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MINUTES OF THE
SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL RAILWAY IMPROVEMENT
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
July 25, 2005 – 2:00 p.m.
1. Call to Order
Mr. Nothenberg announced that a quorum was present and called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.
2. Public Comment
No public comment was received.
3. Approval of the minutes of the Board meeting of March 9, 2005
It was moved by Ms. Lenvin, seconded by Mr. Escher, that the minutes of March 9, 2005 be adopted. The motion was unanimously approved.
4. Update from Municipal Railway on SFMRIC-funded projects
Ann Carey introduced Kerstin Magary, MTA Senior Project Manager, who provided an update on the various Historic Streetcar Projects for which funding was approved by the Board at a previous meeting. The Board discussed each project as it was presented.
Ms. Magary presented information from Muni’s Construction Division regarding the scope of the Geneva Canopy Project, which is to construct an enclosure over six tracks in the Geneva yard to provide storage protection for at least 22 historic streetcars including a new fire suppression system, overhead system, architectural details and ADA upgrades and other ancillary improvements. The ADA upgrades are for the Geneva building itself. SFMRIC allocated $775,000 as local match to this $4.9 million grant-funded project.
Mr. Escher noted that the planned storage capacity has decreased from 24 to 22 streetcars. Mr. Nothenberg then questioned whether the SFMRIC Board had approved a change in scope for the decreased storage capacity, and asked Ms. Magary to explain how the ADA upgrades are linked to this project.
Ms. Magary stated that both the Planning and Building Departments are requiring the upgrades to the Geneva building so that it can accommodate personnel assigned to work in the covered storage area as well as any visitors. The upgrades include an accessible bathroom, water fountains, public telephones, door and path of travel. These requirements are triggered whenever modifications above a threshold value are undertaken at a facility.
Mr. Nothenberg inquired of counsel whether it would be possible to put a hold on funds for this project until more information is received as to why the total storage capacity is being reduced by ten percent. He would like to see Muni pay for the ADA upgrades out its funds, unless those upgrades are integral to the project. Mr. Emblidge explained that no action item is listed on the agenda, but that the Board could make its sentiments known to Muni.
Ms. Lenvin requested that the Board be provided with an explanation of what triggered the ADA upgrades. She also questioned what the Board’s policy is with respect to funding routine expenditures, such as ADA improvements, and whether the Board should be advised of any material change in a project scope before it is undertaken.
Ms. Magary stated that the contract for this project is being advertised in October 2005. Once the contract is awarded, staff will talk with the contractor to find out what funding will be needed to complete the project, including the ADA upgrades. The project is still scheduled for completion in 2007.
The Board expressed its desire that a hold be placed on funds for this project until staff can report back on what caused the loss in storage capacity from 24 to 22 streetcars. The Board would like to know whether this project triggered ADA requirements of a certain dollar value for improvements to the facility and whether factoring in those upgrades caused the loss of storage space. If so, the Board would like to know how the ADA upgrades can be funded so that the project will still have storage capacity for 24 streetcars.
Ms. Carey stated that no SFMRIC funds have been expended to date. She assured the Board that no funds would be expended until staff have answered the Board’s questions. Muni’s Geneva Canopy Project Manager, John Funghi, and/or Project Engineer, Roger Nguyen, will respond to SFMRIC’s questions.
New Orleans Streetcar
Muni has been leasing New Orleans streetcar #952 (“Streetcar Named Desire”), which is currently in operation on Muni’s F-line; the lease expired in 2004. Muni asked New Orleans Transit if it could purchase #952, for which SFMRIC allocated $200,000. However, the MTA thought New Orleans Transit’s asking price of $660,000was too high. Therefore, MTA and Rick Laubscher, of Market Street Railway, quickly entered into discussions with the Southern California Railway Museum, Inc. (aka Orange Empire Railway Museum in Southern California) regarding purchasing #913 for $200,000. Car #913 is the same kind of streetcar as #952 but it has been in a museum rather than operating in rail transit passenger service. If the purchase could be completed within 30 days, the Museum would sell it. Otherwise, the price would go up. City Attorney Robin Reitzes and Tony Tufo of Muni Fleet Engineering worked on a contract and an MTA calendar item to move this item forward to purchase #913.
