NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 ~ 11:00 a.m.

Willits City Council Chambers

111 E. Commercial Street

Mendocino County

 

Approved Minutes

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

            Chairman Hemphill called the meeting to order at 11:15 am.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

            Directors Present:  Simonson, Wagenet, LaVallee, Woolley, Ollivier, Chairman Hemphill

                Directors Absent:  Kelley

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

 

C.         AGENDA APPROVAL

 

            Legal Counsel requested the addition of one item:  Existing litigation in regards to NCRA and NorthWestern Pacific Railway Company (NWPY).

 

            Motion to approve the Agenda with added item, made by Director Ollivier, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (6-0, Kelley absent).

 

D.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

            1.         Director Wagenet - Presentation of Memorial Resolution – Hannah Burkhardt

 

            Director Wagenet presented to Christian Burkhardt a Memorial Resolution in honor and memory of his mother, Hannah Burkhardt.  Director Wagenet read the resolution into the record.  Resolution is hereby made part of these minutes by reference.

 

            The Board unanimously approved the resolution (6-0, Kelley absent).

 

            Christian Burkhardt expressed thanks to the Board.  He said he would make every effort to continue publication of the Northwestern Pacific Railway Society newsletter.

 

            Chairman Hemphill said that Hannah was a great help to the railroad and she was extremely supportive of NCRA’s plight from its inception.  He said her labor of love continued to the very end and that she will always be remembered for her remarkable commitment to rail service on the North Coast.

 

            Kaye Strickland thanked Director Wagenet for the Memorial Resolution and said that Hannah would be missed greatly.  Ms. Strickland spoke of her long friendship and deep admiration and respect for Hannah.

 

            Richard Jergenson said that Hannah was his railway mentor for 20 years.  He said that Hannah invited him to Mendocino County Railway Society meetings in Fort Bragg, before moving inland.  Mr. Jergenson said that Hannah had a vision to reestablish rail service on the North Coast that never wavered.  He said that Hannah pioneered the effort in regards to the 2002 Rail/Ferry report and the 2003 booklet “How it all Began – The Regeneration of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad.”  He said that Hannah was a visionary who will be deeply missed but never forgotten.

 

            All spoke of Hannah’s determination, integrity, great love of life, great love of the environment, great love for her husband and son, and great love of railroading.

 

            Chairman Hemphill also introduced Hannah’s long time friend,  Ruth Rockefeller has returned to   the area and welcomed her back to Mendocino County.

           

E.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

            No reports

 

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

             1.        Approval of Minutes – July 2006

             2.        Approval of Financial Statements FY 05-06 Year End

             3         Approval of Financial Statements – July 2006

             4.        Approval of Expense Reimbursement June 2006– Executive Director      

 

            Motion to approve the Consent Calendar, items F.1 – F.4 made by Director LaVallee, seconded by Director Wagenet, approved unanimously (6-0, Kelley absent).

             

G.        PUBLIC COMMENT

           

                Christian Burkhardt said that the Northwestern Pacific Railway Society is looking for areas to place donation boxes so that they the printing cost of the MCRS Newsletter can be recovered.  Chairman Hemphill expressed NCRA support for this effort.

 

H.        PRESENTATIONS

 

                No presentations

 

I.          CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

            1.         Consideration of LAIF Authorized Signatures

                                    Recommendation:  Appoint 2 Board Members and Executive Director as Authorized Persons to sign LAIF Updates.

 

            Executive Director Stogner explained that in order for any LAIF transactions to be accurately recorded in the future, NCRA will need to update the authorized signatures on file with the LAIF. Motion to approve signatories, Director Wagenet, Director Simonson, Chairman Hemphill and Executive Director Mitch Stogner made by Director Simonson, seconded by Director LaVallee and approved unanimously (6-0, Kelley absent).

