NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

 

 Wednesday, April 21, 2004   10:00 AM

Ukiah City Council Chambers

300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah, Mendocino County

 
 Minutes

 

A.                 CALL TO ORDER

 

Chair Woolley called the meeting to order at 10:03 am

 

B.                 ROLL CALL

Directors present: Ellinger, Sears, 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

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Simonson, 2nd by Director Ripple, and carried (6-0), the agenda was approved with the following changes: Item D-4 was removed for discussion and Item J.1 was moved to F.2

 

Mr. Neary requested that an item “H.5” be added to the agenda under Closed Session, “Meyer vs NCRA”. He stated that the board is required to vote on additions to the agenda.

 

ACTION:  Upon motion by Director Sears, 2nd By Director Ellinger, and carried (6-0) the Board approved adding an additional item to the Closed Session, “Meyer vs NCRA.”

 

D.                CONSENT CALENDAR

1.              Approval of Minutes – 3/15/2004 Regular Board Meeting

2.              Acceptance of Financial Reports – February 2004

3.        Acceptance of Financial Reports – March 2004

4.        Approval of Quitclaim Deed to City of Willits for Alleyway Adjacent to Willits Depot    

 

            Discussion regarding Item D.4

 

Legal Counsel Chris Neary provided a brief explanation in regards to the quitclaim request from the City of Willits.  He reported that the NCRA does not own this parcel, nor does the NCRA own the adjacent property.

 

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

           

E.            PUBLIC COMMENT

Don Edmisten:  Mr Edmisten stated that he is a retired CPUC inspector and has long supported that railroad. He recently spoke with the new Executive Director, Mitch Stogner, and has every confidence in his ability to manage the NCRA. Mr. Edmisten further stated that he is confident that rail service will be restored to the North Coast and he is available to the NCRA if they should ever need his assistance.

 

F.             CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

1.             Petaluma Industry Track Project  

 

Mr. Stogner gave a brief overview of the project details and provided a status update on all activities regarding the request since the last board meeting.

 

Chair Woolley asked when the board would be able to see something in writing. Tom Hargis from the City of Petaluma stated that there have been previous agreements, but there would be a formal legal document drafted once the NCRA Board and the SMART Board provided verbal agreement.

 

There was a brief discussion regarding technical specifications involved in removal and replacement of the industry track.

 

Director Simonson made a motion to support the Petaluma Industry Track Project in concept with the condition that the final agreement between the parties be drafted in writing for counsel and board approval. Director Sears amended the motion to say that the written agreement be presented to the board before there is approval of the concept. The amendment to the motion died for lack of  a second.

 

                                                                                                                Director Burton arrived at 10:33

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Simonson, 2nd by Director Ripple, and carried (5-1-1), the Board supports the Petaluma Industry Track Project in concept with the condition that the final agreement between the parties be drafted in writing for counsel and board approval.

 

Ayes – Ellinger, Hemphill, Ripple, Simonson, Woolley

Nays – Sears

Abstaining – Burton

 

                2.                 Permit Policy for Non-Profit and Ad Hoc Groups.

 

Director Sears stated that during the recent “March for Mattole” the Mattole group did not pay what he considered to be the proper permit fees, which he estimated at $2,000. He felt the policy regarding special event permits warranted board discussion. He further stated that although there seemed to be no illegal activity during this event, he considers this particular group to be “environmental terrorists”. 

 

Director Hemphill stated that the NCRA needs to be sure to separate individual political beliefs from special event permitting policy.

 

 At the request of Director Ripple, staff provided an overview of the events involved with the “March for Mattole” special event application.

 

Chair Woolley stated that he was consulted by staff at the time of this event and advised them that his concern was that if the marchers were not given permission to access the right-of-way, they would then access the highway causing further disruption and potential risk.  He then suggested that special event permitting policy be handled at the committee level and then brought back to the board for final approval.

 

Mr. Neary stated that there may be some legal aspects to this issue and that he would like to be involved in the matter when the committee takes it up.

 

ACTION: Upon motion by Director Hemphill, 2nd by Director Ripple, and carried (7-0) the board referred the matter to the Property Committee. 

 

 

G.        STAFF REPORTS

            1.                Executive Director Mitch Stogner

 

A)                 Update on HR 3550 -  TEA LU Transportation Bill, House of Representatives

 

Mr. Stogner reported that the House of Representatives recently passed the “TEA LU” bill. With the assistance of Congressman Mike Thompson and his staff, there is a provision included in the bill that will forgive the $12 million Q-fund loan and specify NCRA as the lead agency for $8.6 in ISTEA funds designated back in 1995. He also reported that on April 8th Chair Woolley, Director Ripple, and Mr. Stogner made a presentation before the CTC to discuss the Waste and Debris Clean-Up project and the FEMA Alternate Project. CTC Deputy Director Robert Chung made a staff recommendation at that meeting that if the Q-Fund loan is forgiven, $5.4 million in LAIF that has been set aside to repay the loan, would be accessible to the NCRA. Mr. Chung invited the NCRA to work with him on this issue.

