Cumbres and Toltec Commission meeting 20-May-23

This is my documentation from the aspect as a reporter. This is NOT any official documentation of the Cumbres & Toltec railroad, nor the Commission. If you saw this document via some other web site, the original site of this document is Videos & written reports of all commission meetings that exist can be found here: Index of videos/reports
My thanks goes out to Steve Forney for his help in recording these meetings. This allows for the production of the written reports as well as the video presentations.
My YouTube videos are: Sam's YouTube videos
Steve's videos are:Steve's YouTube videos
The official commission site is:
Video of this meeting can be seen at: YouTube video of this meeting

I may not have all of the “legal” terms correct. There may be spelling errors of persons or businesses. I paraphrase much of what was said. I try to indicate what the speaker means. This document serves to give the readers not present at the meeting a “pretty good” idea of what happened.

Content of this document is © 2023, Samuel B Seiber, all rights reserved.

Colorado Commissioners: Scott Gibbs, Mark Graybill
New Mexico Commissioners: Kim Smith-Casford, Billy Elbrock
President of the Cumbres & Toltec railroad: Scott Gibbs

Glossary (initialisms that may appear in this document):
ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
BAR: Budget Adjustment Request
C&TS: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
C19: Covid-19 virus
CO: Colorado
CRF: Car Restoration Facility, Antonito
CS: Colorado Springs, CO
CTO: Cumbres Toltec Operating company
D&RG: Denver & Rio Grande Railroad
D&S: Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
DFA: Department of Financial Administration (NM)
DRHS: Durango Railroad Historical Society
DTS: Dynamic Ticket Solutions (the ticketing company used by the C&TS)
FY: Fiscal Year
FRA: Federal Railroad Administration
HPA: Historic Preservation Account, or Historic Preservaton Association
HR: Human Relations
JBC: Joint Budget Committee (CO)
LFC: Leglislative Finance Committee (NM)
MOW: Maintenance Of Way
NOI: Net Operating Income
NM: New Mexico
ROW: Right of Way
RPO: Railroad Post Office
RR: Railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, unless mentioned otherwise
SHF: State Historic Fund (CO)
SLV: San Louis Valley, the area that contains Antonito
TABB: Tracks Across Borders Byway
VIHR: Victorian Iron Horse Roundup (August 2021 special event)
YTD: Year To Date (fiscal normally)
‘the Friends’: The Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR, the museum arm,

1. Call meeting to order

2. Pledge of Allegiance

Commissioner Elbrock introduced new NM commissioner Kim Smith-Casford. She replaces William Lock. The commissioner thanked Bill Lock for his service. Commissioner Graybill has been appointed by the CO governor for 3 more years. It was explained how the NM commissioners work at the pleasure of their governor, while CO commissioners are appointed for 3 year terms. The NM governor can change commissioner(s) as they wish. Thus the two states have different procedures for determining their commissioners.

3. Approval of Agenda

4. Approval of the Minutes from the February 23, 2023 commission meeting

5. Approval of the Minutes from the April 26, 2023 special meeting

6. Approval of the Minutes from the April 30, 2023 special meeting

7. President's Report-Scott Gibbs

Scott prepared a report, and read it to the meeting. This was his written report:

This is the last CTO President’s report to the Commission for the current fiscal year. It is a bit longer than the usual quarterly reports.

Refinement of the management processes for Cumbres Toltec Operating LLC has taken a majority of executive leadership’s attention over the past year. We have been focused on improving and correcting some of the Commission – CTO Governance issues that have been identified over the past 23 months. The Policy and Practices Manual for the C&TS Commission has been updated to version 8.0 and will be voted on during this meeting. The key changes are on the role of the Commission as the Board of Directors for CTO and modifying purchasing authority limits consistent with approved Commission resolutions.

A new Strategic Plan for the railroad was developed over the winter. The plan lays out a 5-year vision for the railroad. The Strategic Plan was developed by the CTO management team and submitted to the Commission for approval at the February Commission meeting. After approval of the February minutes the new Strategic Plan will be posted on the Commission web site.

One issue identified during the strategic planning process was a lack of a management development program within CTO. During the off season, one day per month was dedicated to different management development topics for the team. An outside facilitator, or a teacher was used for the various topics. The railroad has a very young and diverse management team. Investment in the people responsible for providing a safe and enjoyable guest experience is an investment in the next generation protecting the investments by the people of Colorado and New Mexico in the C&TS RR.

