NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

 

MINUTES

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2003 AT 10:00 AM

 

ARCATA CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

736 F STREET, ARCATA, HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, USA

 

 

 

A.              CALL TO ORDER

Chair Woolley called the meeting to order at 10 am

 

B.              ROLL CALL

Directors Present: Chair John Woolley, Leo Sears, Budge Campbell, Allan Hemphill, David Ripple and Robert Simonson.

Directors Absent: Bruce Burton

Also Present: Executive Director Douglas M. Christy, General Counsel Chris Neary and Administrative Assistant Louise Evans.

 

C.              AGENDA APPROVAL

The agenda will stand as presented.

 

D.              MINUTES APPROVAL

Director Campbell moved to approve Regular Board Minutes of January 14, 2003; 2nd by Director Ripple.

 

None opposed, motion carried.

 

E.              PUBLIC COMMENT

Kaye Strickland, Citizens for Port Coalition

Thanked Doug Christy for the help he has provided for the Coalition and how the Coalition stands ready to help the NCRA.

 

Pete Oringer

Received positive comments on how impressed the different agencies are with Doug Christy conveying messages and the energy in which he is in doing it.

 

Bill Burton – Volunteer for helping Railroad effort

Railroad bridge engineers are vanishing.  (Handouts given to Directors of bridge repair and maintenance)  Track time makes bridge repair expensive, but with the shut down it is an opportunity for repair and replacement at half the cost.

 

Adjourned for Closed Session at 10:10 am

F.               CLOSED SESSION

1.           Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation

Significant exposure to litigation

Government code Section 54956.9(b)

Reconvened at 11:02 am

 

G.             ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION

The Board met with Legal Counsel and provided direction.

 

H.              CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.           Harbor Revitalization Plan Update

On February 13, 2003, the consultant team of PB Ports & Marine publicly detailed the results of their Harbor Revitalization Study.  A component of this study was the recently released The Long Term Financial and Economic Feasibility of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad report in January 2003 by PB Ports & Marine. 

 

Board of Directors’ Comments

For the first time there is a body of information to refer too, a cooperation of all entities.  The NCRA commits to working with the Harbor during public workshops or other meetings/sessions to fine-tune the implementation plan as recommended by the consultant team.

 

2.           Financial Update

Chair Woolley suggested that the Consent Calendar be used for Minutes and Financial updates.

 

No objections, the Consent Calendar will be set into place.

 

                                   a.          Monthly Financial Statements

Accountants Aycock & Edgmon will be in the Ukiah office February 20th & 21st to complete their field work for the 01/02 single year audit.

 

310 Property Lease invoices were mailed last month; payments are beginning to come in.  Suggested that the Property and Administration accounts be merged for the 03/04 budget.

 

                                   b.          Q-Fund Repayment

The NCRA is awaiting a resolution from the CTC.  The Finance Committee will have to address future Q-Fund deficits if the interest rates continue at their present yield.

 

 

3.           Composition of standing Committees

                                   a.          Finance

Committee will stand as is with Directors Burton, Campbell and Simonson

 

                                   b.          Property

Committee will stand as is with Directors Sears, Campbell and Simonson

 

                                    c.          Passenger

Director Hemphill will continue and other Directors can be appointed as business dictates.

 

                                   d.          Other

No other committees are required at this time.

 

4.           Funding Update (TCRP, FEMA/OES, TEA-21)

 

                                   a.          Environmental Remediation (Task Order #4)

TCRP funds are hanging in the balance.  The legislators have not given direction to the CTC.  The NCRA has responded to the TCR funding survey requested by the CTC

 

The NCRA should be receiving a reimbursement check of approximately $112,000, for Task Order #4.

 

                                   b.          Environmental Assessment (PEAR)

FEMA/OES Funding: the NCRA doesn’t have the revised Damage Survey Report (DSR) that will fund the PEAR, but should be receiving it soon; the contract cannot be executed without it.   There is an MOU between all parties, which is in its final circulation. 

 

                                    c.          Future Capital Upgrades

TEA-21 application needs to be mailed to Congressman Thompson by February 21, 2003.  Support letters from congressional leaders and transportation officials are crucial.

 

Board of Directors Discussion of TEA –21 Application

1) Suggest an environmental study of the Eel River and how it would be affected by removal of aggregates.  2) Mr. Christy received direction to submit the $40M request, which is substantiated by the 5-year reopening strategy previously adopted by the Board.  3) Mr. Christy received direction to leave $12M in Q-fund from Congressman Thompson’s office.

