NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

 

WILLITS CITY HALL
111 EAST COMMERCIAL STREET, WILLITS, MENDOCINO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER

            Chair Jehn called the meeting to order at 10:06 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair Robert Jehn, First Chair David Ripple, Max Schlienger, Robert E. Simonson, Allan Hemphill, and, by phone, Jake Mackenzie.

            Directors absent:  Daniel Opalach.

Also present:  Executive Director Max H Bridges, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, Property Manager Cyndee Logan, and Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom.

           

Chair Jehn presented a certificate of appreciation for NCRA’s former consulting accountant Russ Mustola of Mustola Management.  Mr. Bridges introduced NCRA’s staff accountant, Wade Fulton.

 

C.        ANNUAL BOARD ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS

     

Dir. Hemphill nominated Dir. Ripple for Chair; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  With no other nominations, the vote was taken and Dir. Ripple was unanimously elected Chair.

 

Dir. Jehn announced his resignation from the Board of Directors because of time constraints caused by his candidacy for the Assembly, his appointment as Mayor of Cloverdale, and his appointment as President of the Redwood Empire Chapter League of California Cities.  He presented Chair Ripple with a colander given to him by Mr. Franklin, a detractor of the Railroad, signifying the futility of spending money on the line’s repair in the Eel River Canyon.

 

Chair Ripple presented Dir. Jehn with a plaque.

 

                Due to technical difficulties, Dir. Mackenzie could no longer attend by phone.

 

            Dir. Jehn nominated Dir. Schlienger as First Vice-Chair; he declined the nomination.  Dir. Hemphill

nominated Dir. Simonson who also declined.  Dir. Jehn nominated Dir. Hemphill; Dir. Ripple seconded.  Vote taken; Dir. Hemphill was unanimously elected First Vice Chair.

 

D.        MINUTES

Approve Minutes of the December 20, 2000 Regular Board Meeting.

 

Dir. Jehn moved approval of the Minutes; seconded by Dir. Hemphill. Vote taken; motion passed.

 

E.         AGENDA APPROVAL

Mr. Neary requested Item G.6 be placed after the Closed Session and add Approve Loan from Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) and Assign Agreement to Repair the Petaluma Bridge.  Dir. Hemphill requested the addition of an Item that addresses his recommendation to slow deterioration of the passenger cars by covering with tarps.   

 

Dir. Jehn moved to add the requested items to the Agenda; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

F.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Chris Burkhardt recommended, instead of selling, renovating the depots and re-establishing the roundhouses.

 

Hanna Burkhardt thanked Dir. Jehn for his effort and wished him good luck.

 

Kaye Strickland expressed appreciation for Dir. Jehn’s outstanding service.

 

Michele Fell representing CalTrans recognized Dir. Jehn’s excellent service and participation. 

 

G.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.         Approve Contract for Fiber Optic Consultant

Mr. Bridges provided a contract consistent with the Board of Director’s direction to hire an expert in appraisals specific to fiber optics.  The associated cost would come from property revenue. 

 

Dir.Hemphill moved approval; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken;  motion carried. 

 

2.         Approve Format for Encroachment Applicaton/Permit

Ms. Logan provided a format for the encroachment application/permit.  Chair Ripple recommended she meet with the Property Management Committee, Mr. Bridges, and Northwestern Pacific Railway Co. LLC (NWPY).

 

3.                  Discuss Property Management Services

Mr. Bridges, noting that Ms. Logan’s contract expires in April, recommended the Board of Directors authorize him to negotiate for a continued working relationship with her agency and bring back this Item back at a future meeting.

 

Dir. Jehn moved approval to accept the staff recommendation; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; Dir. Hemphill opposed, all others voted “aye”; motion passed.        

 

 4.        Discuss AB 2928 Debt Reduction Funding

Mr. Bridges thanked CalTrans District 1 staff in facilitating resolve with the California Transportation Commission regarding procedural issues.  After the $2.8 million in judgments have been satisfied, the remaining debt reduction funding will be used toward satisfing the principal owed to each creditor with interest calculated until the end of February.  He explained a release was sent yesterday which gives a choice to each non-judgment creditor of whether they prefer to receive their principal with a pro-rata share of interest as payment in full or be paid all interest with revenue from the Williams Communications fiber optic contract over a period of years.  The pro-rata share of interest would be determined by the responses received.  There are deadlines to respond so that the process will not be delayed.   

 

Dir. Jehn moved approval to ratify the proposed arrangement; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.  

     

5.         Designate Conflict of Interest Reporting Positions

Mr. Neary reported NCRA adheres to a Conflict of Interest Code which specifies certain positions must file yearly statements with the Fair Political Practices Commission.  He recommended deleting the reporting requirement for the abolished positions of Chief Executive Officer, Chief Engineer, and Marketing/Customer Service Director.  He also recommended creating reporting requirements for the shareholders of NWPY, and NCRA’s position of Project Manager as disclosure category 2-which allows for the disclosure of business positions which provide services and supplies of the type used by NCRA.

