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Meeting Minutes

Hartford Connecticut
February 4, 2016

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

At 7:06 p.m., a quorum determined to be present; Mr. Mitchell called the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Hartford Transit District (the "District") to order in the Conference Room of the District at One Union Place, Hartford, Connecticut.  The following Directors were present: Joan Gamble (1.84), Bloomfield; Marilyn Pet (2.30), East Hartford; Stephen F. Mitchell (2.00) Enfield;  Mark Lockwood (1.01), Granby; James McCavanagh (2.61) Manchester; William Hall (1.37), Newington; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr. (2.11), Simsbury; Gary Pitcock (1.15) South Windsor; *Mary A. Oliver (1.31), Vernon; Peter Gardow (1.19), Wethersfield; David Giordano (2.83) and Richard F. Messenger (2.83), West Hartford; David Raney (1.30), Windsor.  District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director; Nhan Vo-Le, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Service; Sandra Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration and, Sandy Fry Grant and Procurement Program Coordinator.  (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.) *Ms. Oliver joined the meeting by conference call.

The Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the board. There were none. Ms. Gamble then moved adoption of the December 17, 2015 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Raney, and approved by a vote of 23.85 yea, 0.00 nay and 2.32 abstentions (Ms. Oliver and Mr. Lockwood.)

Mr. Mitchell then asked for presentation of the monthly financial report.  Ms. Vo-Le presented the following:

For the first six months of fiscal year 2016, the ADA program incurred approximately $7.9 million in total expenses.  Of which, $7.5 million or 96% is funded by CTDOT and the remaining $352,000 or 4% is covered by revenues generated from passenger fares, performance standard penalties, and advertising revenue.  The pie charts on page four of the financial report shows the actual revenue and expense for each line item in percentages of total revenues or expenses.  As compared actual result to budgeted, each of the revenue line items is favorable.  For the line item “performance standard penalties,” the actual revenue is higher than expected during the first three months of this fiscal year.  Such penalties however, have significantly dropped to an average of 38% since October 2015.  On the expense side, total actual spending is 3% higher than budgeted primarily due to higher ADA service provided, administrative and indirect costs, and professional services; partially offset by lower fuel and diesel as a result of falling gas prices.   

For the first six months of fiscal year 2016, the General Fund has generated a total of approximately $81,000 in revenues, incurred nearly $9,000 in expenses, and yielded $72,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  Comparing the actual result to budgeted, the General Fund is favorable by almost $8,000 or 12% through December 31, 2015.

Spruce Street Parking Lot revenues and expenses through December 31, 2015 totaled approximately $220,000 and $56,000; respectively.  The parking lot yielded an excess of revenues over expenses of $164,000.   Also comparing actual to budgeted, the Parking Lot yields a favorable variance of $36,000 or 28%.  This favorable variance was mainly due to lower professional services than was originally budgeted.

For the first six months of fiscal year 2016, the Parking Lot generated over $217,000 of revenues.  As compared to the first six months of fiscal year 2015, revenues have declined by $17,000 or 7% primarily due to a decrease in daily revenues; partially offset by an increase in monthly revenues.  The decrease in the daily parking fees appear to be based on the impact of the on-going construction of the railroad tracks in Hartford for the CTRails project.  In addition, the low price of fuel has provided more people with the opportunity to travel in their own vehicles.  Ms. Oliver inquired about snow removal costs in the Spruce Street parking lot.  Ms. Shotland indicated that snow removal was bid out and performed by one contractor who plows the entire Union Station complex.

Through the end of December 2015, Union Station revenues and expenses totaled approximately $652,000 and $569,000; respectively.  Union Station has yielded an excess of revenues over expenses of $83,000.  Comparing actual results to budgeted, Union Station yields a favorable variance of $74,000, primarily due to a new lease and access agreement between the District and CTDOT for the Hartford Line Passenger Rail Service Improvements.  Mr. Gardow asked if there were any landscaped areas in the Union Station Complex.  Ms. Shotland reported that there is really no green area but the small one found by the Union Station wall (corner of Asylum and Spruce Streets), and a small area in the parking lot.  The areas are maintained by the custodial staff and Propark respectively. 


Cash ending balance as of the end of December 2015 totaled approximately $2.8 million with cash inflows and outflows at an average of $2.8 million and $3.1 million per month; respectively.

