NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 ~ 11:00 a.m.

Eureka City Council Chambers

531 “K” Street, Room 208

Humboldt County

 

Approved Minutes

 

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

            Chairman Hemphill called the meeting to order at 11:02 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

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

            Directors Absent:   None

            Also Present: Executive Director Mitch Stogner, Recording Secretary Heather Newell

 

C.         AGENDA APPROVAL

Motion to approve Agenda made by Director Ollivier, seconded by Director Kelley after removal of Item F.5, and carried unanimously (6-0).

 

D.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

            Chairman Hemphill announced that Director Wagenet had officially resigned his position on the     Board.  He thanked Director Wagenet for his service, dedication and commitment to the         restoration of rail service from the national rail interchange to the Port of Humboldt Bay.

 

E.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

            1.         Ad-Hoc Policies and Procedures Committee

 

            Director Kelley updated the Board on the Ad-Hoc Policies and Procedures Committee meeting. 

He said that future meetings of the Policies and Procedures Committee will focus on the Bylaws with an eye toward considering updates where needed.  Director Kelley said that the Ad Hoc Committee would develop a process to update property fees on an annual basis by resolution of the Board.

 

Director Simonson suggested the formation of an Executive Committee as one possible change that could be reflected in the updated Bylaws.

 

           

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

             1.        Approval of Minutes – September 2006

             2.        Approval of Financial Statements - September 2006

             3.        Approval of Expense Reimbursement September 2006 – Executive Director        

             4.        Approval of Warrants Issued – September 2006

             5.        Approval of NCRA Agency Budget for FY 06-07 (Removed from Agenda)

             6.        Consideration of Approval of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NCRA     and Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWP Co.).

 

            Director Woolley requested that Item H.6 be moved for discussion.

 

            Director Woolley said that the MOU between NWP Co and NCRA shows the commitment on behalf of the Operator to work collaboratively with NCRA to restore freight service on the North Coast.

 

            Director Kelley agreed with Director Woolley and said that he thinks that the partnership between NCRA and NWP Co. will be a win-win partnership.

 

            Motion to approve Item H.6 made by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Simonson and carried unanimously, (6-0).

 

            Chairman Hemphill invited John Williams (NWP Co.) to step forward and sign the MOU.

 

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

 

G.        PUBLIC COMMENT

 

            Marcus Brown – Timber Heritage Association – Mr. Brown said that the property where all of the historical railroad equipment has been stored has been sold.  He said that Timber Heritage Association has received a 60 day notice to move the equipment.  He said he is concerned that if the equipment does not get relocated it may be scrapped.  He requested that the Board contact him if they know of any one who can help move the equipment.

 

            Mel McKinney – Mr. McKinney said that he is concerned that NCRA may loose its easement located at the Balloon Track in Eureka. 

 

            Chairman Hemphill said that this is a topic of discussion during Closed Session and thanked Mr.     McKinney for his concern.

 

            Moss Bittner – Mr. Bittner presented the Board with a CD presentation entitled “Condition of the NWP Railroad and Prospects for Restoration of Service.”  He said that he has also completed a Photo Book of the Canyon from Dos Rios to Alderpoint.  He said that it inventories the location and extent of damage and said that he hopes it is a valuable resource. 

 

            Mr. Bittner also said that he recently attended an infrastructure conference that specifically addressed Prop 1B.  He said that it is important for NCRA to work in concert with the Harbor District in pursuit of Proposition 1B funding for the NWP line.  He said there is a specific category of funding for Ports and Goods Movement.  He said that December 1 is when the CTC plans to begin developing guidelines for the distribution of funds.  Mr. Bittner said that NCRA’s public/private partnership is a selling point because the state is looking for ways to bring in private capital. 

 

            He said that the Organizers of the forum, California Center for Regional Leadership, understand the challenges inherent in the development of such a large discretionary infrastructure funding program. 

 

            Mr. Bittner also took the opportunity to explain his interest in pursuing state and federal grant opportunities that could benefit the NCRA.

 

            Chairman Hemphill made it clear that NCRA supports his efforts.

 

            Director Woolley thanked Mr. Bittner.  He said that NCRA has very limited staff facing   numerous deadlines as the NCRA embarks upon the process of repairing the railroad and for that reason, appreciates Moss’ willingness to act as de-facto staff on these funding issues..  He asked             if an Executive Committee could be formed to work with Moss on these grant issues.  He asked          Chairman Hemphill to nominate an Ad hoc committee.

 

            Chairman Hemphill asked Director Woolley and Director LaVallee to work with Moss and act as an Ad hoc committee for the purposes of pursuing funding opportunities.

 

H.        PRESENTATIONS

 

            1.         Humboldt Bay Stewards – Maggy Herbelin

 

            Maggy Herbelin presented the Board with a list of questions dated October 3, 2006.  She said that the Humboldt Bay Stewards have made several recent presentations regarding Port/Rail       development ion Humboldt Bay.  She said that the community is very interested in the issue and Humboldt Bay Stewards would like to have current, accurate, comprehensive information.  She also asked the Board to attend the forums to answer questions.  Ms. Herbelin asked the Board for a commitment to provide answers to the questions she has presented on behalf of the Stewards.

 

            Mitch Stogner said that a meeting with Humboldt Bay Stewards, Dave Anderson, John Williams, NWP Co. and NCRA Staff should be arranged at a mutually convenient time so that her questions can be addressed.

 

            Maggy Herbelin said that the Humboldt Bay Stewards was formed 3 years ago to monitor the health of the Humboldt Bay including the impact of development around the Bay, with a particular interest in fisheries impacts.  For this reason, she said her organization wants to begin exchanging information regarding plans for rail/port development around the Bay..