Karl Johnson of Muni Maintenance visually inspected the car, but further evaluation was needed to determine exactly how much work will be required to make it operational, per MTA, CPUC, and ADA requirements. There may be some additional work beyond the CPUC and ADA upgrades originally anticipated for #952. SFMRIC had allocated $175,000 for repairs. If it was determined more funds would be needed, Muni would look to the overall budget for streetcar improvements for funding. Muni currently has an overall budget of $2.3 million for Historic Project Segment 3 streetcar improvements.
Mr. Nothenberg asked whether Muni had any idea of whether #913 is operable, and whether it can be repaired for $175,000. Mr. Escher questioned why Muni’s initial inspection didn’t determined whether #913 is operable, and suggested Muni send a fleet engineer to assess its operability before purchasing the vehicle. Ms. Lenvin commented that it was Muni’s original intention to purchase “Streetcar Named Desire” and asked why the agency is now considering purchasing a different, unknown vehicle.
The Board instructed staff not to pursue purchase of Car 913 as a substitute for Car 932, Streetcar Named Desire. The Board instructed its legal counsel to prepare an item for the next SFMRIC Board meeting to rescind funding for Streetcar Named Desire.
Ms. Magary reported that Muni is receiving $17 million from the FTA for a 10-year overhaul of 16-17 PCCs. This funding is in addition to $14.5 million for Segment 4 improvements, of which SFMRIC allocated $849,191 in matching funds. The two segments will be combined into one RFP for PCC rehabilitation. Muni has received approximately $4 million so far for the 10-year overhaul. Muni plans to use a production line approach so that the project will be big enough to attract potential contractors, especially those with bonding and insurance coverage.
Project Funding Update
Ms. Carey distributed information on the seven active projects with SFMRIC funding and asked Leda Young, Capital Planning and Grants, to review fund balances and project status for the Board. Expenditures and use of funds have been updated for fiscal year 2005. As of June 30, 2005, the remaining commitment of SFMRIC funds to these projects is $3.1 million. Ms. Carey also provided a cash flow analysis that estimated that $650,000 in SFMRIC funds will be needed through the end of calendar year 2005, $1.4 million will be needed in 2006 and the remaining $1.1 million in 2007. She noted that the remaining $3.1 million in committed funds includes $375,000 for purchase and rehabilitation of the New Orleans streetcar. The cash flow analysis is intended to guide the Board in its investment decisions and in preparing instructions to the trustee to liquidate assets.
5. Update by Trustee and Legal Counsel on Board finances, and possible action item to provide direction to Trustee regarding investments
In response to an inquiry from Mr. Nothenberg, Legal Counsel Scott Emblidge conveyed that he had received a report from SFMRIC’s trustees stating that the Board has a fund balance of approximately $3.3 million. Mr. Nothenberg then asked Mr. Victor Ume-Ukeje, Managing Director of Piper Jaffray, Inc., how much of those funds were liquid assets. Mr. Ume-Ukeje replied that approximately $400,000 is being held in money market funds. He distributed copies of his report. Mr. Nothenberg noted that there appears to be sufficient cash in the money market funds and maturing investments to meet Muni’s cash flow requirements through June 2006. Based on his assessment, the Board agreed that no additional instructions for liquidating assets were needed at this time. Ms. Carey said MTA staff would give Board members an update in December of projected cash flow demands in 2006.
