NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:00 am

Eureka City Council Chambers ~ 531 “K” Street

Humboldt County

DRAFT Minutes

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

            The meeting was called to order at 10:03 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

            Directors present: Simonson, Wagenet, Woolley, LaVallee, Ollivier, and Chairman Hemphill

            Directors Absent: Director Kelley

Also Present: Executive Director Mitch Stogner, Legal Counsel Christopher Neary and Recording Secretary Heather Newell

 

C.                 AGENDA APPROVAL

 

One Item added under Closed Session - Conference With Legal Counsel - Anticipated  Litigation

 

Motion to approve the agenda made by Director LaVallee, seconded by Director Simonson and carried unanimously (6-0).

 

 D.       MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

 

E.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

Motion to approve the Consent Calendar made by Director LaVallee seconded by Director Wagenet carried unanimously (6-0)

 

            1.         Approval of Financial Statements – February 2006

            2.         Approval of Financial Statements – March 2006

            3.         Approval of Minutes – March 2006

 

            Director Woolley reminded Staff that a Finance Committee meeting should be scheduled soon.

                               

F.         PUBLIC COMMENT

           

Kaye Strickland updated the Board on the April 11 Citizens for Port Development meeting.  She said that CPD reaffirmed its support for the retention of the NCRA railroad easement and the building located at the “Balloon Track.” She urged the City of Eureka to use the money that it had received to begin rehabilitation of the Eureka Train Station.  She said that the exchange of information has begun on the Marina Center project and that CPD met with Security National and invited its representatives to future CPD meetings. She said it is very important that the Public get involved in the Marina Center project.

 

Daniel Pierce a private citizen from Humboldt County said that it is important to look at alternate ways to provide public transportation in Eureka. 

 

Marcus Brown- Timber Heritage Association - requested that the Board move forward on the definition of the “North End” as a segment of independent utility for purposes of CEQA/NEPA compliance.  He said that John Ryder has a blocked culvert and told the Board of his efforts to try and remedy the situation. He told the Board about the event that Director Ollivier and Director Woolley attended and said that there is a lot of public support for a train around the Bay.

 

Chairman Hemphill said that NCRA has requested funding from the CTC that would help alleviate some of the emergency situations that are problems along the right-of-way. 

 

Chris Rawles- Vice President – Greenwheels - He said that his group is pro-rail and would like to see freight and passenger service return to Humboldt County. He added that residents in Humboldt County support the creation of muti-purpose trails.  He said that the NCRA should consider other uses of the right-of-way if rail service does not return within the next three years. 

 

Aaron Antrim Greenwheels – He said that support for trails in Humboldt County is strong.  He said that rail banking is an option that should be considered.

 

Director Woolley said that he has attended trails meetings and reminded Mr. Antrim that the NWP line has been dedicated for rail purposes. He said it is important that NCRA go forward with its mandated responsibility to preserve the right-of-way for the restoration of rail service.. 

 

Chairman Hemphill added that the City of Healdsburg trail is good example of how rail- with-trails can work. 

 

Director Wagenet said that he would like to see Greenwheels provide the Board with comments from the CTC and Caltrans on any proposed trail project.

 

Moss Bittner of RAPIT said that HCAOG has grant money from Caltrans to do a rail-with-trail study between Eureka and Arcata.  He said that the study is being done by RCAA because it has the funding and the authority to do the study. Mr. Bittner said that Greenwheels’ comments should be directed to RCAA because it is studying rails-with-trails.  He said most of the new development in Eureka is happening on the railroad right-of –way and the developers are interested in accommodating passenger service along the right-of-way.  He said that there is local funding available for Transit and federal funding sources to support passenger rail should it become a viable alternative in Humboldt County.

 

G.        PRESENTATIONS

 

                No presentations

 

H.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

1.                  Approval of Policy & Procedure Manual Amendments

 

Mitch Stogner said that approval of the Policy and Procedure Manual will enable NCRA to obtain State and Federal funds.  He said one of the barriers to accessing the funds has been the completion of the Policy and Procedure manual.   He recommended the Board’s approval of additions which update the NCRA Policy and Procedure Manual

 

 Director Woolley motioned to approve Resolution 2006 – 03 adopting the Policy and Procedure Manual seconded by Director Wagenet carried unanimously (6-0).  The Resolution was read for the record.