Mr. Mitchell asked for comment or questions regarding the financial report.  Mr. Raney asked if the Paratransit Program spreadsheet was 80% of the total costs.  Ms. Vo-le indicated that it was.  Mr. Lockwood inquired as to why on page three in the financial report was parking lot revenue not shown.  Ms. Shotland answered that this spreadsheet is specifically for the ADA Paratransit Service.  The parking Lot information is shown on another spreadsheet included in the packet.  There being no further discussion, Mr. Messenger motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Ms. Oliver, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 23.85 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then asked Ms. Shotland to report on the ADA Paratransit Program.  Mr. Shotland provided the following information:

The new General Manager is doing a very good job and addressing many important issues that were pending during the transition.  For example; he has been proactive in recruiting; filling open positions which were affecting specific aspects of the operation.   The contractor is currently updating Standard Operating Procedures in regard to customer service, accident and incident investigations, and other guidelines affecting the day-to-day ADA Paratransit operation and service.  Additionally, the Trapeze software will be upgraded from version 12 to version 15.  The timeline for deployment of the new software appears to be early April.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for Program Presentations.   He called on Ms. Vo-Le whereby she discussed the following:

Quarterly Program Review Meeting with CTDOT – the next quarterly meeting will take place early this month.  The objective of the quarterly review meeting is to discuss what we have achieved during the previous quarter, review the status of outstanding items and areas that require improvements.  She also addressed the 2015 MIS (Management Information System, that is, annual drug and alcohol testing) Reporting.  Federal regulations require recipients of FTA funds to file their 2015 MIS reports by March 15, 2016.   Those reports are in the process of being verified and will be submitted to FTA by GHTD on behalf of the consortium members on or before the due date.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Fry to present her report.  She spoke about the following:

The District has issued a Request for Proposals for parking management services for the Spruce Street parking lot.  A pre-proposal conference was held January 15th.  Proposals are due on February 5th.

Regular monthly meetings are being held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, and the City.  The contractor, Paramount Construction LLC was awarded the project in August but construction activities will commence this spring. 

A meeting was held to discuss the Transit Oriented Development funds available through OPM that would address the funding gap for the project. The project will be moving to full design and it is expected that construction bids will be out in early 2017. The proposed improvements will make the Main Street overpass of Route 72 more pedestrian and bike friendly.

After various negotiation meetings, a scope of work for this project was finalized, contracts completed and executed.  The kick off meeting for the project is scheduled to take place the first week in March. 

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Sheehan to present her report, and she noted the following:

The Town still has no access to the property even though Eversource has agreed to provide it.  A meeting was held between Town officials and DOT staff to review the DOT design plans for the Rail station.  Engineers are supposed to follow up to the Town’s request to coordinate funds and efforts to the parcel located on the east side of the tracks on what is Bigelow property. 

Construction activity at Windsor Locks includes completion of punch list items.  South Windsor work continues to progress due to the weather.  All their shelters will be solar powered.  The Town of Wethersfield has provided payment for the local share of the shelters.  Contractors are confirming their prices for the work that needs to be completed in Wethersfield.  Once a final price is obtained, the District will share that with the Town in order to receive confirmation of their 10% local share participation.  A meeting is expected to be scheduled with Bloomfield to discuss construction document preparation.  CRCOG is waiting for comments to the draft shelter program policy that has been presented to the DOT.

Transit Center, the project has been closed out.   Union Place construction is complete.  Books have been completed and the project is in the process of being closed out.  Bushnell Park North is 57.5% complete.  Mast Arm foundation was installed at the intersection of Ford and Pearl Street.  Contractor removed construction equipment from Jewell Street as part of winter shut down.  On Gold Street, curbing was installed, sub grade was formed and trap rock foundation was installed for the sidewalk.  The City is in the process of negotiating a contract extension for Station 20+ on.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 90% complete.  During January, mast arm foundations were drilled and poured and some mast arms were assembled.  Installation will take place as soon as material certifications have been accepted.  The signal locations include: Asylum Street, Central Row, American Row, State Street and Market Street.  The District requested a contract extension to FTA.  This request was forwarded to the Office of the Secretary.  Mr. Gardow asked Ms. Sheehan to elaborate a little more regarding the bus stop change.  She explained that the Gold Street bus stop will be removed from the plans and there will be a 160’ bus pad next to the east side of Bushnell Park.  The pad will replace parking spaces and planter guards will be removed.  Mr. Gardow also asked what would happen if FTA does not grant the extension to the contract.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that it is very unlikely for FTA to do so as they have been aware of the issues behind the delay via the Project Management Oversight Consultant assigned to the project by FTA and through the Monthly Reports sent to FTA.  Mr. Mitchell added that unless there is a gross negligence in administering the grant he is unaware of any that have been turned down for an extension.  Mr. Lockwood asked why the contractor is being provided with a deadline of November  1st versus October 1st or October 15th since the TIGER extension is November 1st.  He said that the chances of everything going according to plan is not likely based on experience.   Ms. Sheehan indicated that the contractor is aware of the grant deadline and the requirement is to have punch list items completed by that date.