Recruiting and retaining staff to work for the railroad is a challenge in the post pandemic world. We established two $5,000 scholarships with Trinidad State Collage in Alamosa to help build a pipeline of skilled crafts persons for the railroad. One scholarship is for a student from the Colorado San Luis Valley and one for a student from the New Mexico Chama Valley. The current staff and management team reflect the demographics of the local communities. Diversity representation of the staff has been an important issue for the two state legislative appropriation committees.

Significant changes were made to the employee benefits package this year. Some changes were required due to changes in CO and NM state employment laws. The primary change was the separation of Paid Time Off into separate annual and sick leave earned time. We were also able to raise the starting pay to $17.00 per hour providing the staff at least a 9.7% increase as we begin the 2023 operating season. We also moved the SIMPLE IRA from Morgan Stanley in Durango to ADP after we moved our payroll system to ADP. The ADP IRA provides our employees with more investment options for their retirement funds. A new Employee Handbook has been created and reviewed by Employers Council. Distribution will begin next week.

The drug and alcohol testing program, compliant with DOT quality assurance requirements, has been implemented. A medical review officer is now reviewing the drug testing results before providing those to the railroad.

The Commission and CTO worked with the appropriation committees of both legislatures. The requested funding for Commission operations, which covers the property insurance for the RR was fully funded by both States. Capital funding from Colorado and New Mexico was funded as requested and returned to pre pandemic levels. A special appropriation of $125K to design the structural repairs needed to the two stalls of the Chama roundhouse was approved by New Mexico. Once the design is completed, we will request funding to execute the repair work needed on this historic structure.

Last year, Colorado Governor Polis proposed buying out the capital appropriation process with a single ARPA funded appropriation. The long- term strategy adopted a few years ago, created an expectation within the two states that the railroad would become self-sufficient within a 10-year window. The COVID pandemic upset those plans. The members of both legislatures requested an update on the progress toward self-sufficiency during the recent sessions. Looking forward, the railroad will need to continue to focus on cost containment, and revenue increases to assure its continued survival.

A new budgeting and accounting structure has been developed for CTO. The FY23-24 budget will be presented for approval at this meeting. The revised structure ensures we are compliant with governmental cost accounting standards, a requirement for expending the 3 million dollars of ARPA funding provided by NM.

A new VOIP phone system is currently being installed. This should save the railroad 2/3 of the cost of the previous phone system.

During the past year, two new ¾ ton 4x4 pickups were purchased through the State of Colorado fleet purchase program. One ½ ton pickup was purchased at the GSA auction, a ¾ ton flat-bed was purchased at auction for the track crew and a 1-ton truck chassis was purchased through the auction for the brush truck skid the Village of Chama donated to the railroad. Several older vehicles will be retired.

Track maintenance equipment has been upgraded with a new to us ballast regulator, a new tracked excavator and a new backhoe. The excavator is equipped with a masticator for management of vegetation along the right of way. We also added a rock breaker to the excavator to address rock falls. The backhoe is equipped with a tamper attachment to speed up replacement of switch ties.

During the summer of 2022 the Osier dining hall was put back into operation except for the kitchen after the September 22, 2021 bakery fire. A temporary kitchen was placed across the tracks to serve food to the railroad’s guests for the 2022 operating season. All the new kitchen equipment has been ordered and received. The equipment is currently being installed in the rebuilt kitchen. New food serving tables have been ordered but have not yet shipped. The total cost to recover the dining hall after the fire exceeded the insured value of the building of $1.7 million dollars. The insurance company is exploring whether to subrogate the claim against Toltec Gorge Catering for the fire. The Osier fire claim is the second very large claim against the RR’s property insurance policy. The RR’s annual property insurance costs increased 51% as a result of this claim and the Lobato trestle fire several years ago.

A new 5-year bus contract has been negotiated with Mountain View. We will have 3 buses during most of the operating season with an option to add a 4th bus during the fall color season. The daily cost is slightly less than last year but the fuel adjustment surcharge is slightly higher.

The new Antonito train storage building materials have been received from Cleary building company. Delivery of the building was delayed due to shortages of sheet steel needed for the roof and exterior. Construction of the track was completed before Christmas and the building began to go up this month. The building has been delayed about 6 months from our original promised construction date. When completed, the building will house the historic wooden car set and two small locomotives.

