NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 ~ 11:00 a.m.

Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chambers

825 5th Street, Room 226, Eureka

Humboldt County

 

Final Approved August 16, 2006

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

                Chairman Hemphill called the meeting to order at 11:01 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

            Directors Present:  Director Simonson, Director Kelley, Director Woolley, Director Wagenet, Director Ollivier, Chairman Hemphill.

                Directors Absent:  Director LaVallee

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

 

C.         AGENDA APPROVAL

 

            The agenda was approved as submitted

 

D.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

            Director Ollivier updated the Board regarding ongoing discussions between the Port of Oakland and the Port of Humboldt Bay.  He announced that Mr. Wilson Lacy, Maritime Director of the Port of Oakland,  would be addressing the Harbor District Board and updating the Harbor District on the progress of discussions with the Port of Oakland, as well as issues surrounding West Coast Port congestion and the need to develop alternate West Coast Ports.

 

                Director Simonson said NCRA has lost one of its most loyal supporters, Hannah Burkhardt. He reported that she passed away recently, and that her lasting contribution to the restoration of rail service on the North Coast will never be forgotten. 

 

E.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

            1.         Property Committee Report – Director Simonson

 

            Director Simonson said that the Property Committee met at the Eureka Office and toured the Balloon Tract property and the Samoa Property.

 

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

             1.        Approval of Minutes – June 2006

             2         Approval of Financial Statements – June 2006

             3.        Approval of Expense Reimbursement May 2005– Executive Director      

             4.        Approval of FEMA/OES Budget for Fiscal Year 06-07.

 

            Motion to approve the Consent Calendar Items F.1 through F.4 by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Woolley, and carried unanimously (6-0).

 

G.        PUBLIC COMMENT

           

            Marcus Brown – President - Timber Heritage Association.  Mr. Brown said that the Timber Heritage Association was looking for alternate sites to store its equipment, due to the sale of the property where the      equipment is presently stored.  He said that he would appreciate assistance and suggestions regarding an alternate site.

 

                Kaye Strickland – Mrs. Strickland said that there are articles in the Advocate and the Eel River Reporter that may interest the Board.  She gave NCRA Staff copies of both articles.  She said that the article in the Eel River Reporter asked a direct question of the NCRA and she felt the Board should provide a response.

 

                Director Woolley said that he has met with Nadananda and directed Staff to meet with she and others  regarding the repair needs in the Canyon and the planned EIR/EIS for this area.

 

                Rick Bennett –Eureka Fire Department – Mr. Bennett asked that the NCRA develop a plan for maintenance, weed and trash abatement within the City of Eureka.

 

                Director Woolley directed staff to develop a proposal for the city’s consideration which outlines NCRA’s plan to maintain the ROW through the City of Eureka.

 

                Mel McKinney distributed copies of the Advocate newspaper and asked that the article be read by the NCRA Board and staff.

 

H.        PRESENTATIONS

 

                Chairman Hemphill introduced Mr. John Williams – NorthWestern Pacific Railroad Company, Inc., the company selected on May 31 to provide rail service between Lombard and Samoa.

 

I.          CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

            1.         Consideration of Port/Rail MOU

                                    Recommendation:  Adopt Port/Rail MOU

 

            Mitch Stogner said that the Port of Humboldt Bay has been very helpful in establishing relationships with the State Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.  He said that this has led to a number of discussions about the benefits of a rail connection to the Port of Humboldt Bay.  He said the Port/Rail          Committee comprised of Port Director Dennis Hunter, Port Director Charles Ollivier, Director Woolley and Director LaVallee, met and created the MOU.  He said that it is an important step in the working relationship between NCRA and the Port of Humboldt Bay.  It will enable NCRA and The Port to access Transportation Bonds. He said it would be helpful on our collective efforts to pursue bond funding, assuming approval of the transportation bond on the ballot in November. He said provisions of the bond measure allow funds to be used to improve trade corridors including freight corridors.

 

                Motion to approve the Port/Rail MOU made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Woolley, and approved unanimously (6-0, LaVallee absent).

           

            2.         Consideration of Single Year Audit Proposal

                                    Recommendation: Approve Single Year Audit Proposal

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner said that on May 9, 2006 NCRA issued a Request for Proposals for Audit Services for FY’s 05-06, 06-07, and 07-08.  He said NCRA received one responsive proposal from Aycock and Edgmon. 

 

                Motion to approve the award of Single Year Audit Contract for FY’s 05-06, 06-07, and 07-08 to Aycock and Edgmon, the responsive proposer to the RFP issued May 9, 2006 made by Director Woolley, seconded by Director Kelley and carried unanimously (6-0, LaVallee absent).

