NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

 

 Wednesday, May 19, 2004   10:00 AM

Arcata City Council Chambers

736 F St., Arcata, Humboldt County

 
 Minutes

 

A.                 CALL TO ORDER

 

Chair Woolley called the meeting to order at 10:00 am

 

B.                 ROLL CALL

Directors present: Ellinger, Ollivier, Simonson, Ripple, Hemphill and Chair Woolley

Directors Absent: Burton

 

Also present: Executive Director Mitch Stogner, Legal Counsel Chris Neary, and Recording Secretary Dina Polkinghorne.

 

C.                 AGENDA APPROVAL

 

Chair Woolley thanked outgoing Director Leo Sears, presented him with a plaque, and introduced new member Charles Ollivier.

 

Kaye Strickland of the NWP Support Coalition also thanked Mr. Sears for his contribution to the NCRA.

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Hemphill, 2nd by Director Ripple, and carried (6-0), the agenda was approved as presented.

 

 

D.                CONSENT CALENDAR

1.              Approval of Minutes – 4/21/2004 Regular Board Meeting

2.              Acceptance of Financial Reports – April 2004

3.        Approval of New Index Code for Sonoma County Auditor’s Office

4.            Approval of Indirect Cost Plan

5.        Approval of Minutes – 4/21/04 Property Committee Meeting

               

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Ripple, 2nd by Director Simonson, and carried (6-0), the Consent Calendar was approved.

           

E.         PUBLIC COMMENT

Don Leonard:  Mr Leonard encouraged the board to work towards short rail service in Humboldt Bay

Fred Carmichael: Mr. Carmichael commented on the continual depreciation of the line in Humboldt County. He suggested the Board begin each meeting with a moment of silence.

 

F.         CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

1.             Consideration of Lease Agreement with City of Eureka – Marie Liscom  

 

Ms Liscom began her presentation by congratulating Leo Sears and Director Ollivier. She then reported on the depot project underway in Eureka. She asked the board to authorize staff to work with the City in terms of leasing NCRA property to the City for their project.

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Hemphill, 2nd by Director Ellinger, and carried (6-0), the Board directed staff to work with the City of Eureka, taking care to reserve potential freight operations and the needs of the Operator.

 

 

                2.             Award of Contract – Waste and Debris Clean-Up Project.

 

Mr. Stogner recommended that the board award the Waste and Debris Clean-Up Project to PSC Phillips. He based his recommendation on their  bid of $345,126

 

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Ellinger, 2nd by Director Simonson, and carried (6-0) the board awarded the contract to PSC Phillips.

 

3.a           Election of Vice Chair 

 

Director Simonson stated that he is no longer available to serve as Vice Chair. Director Ripple nominated Director Hemphill to serve as Vice Chair.

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Ripple, 2nd by Director Ellinger, and carried (6-0) the board elected Director Allan Hemphill as Vice Chair.

 

3.b           Appointment – Property Committee (one vacancy)

 

Chair Woolley appointed Director Ellinger to the Property Committee

 

G.        PRESENTATIONS

 

            1.             NWP Support Coalition – Kaye Strickland Re: Organizing to Support the Restoration of the

                                Humboldt Short Rail

 

 

Ms. Strickland requested that the NCRA authorize a coalition of civic organizations to work with the NCRA in an official capacity to advance the restoration of the Humboldt Short Rail to completion.

 

She further stated that the current funds and efforts of the NCRA are prioritized first on the restoration of the “South” portion of the line, secondly on the middle section through the Eel River Canyon, and then lastly on the “North” portion of the line in Humboldt County. Consequently the Humboldt Short Rail – from South Fork northward, has continued to deteriorate and will eventually be more costly to restore. Ms Strickland suggested that the NCRA needs additional resources in order to give the Humboldt Short Rail the attention required to make sure rail service is restored on the North end of the line and that the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Support Coalition is the appropriate organization to lead and coordinate this effort.

 

Melvin McKinney stated that he is in favor of preserving the right-of-way as crucial to the long-term interests of the line.  He also expressed concern and alerted the Board to the City of Eureka’s plans to develop an extension of Waterfront Dr. through the Palco Marsh.  Also, he alerted the Board to the

damage to the rail ROW due to erosion associated with bay dredging.

 

Marcus Brown, the Director of the Timber Heritage organization, stated that he is working to establish excursion services utilizing historical trains and to develop a timber heritage museum as a tourist attraction.  He indicated his organization would work with the NWPSC for the purposes of this request. Additionally, he believed there is a potential for EDA funds to help with several aspects of this plan.

