Dir. Simonson moved to direct staff to enter into the amended agreement; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

6.            Notice of Biennial Review and Amendment of Conflict of Interest Code

Item pulled.

 

7.            Discussion on Negotiating Interest Rates Agreed to Under Contract

Mr. Bridges reported NCRA has a contractual obligation to pay 9.6% interest to Rail-Ways, Inc. and Herzog which will affect the distribution of debt relief money.

 

8.         Revise Scope of Work for Re-Opening Project Between Willits and Samoa

Item moved to after Closed Session.

 

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

                  Northwestern California Railway Engineering Corp.  (NorCare) Permanent Operating

                  Agreement

Mr. Neary proposed continuing this item until the December Board Meeting.

 

Chair Jehn inquired if there were any objections by Board Members; hearing none, he continued the Item to the next meeting.             

 

 

 

G.                LIAISON REPORTS

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

Dir. Hemphill reported the meeting focused on the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District’s role in the NWPRA. 

 

 2.               Legislation – Executive Dir. Bridges

                        Chair Jehn mentioned the Governor signed for the passage of TEA-21 funds to HBHRCD.

 

             3.               Passenger – Dir. Hemphill

Dir. Hemphill reported Carl Meyers of California Redwood Coast Company did not get a big response after he was asked to contact the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society with regard to their offer to seek volunteers to help with the passenger cars.  Because of additional requests to provide service, Dir. Hemphill recommended the Board revisit their passenger-related policies.      

 

  4.   Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

                        There was no report due to Dir. Mackenzie’s absence.

 

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

Chair Jehn reported SMART is hiring staff and proceeding with environmental and engineering work to begin commute rail between Cloverdale and San Rafael.  The next meeting is tomorrow, November 15 at 2:00 p.m.

 

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

Ms. Logan reported the next meeting is tomorrow; however, NWPY needs to submit the preferred crossing design because the 10% set aside is funded in January. 

       

  7.   Web Site – Chair Jehn

Chair Jehn reported visitation to the site remains 3-4,000 hits per month: subscribers number approximately 175.  He recommended the Board, in the next couple of months, consider permanent staff to maintain the web site.

             

8.  CalTrans District 1-District External Advisory Liaison Committee – Dir. Opalach

Dir. Opalach reported meeting November 1; however, there were no direct rail-related issues discussed.  He remarked that truck restrictions were discussed and will remain in place for a long time which is just another reason to re-open the Railroad.           

 

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

                        John Darling, CEO/CFO, reported:

·        appreciation for NWPSC;

·        two field studies are necessary to determine if there is a need to transplant plants;

·        Dir. Ripple hi-railed on the track last week;

·        Maintenance of Way crews started in Petaluma and went to Black Point: by the end of the week they should be in Petaluma;

·        vegetation control is on-going;

·        the Petaluma Yard needs to be dressed up;

·        he will be asking the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to inspect to Mile Post 43 on November 30 and 31 or December 3 and 4, and to Mile Post 63 near the end of December;

·        the introduction of:

Ø      Bill Bremer, Marketing Manager,

Ø      Joel Torres, General Manager of Operations, and

Ø      Doug Christy, President and Chief Engineer;

·        the security camera is in place on the Haystack Landing Bridge; however, a permit is required by the Coast Guard to change the lighting; and, 

·        nothing should delay the re-opening from Mile Post 63 to Willits when the bid process is complete.

                    

H.        EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Executive Director Bridges

Mr. Bridges reported:

·        LB Hayhurst and Associates received 18 resumes for the Project Manager position: November 22, 2000 is the final filing date;

·        Russ Mustola, Consulting Accountant, submitted his resignation as of December 31, 2000; and,

·        a meeting is scheduled with CalTrans tomorrow to discuss:

Ø      the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Program;

Ø      support for judgments submitted for payment from the debt reduction funds;

Ø      the California Transportation Committee Meeting in December; and,

Ø      the issuance of the Request for Proposals for Engineering Services.

Mr. Bridges said the judgment creditors may be paid by the end of the year.  The non-judgment creditors must sign a release letter that will be sent after the interest payments are recalculated.  As the releases are returned, NCRA will send invoices to CalTrans.

 

I.                   PROPERTY MANAGER REPORT – Property Manager Logan

Ms. Logan reported receiving $32,000 in back rents from Georgia Pacific.  She also presented a written report, and requested a meeting with the Property Management Committee.

 

J.         LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

            No report.

 

K.        MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

Dir. Opalach announced the birth of his third child, Jacquelyn Beth, on November 4, 2000.

 

Dir. Hemphill congratulated Dir. Opalach for repopulating Humboldt County.

 

Chair Jehn thanked the three organizations that performed presentations today, and expressed appreciation for their support.  He also wished wellness to Wendy Butler, reporter and Railroad supporter, who suffered an automobile accident.  Additionally, he suggested the Board consider the substance of the event to take place when the Railroad is re-opened.    

           

L.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

Regular Board Meeting -- December 20, 2000 at 10:00 a.m.                         

Healdsburg City Council Chambers, 401 Grove Street, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, CA, USA

 

M.       CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:50 p.m.

 

N.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 2:05 pm

            1.             Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                              Government Code Section 54956.8

                              a.            Sale of the Ukiah Depot

b.            Pacific Bell Fiber Optics

c.            Pratt Mountain – Johannesen Lease           

                        Chair Jehn announced the Board received information and provided direction to Ms.                         Logan on all Items.

 

            2.               Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation – Mr. Neary

                              Government Code Section 54956.9(a)

                        TXL v. NCRA, Pending in Humboldt County

                        Chair Jehn announced the Board received information and provided direction to Mr. Neary.                        

3.                Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiate Litigation – Mr. Neary

                              Government Code Section 54956.9(c)

                        Determine with Reference to Improved Project

Mr. Neary announced the Board of Directors ordered him to prepare a memorandum concerning potential litigation against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for breach of contract including but not necessarily limited to preparation of a draft complaint and to report back to the Board of Directors at the December meeting.

 

O.                REVISE SCOPE OF WORK FOR RE-OPENING PROJECT BETWEEN WILLITS AND SAMOA – Regular Meeting Re-Convened at 2:00 p.m.

Mr. Bridges presented a list of possible stabilization measures to add to the scope of work, along with repair of the tunnel, requested by FEMA/Office of Emergency Services by November 16, 2000. 

 

Dir. Ripple moved to authorize an amendment to the Re-Opening Project description to include the Items on the list subject to such factors as available funding and need for stabilization; seconded by Dir. Hemphill.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously. 

 

P.            ADJOURNMENT 

            Chair Jehn adjourned the meeting at 2:10 p.m.