The Commission approved acquisition of the gift shop space adjoining the Commission and Friends of the C&TS RR properties in Antonito. A full assessment of the work required to repair the space and to bring into compliance with current ADA requirements will be completed later this year.

The Commission also approved purchase of the former Ed & Mikes body shop in Chama. This building is being upgraded so it can be used to maintain the expanded fire engine fleet. The rear of the building also provides us shop space to maintain the motor cars based in Chama for fire patrol behind the trains. This gives us indoor space to maintain the motor cars. The building is also providing additional storage space.

We hired a tree trimming company from Taos to clear dead and damaged trees around the Chama yard. Several dead trees were removed that were a threat to power lines or personnel safety. Other trees between the north yard switch and the Chama river bridge were trimmed to provide clearance for the train.

The former F&CC combine number 60 that had been on the property for many years was sent to the NCNGR. The car was not owned by the Commission but had been stored in Antonito. The NCNGR plans to restore the car over the next several years. We have had some interest in acquisi?on of the old standard gauge hopper car siBng east of the coal ?pple. We have asked the City of Colorado Springs for permission to dispose of the old tender cistern for 168. This work is part of an effort to clean up the railroad property.

The wildland fire prevention plan was significantly revised in 2022. The plan is based on preventing a fire start by observing the probability of ignition of 1- hour fine fuels rather than a program to fight fires once started. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR and the East Broad Top RR have both requested copies of our wildland fire prevention plan. The fire-fighting resources of the railroad have been strengthened with the addition of a brush truck in 2022 and an additional one in 2023. The fire patrol remains in operation behind each train. Last season we had two small fire starts. The oil burning engine 489 dropped a piece of firebrick onto a tie and ignited the tie between the rails. Engine 463 left the Antonito terminal and dropped ashes onto the ties due to the ash pan door not being securely closed. There were no fire starts due to stack cinders. Engine 488 had historically ignited lineside fires. Replacing the cyclone front end with a Master Mechanic front end, like the engine was equipped with when new, reduced the size of cinders from the stack significantly lowering the probability of ignition.

The Chama shop has been working on locomotives 463, 484, 488 and 489. The Federal Railroad Administration annual inspections on the four locomotives have been completed. This was the 5th annual inspection for 488 so it also required an inspection of the flexible stay bolts. To perform this inspection the cab and all the cab appliances were removed, the stay bolts were inspected, and the cab was reinstalled. The 489 has had a lot of running gear work performed this winter. All the brasses on the side and main rods are being replaced. The crank pins on the 2nd and 3rd drivers required turning so they are once again round. The trailing truck is having a thrust plate replaced and is being trued up so it will track correctly under the locomotive. The coal grate actuators and ash pan have been removed to allow a deeper firepan to be installed for improved combustion of oil in the firebox. In addition, the door air damper is being extended below the cab so combustion air is drawn from outside the cab. The 489 will not be in operation on opening day.

The Antonito shop completed the FRA required 1472 service day inspection on locomotive 315 for the Durango Railroad Historical Society. The engine ran from Antonito to Lava on March 9 and 10 with a 3 car 78-ton train. The 315 is currently scheduled to lead the first train out of Antonito on May 27.

Locomotive 168 moved into the shop after the 315 was completed. The FRA annual inspection has been completed. The cracks in the fireman’s side of the cylinder saddle have been repaired using a metal stitching method. The engineer’s side of the cylinder saddle had more extensive cracking. There was a repair made by the D&RG before the engine was placed in Antlers Park. The D&RG had formed a 1/2-inch plate to fit over the saddle to hold the saddle together. After we inspected the saddle with dye penetrant, we observed the crack had propagated to the rear of the saddle. As we removed the D&RG patch, we observed the crack had run from the front of the saddle to the rear through the 4 bolts holding the boiler to the cylinder saddle on the engineer’s side of the locomotive. A section of the cylinder saddle fell off when we removed the D&RG patch. We used the same metal stitching technique to repair the engineer’s side of the locomotive. A plate was formed to go over the repaired cylinder saddle and tie the smokebox to the cylinder saddle. It was also noted that many stay bolts are showing excessive wastage. We are developing a plan to replace the firebox stays during the 2023-24 shop season. The locomotive made a test run with a train on May 16, 2023. The 168 is currently scheduled to operate from Antonito on May 28.