6. Consideration of Municipal Railway request for additional funding for Kirkland Reuse Study
Ms. Magary distributed a written update on the proposed development of the Kirkland facility. The team for this study is a combination of the MTA, Douglas Wright Consulting (DWC) and community representatives. They have received input from the President of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor’s Office of Housing, the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Work Force Development, and City Planning. Discussions have resulted in a consensus that Kirkland is a unique site and that every effort should be made to pursue creative approaches to create housing that will benefit the community as well as the MTA.
Based on input from various parties, the MTA agreed to conduct further examination of the site plan and design issues including open space, height and bulk, off-street parking, affordable housing, commercial retail uses, and pedestrian amenities. These issues need to be examined in conjunction with the conditions and constraints that exist at the site, including the high level of transit service that exists, or could exist, proximity to the Pier 39 parking garage, the concentration of contaminated soil on portions of the site, the F-line view corridors to the Bay and back to the City, and adjacent uses and structures. Ms. Magary noted that the proposed study of design considerations will strengthen the RFQ that is being developed and is currently under review by the City Attorney’s office. The design guidelines are intended to ensure that the selected project enhances the neighborhood and is responsive to the constraints that exist at the site.
To enable this work to be done, including architectural renderings that could be shown to community leaders and the Kirkland CAC, the City Planning Department is recommending that DWC hire John Kriken, a prominent San Francisco architect, to have schematic renderings done that show different heights and bulk and open space and retail uses that can be shown to the community. Mr. Wright would also update the economic analysis of reuse options so that decision makers understand what the economics are for the site.
The Board reviewed a proposed amendment to the existing contract with DWC to examine alternative land use development designs and plans, assess the benefits of those alternatives to the community and the MTA, and incorporate design guidelines into the RFQ. The proposed budget for this amendment is $51,500. The work would be conducted in two tasks: Task A provides for development of site plans and design studies, and is broken into four sub-tasks; Task B provides for revising the RFQ and subsequent RFP. The Board noted that Sub-tasks A3 and A4 are contingent on the findings of the first two sub-tasks, and may not be undertaken.
It was moved by Mr. Ozan, seconded by Ms. Lenvin, to approve the amendment to the agreement with DWC for the Kirkland reuse study in the amount of $51,500, provided that funding for Sub-tasks A3 and A4 be withheld until the President and Vice President of the SFMRIC Board approve any expenditures for these subtasks upon completion of Sub-task A2. The motion was unanimously approved.
In public comment, Norman Rolfe said he had met with someone from Supervisor Peskin’s staff, who is under the impression that a non-profit organization would be hired to develop the Kirkland site. He stated that what Muni has in mind and what the non-profit has in mind do not mesh and suggested that staff contact Supervisor Peskin’s office to find out whom they have been meeting with.
Mr. Nothenberg and Ms. Magary assured him that MTA staff have been working with Supervisor Peskin and his staff regarding MTA’s plans and the Kirkland Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
7. Other Business
Ms. Carey reminded the Board that it is the end of the City’s and SFMRIC’s fiscal year, and requested that the Board instruct its accountants to put together SFMRIC’s financial statement so that it can be incorporated into MTA’s financial statement and transmitted to the City Controller. The Controller has moved up the schedule in order to close the books by Thanksgiving. Mr. Emblidge said he has already directed SFMRIC’s accountant to begin preparing information for SFMRIC’s financial statement.
Mr. Nothenberg stated that he had discussed with legal counsel and other attorneys to discuss ways to come up with additional money for Muni. They advised that a meeting be set up with Stuart Sunshine, Acting Executive Director of MTA, to discuss their proposals. Mr. Nothenberg stated he would set such a meeting in the future, but felt it should wait until a later date to give Mr. Sunshine an opportunity to become more familiar with his new duties.
Ms. Carey provided Board members with information regarding how to obtain a new MTA badge so that they can ride for free on Muni vehicles.
8. Setting a date and time for the next Board meeting
Mr. Emblidge will confirm the date of the annual meeting in December 2005.
Mr. Nothenberg adjourned the meeting in fond memory of Merrill Cohen, former Cable Car Engineer.
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