Banton Construction Company continues construction activities which at this time include driving production piles, excavation for pile caps and installation of drainage system.  In addition, there are submittal approvals as well as responses to RFIs.  Banton has been working with Eversource and all cell tower utilities for the relocation of the transformer and to replace the electrical pole that are within the footprint of the new building.  Construction meetings are held biweekly as well as conference calls.  Terracon continues to provide special inspections and materials testing via daily observations.  VHB has a resident engineer and a construction inspector overseeing the construction of the building on behalf of the District.  Mr. Pitcock asked if there are any complaints from neighbors due to the pile driving.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that so far no complaints have been received.

Mr. Mitchell called on Ms. Shotland to provide her report to the Board.  She spoke about the following:

After due diligence and negotiations, the District and Bears Smokehouse came to a mutual agreement for a lease to operate a wine and beverage bar in the Great Hall.  The District selected the services of an A&E firm to prepare the construction documents needed to get this space ready for the new tenant.  It is expected that all modifications needed would be completed by the end of April as the new tenant would like to begin their start up by May 1, 2015.  Mr. Giordano asked when the space would be opened to the public.  Ms. Fry indicated that our intentions are to work collaboratively to have it open by May.

Met with CTDOT to discuss the District’s capital funding request for the upcoming fiscal year.  The request includes; administrative/capital, rolling stock, and Union Station.  The state should come back shortly regarding the actual amount that they will provide to us.

The $300,000 Federal Farm Credit Bank bond issued at 1.22 % with an expiration date was called early on 09/18/15, and the District was not properly notified.  The District is currently working with our SVP of Government Banking at Citizens to rectify the issue.  We will transfer a minimum of $300,000 into an MMA account on February 5, 2016.   This account is daily liquid which allows the District to add or remove funds on a daily basis.  There is no maturity date.  This account is housed in Government Banking just like the District’s other transactional depository accounts at Citizens Bank.  The funds in all of these depository accounts are fully collateralized to their full balance, above and beyond FDIC ceiling.   
Mr. Mitchell next called on Ms. Fry to provide the December CRCOG Transportation Committee meeting report. The summary of the committee meeting is as follows:

CRCOG TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE ( Meeting held on January 25, 2016)
LOTCIP Applications:  CRCOG received 34 applications for funding through the state LOTCIP program.  This is a relatively new funding source for municipalities and is designed to have less red tape than the STP Urban funds that CRCOG oversees.  The applications include new roadway construction, bike trails, sidewalks and pavement rehabilitation.  There is only sufficient funding for about 50% of the applications. 

TIP amendments:  The TIP amendments included approval of the expenditure of $12 million for the purchase of 12 all electric buses for Bridgeport and CT Transit Hartford Division.  These will be Proterra Fast Charge electric buses and the purchase will include fast chargers and depot chargers.  This will be the first implementation of all electric buses in Connecticut and the fast charge system will help overcome the range problem so often a problem with electric buses.

New CTDOT funding Program:  Patrick Zapatka of the CTDOT discussed DOT’s new Community connectivity program.  This program, part of the Let’s Go CT 30 year transportation plan, will provide funds for towns to improve bike and pedestrian safety.  In the first year of the program, the DOT is providing resources to conduct Road Safety Audits.  In subsequent years, funds will be made available for safety improvements.


Mr. Mitchell next asked if there was any new business to be brought before the Board.  Ms. Oliver asked how to proceed with a replacement for Mark Etre from Vernon as she was under the impression that he had sent his resignation to both the town and to the District.  Ms. Shotland indicated that she would write to the town to request a new appointment once his actual resignation is received.  Mr. Mitchell indicated that each town has its own process for appointing board members.  Ms. Gamble met with Mayor Bronin.  The Mayor indicated that he is interested in reactivating the Griffin Line proposal.  Ms. Gamble suggested that he contact the District to discuss.  On a separate note, Ms. Shotland asked Mr. Mitchell to consider appointing a Director to sit on the parking lot management services selection committee.  Mr. Mitchell also noted that the next board meeting will be held on March 31, 2016.  There being no further business to discuss, Ms. Oliver motioned that the meeting be adjourned, which was seconded by Ms. Gamble, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 23.85 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m. 



Respectfully submitted,


Adopted: 03/31/16