 

2.                  Approval of Referral to the Operator Committee for Evaluation and Recommendation of Operator RFP Proposals

 

Mitch Stogner said that NCRA released an RFP on January 17, 2006 to solicit bids from private sector operators to operate train service on the NWP line from Samoa to Lombard.  The deadline for submission of the proposals was March 31.  NCRA received 5 proposals and has forwarded the proposals to the Board. He requested an Operator Committee meeting directly following the Board meeting to determine which proposals should be selected for Operator Committee interviews to be scheduled on April 18.

 

Director Simonson motioned to approve the referral of the RFP’s to the Operator Committee for evaluation and recommendation to the full Board.  Seconded by Director Wagenet carried unanimously (6-0).

 

           

            3.         Approval of Letter Seeking Local Government Assistance for Rail Repairs

 

Mitch Stogner said that NCRA is scheduled to return to the CTC on April 27 in Fresno to request $4.9 million in funding to make public safety repairs to the line.  Mr. Stogner said that he would like to solicit the support and help from various Public Work departments within the county where the work will be performed.  He provided the Board with a draft letter for its consideration and approval.

 

Director Wagenet and Director Woolley directed staff to send a copy of the letter to the various Work Force Investment Boards and local COG’s within each county.

 

Director LaVallee motioned to approve the support letter seconded by Director Ollivier carried unanimously (6-0). 

 

I.                   COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

No Committee Reports

 

 

J.                  STAFF REPORTS

 

Chairman Hemphill asked Mr. Stogner to update the Board on the progress with FEMA relating to the storm damage.

 

1.                  Executive Director Mitch Stogner

           

a)      CTC Update

 

Mr. Stogner said that NCRA will meet with the CTC on April 27 in Fresno to request funding.  He said that he has every reason to believe that they will approve funding for NCRA on April 27.

 

Chairman Hemphill and Director Woolley thanked Senator Chesbro for his efforts in support of NCRA’s funding applications which are under consideration by the CTC on April 27.

 

b)  FEMA/OES

 

Mr. Stogner said that NCRA has submitted a damage assessment to the OES representative in each of the three NCRA counties and FEMA has deemed NCRA eligible for funding for repairs resulting from the 05-06 “New Year’s Storm.”. 

 

2.                  Legal Counsel Chris Neary

 

Christopher Neary reported to the Board that California has a State Rail Plan signed by the Governor.  He said that this may enable NCRA to request funding from the FRA.  He said that the FRA program is available to help with acquisition assistance, rehabilitation, improvement assistance, substitute service assistance, rail facility construction assistance, planning assistance, and operations assistance.

 

 

K.         CLOSED SESSION

 

            1.             CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL-EXISTING LITIGATION

                                Government Code Section 54956.9 (2 cases)  

                                                a.)  U.S Coast Guard Proceeding, Activity # 2026382

                                                b.)  NCRA vs. Jerico Products, Sonoma County Superior Court # SCV235961  and related case: Jerico Products vs, SMART, US District Court Case # 05-00210.

 

                2.             CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATION

                                Significant Exposure to Litigation (5 cases)

                                Government Code Section 54956.9(b)

 

                                The Board convened into closed session at 11:10 a.m.

  

K.                 ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

The Board reconvened into Open Session at 12:30 p.m.

 

Legal Counsel received information and gave direction.  The Board voted to approve a compromise with Tri-Counties bank where it mistakenly allocated $20,380.00 to NCRA in June of 2005.  The funds will be withheld from NCRA’s 2006 interest allocation.

 

            M.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

            May 10, 2006

                Ukiah City Council Chambers

                300 Seminary Avenue

                Ukiah ~ Mendocino County

           

N.                 ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting was adjourned to the Operator Committee meeting at 12:40 p.m.