 

            Chairman Hemphill thanked Ms. Herbelin and said that NCRA shares her interest regarding the potential environmental impacts of rail development.

 

            Director Woolley said that he has reviewed the questions and said that he thinks that they are good focused questions. He asked when the forum would take place.

 

            Ms Herbelin said that they understand the need to have this done correctly and careful manner.     She said that the forum will be held after the first of the year.

 

            Director Woolley said that he hopes the Stewards are supportive of what NCRA is trying toaccomplish.  He said that as we create partnerships to carry out the legislatively mandated duties, including safety repairs and environmental concerns, it is important that we all work      together. 

 

            Ms. Herbelin said that the Stewards support the return of North Coast rail service by want to ensure careful consideration of potential environmental impacts along with possible mitigation measures.

 

I.          CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

            1.         Consideration of Recommendation from NCRA Policies and Procedures Committee

                                    Recommendation:                                                                                                                 

                                    a. Approve Policy Change Regarding Executive Director Timecards                    b. Approve Policy Change Regarding Buyback of Vacation Hours

                                    c. Approve Policy Change Regarding Increase of Fee Schedule for                        Encroachment Permits and Property Leases.

                                     d. Approve Request to Utilize County Assessors’ Office Mappers.

                                        e. Approve Issuance of RFP for Supplemental Accounting Services.

                       

            Motion to approve Items I.1, a. – e. made Director Kelley, seconded by Ollivier, and carried unanimously (6-0).

 

            2.         Consideration of Conditional Award of Contract – Emergency Repairs under        TCRP   Project 32.4

                                    Recommendation – Approve Conditional Award of Contract

 

            Mitch Stogner said that the CTC allocated funding so that NCRA can make the much needed repairs that were caused by the 2006-2007 storms.

 

            Mr. Stogner said that on October 12, NCRA will go before the CTC in Sonoma County to request funds for the actual repairs.

 

            Dave Anderson said SMART and NWP Co. have reviewed the construction plans for repairs.  He said that NCRA had a mandatory pre bid meeting and held a bid opening on October 10.  He reported that NCRA received one bid from Ghillotti Bros. Construction.  He said that when   one bid is received, it is important to do a comprehensive analysis of the bid documents,  and that he was working with NCRA’s on-call engineer to ensure proper procedures were followed.

           

            Mr. Stogner said that he would like to Board approve the contract conditional on the CTC allocation of funds for the repairs on October 9, and conditional on HNTB’s ability to award a          contract that is compliant with NCRA Policies and State law.

 

            Director Woolley said that the Policies and Procedures Manual dictates how contracts should be   awarded.  He asked that the Board take some additional time to discuss the RFP Process.  He said that he wanted to be assured that Staff followed the Policies and Procedures Manual.

 

            Dave Anderson said that the RFP stated that NCRA could withdraw specific options from the proposals.

 

            Director Woolley asked staff to present specific language for the Board’s consideration.

 

           

           

            Chairman Hemphill directed staff to present language for a specific action by the Board which Dave Anderson presented as follows.

           

            Motion to approve a contract with Ghilotti brothers to perform urgent repairs per contract document, not to exceed $1.2 million, contingent on HNTB’s recommendation and CTC funding.Moved by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Ollivier and carried unanimously (6-0).

 

J.         STAFF REPORTS

 

 

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

 

                                John Williams said that he has made his first lease payment and has a plan in place to provide a bridge loan so that NCRA can begin the repair work.  He said plans are moving as per the                 schedule and that he has optimistic that the CTC would provide funding for Phase I on November                                     9.

 

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

 

                        Dave Anderson updated the Board on various property issues including West End Road    Culvert repair, Fields Landing Railroad Avenue Crossing repair, Carlotta Branch lease request, and Samoa Pacific development in Samoa.

 

                        The Board directed Staff to present all issues to the Property Committee and to make recommendations to the Board for final action at the November 2006 meeting.

 

                        Dave Anderson said that the Geotechnical report from Shannon Wilson, in regards to the Fields Landing levee repair, is complete.  He said that there is 300 feet of riprap that needs to be replaced.  He also said that the next step is to submit the study to the Coastal Commission and other permitting agencies and then ask the CTC for the money to repair the levee.  He said that construction should begin next summer.

 

           

3.         Executive Director – Mitch Stogner

 

            a. CTC Update

 

            Mitch Stogner said that NCRA will be going before the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in Santa Rosa on October 9 to request funding to commence $1.4 million in repairs near the Marin/Sonoma county line.  He also said that in November, NCRA will go before the commission and request that funds ($25 million) be programmed for the Lombard to Windsor Project (Phase I).

 

            Mr. Stogner thanked Jan Bulinski, Cheryl Willis, and Leishara Ward for the assistance they have provided in preparing NCRA for October/Nov requests before the CTC.

 

4.         Legal Counsel - Chris Neary

 

            No report – absent

 

Chairman Hemphill adjourned the meeting to closed session at 1:00 p.m.

 

K.         CLOSED SESSION

 

           

                1.             Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation

                               Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9 (b)

                                One (1) case regarding status of property interest held by NCRA.

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

            Chairman Hemphill reported that the Board met, received information and no actions were taken.

 

           

 

M.        ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

            November 8, 2006 10:00 a.m.

                Willits City Council Chambers

                111 East Commercial Street

                Mendocino County

           

N.        ADJOURNMENT

                                               

            Chairman Hemphill adjourned the meeting at 1:35 p.m.