 

            2.         Consideration of City of Healdsburg Foss Creek Bike Path – Phase II

                                    Recommendation:  Approve Phase II

           

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner updated the Board on the City of Healdsburg’s plans to continue with its Phase II Bike Path.  Mr. Stogner said that Dave Anderson, NCRA’s Project Engineer has reviewed the Phase II Bike Path plans and approved the project.  Mr. Stogner said that Scott Rodolph, City of Healdsburg’s project manager is in attendance to answer questions.

 

            Chairman Hemphill asked if the prospective operator had any concerns in regards to the proposed Phase II Bike Path. 

 

            Mr. Williams, NorthWestern Pacific Railroad Co. Inc said that his only concern is the distance between the Railroad and Path.  He said his primary concern was safety of pedestrians and wanted to make sure that issue was addressed by the City.

 

            Director Simonson said that he agreed with Mr. Williams concerns in regards to public safety.  Director Simonson suggested the NCRA develop a formal policy with respect to pedestrian pathways on railroad property.

 

            Director Wagenet said that he wants to have any future requests for pedestrian pathway’s or bike paths, be reviewed by the operator and then presented to the Board with the operator’s recommendations.

 

            These comments having been noted, Director Woolley moved approval of the City of Healdsburg’s, Phase II Bike Path, seconded by Director Wagenet, and carried unanimously

            (6-0, Kelley absent).

           

           

            3.         Consideration of Ad-Hoc Policies & Procedures Committee       

                                    Recommendation – Appoint two Directors to form Ad-Hoc Policy and Procedures Committee

 

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner said that in response to the Audit conducted by CalTrans, NCRA submitted a Management Implementation Plan. Mr. Stogner said that in order to comply with the Management Implementation Plan, NCRA needs to appoint two Directors to form an Ad-Hoc Policies and Procedures Committee.  He said this would enable staff to effectively present the Board updated Policies and Procedures when needed.

 

            Chairman Hemphill appointed Director Kelley and Director Woolley to the newly formed Policies and Procedures Committee. 

 

            Director Woolley said that communication with District 1 staff in regards to any new policies or procedures should be considered.

 

            Motion to create an Ad-Hoc Policies and Procedures Committee and appoint Directors Kelley and Woolley made by Director Ollivier, seconded by Director Simonson, carried unanimously (6-0, Kelley absent).

 

            4.         Consideration of Communications Facility Lease Agreement – Edge Wireless

                                    Recommendation – Approve Communications Facility Lease Agreement with Edge Wireless

           

            Legal Counsel Christopher Neary said that the agreement is a renewal of a lease agreement with Edge Wireless.  It is a two year agreement for a total of $14,000 per year.

 

            Motion to approve the Edge Wireless lease agreement made by Director Wagenet, seconded by Director Woolley, and carried unanimously (6-0, Kelley absent).

 

                        Director Kelley arrives at 12:20 p.m.

 

 

            5.         Consideration of 3 TCRP Applications for October 2006 CTC Meeting.

                                    1.         32.4 – Allocation Request for NCRA Urgent Railroad Repairs

                                    2.         32.3 & 32.9 – Programming Request for Phase I studies for combined EIR/EIS document for Dos Rios to South Fork.

                                    3.         32.9 - Phase I studies and Phase II Plans, specifications and estimates to reopen the railroad from Lombard to Windsor.

                                    Recommendation: Approve TCRP Applications for October 2006 CTC Meeting

           

            Executive Director Mitch Stogner updated the Board on NCRA’s efforts to retain funding under   the TCRP program.  He said that in April of 2006, the California Transportation Commission allocated funds for Urgent Emergency Repairs.  He said in addition, the CTC allocated funds for        the Environmental Clearance for the repairs and the Design and Engineering for the repairs.

 

            Mr. Stogner said that NCRA will go before the California Transportation Commission in October when the CTC meets in Sonoma County.  He said the three applications, if approved, will be presented to the California Transportation Commission in October. 

 

            Director Simonson asked how many ties per mile would be replaced within the application.  NCRA’s Project Engineer, Dave Anderson said that between 500 and 800 ties per mile would be replaced.

 

            Chairman Hemphill asked what role SMART would have in helping determine the areas of replacement since SMART is actively pursuing bringing the track up to a higher standard.

