NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY (NCRA)

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGULAR MEETING

Wednesday, January 10, 2007 ~ 10:00 a.m.

Humboldt County Supervisors Chambers

825 5th Street, Eureka

Humboldt County

 

Approved Minutes

 

 

 

 

A.         CALL TO ORDER

 

            Chairman Hemphill called the meeting to order at 10:04 a.m.

 

B.        ROLL CALL

 

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

            Directors Absent:  Colfax

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

 

C.         AGENDA APPROVAL

 

Upon motion by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Simonson, and carried unanimously (5-0), the agenda was approved.

 

D.        MATTERS FROM THE BOARD

 

            1.         Recognition of Outgoing Board Member – Peter LaVallee

           

On behalf of the NCRA Board, Chairman Hemphill thanked Peter LaVallee for his service as a Cities Representative on the NCRA Board of Directors and presented him with a plaque commemorating his service.

 

Mr. LaVallee thanked the Board and said that he looks forward to watching the progress and helping any way that he can as NCRA works to restore rail service on the North Coast.

 

 

E.         COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

            1.         Operator Committee Report – Chairman Hemphill

 

Chairman Hemphill asked Executive Director Stogner to update the Board on the Operator Committee meeting held by conference call.  Mr. Stogner said the Operator Committee was briefed on the meeting NCRA had with SMART staff on December 22, the environmental approach staff recommends for the Russian River Division, and NCRA’s allocation requests for the March 15 CTC meting in Sacramento.

            2.         Policies and Procedures Committee Report – Director Kelley

 

Director Kelley said that the Policies and Procedures Committee met and discussed the proposal that NCRA received for Planning, Engineering, and Project Management Services in response to its RFP for such services.  Director Kelley said that the item would be further discussed on agenda item H.2.

 

 

F.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

             1.        Approval of Minutes – November 2006

             2.        Approval of Financial Statements - November 2006

             3.        Approval of Financial Statements – December 2006       

             4.        Approval of Warrants Issued – November 2006

             5.        Approval of Warrants Issued – December 2006

             6.        Approval of Executive Directors Expenses - November & December 2006

             7.        Approval of 2007 Board Meeting Schedule

             8.        Approval of Extension of Lease – Talmage Office

 

Upon motion by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Woolley, and carried unanimously (5-0), items F.1 through F.8 of the Consent Calendar were approved.           

 

G.        PUBLIC COMMENT

 

            Daniel Pierce – Mr. Pierce said that the railroad tracks around the Humboldt Bay help prevent flooding and should remain in place.  He also said that the railroad can be an important aspect of public transportation in Humboldt County.

 

 

Marcus Brown – Mr. Brown told the Board that the Timber Heritage Association has entered into a 1 year lease for the Samoa Roundhouse and will use this property for storage of the Timber Heritage locomotives.  He also said that they have received an extension on the time period they have to move the rest of the equipment.  Mr. Brown thanked the NCRA Board for all of the support and help.

 

            Kaye Strickland – Mrs. Strickland said that Moss Bittner has gone to Sacramento. She also said that he was an instrumental part of RAPIT, an extremely effective proponent of North Coast Rail Service, and that he would be greatly missed.

           

H.        CONDUCT OF BUSINESS

 

            1.  Election of Officers and Committee Appointments

 

            Upon motion by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Ollivier, and carried unanimously (5-0). Allan Hemphill was reappointed as Board Chairman, and John Woolley was appointed as Vice Chairman.

            Committee Appointments

 

            Upon Motion by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Ollivier, and carried unanimously (5-0). Colfax, Kelley, and Simonson were appointed Finance Committee, with Colfax appointed as Chair. 

           

            Simonson, Kelley, and Colfax were appointed to the Property Committee, with Simonson appointed as Chair. 

 

            Hemphill, Simonson, and Kelley were appointed to the Operator Committee with Hemphill appointed as Chair. 

 

            Woolley and Ollivier were appointed to the Humboldt Bay Harbor District Joint Advisory Committee with Woolley appointed as Chair, and one seat left vacant. 

 

            Woolley, Kelley and Colfax were appointed to the Ad-Hoc Policies and Procedures Committee with Woolley appointed as Chair.

 

 

            2.Authorize Staff to Execute Contract for NCRA Planning, Engineering, and Project Management Services.

 

Executive Director Stogner updated the Board on the proposal that was revived in response to the recent RFP that was issued for Planning, Engineering, and Project Management Services.  He said that the Policies and Procedures Committee evaluated the response received by American Rail Consultants, and asked Director Kelley to elaborate on the Policies and Procedures Committee meeting.

 

Director Kelley said that the Policies and Procedures committee had a phone conference and reviewed the proposal.  He said the proposal from American Rail Consultants (ARC) was responsive in every way to the RFP including the provision of, contract management, oversight engineering, on-site engineering, and program planning.  Director Kelley said that the Policies and Procedures Committee finds that the proposal is responsive to the RFP.