 

Dir. Jehn moved to approve the staff recommendation; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.

 

Item G.6 was moved to after Closed Session

 

                7.            Approve Loan from NWPRA and Assign Agreement for Repair to the Petaluma Bridge

Mr. Neary reported NWPRA agreed to lend NCRA a no-interest loan for up to $250,000 for repairs to the Haystack Landing Bridge mandated by the Coast Guard.  The loan could be repaid with proceeds from the sale of the Ukiah Depot; additionally, NWPRA and NCRA are in litigating against the insured barge owner who caused damage to the Bridge.  Mr. Bridges reported the contract for repairs is in review at the NWPRA, and although security guards patrol, the security camera was stolen. 

 

Dir. Simonson moved to approve acceptance of the loan and assignment of the agreement for repairs; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried unanimously.                                                                                                                                                  

 

8.         Purchase of Tarps to Cover Passenger Cars

Dir. Hemphill suggested covering the Daylight passenger cars suffering deterioration due to water damage.  Carl Meyers of California Redwood Coast Company offered his labor and will oversee that the tarps stay put.  

 

Dir. Hemphill moved to approve the expenditure of $1300 on an emergency basis to mitigate further damage to the cars until a final decision is made as to their disposition; seconded by Dir. Jehn.  Vote taken; motion passed unanimously.      

 

H.        LIAISON REPORTS

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

Mr. Bridges reported the NWPRA meeting in January was cancelled.  The next meeting is February 26, 2001.

 

 2.         Legislation – Executive Dir. Bridges

In response to Mr. Bridges recommendation to establish a committee to create a new legislative agenda, Chair Ripple appointed himself, Dir. Jehn, and Dir. Hemphill.

           

3.                  Passenger – Dir. Hemphill, Dir. Schlienger, Dir. Opalach

The committee has not met.

 

 4.         Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

Dir. Jehn reported he is working with Dir. Mackenzie to devise a way to keep Cities informed about issues relative to the Railroad through the web site and e-mail.

 

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

Dir. Jehn reported the next meeting will be held on February 14, 2001 at the Novato City Council Chambers.  Communities between San Rafael and Cloverdale will meet with the new project manager, and local match money must be obtained.

 

Mr. Bridges was required to leave at 11:30 a.m. so that he could drive his wife to the hospital.

 

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

Ms. Logan reported Humboldt and Sonoma Counties also offered to use State Transportation Improvement Program funds for crossing rehabilitation requiring NWPY to submit crossing specifications. In addition, she noted that private crossing requirements will also be needed so they may be sent with their respective leases. 

       

  7.        Web Site – Dir. Jehn

Chair Jehn presented statistics on visitation to NCRA’s web site.  He and Mr. Bridges are exploring options with regard to maintenance of the site after he leaves the Board.  

             

 8.        Contractor – Northwestern Pacific Railways Co. LLC (NWPY)

Doug Christy, President and Chief Engineer, reported the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has not provided partial relief from Emergency Order 21 because a signal at D Street in Petaluma is protected by only one crossing arm – the other was removed when the street was widened.  The crossing may take months to repair; however, the FRA inspector suggested NWPY could contact the Petaluma police to flag, although, that may not be acceptable to the FRA in Washington, D.C. who have final authority.

 

Additionally, he reported work is progressing on the next 20 miles to Windsor, and there is nothing that precludes the start up of service when the Emergency Order is partially lifted.  Further, the Petaluma Depot is temporarily the system headquarters.

                              

I.         EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT – Executive Director Bridges

Nothing further to report.

 

J.         PROPERTY MANAGER REPORT – Property Manager Logan

Ms. Logan requested the creation of a policy that addresses time limits for review of encroachment permit applications.

 

K.        LEGAL REPORT – General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

            No report.

 

L.        MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

 

M.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

Regular Board Meeting – February 21, 2001 at 10:00 a.m.                         

Eureka City Council Chambers, 531 K Street, Eureka, Humboldt County, California, USA

 

N.       CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 11:50 a.m.

 

O.       ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 12:26 pm

           1.          Conference with Real Estate Negotiator – Ms. Logan

                        Government Code Section 54956.8

                        a.         Sale of Ukiah Depot

b.                  Mendocino Redwood

c.                   Fiber Optics

d.         Burgess – Legal Action        

                        Chair Ripple announced the Board received information and provided direction.

 

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

                        Government Code Section 54956.9(a)

                        TXL v. NCRA, Pending in Humboldt County

                        Chair Ripple announced the Board received information and provided direction.

                                   

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

                        Government Code Section 54956.9(c)

                        Determine with Reference to Improved Project

Chair Ripple announced the Board received information and provided direction.

 

Item G. 6.       Consider Programmatic Agreement

                        Chair Ripple announced action on this Item is deferred to the next meeting.

 

P.         ADJOURNMENT 

            Chair Ripple adjourned the meeting at 12:28 p.m.