 

            John Williams, NorthWestern Pacific Railroad Co. Inc. said the ties are needed from Lombard to Windsor.  Mr. Williams said that the money invested will create a very strong railroad.  He said that if the Ballot measure passes in November, NCRA needs to sit down with SMART and SMART engineers and reach an agreement on how and where to replace the ties.  He said that these applications will provide for signal replacement and repair, and ballast resurfacing.

 

            Director Simonson asked if the rehabilitation work would bring the line up to Class III standards.  Mr. Williams said it would bring the rail up to Class III from Lombard to Windsor. 

 

            Director Woolley asked if staff has talked to CTC Executive Director, John Barna about the timing of the submittal of applications to the CTC and the November SMART Ballot Measure.  Mr. Stogner said that a meeting was held last April in Santa Rosa at which time Mr. Barna suggested that NCRA apply for funding at the October meeting.  Director Woolley asked if there was any benefit to holding off until November after the elections.  Mr. Stogner said that meetings with SMART will be held to discuss the timing issue and any concerns that they may have.

 

            Director Wagenet asked the operator if there are 800 ties replaced per mile, does that leave appropriate space for SMART if they want to add more ties, and does that allow for SMART to make its repairs without tearing up all of NCRA’s repairs.  Mr. Williams said that the NCRA roadbed repairs would allow for SMART to make any upgrades needed. 

 

            Chairman Hemphill said that NCRA staff has tried to arrange for a meeting with SMART and has been unable to confirm a date. He said that he was confident a meeting with SMART Chairman, Al Boro, would be confirmed soon. 

 

            Director Woolley said that the Friends of the Eel River have a long-standing interest in NCRA’s Strategic Plan to reopen the railroad and he suggested that Staff contact Friends of the Eel River and arrange for meetings and frequent communication during the EIR/EIS process.

 

            Director Wagenet said that a lot of the permitting agencies are short staffed.  He said that a relationship needs to be developed with regulatory agencies so that normalized maintenance and emergency repairs within the existing right-of-way will be approved by the permitting agencies on an expedited basis.

 

            Motion to approve TCRP Applications 32.3, 32.4, and 32.9 made by Director Woolley, seconded   by Director Wagenet, and approved unanimously (7-0).

 

           

J.         STAFF REPORTS

 

1.                  Executive Director Mitch Stogner

           

            a)  CTC Update

 

            No update.

 

            b)  Policy and Procedures Update

 

            Mitch Stogner said that this item will be reserved for any updates to the Polices and Procedures Manual.  No report.

             

 

2.         Legal Counsel Chris Neary

 

            Legal Counsel Christopher Neary reported that the agreement with Jerico Products has been finalized.  He said that NCRA is continuing to meet with Jerico to talk about the potential replacement of Black Point Bridge and will continue to have meetings on a quarterly basis.

 

            Mr. Neary said that the Mass Electric litigation has been satisfied. He also said that there is an issue regarding the Viacom billboards in Humboldt County.  He said that there are billboards that are placed on railroad property, and that the agreements have expired.  He said the Board previously approved cancellation of the agreement.  Director Woolley suggested presenting the cancellation letter to the full Board at the September meeting in Healdsburg. 

 

            The Board convened into closed session at 12:35 p.m.

 

K.         CLOSED SESSION

 

           

                1.             Conference with Real Estate Negotiators

                                NWP Co.

                                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

                                Under Negotiation: All Terms of Lease and Operating Agreement.

 

                The Board reconvened into open session at 2:15 p.m.

               

 

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

            Legal Counsel reported that the Board met with Real Estate Negotiator, received information and gave direction.  On the matter of litigation with NWPY, the Board unanimously authorized negotiation of an arbitration agreement with NWPY.

 

           

M.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

            September 13, 2006 11:00

                Healdsburg City Council Chambers

                401 Grove Street

                Healdsburg – Sonoma County

           

N.        ADJOURNMENT

 

            Chairman Hemphill adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.