 

Pete Oringer is a member of the NWPSC. He indicated that most members are appreciative of the NCRA strategy in choosing to open the south end first, however, the NWPSC could respectfully augment the Board's efforts. He further stated that calling the section from South Fork to Samoa the "Humboldt Short Rail" would be attractive to investors if the section had a stand alone business plan and was able to be successfully analyzed for the environmental impacts.

 

Bill Bertain is also a member of several of the support organizations including the NWPSC. He referenced the work of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District, which is attempting to work with the Port of Oakland on the resources needed to assist both the port and the railroad.  He believes this would be a great network and provides further reason why a local support coalition is needed.

 

Dan Hauser, City Manager, City of Arcata stated that the City is also interested in supporting a local coalition for the purposes expressed by previous presenters.  He indicated the costs for opening the north end may be relatively less given the most significant damage by storms was in the south end, mostly Sonoma County. Additionally, he stated that a support coalition could tie together other entities as well including the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District and the cities through both HCAOG and HTA, leading to further recruitment of other public resources.

 

Dave Meserve, City Councilman, City of Arcata stated that he met with other Councilmembers from Fortuna, Rio Dell and other communities and the consensus was that passenger service needs to be restored to the region. He stated his concern that some local businesses are encroaching on the ROW.

 

Bob Ornelas, Mayor, City of Arcata indicated, as mentioned previously, that there was a great deal of interest in supporting train-oriented proposals.  While there was some distinction being discussed between light vs. heavy rail it was his view that it was not a significant issue

 

Dwight Winegar stated that he is also a long time supporter of various tourist related interests and that he is writing a history of the rail service in order that it might stimulate interest, in particular, to passenger services.

 

Chair Woolley thanked everyone for their presentations. 

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Hemphill, 2nd by Director Ripple, and carried (6-0) the board appointed the Humboldt County delegates (Woolley and Ollivier) to work with Kaye Strickland, Dan Hauser, and NCRA staff to develop a plan to make this effort move forward and then bring it back to the board for approval.

    

H.            STAFF REPORTS

 

1.            Executive Director Mitch Stogner

 

A             Update on the FEMA Alternate Project.         

 

Mr. Stogner provided a brief update on the progress of the FEMA Alternate Project. He reported that there is a 3-step process to move forward. First, a list of equipment and materials must be created within 30 days. Secondly, OES and FEMA must then determine environmental clearance. Thirdly, the NCRA purchases the equipment and materials. The NCRA is at the first step.

 

                B             Update on the Waste and Debris Clean-Up Project

 

Mr. Stogner referred to item F.2

 

C             Update on T-21 Reauthorization

Mr. Stogner reported that the TEA LU Conference Committee has not yet been named. If the President eventually signs the bill, the Q-Fund loan would be forgiven and the NCRA would be made the lead agency on the old ISTEA funds.

 

 

D             Homeless Encampment Clean-Up    

 

Ms Polkinghorne reported that there was a recent community effort organized to clean up 

a former homeless encampment on the NCRA ROW in Ukiah. Representatives from the Ford

Street Homeless Shelter helped out with the clean-up along with Mendocino County Supervisor Richard Shoemaker and NCRA Executive Director Mitch Stogner. The City of Ukiah also donated the use of a large dumpster and Mendocino Solid Waste provided clean-up equipment.

 

E              Update on Proposed Skatepark  

               

Ms. Polkinghorne reported that the City of Ukiah has provided the NCRA with a detailed lease proposal and that the Board will be considering it under closed session.

 

                2.             Legal Counsel Chris Neary

  

No report

 

                                                           

 

I.          COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

                1.             Property Committee – No report

2.               Ad Hoc Operator Committee

 

Director Ripple reported that the committee continues to meet with the operator and potential operators.

 

3.        Finance Committee – No report

 

The Board convened into Closed Session at 11:40 am

 

J.         CLOSED SESSION

 

1.             Conference with Real Property Negotiator

Property Location: Ukiah Depot Parcel

Negotiating Parties: City of Ukiah and NCRA

Under negotiation: Price and Terms, pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9

 

2.             Conference with Legal Counsel  - Potential Exposure to  Litigation pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9 (three cases).

 

3.             Annual Performance Evaluation of General Counsel    

 

 

             

                                                            The Board reconvened to Open Session at 1:30 pm

 

K.        ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

                 

J.1           The Board unanimously approved the lease proposal presented by the City of Ukiah

J.2           The Board met and gave direction on 1 matter, directed legal counsel to pursue a confession of judgment with Foss Environmental, and authorized a quitclaim under certain terms with Arcata Recycling.

 

K.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

Director Ellinger reported that he will be out of town from June 21, 2004 through July 4, 200.4

     

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            June 16, 2004

                Healdsburg City Council Chambers

                401 Grove St., Healdsburg, Sonoma County

                       

M.       ADJOURNMENT

            The meeting was adjourned at 1:35