NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 ~ 10:00 a.m.

Willits City Council Chambers

111 East Commercial Street, Willits

Mendocino County

 

Approved Minutes

 

 

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

            Chairman Hemphill called the meeting to order at 10:03 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

            Directors Present: Director Simonson, Ollivier, Kelley, Chairman Hemphill

            Directors Absent:  Director Woolley, Director LaVallee, Director Colfax (arrives at 10:40)

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

 

C.         AGENDA APPROVAL

 

            Motion to approve the agenda made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Simonson and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

D.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

            1.         Recognition of Outgoing Board Member – Hal Wagenet

            2.         Recognition of Incoming Board Member – David Colfax

           

E.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

            1.         Property Committee Report – Director Simonson

 

                        Director Simonson said that his report will be covered in the discussion pertaining to agenda items H.1 through H.10

 

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

             1.        Approval of Minutes – October 2006

             2.        Approval of Property Committee Meeting minutes – October 2006

             3.        Approval of Financial Statements - October 2006

             4.        Approval of Expense Reimbursement October 2006 – Executive Director           

             5.        Approval of Warrants Issued – October 2006

             6.        Approval of Final 06-07 FEMA/OES, TCRP, and Agency Budgets

             7.        Approval of CTC Quarterly Financial Report – 1st Quarter 06/07

             8.        Approval of Contract – Legal Services

 

            Motion to approve the Consent Calendar, Items F.1 through F.8 made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Ollivier, carried unanimously (4-0).

           

 

G.        PUBLIC COMMENT

           

            No Public Comments

 

 

H.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

            1.         Samoa Pacific Group – Alignment Study MOU

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Danco Group to develop an alignment study for the project located in Samoa, Humboldt County.

 

            Director Simonson updated the Board on the Danco Group project.

 

            Director Kelley motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

            2.         Carlotta Branch Lease Agreement – Bob Hansen

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into negotiations with Mr. Hansen for a lease of ROW that intersects his property in Carlotta,conditional on Mr. Hansen reimbursing NCRA for the cost of an appraisal of the property.

 

            Director Simonson updated the Board on the recent proposal NCRA received from Mr. Bob Hansen for a lease in perpetuity for NCRA owned property located in Carlotta, Ca.

 

            Director Kelley motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0)

 

            3.         Railroad Avenue Crossing

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Murphy’s Dock to pave over the existing crossing located at Railroad Avenue, conditional on Murphy’s Dock contributing to the cost of repair at the Direction of NCRA and NWP Co.

 

            Director Simonson updated the Board on a proposal from Murphy’s Dock to temporarily pave over the crossing located in Fields Landing.  Director Simonson said that Murphy’s Dock will contribute to the cost of repair when NCRA makes that request.

 

            Director Simonson motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Kelley, and carried unanimously (4-0). 

 

           

 

            4.         West End Road Culvert and Rail Removal

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into an agreement with the County of Humboldt for removal of approximately ½ mile of track located at West End Road in Arcata, conditional on the County of Humboldt constructing a dirt Berm south of West End Road.

 

            John H. Williams updated the Board on the flooding problem that occurs at West End Road each     winter.  He said the culvert needs to be removed and he also said that he approves of the removal of the culvert by the County of Humboldt.

           

            Director Kelley motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0).

           

 

            5.         Hopland Open Market

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into a temporary agreement with Cristobal and Carmen Lopez to hold a Saturday and Sunday Open Market on the property they lease from NCRA in Hopland, conditional on receipt of appropriate insurance certificates.

 

            Director Simonson said that the Lopez family holds a current lease for property in Hopland and      said that he supports their request to hold an Open Market on the weekends for a one year period of time.

 

            Director Kelley motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

            6.         Tyris Corp.

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to extend the current temporary crossing agreement for one crossing one user (Tyris) located in Cloverdale for an annual charge of $3000.00.  The temporary, revocable agreement will expire January 1, 2008.

 

            Director Simonson updated the Board on a request from Tyris and requested Legal Counsel’s opinion on the matter.

 

            Legal Counsel Neary said that NCRA can enter into a temporary, not to exceed one year,     agreement if Tyris needs additional time to complete development plans. 

 

            Director Kelley motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

            7.         Petaluma Bridge

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to reaffirm previous Board decision to allow the City of Petaluma to remove the Petaluma Bridge, conditional on an MOU between SMART, the City of Petaluma, and Army Corps of Engineers for reconstruction of the spur serving Dairyman’s Feed prior to restoration of Phase 1 service (Lombard to Windsor).