The 487 was towed dead-in-train to Antonito by engine 484 on November 14. The firebox had some visible spider cracking around a few stay bolts. Once the engine was in the shop the grates and ash pan were removed, magnetic particle and dye penetrant inspections were performed to determine the extent of the cracking in the firebox and ultrasonic thickness measurements were made. The bottom 18 to 24 inches of the firebox was removed due to extensive cracking from the stays and significant thinning of the sheets. New lower corners, side sheets, door sheet and rear flue sheet parts were fabricated using the McCabe flanger and a set of dies fabricated in Antonito. Morton Locomotive & Machine and the Antonito shop partnered to get the sheets fabricated. We used the dies and the flanger to make new firebox corners for the D&SNG RR’s 480 as well. The new sheets are being welded into the 487’s firebox. A patch is also being applied to the outer wrapper sheet on the engineer’s side of the firebox to address cracking around the blowdown valve. New rivets will be driven to attach the sheets to the mud ring while full penetration welding will join the new sheets to the old. Once all the firebox work is completed the new oil burner and fire pan will be installed. A new riveted tender cistern has been completed and the oil tank will be fitted into the rebuilt tender. The 487 is being converted to burn used lubricating oil using the same design as the 489 was modified with during the 2022-23 winter season plus the changes being made this winter. Given the extensive firebox work and the tender rebuild required on this locomotive we do not anticipate 487 being ready for opening day but it should be in service soon after 489 is operational.

We have 4 locomotives available for operation today plus DRHS’s 315. We will have the two oil burning engines available later in the season.
Work on locomotive 492 has begun. This locomotive has not operated since 1966. New side rods, main rods and valve gear has been ordered. Various appliances are being rebuilt or sourced. We recently had the whistle from D&RGW 490 donated for 492. The locomotive will be pulled off the stub track and work on the boiler and running gear should commence this summer. A contractor will be used to install flexible staybolts in the firebox similar to what the D&SNG RR did with 493. Based on the Form 4 analysis for sister engines 491 and 493, there may need to be some additional work on internal boiler braces to bring the engine into compliance with 49 CFR 230.

All 23 the passenger cars used on trains 215 and 216 have received new paint and lettering this winter in the Antonito shop as well as the regular annual inspections. The new Parlor car has been completed and will be added to the June 3 train out of Antonito. We have something special planed for the roll out of the new parlor car. The three wooden cars of the historic car fleet received annual inspections.

As everyone is aware, the last “normal” season for the railroad was 2019. In 2020 we all went through the COVID Pandemic shutdowns, and the restrictions followed through into 2021. In 2022 the large wildland fires in NM absorbed all the fire-fighting resources in the southwest United States. Carson National Forest shut down forest access. In discussions with Rio Grande National Forest, Carson National Forest and the CO and NM Forestry staff the Commission delayed opening day until July 1. We estimate this decision cost the railroad about $770,000 of lost revenue in last fiscal year.

The track capital program continued throughout FY2022-23. The FRA mandated bridge program inspections confirmed that all these structures are in safe condition to continue to support operations. The water tank supports were also inspected, and a few supports were identified that need replacement. Track materials, ballast and ties have been procured and additional track maintenance equipment has been acquired so that this vital program work can be acceleration this year.

When we set the 2023 operating schedule the management team decided to focus on building ridership on the two daily trains since increasing ridership on these two trains has the greatest impact on the surrounding communities. Ridership bookings for the 2023 operating season are running well ahead of the 2019 season. Total ridership is 11% ahead of 2019, 38% ahead of 2019 revenue. Booked seats on trains 215/216 are 21% ahead of 2019 as of May 18 for both years. Our new 5-year strategic plan sets a long-term goal to sell 25% of the available train 215/216 seats before the season begins. As of May 18, we have sold 20% of the seats on these two trains. Total ?cket sales to date for FY2022-23, July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 have been 29,152. The sales for the upcoming season after July 1 are booked as deferred revenue in this fiscal year.