 

            3.         Consideration of Amended Policies and Procedures

                                    Recommendation:  Approve Amended Policies and Procedures

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner said that Caltrans Audits Sacramento completed its fourth Audit of  NCRA.  One of the findings of the 2006 Draft Audit was that the Policy and Procedures needed to be updated, revised, and improved.  He said that with the help of Angel Lucero, Rod Dole Sonoma County Auditor’s Office, Stacey Edgmon, and Legal Counsel, the issues surrounding the Policy and Procedures Manual raised in the 2006 Draft Audit have been addressed and presented to the Board for approval. 

 

                Motion to approve the amended Policy and Procedures made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Ollivier, and carried unanimously (6-0, LaVallee absent).

 

               

            4.         Consideration of Termination of Professional and Technical Services Contracts   

                                    Recommendation:  Approve Termination of Professional and Technical                                                                        Services Contracts

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner said that one of the findings of the Draft Audit was that three previous P & T contracts were not awarded in accordance with the NCRA Policies and Procedures Manual.  Two of the contracts have expired and one of the contracts is an on-going contract.  He said that staff is requesting that the three contracts be terminated.

 

                Items I.4 and I.5 were combined.

 

            5.         Consideration of Contract with American Rail Consultants

                        Recommendation:  Approve Contract with American Rail Consultants

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner said one of the findings of the 2006 Draft Audit was that NCRA should have its own Project Manager, rather than having the on-call engineer act in the capacity of both NCRA project manager and project manager for the on-call engineering team engineer.  To resolve this issue he requested that the Board approve a 6 month contract with ARC Rail to serve as NCRA’s project manager under the procedures outlined in 49 CFR part 18.36 and NCRA’s Policies and Procedures Manual, not to exceed $100,000.

 

                Motion to approve Termination of 3 Professional and Technical contracts (Item I.4) as per Staff MEMO dated July 12, 2006 entitled “Termination of Technical and Professional Contracts” (attached as Exhibit B) and approve a 6 month contract with ARC Rail (Item I.5) as per Staff MEMO dated July 12, 2006 entitled “Consideration of Contract with American Rail Consultants” (attached as Exhibit B) made by Director Woolley, seconded by Director Kelley, carried unanimously (6-0, LaVallee absent).

 

            6.         Consideration of Corrective Action Plan

                                    Recommendation:  Approve Corrective Action Plan

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner thanked Rod Dole, Angel Lucero, and Stacey Edgmon for the work that went into preparing the Corrective Action Plan.  He said there were a total of 29 findings included in the Draft Audit and NCRA has proposed corrective actions on nineteen of the draft findings. He said that NCRA has a plan to make the necessary corrections in regards to the remaining nine draft findings.

 

                Motion to approve the Corrective Action Plan, authorize Chairman Hemphill to sign the Corrective Action Plan, and direct Staff to contact Mr. Gregg Albright, CalTrans Sacramento Audits, at the time he receives the Corrective Action Plan made by Director Kelley seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (6-0, LaVallee absent).

 

J.         STAFF REPORTS

 

1.                   Executive Director Mitch Stogner

           

            a)  CTC Update

            b)  Completion of 32.5 - ECD Phase 1

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner updated the Board on the preparations for the CTC meeting in October. He said that thanks to the able assistance of Stephanie Coleman of CalTrans, Project 32.5 – ECD Phase I is officially closed–out.

 

2.         Legal Counsel Chris Neary

 

            Legal Counsel said that Humboldt Baykeepers omitted NCRA as a defendant in its pending lawsuit.  He also said that in regards to the Closed Session Item K.3, Conference with real estate negotiations, he wanted to add an item regarding the Capital Projects Funding Formula.

 

                The Board Adjourned into Closed Session at 11:45

 

K.         CLOSED SESSION

 

            1.         Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation       

                        (One Case) Gov Code Section 54956.9 (a)

                        NWPY vs. NCRA

 

 

            2.         Conference with Legal Counsel- Anticipated Litigation

                                Significant Exposure to Litigation pursuant to Gov.Code 54956.9 (c)

                                (One Case)

 

                3.             Conference with Real Estate Negotiators

                                NWP Railroad

                                Agency Negotiators:  Allan Hemphill; Bob Simonson; Hal Wagenet; Mitch Stogner; C.J. Neary;  Gov Code 54956.8

                                Parties to Negotiation:  NCRA; NorthWestern Pacific Railroad Company, Inc..

                                Under Negotiation: All Terms of Lease and Operating Agreement.

 

                The Board reconvened into Open Session at 2:08 p.m.

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner reported that the Board received information and gave direction on one case Existing Litigation (Gov. Code section 54956.9(a)), no action. One case significant exposure to litigation (Gov. Code section 54956.9 (c))  and reported on a conference in regards to real estate negotiations with NWP Co.  The Board decided to submit an application to the CTC for the project described as Windsor – Lombard as well as submittal of an application for the EIR/EIS in the Canyon, and an application for further funding for the segment from Windsor to Dos Rios.

 

M.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

             No announcement

           

N.        ADJOURNMENT

           

            The Meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.