 

            John Williams updated the Board on the City of Petaluma request.  Mr. Williams said that the NCRA Board approved removal of the Petaluma Bridge in 2003.  He also said that he supports the creation of an MOU for removal of the bridge and construction of a replacement spur track    that would serve Dairyman’s Feed.  He said that it will be a higher quality track than what exists currently.

 

            Director Simonson motioned to approve the Property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Kelley, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

           

            8.         CalTrans Request to Declare 4 Crossings Exempt

                                    Property Committee Recommendation:  Direct staff to enter into an agreement with CalTrans that would declare 4 crossings, one in Mendocino County and three in Humboldt County, temporarily PUC-exempt with the understanding that the crossings must be immediately returned to active status upon direction from NCRA and NWP Co.

 

            Director Simonson updated the Board on the CalTrans request to declare the crossings North of railroad milepost 142 PUC-exempt. 

 

            Director Simonson motioned to approve the property Committee recommendation, seconded by Director Kelley, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

            9.         Sale of “Sunset” Coach

                                    Recommendation: Direct staff to enter into negotiations with private parties interested in purchasing “Sunset” coach.

 

            Chairman Hemphill said that NCRA has received an informal proposal for purchase of the Sunset Coach that is housed in the Willits Yard.  He updated the Board on previous attempts to     auction this piece of equipment that a sale was never consummated.  He said that the Sunset Coach has been vandalized in the past and has lost value.  Chairman Hemphill suggested that           Legal Counsel and the Executive Director look into the process for sale of certain pieces of equipment including the Sunset Car.  He also said that the Operators interests need to be considered.

 

            Legal Counsel Neary said that the coach has been declared salvaged.

 

            Director Kelley directed staff to review the surplus property policy and meet with the operator to discuss which equipment he may need.  He also directed staff to prepare documents for the Board that outline the plan for auction or sale of surplus equipment in accordance with all rules and regulations governing such activity. 

 

            John Williams said he would like to have a place holder on the Sunset Coach and that he will keep the Board updated on his needs as he moves forwarded.

 

            Chairman Hemphill said that any sale of equipment will require extensive staff time and that the matter will be tabled until a future meeting.

           

           

                                   

            10.       Crossing Agreement – Silverado Sonoma Vineyards, LLC

                                    Recommendation: Approve changes in lease agreement to reflect change in property ownership.

 

            Legal Counsel Neary said that occasionally property owners need a lease agreement that is not revocable on thirty days notice.  He said that NCRA adopted a standardized policy making            all crossing agreements revocable on thirty days notice.  He said that this type of agreement protects NCRA in the event that the crossing needs to be removed.  He said that occasionally property owners, for the purpose of financing, need to show a longer term agreement. 

 

            Mr. Neary requested the Board approve Silverado Sonoma Vineyards lease for a term of 10 years, and approve creation of a policy regarding long term agreement/easement requests that would require an advance application fee for engineering services and any inspection services that may be necessary.

 

            Motion to approve Property Committee recommendation made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (4-0).

 

D.        Matters From the Board (continued)-

 

            Chairman Hemphill presented out going Director Hal Wagenet with a plaque, and thanked him for his service and dedication on the NCRA Board. 

 

            Mr. Wagenet thanked the Board.  He said that he is excited and satisfied with the growth of the NCRA Board and the legitimacy of the Board in the eyes of the CTC and other agencies.  He said that it is very important to keep elected officials on the Board so that all the counties that NCRA serves can continue to be represented.

 

            Chairman Hemphill introduced Mendocino County Supervisor David Colfax as the newest member of the NCRA Board of Directors.

 

            Director Colfax said that he is pleased to be a part of the NCRA Board and said that he is anxious to help restore rail service on the North Coast.

 

           

 

I.          STAFF REPORTS

 

            1.         Operator’s Report - John Williams – NWP Co.

 

                                John Williams said that he has made two advance lease payments.  He explained that one such payment was the monthly $20,000 and the other was the first $93,000 payment of a bridge loan that would be reimbursed by Caltrans.

 

                        Mr. Williams said he prepared the NWP Co. Business Plan and presented this plan to Robert Chung and John Barna on October 24.  He said that the Business Plan would be in the CTC Packet for the CTC meeting on November 9.  Mr. Williams said that the NWP Co. Business Plan is a private document and he asked that distribution of this plan be limited.