End of Scott's written report

Commissioner Graybill asked about how many locomotives will be ready for opening day. Scott answered that 168, 463, 484, 488. All have been fired and test run. DHRS's 315 is also available. An agreement has been made with the DHRS for use of 315 in emergency situations. This means 5 steam engines are available today. Commissioner Graybill mentioned the great job getting the locomotives ready for the season. He also added that 23 cars were painted as well. (Ed. They look great!) 489, they are finishing the machining of the new bronze bushings for the side rods and main rods. 489 is expected to be ready in July. Scott thanked both Chama & Antonito shops for their hard work to get the small engines done. 168 had so many problems to resolve. It was asked about snow removal, Scott answered the RR is fully open. He mentioned Marvin Casias spent a lot of time on a snow blower. Trains should be running Memorial day weekend. There will be plenty of snow to be seen.

John Bush asked about the food at Osier when the full season gets underway (June). Will the kitchen be open, or a food truck be the meal source. Scott replied that an employee special will be run June 1. All of the employees will ride the train out of Antonito. Many employees have never ridden the train, this trip will fix that. The employees will be the first to be fed by the kitchen at Osier. June 3 will see the general public being provided lunch by the kitchen. John then thanked the commission for the work done in Chama. John then asked about the ridership report, as compared to 2019, if that was based on comparable days, or overall. The numbers were based on May 18 numbers for both years. John mentioned that 2019 the train ran 7 days a week, versus 2023, 6 days a week. Scott replied that there are now more riders booked for the 6 day season versus the 2019 7 day season. So, lower costs, more riders, should translate into more revenue per person per train. Commission Graybill mentioned concerns about the current economy. The longer things go without a panic, the more people want to firm up their vacation plans. Scott mentioned there are several fall trains nearly sold out already. Tom Stewart asked if the trains are nearly sold now, what will that do to future bookings. Scott replied that due to the number of available locomotives available, and the 6 day week, there is flexibility in the hours the employees can work, under the hours of service laws. Double headers can be run out of Chama. Last year, they ran double buses out of Chama in the morning to head over to the Antonito side to ride. That increased capacity out of Antonito last year. Additional cars can be added as needed. A new parlor car will be added to the fleet this year. That means one train will have two parlor cars. That would require double heading out of Chama. Capacity will be increased as needed. John asked if the fall season will be 6 or 7 day. Scott replied that it is planned to be 6, subject to change if sales are incredible. Hours of service will have to be managed. Hours of service are the concern.

8. Superintendent's Report-Marvin Casias

At Osier station, the plumbing needs to be completed. That should get the kitchen ready to go. The electrician reports their work is about 90% done. He needs to make one final trip up to Osier to be sure all is OK. The forest road to Osier was opened last Friday (5/12). The road is closed to public use by the forest service. This is to minimize road damage as it is still wet. Contractors are sent in on dry days. The Osier station should be ready for opening day. There are a few small projects to be completed. They should be done by 6/3. The entire line is open. The line is blocked right now by the diesel locomotive at MP 309. That should be hauled off the mainline by Monday afternoon. Tuesday, an engine will be moved from Antonito to Chama. Wednesday, more equipment (passenger cars, etc.) will be moved to Chama. This will provide a test for the track bed. Much of it is still very wet. The work performed by the shop guys on both sides was unbelievable. The cleaning crew has really been at preparing the cars. That work was done by just two people. It should be quite an opening day show next Saturday. They are working on their paint booth addition to the Antonito shop. The historical shed is on hold. Once the shed is built, they will be able to clean up the yard in Antonito. Right now, there just isn't a place to put stuff. Zell continues his work on Pay car F. Windows are going up. The car is starting to look good. This is more fine work by just a few people. The new parlor car is pretty much done. The lamps are yet to be installed. They should arrive this week. The lamps will finish the car. Marvin invited the attendees to have a look at the car. (Ed. I did, it is beautiful. Different seat types than the other two). This car is the first to try out steel siding. That may be the future for the other cars. Commissioner Graybill asked Marvin to pass on the great appreciation by the commission for the fine work done by the shops on both sides. Marvin then mentioned that the employees will have a safety training class on Monday.