 

Upon motion by Director Kelley, seconded by Director Oliver, and carried unanimously (5-0) the Proposal was accepted and Staff was directed to enter into a contract with American Rail Consultants for Planning, Engineering, and Project Management Services.

 

 

 I.         STAFF REPORTS

 

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

 

                John Williams told the Board that he attended the Centennial Celebration of the NWP Railroad and distributed a photograph of the plaque that was dedicated.  He said that it was honor to participate in the 100 year celebration. 

 

Mr. Williams reconfirmed his determination to help with the efforts of rehabilitating the railroad and resuming operations, although he said he is discouraged by the timeframe being pushed back to March of 2008.  He also said that NWP Co. needs to have an operating railroad as soon as possible in order for his company to continue to invest financially in the NCRA. 

 

            Mr. Williams said that he would like to see NCRA have a discussion item each month to reaffirm NCRA’s dedication to reopening the railroad, and he also asked the Board to direct staff to reevaluate the schedule so that NWP Co. could be in operation by fall of 2007. 

 

            Chairman Hemphill thanked Mr. Williams and said that it would be good to have an agenda item each month so that the schedule for reopening the railroad can be discussed.

 

            Mr. Stogner said that if Staff can speed up the timeline, it will do everything its power to do so.

 

            Director Woolley said that the NCRA is not entirely in control of the schedule since allocation and environmental actions must be reviewed and approved by the CTC.

 

            Director Kelley agreed that an agenda item would be useful and he said that everyone wants to have an operation railroad and said that the schedule should be tracked on a monthly basis.

 

 

            Chairman Hemphill pointed out that the repair schedule is driven by the CTC allocation     and reimbursement process which requires close cooperation between NCRA, Caltrans, and the CTC staff.  He directed staff to streamline that process wherever possible.

 

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

 

            Dave Anderson thanked the Board for directing Staff to enter into a contract with American Rail Consultants (ARC). 

 

            Mr. Anderson presented the Board with a PowerPoint presentation on the recent repairs under Urgent Repair Contract # 1 including repairs at Shultz Slough, Audubon Levee, and Robinson Creek.

 

           

3.         Executive Director – Mitch Stogner

 

            a.  Proposition 1B Application / CTC Update

            Executive Director Stogner said that the Passage of Prop 1B includes $3.2 billion for capital improvements in freight rail corridors throughout the state.  He said that NCRA and the Humboldt Bay Harbor District are working on a joint application for Proposition 1B funds under the Rail/Port provisions of the Bond Measure. He also said that applicants need to get their plan into the CTC as soon as possible.

           

            b.  Reintroduction of SB 792 (Chesbro)

            Executive Director Stogner said that he and Director Woolley had meetings in Sacramento with the goal of introducing SB 792 (Chesbro).  He said he believes the Governor would sign the legislation this time around.

 

The Board authorized staff to make contact with a legislator that is interested in reintroducing SB 792.

 

            c.   FEMA/OES Equipment

Executive Director Stogner updated the Board on the FEMA acquired equipment which is finally in the possession of the NCRA.

           

           

            d.  Sign Removal Eureka to Arcata

            Executive Director Stogner told the Board that the NCRA identified 8 sign locations and sent a letter to CBS Outdoor Advertising on December 11 and requested removal of the billboards between Eureka and Arcata by April of 2007.

 

4.         Legal Counsel - Chris Neary

           

            No Report

 

The Board adjourned into closed session at 11:12 a.m.

 

J.         CLOSED SESSION

 

            1.         CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL-Existing Litigation (3 Cases)

                                Government Code Section 54956.9 (a)

 

(a)     NWPY Arbitration

(b)     Humboldt Baykeeper vs. Union Pacific, NCRA et al.

United States District Court, # C-06-02560 JW

(c)     Humboldt Baykeeper vs. Simpson,  NCRA et al\

United States District Court, # C-06-4188 JL

 

   2.          CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL-Initiation of litigation

                Government Code Section 54956.9 (c) one case

                Announcement of the litigation would jeopardize NCRA’s

                Ability to conclude existing settlement negotiations to its advantage.

 

                3.           CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL-Initiation of Litigation

                         Government Code Section 54956.9 (c)

                                 Litigation to be discussed:  Enforcement of Billboard Removal on NCRA  property.

 

K.         ANNOUNCEMENT OUT OF CLOSED SESSION

 

            The Board met with Council, received advice and gave direction.  In connection to Agenda Item J.3 on the Closed Session Agenda, the Board acted unanimously (5-0) to delete the ISTEA funds from the Russian River Division project description.

 

L.         ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEXT MEETING

           

            February 14, 2007 - 10:00 a.m.

                Willits City Council Chambers

                111 East Commercial Street, Willits

                Mendocino County

 

M.        ADJOURNMENT

 

            Chairman Hemphill adjourned the meeting at 2:15 p.m.