 

Chair Woolley stated that the CTC presentation went very well in comparison to past presentations. Director Ripple stated that he would be happy to assist participate in any future discussions with Mr. Chung in regards to these matters.

 

Mr. Stogner stated that Caltrans District 1 staff was also invited to participate in these meetings.

 

B)                  Proposed HNTB Task Order for the FEMA Alternate Project

 

Mr. Stogner reported that on April 15th Director Ripple, HNTB consultant Jerry Cheek, and himself met with Michael Sabbaghian in regards to the steps to be taken in order to access these funds. Director Ripple reported that at that meeting a timeframe and matrix was created that everyone seemed satisfied  with which included the development of a Scope of Work and procurement documents and the costs involved for the on-call engineer to complete these tasks.

 

C)                  Update on the Waste and Debris Clean Up Project 

 

Mr. Stogner reported on the status of the Waste and Debris Clean-Up project. The Pre-bid conference was held at the Willits yard on April 13th. The actual bid opening is scheduled to take place on April 27th. 

 

D)                  Letter from City of Arcata re: Commuter Service from Rio Dell to Arcata and possibly

McKinleyville

 

Mr. Stogner reported that the City of Arcata has requested support of passenger rail service between Rio Dell and Arcata. They are asking for support of the concept so that they can go to local governments and attempt to get funding commitments. They have also asked the NCRA to look into the possibility of providing financial support for a feasibility study.

 

Chair Woolley pointed out that Director Sears has written a letter in response to this issue, and he also stated that Mr. Sears was interviewed recently on a local television station in regards to this matter.

 

Director Sears reported that he is on the “transportation Committee” of the Leadership Roundtable and considers himself very informed on these matters. He stated that the City has also requested that the NCRA purchase property for right-of-way up to McKinleyville. He stated that he does not support this concept and thinks NCRA monies can be utilized better towards other projects.

 

Director Hemphill stated that the NCRA has a mandate to preserve the corridor and when requests like these are made they should be considered because they fall within that mandate, whether the idea is considered valid or not by individual members.

 

 

Director Ripple stated his concern about individual members responding to requests sent to the NCRA and placing “Director, NCRA” next to their signatures – it implies that it carries the weight of the full board.. He further stated that he would have liked the opportunity to discuss the matter first.

 

Chair Woolley stated his concern also and mentioned that this has happened before.  He then stated that there may be merit to Director Sears’s response, but suggested that a letter be drafted back to the City about the process involved in addressing these requests, as opposed to addressing the request in detail.  

 

Director Sears stated that the letter was cc’d to him as an individual member and he responded as an individual member. He stated that he would continue to do so in the future.

 

 ACTION: Upon motion by Director Hemphill, 2nd by Director Burton, and carried (7-0) the Board directed staff to compose a letter to the City responding to their request. 

 

2.                Legal Counsel Chris Neary

  

Mr. Neary reported that all parties, pending a final audit within 60 days, signed the NWPRA dissolution. He also reported that he and Mr. Stogner met with the Attorney General’s office regarding the Consent Decree and a favorable tone was set and will hopefully carry into the future.

 

                                                            The Board convened into Closed Session at 10:55 am

 

H.             CLOSED SESSION

 

1.             Conference with Legal Counsel  - Anticipated Litigation pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9 (b); Significant Exposure to Litigation (one case).

 

2.             Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation pursuant to Government Code Section

                54956.9 (a) (one case – Mass Electric Construction vs Rail Ways, Inc, North Coast Railroad Authority, Mendocino Superior Court Case # SCUK-CVG-01-85260)

 

3.             Annual Performance Evaluation of General Counsel    

 

4.                 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

             

                                                            The Board reconvened to Open Session at 1:00 pm

 

I.            ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

                 

H.1                  The Board met and legal counsel received direction

H.2                The Board met and received advice of legal counsel and generalized a proposal.

H.3                The Board met and received advice.

H.4                The Board gave direction to staff.

 

J.             MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

            None

     

K.               ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

            May 19, 2004

                Fortuna City Council Chambers

                621 11th St. Fortuna, Humboldt County

                       

L.                ADJOURNMENT

            The meeting was adjourned at 1:02