9. Financial Report-Alysia Martinez

Alysia mentioned the annual audit will be presented in item 14 below. As winter operations end, operations (train) will begin. That will be reflected on the financials. Winter has been busy. Alysia reported two new hires. One being a new accounts payable clerk. The second is a project manager organizer. This new person will handle all of the capital billing to both states. The financial team got together to deal with the budget. The audit has been finalized and submitted to CO. It was also approved by NM. Preparation for the next FY audit is in progress. That work must be submitted by November 1. The payroll service provider transition has been pretty smooth. HPA activity has been pretty quiet so far. Ticket revenue will trigger activity in HPA. Commission general support from CO for FY 23 should arrive soon. After July 1, CO can be invoiced for FY 24. Expences are pretty good for YTD totals. Capital is pretty busy. Expenditures for passenger car painting were a part. Pay car F, and locomotive rehab are included. Track crew is back on the job. So a lot of activity on capital expenditures. CTO, at the end of April see operating expenditures. So far, April is under budget. Last year saw higher expenditures due to the Osier fire. Ticket revenue will pick up when the trains operate. Utility costs have gone up since last year. Commissioner Graybill thanked Alysia. He knows she has been short staffed. John Bush asked, on the appropriations, is there still a tail, on how many years when that money is spent. Scott replied Yes. Almost come with a three year window. The RR is back into the three year budget cycle with CO.

10. Marketing Report-Abigail Martinez (Abi)

Abi was not present at this meeting.

11. Local Affairs Report

Commissioner Smith-Casford performed the presentation. Now a commissioner, her duties have changed a great deal. Scott, Abi and Kim got together with the Chama businesses that were open. Scott and Abi will see the businesses that have just reopened soon, as well as with the Anotonito businesses. A couple of the RV parks are sold out for the summer due to family reunions, weddings. It is hoped that Chama will get its water situation fixed soon. (Ed. The heavy run off this spring is overwhelming the water system). Commissioner Graybill pointed out how the hotels and restaurants are dealing with the water issue very well. Nothing like the problems of last year. Chama can accommodate the tourists. Commissioner Gibbs mentioned that for the opening weekend, with short trains running to Cumbres and back, their departure is after lunch, so the restaurants can gain those customers. The trains should be back before dinner. This gives the eating venues a chance to kick off the season well. Last year, the early trains were 25% small kids. That was great exposure, for future traffic. Commissioner Elbrock mentioned that he skipped item 10, since Abi was not present. He asked commissioner Graybill if he had anything to add. Mark mentioned that it was apparent that marketing has been very successful, seeing reservations up as much as they are. Starting advertising a month earlier looks to have paid off. Once someone books a trip, they will be very likely to show up. He is pleased with Abi's efforts in marketing.

12. Capital Projects Report

Commissioner Gibbs began with a quick summary. He mentioned things that are targeted with the NM ARPA money. Not all of the $3 million will be spent this year. About half will be spent. The track effort has been divided into two parts. Track upgrades, then track maintenance. In working on becoming self sufficient, the ongoing maintenance costs need to be dealt with. So, a little over $500,000 is allocated to track upgrades from ARPA. The current ballast tamper is getting tired. ARPA funds will be used to rebuild it this fall. When the small engines are used out of Antonito, they have stopped at a water car at Lava tank. It is desired to get the wooden tank at Lava to hold water, so filling a tender takes 3 minutes versus 15 from the water car. The RR is looking into getting a contract for getting the tank work going this summer. The Osier water system fell under a new set of regulations. Influence of surface water. A water treatment plant has been built in an all steel building. It will satisfy the new rules. Locomotive 492 will also use ARPA money along with matching private donations. About $600,000 each from both parties. NM appropriated about $125,000 to repair the structural failures in the old round house, the historical two stall round house. Some engineering work needs to be done before the actual work. One assumption in the old days of design is that heat within the building would melt the snow off the roof. Not true today. John Bush asked about the pavilion on Cumbres Pass, and its future. (Ed. The roof was overwhelmed by snow this winter). Scott replied that he and Ed snowshoed in to the structure. The snowbanks are holding up the roof. There was no desire go go under the roof. The extent of the damage is unknown. The posts on both sides have fractured. The roof has shifted about 10 feet to the west. It is sitting on a snowbank, that is melting fast. All of the walls have failed. The kitchen section has survived. Once access can be gained (after the snow leaves), a plan on repair can be made. The original plan for the building provided 100 pounds per square foot for snow loading was provided. CO, for that location requires 232 pounds per square foot. At one point this winter, the pavilion could not be seen, there was just a bump in the snow. John Bush asked if the small building holding the generator survived. Scott answered that it was fine. Mentioned, that perhaps a steeper roof for the pavilion might be a solution. Scott said that perhaps the building should be steel, rather than wood. Tom Stewart asked about the storage tracks in Chama and Antonito. Scott replied that with the purchase of Sandra Grey's old property in Antonito opens up possibilities of what can be done with that property. As far as Chama, Scott is getting new quotes on storage structures. They have more than doubled in price since the original proposal. Each building now exceeds $500,000. Track materials are on hand. Next is to figure how to squeeze it into the HPA budget.