 

                        Mr. Williams said that he along with Doug Bosco, and Mitch Stogner met with Susan Klassen and Jim Anderson on November 3 in regards to the Sonoma County solid waste project.  He said that alternate storage locations need to be researched.

 

                        Mr. Williams said that on November 2, Doug Bosco hosted a private reception for Governor Schwarzenegger.  He said that the Governor was receptive to the concept of rail restoration on the North Coast.

 

                        Director Kelley thanked Mr. Williams for his report and he said that his staff reported that the Solid Waste meeting with Susan Klassen and Jim Anderson was very informative.He encouraged Mr. Williams to look for a storage area as close to the landfill as possible.  Director Kelley said that he has talked to Governor Schwarzenegger on two separate occasions and the Governor is interested in Goods Movement and was supportive of NCRA’s efforts.

 

                        Chairman Hemphill thanked Mr. Williams and said that the fact that NCRA is making progress with the Governor’s office is very important.

 

               

            2.         Engineer’s Report – Dave Anderson - NCRA Project Manager

 

                        Dave Anderson updated the Board on the Award of the $1.3 million Contract for Emergency Repairs at the Marin/Sonoma County border. He said that the contractor has mobilized and activities   will be increasing substantially. He said the work will be primarily at Schultz Slough, Robinson Creek and San Antonio Creek.  Mr. Anderson said that the contractor, Ghilotti Bros, will be working 6 days a week.

 

                        Mr. Anderson also said that FEMA released the final 10% retention and that he will be contacting vendors to expedite delivery of the equipment purchased with FEMA funds.  Mr. Anderson also said that he is in negotiation with the contractor for lease of some of this equipment.

 

                        Mr. Anderson said that he and Mitch Stogner met with Bob Parker of Mendocino County.  Mendocino County has STIP funds and they have submitted plans to NCRA for replacement of West Road and Moore Street.  He said that he is in his final review of the plans.

 

                        Mr. Anderson also said he met with Fish and Game in regards to the Schellville area flooding.  He said the 2005-06 storms washed out a mile of roadbed and the track is hanging in the air.  Fish and Game has $4 million set aside and they have asked NCRA to design the repair project. He said that Fish and Game is currently trying to find ways to transfer the funds for repair to NCRA. 

 

            Mr. Anderson said that Mitch Stogner submitted the list of damages resulting from the 2005-06 storms to FEMA.  He said FEMA had denied NCRA’s request because, according to FEMA, NCRA is a non- operating railroad.  He said he will work with Mitch to begin the appeal process. 

 

 

 

3.         Executive Director – Mitch Stogner

 

            a. CTC Update

 

                        Mr. Stogner said that on November 9, the CTC will be considering NCRA’s repair project from interchange to Windsor. Mr. Stogner said that hopefully the CTC will approve the project and allocate funding for the design phase, environmental phase, and the EIR/EIS in the Canyon.

           

            b. November 7 Election Results – Prop 1B, Measure R.

 

                        Mr. Stogner said that Prop 1B passed and Measure R in Sonoma County failed.

 

            c. RFP for Engineering/Planning Services

 

                        Mr. Stogner told the Board that in accordance with NCRA Policies and Procedures, an RFP will be issued in December for NCRA Planning, Engineering, and Project Management Services.  He said that the short term contract with American Rail Consultants expires on January 17. 

 

4.         Legal Counsel - Chris Neary

 

 

                        Mr. Neary said that he and Mitch Stogner met with UP officials in June to present and offer for a possible solution to the car hire issue.  Mr. Neary said the proposal was well received. He said that John Williams’ offer to purchase the stranded cars would provide substantial immediate relief of a portion of this issue.  He said that he will meet with UP within the next 30 days and hopes to have resolution of this issue by the end of the year.

 

                        Mr. Neary said that CBS Outdoor Advertising has been notified that NCRA will not be renewing the lease agreement for the billboards.

 

                        Mr. Neary said that he and Mitch will begin to work on revision of the Property Policy.

 

            Chairman Hemphill convened the meeting to closed session at 11:30 a.m.

 

J.         CLOSED SESSION

 

            1.             Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

                                Government Code Section 54956.9(a)(1 case)

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

 

 

K.         ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

            Legal Counsel Neary reported that the Board met with Counsel on one item of existing litigation, received information and gave direction.

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

            December 13, 2006, 11:00 a.m.

                Healdsburg City Council Chambers

                401 Grove Street, Healdsburg

                Sonoma County

 

M.        ADJOURNMENT

 

            Chairman Hemphill adjourned the meeting to the next regularly scheduled Board meeting at 12:16 p.m.