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December 4, 2001

NCRA Staff Update - Max Bridges, Executive Director

We are still moving forward with Sonoma County assuming the accounting function. They have provided a proposed agreement and I am having counsel and accounting consultants review and suggest changes. It appears likely that the County can assume the accounting and accounts payable functions this month, but payroll will not be assumed until February or March. Aycock and Edgmon will continue providing that function until then.

The HCAOG Board will consider the Technical Advisory Committee recommendation to dedicate 2.5% of future revenues to rail at its meeting December 6. Director Sears is going to attempt to attend if he can get away from another meeting that same evening dealing with the Annie and Mary Rails and Trails project.

Response to emergencies continues to be a problem during storm events along the South end. Doug and I have both received calls regarding crossing gates. We are attempting to have the local jurisdictions--Cities and Counties--proceed with appropriate action on their own. Doug and I will be meeting next week with Bridge District/NWPRA staff to discuss a number of railroad issues and will attempt to develop a strategy for dealing with response now that there is no operator. This issue extends beyond the NWPRA ownership. NCRA will need to have some kind of emergency response plan--perhaps using some former employees as part time employees--to address the inevitable dislodged gates, fallen trees, etc. that will happen this winter. We will have a discussion of this issue and a staff recommendation for consideration on the next agenda.

Stacey and Witbeck continue to progress with the Windsor to Willits repairs. Their progress has been slowed by the weather and completion is now expected in January. With loss of the operator the urgency for completion has diminished considerably.

A portion of the NWPRA loan has been received and utilized for payment in full to Vortex Diving for the Haystack Landing Bridge Repairs. There are still issues with NWPRA staff regarding PG&E costs for this project. We will attempt to resolve this item in our discussions with NWPRA staff next week.

The Island Mountain field trip with the Consent Decree parties was cancelled due to weather and will be re-scheduled at a more appropriate future date.

We are advised that the Caltrans pre-award audit should be completed next week.

Friday Directors Ripple, Hemphill, Opalach and I are meeting with a group of community leaders in Humboldt County to discuss the possible establishment of a stakeholders support group. At the same time Director Sears is attending a scoping session on the proposed Annie and Mary Rail-Trail.

Next week CTC meets in San Francisco. The NCRA Administrative Funding for the second half of FY 2001-02 ($250,000) is on the agenda for approval and allocation. I will be in attendance to respond to any questions from the Commission

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