13. Friends of the C&TSRR Report-Tim Tenant

Tim stated, as the train season kicks off, the Friends work sessions begin next Monday with session A. Session B follows the next week. They will be in Antonito. About 25 people will be working. The friends are trying to find more work session volunteers. More have been found for session C & D in Chama. With the friends demographics, it is getting harder to get help. Back when Tim started, he reported that they almost had too many people. Friday, June 23 will host a member train ride and dinner. It was originally planed for a Cumbres dinner. With the pavilion damage, a new plan needs to be made. The friends have a new educational committee. 5,000 booklets have been produced, as well as junior fireman engineer patches. Pencils will be given out to kids. The commissioners handout showed pictures of the express bag car being worked on in CS. July 29, the moonlite wine train runs. August 28 & 29 the pre National Narrow Gauge Train convention (in Denver) will run on the RR. They are full. Tim said he was slightly over booking the trains. Not for a lack of seats, rather the time to unload & reload riders for each photo stop. There are plenty of trip maps printed up for the docents. Commissioner Graybill expressed his thanks to the friends for their valuable work. Tim mentioned, that during the summer the friends feel like a small construction company. He sees checks of $10,000 going out for more lumber. Tom Stewart mentioned that the work over the winter comes to about 4 full time employees. Quite a cost savings to the RR. Commissioner Smith-Casford asked Tim how the educational materials would be disseminated. Will they go out to schools? Tim replied that they want to hit kids on the train. The educational committee want to approach Chama, and the San Luis valley area school districts. Kim mentioned that the school boards will need to be approached to gain access to the schools. Commissioner Elbrock asked about the total number of volunteer hours are provided. Tim said, about 25,000 man hours. He will provide up to date figures soon. The dollar value of the work can be calculated from there ($20-$25 per hour). So roughly $500,000 per year of labor the friends provide, plus the materials. Tim also reminded Scott that the $100,000 donation for the 492 is ready, just needs to be asked for. Other value the friends donate are project managers, the docents. Scott mentioned, last year, with the Chama water situation, work on the sand house was impacted significantly. Work should resume this year.

14. New Business

14a. Presentation of FY22 Audit: Joshua Trujillo, CPA, SJT Group, LLC

This presentaion was a slide show with vocal description. A written report would not be complete. A YouTube video of the presentation is available at: YouTube video of the Audit Presentation

14b. Approve/Disapprove resolution 2023-005: A resolution to accept the audit report for the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad financial records for fiscal Year 2021-2022

Commissioner Graybill said that Alysia is making the necessary changes due to findings in the audit. Scott mentioned the bus contract had some issues. The new bus contract has been corrected. Mark mentioned that the finance side of things is very complex. There are multiple streams of revenue. There are the two states and their rules. There are grants.

14c. Approve/Disapprove resolution 2023-006: A resolution to approve the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad commission policies and practices manual version 8.0

Commissioner Gibbs said that Manual version 7 was reviewed. There have been change to purchasing and procurement procedures. Kim, in her previous position of chief of staff updated the prior procedures to be current and cleared up the language and format.

14d. Approve/Disapprove resolution 2023-007: A resolution to adopt FY24 budgets

The budget has been simplified. There cost account managers for different parts of the budget. Expenditures can be tracked much more closely. This provides good building blocks for a true asset management program.
This is the budget handout provided by Scott

14e. Approve/Disapprove resolution 2023-008: A resolution to approve a contract with Burt & Company CPA's LLC for bookkeeping services

This contract is to ensure the RR spends the ARPA money according to the rules. The RR needs to meet federal cost accounting standards, as well as the two states. There is bunch of overhead to track it.

