NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2001 AT 10:00 A.M.

 
EUREKA CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
531 K STREET, EUREKA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

A.        CALL TO ORDER 

            The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

Directors present:  Chair David Ripple, Vice Chair Allan Hemphill, Max Schlienger, Robert Simonson, Daniel Opalach, and Leo Sears.

            Directors absent:  Jake Mackenzie.

Also present:  Executive Director Max H Bridges, General Counsel Christopher J Neary, Accountant Wade Fulton, and Administrative Assistant Pamela Fishtrom.

 

C.        MINUTES

1.                  Approve Minutes of July 18, 2001 Passenger Committee Meeting

2.                  Approve Minutes of July 18, 2001 Regular Board Meeting       

 

Dir. Schlienger said he was absent at the Passenger Committee Meeting.

 

Chair Ripple called for a motion to approve the corrected Minutes:  Dir. Hemphill so moved; seconded by Dir. Opalach.  Vote taken – Chair Ripple abstained as he was absent; motion carried.

 

D.        AGENDA APPROVAL

                Dir. Hemphill requested adding an Item – Sale of five Meechem cars for $350,000. 

 

Chair Ripple called for a vote to add the requested Item to the Agenda: vote taken; motion carried.

 

Mr. Neary requested Item F.3 commence at 11:00 am with Item F.4 following. 

 

Dir. Schlienger moved to approve the Agenda; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

E.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

Robert Jehn, former NCRA Board member, announced his reappointment to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission.

 

Paul Augustine, retired Eureka resident, urged the Board to improve the rate of construction.

 

Dana Fuller suggested using the internet to respond to incorrect information posted about the Railroad.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.            Request for Property Title Change to City of Eureka

Mr. Zoppo, Property Manager for the City of Eureka, presented maps to request 156 square feet be deeded to the City as it was previously not transferred because of a lien now removed.  Chair Ripple recommended this item be sent to the Property Committee.

 

2.         Consider Formalizing Appointments to Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority

Mr. Bridges reported a submission to identify a criteria by which to select NCRA representatives from separate counties to appoint to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority.

 

Dir. Opalach motioned to retain the present system of Chair appointment with Board concurrence of the Director deemed most qualified; seconded by Dir. Sears.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

3.         Public Hearing on Boyle Protest of Bidding Procedure

This Item was scheduled to begin at 11:00 am and was tabled until that time.

 

            4.         Select Engineering/Environmental Capital Projects Consultant

This Item was to follow Item F.3 therefore it was also tabled.

 

5.         Award Bid for Rehabilitation Work Between Windsor and Willits

Mr. Bridges recommended contracting with Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., the lowest bidder at $888,565, subject to review by Legal Counsel as to form, and subject to additional funds secured by Caltrans.  Or, if additional funds are unavailable, negotiate the contract capped at available funding.

 

Dir. Hemphill called for approval of the low bid under the circumstances described by staff; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

6.                  Sale of Five Meechem Cars for $350,000

 

Dir. Hemphill motioned the Passenger Committee offer for sale, advertise, and negotiate the price of the five Meechem cars for $350,000, or individually at various prices the total of which equals no less than $350,000, subject to the final Disposition of Public Assets Policy determination, and with final approval of the sale(s) subject to Board action; seconded by

Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

 

G.         LIAISON REPORTS

1.                  Northwestern Pacific Railroad Authority (NWPRA) – Mr. Bridges

Dir. Hemphill reported the August meeting of the NWPRA is canceled and their staff has been directed to provide a report on governance issues for the September meeting.

 

11 am   F.3       Public Hearing on Boyle Protest

                       

Dir. Hemphill moved to deny the request for a continuance; seconded by Dir. Simonson.  Vote taken; motion carried.

      

The hearing proceeded.

 

Dir. Hemphill motioned to reject the claim; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Roll call vote taken – all ayes: motion carried.

 

F.4.      Select Engineering/Environmental Capital Projects Consultant

            Mr. Bridges reported the Selection Committee recommends hiring Willdan/HNTB.  In addition, he requested the Board authorize staff to proceed with the procurement of appropriate contract subject to Caltrans’ pre-award audit and concurrence by Legal Counsel.