 

 

Public Comments

 

Marcus Brown , City of Eureka

Applied for TEA-21 for tourist train.

 

Kaye Strickland

Felt it is a good idea to combine efforts for the TEA-21 application with tourist train application.

 

Adjourned for break at 12:00 pm

Reconvened at 12:09 pm

 

 

5.           NWPY Standstill Agreement Update

The Standstill agreement is in effect until 3/31/03.

 

Public Comments

 

John Darling, NWPY

Aggregate is the engine that is driving the private investment in this railroad.  The aggregates along the corridor have the lowest natural levels of asbestos in the State of California. Mr. Darling felt very positive about moving forward.

                             

Kaye Strickland

Coalition spoke of aggregates; the Eel River has ten times more aggregates per mile than the Mississippi.  Questioned how will the aggregates be extracted?

 

Chair Woolley

The NCRA will be carriers of aggregates, not operators.  It needs to be extracted without endangering fish or their habitat.  The NCRA doesn’t want this liability. 

 

6.           Right-of-Way Transfer Discussion (SMART II)

 

No action required by the Board of Directors at this time.  Discussed the need to develop a consensus of how to approach this issue.

 

Public Comments and Board of Directors

 

Dan Houser, Arcata City Manager

Suggested the minimal starting place for negotiations with SMART and that the NCRA has a fiduciary responsibility to the rest of the line should this transfer come about.  Recommended the Q-Fund and obligation be transferred to the new agency, as well as ISTEA and other obligation’s that currently exist to the NWPRA.  Who is going to maintain Ignacio portion of the wye?

 

John Darling, NWPY

An essential factor in the continuing rail operation, concerning what will become the SMART II line, is responsibility of dispatching and maintenance.  There isn’t a procedure in the existing operating agreement.  On one hand all maintenance is deferred to the NCRA.  There is no discussion of future commuter operations and who will control maintenance.

 

 

Chris Neary, General Counsel

“Schedule 3.10: adjunct to the existing operating agreement, when and if transit operations commence on the corridor, that coordination agreement establishes standards for procedures on how issues are to be addressed.”  Conceptually there is a procedure for negotiations.

 

Didn’t feel there would be an advantage of transferring the Q-fund to SMART II.   If cash is transferred from NWPRA to SMART II, it should be used to retire obligations.

 

Budge Campbell

What happens if the NCRA doesn’t agree to transfer?  If SMART II isn’t funded what happens to the Right-of-Way?  Didn’t see an advantage of membership on SMART II committee.  He is opposed to donating line from Healdsburg to Cloverdale.

 

Leo Sears

What we get is to be negotiated.  Felt an ad hoc committee should be appointed to work with staff.  This should be looked into with the NWPRA.  The NCRA has joint powers agreement with the NWPRA.  Everything needs to be on the table and the NCRA needs to come out as whole as possible.  The NCRA is in survival mode, and the property monies are our survival right now.

 

Chair Woolley

Everything needs to be kept on the table.  We need to research a Q-Fund transfer and what it would mean to the NCRA.  An ad hoc committee was formed comprising of Directors Allan Hemphill, Leo Sears and Dave Ripple. 

 

I.                COMMITTEE REPORTS

1.          Property Management Committee – Directors Sears, Campbell and Simonson

Nothing to report.

 

2.          Finance Committee – Directors Simonson, Burton and Campbell

Nothing to report.

 

3.          Passenger – Director Hemphill

Cars were broken into again, mostly vandalism.  The police are working with us.

 

J.               STAFF REPORTS

1.          Executive Director Douglas M. Christy

32 resumes were received for the Administrative Assistant position, and it was narrowed down to seven.  There were two strong finalists and Mr. Christy will report his selection at the next meeting.

 

The Corps of Engineers is working with the NCRA to clean out the Wingo log jam.  The debris will be brought to a landfill.  The NCRA and the Corp are negotiating with Sonoma County for payment.

 

Approval for disconnecting telephone service in Eureka and Cloverdale was requested and granted.  The callers will be referred to the Ukiah office phone number.

 

The deadline for sending in Form 700 is April 1st.

 

2.          General Counsel Christopher J. Neary

Nothing to report.

 

K.              MATTERS FROM BOARD MEMBERS

None.

 

L.             ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING ­
Regular Board Meeting – March 19 – 10:00 am (PST)

Santa Rosa, Board of Supervisors Chamber, 575 Administration Drive Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, CA

 

M.           ADJOURNMENT at 1:00 pm