14f. Approve/Disapprove lease agreement for electric vehicle charging station by an between Cardova Contracting & Development, LLC, and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad commission

Requests for funding from both states have been made to install electric car charging stations in Antonito & Chama. This resolution is for a lease agreement for the vendor providing the charging station in Chama. This would be for a two vehicle, level 3 charging station on commission property. The location is behind the old diap gas station (Ed. Don't know what is being mentioned). Between the bus parking and the depot. It is a bit challenging for the local electricity provider to come up with the power needed for a level 3 (rapid) charging station. The vendor and the power company will work out the problem. The commission is providing the charging space. The vendor will take care of maintenance. This resolution is for the installation. The cost to the user to charge their car will likely find it more expensive than a gasoline car. Recharge time is estimated to be 45 to 60 minutes. The Antonito charging stations will be level 2, which will take multiple hours to recharge. That might work well for CO users to enjoy a train ride.

14g. Approve/Disapprove Rotary Club of Chama Valley request to plant tree on Commission property

Alanya Alariana, Chama Rotary Club spoke. The Rotary is trying to grow the annual Christmas in the mountains event. The RR owns a property at the beginning of the historic district. The Rotary wants to grow the Chama Christmas tree on that property. Abi has joined the core meeting group. The group is going to grow the event each year. This provides a nice Christmas event in the mountains of NM. The Rotary will maintain the tree. There are plans for the Rotary to remove the tree, should it die. The tree would start off by being 15 to 20 feet. The area mentioned is Terrace Ave and W 7th Street. There is concern that as the tree grows, line of sight issues may develop. Perhaps the commission will determine best location for the tree. Power for lighting the Christmas tree can be done via generators. To keep it lit during the winter, alternate ideas are being researched. There is a nearby power pole.
Approved with contingents

15. Old Business

16. Executive Session**

17. Actions following Executive Session

Due to a situation presented by the NM governor, (due to some letters out of Chama) the following was learned:

Scott Gibbs announced he will be stepping down as President of the RR. Here is the document he provided to me

When I accepted the President’s positon for the C&TS RR in June of 2021, I stated to the Commissioners that I did not want to continue after I turned 70 in April of 2024. I had informed the other 3 Commissioners after the February 2023 Commission meeting that I planned to step down as the C&TS RR President in November of 2023. Stepping down at that time would have gotten us through the 2023 operating season, finished the FY2022-23 audit and allowed us to begin selling tickets for the 2024 season.

Recently, the NM Governor has stepped in and has given the Commission 90 days from this meeting for the Commission to select a new General Manager who is not also a Commissioner. I debated stepping down as one of the two Colorado Commissioners or stepping down as the President of the RR. I can have a much longer and greater influence on the direction of the RR by remaining as a Commissioner. I have enjoyed my tenure as the C&TS President. My greatest satisfaction has come from building the new management team, and seeing many of the managers grow as individuals and contribute to keeping this rolling museum a viable attraction and economic engine for the region.

The Commission will begin the search for a new General Manager immediately.

End of document

Commissioner Elbrock said he felt the commission thought Scott did an excellent job as President. He has a great relationship with the communities, employees and rail fans. Commissioner Graybill said this is a tough spot. He has enjoyed working with Scott over the years. The RR team learned of Scott's stepping down as President yesterday. The look on their faces told a lot. What Scott has built will last. Scott mentioned the challenges from C19, the Osier fire and personnel issues. They have been gotten through. Commissioner Smith-Casford wanted to thank Scott for being allowed to be his chief of staff. The symbiotic relationship between a President and its chief of staff is personal. Now she is a commissioner, she had to step down as chief of staff. Now she works with Scott on a commissioner level.

18. Adjournment

Next Meeting date: August 26, 2023, 9AM in Antonito, subject to change if required

** An Executive Session may be called at any time during the meeting, pursuant to Commission Policy and Practices Manual v7.0, adopted March 29, 2012, to dicuss limited personnel matters, Attorney-client privlilege pertaining to threatining or pending litigation in which the public is or may become a participant and dicussion of the purchase, acquisition or disposal of real property or water rights by the Commission. The Commission may revise the order of the agenda items considered at this Open Meeting.

Commission meetings are open to the public. If you are an individual with a disability who needs an auxiliary aid, service, or other accommodation to attend or participate in a hearing or meeting, please contact the Commission office at 575.219.3306 at least 3 days prior to the meeting so that accommodations can be made accordingly.