 

                Dir. Simonson moved to accept staff’s recommendation; seconded by Dir. Schlienger.  Roll call vote taken – all ayes: motion carried.

 

G.        2.         Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Commission (SMART) – Mr. Bridges

Mr. Bridges presented the SMART Agenda and declined comment as SMART Director Robert Jehn spoke earlier.

 

3.         Legislation – Mr. Bridges    

No report.         

 

4.            Web Site

Mr. Bridges reported more frequently asked questions will be posted to NCRA’s web site.

 

5.         Cities – Dir. Mackenzie

No report.

 

6.         Passenger – Dir. Hemphill, Dir. Opalach, and Dir. Schlienger

Dir. Hemphill reported the Passenger Committee will meet to discuss a proposal from California Redwood Coast Company regarding the Daylight passenger cars, and in response to additional vandalism of the Daylight passenger cars, he received concurrence he could store them at All Coast Timber Products in Cloverdale for a nominal fee.  Dir. Opalach requested Mr. Bridges contract with Stone Consulting and set a meeting of the Passenger Committee before the September Board Meeting.

 

7.         Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) Technical Advisory Committee – Ms. Logan

Mr. Bridges reported Ms. Logan is currently at the MCOG meeting to ask the Committee to commit to support additional rail/highway crossing upgrades.  Also, from her report she requested NCRA consider joining Humboldt County’s Technical Advisory Committee.

 

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

John Darling, NWPY Chief Executive Officer/ Chief Financial Officer, presented a written report and outlined:

·        A track inspection by the Federal Railroad Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission from Lombard to Petaluma on July 30 – August 1 found several minor defects which have been repaired,

·        A signal inspection began August 14 and is expected to be complete by August 20,

·        Failure to implement track inspection procedures and track foreman training during the

first 90 days of operation may result in several Code 1 violations,

·        Because there are presently no major track or signal defects, he foresees re-opening the tracks to Windsor by September 1, and

·        Service was interrupted for 2 weeks due to a fire on Novato Creek Bridge at mile post 26.93.  Although repaired, only 34 revenue cars were shipped – half the expected volume.

 

H.        STAFF REPORTS

1.                  Executive Director Max H Bridges

No report.

 

            2.         Assistant Executive Director Douglas Christy

            Not in attendance due to flight over Eel River Canyon to assess damage.

 

3.         General Counsel Christopher J Neary

            No report.

 

            4.         Property Manager Cyndee Logan

                        Mr. Bridges arranged a Property Committee Meeting for September 7 at 10:00 am.

 

5.            Accountant Wade Fulton

Mr. Fulton reported:

§         receiving $5.5 million to fund the investment account that will re-pay the Q-Fund

§         the first installment was made to creditors who chose to receive their interest over 11 years from property revenues

§         the single year audit report for the year ended June 30, 2000 will be issued in August

§         the final adjustments for the year ended June 30, 2001 will be issued in the next couple weeks, and

§         he will include a list of current liabilities in future financial reports.

 

I.          MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

            Dir. Opalach responded to Dir. Sears’ opening remarks regarding the future role of the timber industry.

 

J.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            Regular Board Meeting – September 19, 2001 10:00 am

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

 

K.        CLOSED SESSION – Convened at 12:51 pm

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION – Reconvened at 12:08 pm

1.         Conference with Real Property Negotiator – Ms. Logan

            Government Code § 54946.8

            Fiber Optics – Pacific Bell

                Ms. Logan was unavailable.

 

2.         Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Anticipated Litigation

a.      Government Code § 54956.9(b)

Significant Exposure to Litigation – Two Potential Cases

b.      Government Code § 54956.9(c)

Initiation of Litigation – One Case

The Board approved the rejection of a claim by NWPY for $422,255, and authorized the issuance of a notice of rejection.

 

3.         Conference with Legal Counsel Neary – Existing Litigation

Government Code § 54956.9

                Rail-Ways, Inc. v. North Coast Railroad Authority

            Adversary Proceeding 01-1101

The Board authorized Counsel to respond to Rail-Ways, Inc. v. Benson in adversarial proceeding 01-1101 now pending with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court raising the affirmative defense of sovereign immunity.

 

M.       ADJOURNMENT

            The Meeting was adjourned at 2:09 pm.