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Meeting Minutes

Hartford Connecticut
June 25, 2015

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

At 7:02 p.m., a quorum determined to be present; Mr. Lord 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: Peter J. Bonzani and Marilyn Pet (arrived 7:04pm), East Hartford; Kevin Mooney, Enfield; Frank Lord, Hartford; James McCavanagh and Paul McNamara (arrived at 7:23pm), Manchester; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr., Simsbury; Richard F. Messenger, West Hartford; Brendan T. Flynn, Wethersfield; Ricardo Quintero and David Raney, Windsor, Mary A. Oliver (arrived at 7:35pm), Vernon. District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director; DJ Gonzalez, Operations Administrator; Nhan Vo-Le, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services; and Sandra Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration.

The Vice Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.  Mr. Lord than asked for a motion to be made regarding acceptance of the May 21, 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes.  Mr. Raney expressed that there was an error in the spelling of his name in the 2nd paragraph of the Minutes. Mr. Lord than asked for a motion of the Minutes as amended. Mr. Raney moved adoption of those Minutes as amended.  Upon seconding by Mr. Flynn, the motion passed by a vote of 18.43 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

The Vice Chairman then introduced Resolution number GHTD-16-BOD-1. He noted that this Resolution praises and honors Russell St. John for his twenty-three years of exemplary service on the Board.  Mr. Lord stated that the Resolution will be read to Mr. St. John who resigned his position in May.  Ms. Shotland noted that a plaque will also be given to Mr. St. John at the September 10th board meeting to honor his service.   Upon motion duly made and seconded, this Resolution was adopted and awarded by acclamation at the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors held on June 25, 2015.

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

Through the end of April 2015, the Paratransit Program has yielded a favorable variance of $68,000 as compared budget to actual.  The net favorable variance is primarily due to lower fuel and ADA service; partially offset by a combination of higher revenues for passenger fares and performance standard less lower ADA program revenue.   

The General Fund has generated approximately $47,000 in excess of revenues over expenses for the ten months ending April 2015.  The major revenue for the General Fund is the member town contributions.  For fiscal year 2015, the member town contributions totaled $77,329.  Of which, ninety eight percent of the contributions has been received. 

The Spruce Street Parking Lot continues to perform strongly.  Through the end of April 2015, the Parking Lot total revenues and expenses are approximately $377,000 and $106,000; respectively, yielding $271,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.   As compared budget to actual, the Parking Lot yields a favorable variance of approximately $47,000.  This occurred mainly due to lower professional services than expected. 

The Parking Lot’s total revenues for the periods ending April 2014 and 2015 are approximately $349,000 and $379,000; respectively, an increase of $30,000 or 8.7% over the first ten months of fiscal year 2014.

Through the end of April 2015, Union Station has generated $1.2 million and $1.247 million for revenues and expenses; respectively.  As compared budget to actual, Union Station has yielded a favorable of $52,000 through the first ten months of fiscal year 2015.  This occurred mainly due to lower construction costs; partially offset by a combination of lower federal and state grants and higher administrative costs and professional services as compared to budget.  

This report provides a summary of cash activities from July 2014 through April 2015.  As of the end of April 2015, cash ending balance including checking, savings, and money market totaled approximately $3.8 million with cash inflows and outflows at an average of $2.1 million per month.

Mr. Lord asked for comment or questions regarding the financial report.  Mr. Mooney questioned the loss of $47,000 on page 5.  Ms. Vo-Le responded that this figure had to do with the billing of the real estate taxes by the City of Hartford.  She noted that the taxes are billed twice a year.  Mr. Mooney wanted to know if it was amortized.  Ms. Vo-Le stated that it is not, and it is recorded once it is paid by the District.  Mr. Mooney then asked about the parking fees collected on page 5.  Ms. Vo-Le stated that this is a fee collected from one of our tenants, but it is collected separately and shows as a separate line item.  Mr. Raney wanted an explanation of performance standard penalties.  Ms. Shotland explained that these were penalties charged to First Transit for not meeting specific service requirements while providing the ADA Paratransit service to our passengers. Mr. Messenger inquired about the expense line item on page 5 in regard to construction costs, and was that for the new transit center and the GHTD Administrative Office space.  The response was affirmative to his question.  Mr. Lord noted that these expenses are probably not capitalized until the fiscal year’s end.

There being no further discussion, Mr. Flynn motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 20.73 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then asked for the ADA Paratransit Program presentation. Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:

New Vehicle Update
The chassis were ordered at the end of May.  The District’s (35) gas fueled vehicles should be delivered to the factory in approximately (10) days.

Integration of ADA Paratransit Service 
The Greater Hartford and Greater New Britain services are being integrated for the final consolidation which will become effective July 1, 2015.

Fleet Maintenance Work
First Transit will take on additional fleet maintenance work in-house unless it is a major repair which needs to be sent out.

Fleet Vehicle Agreement
The District reached a lease agreement with First Transit to lease the some older vehicles for the New Britain ADA service until the District’s new replacement buses arrive.   

Propane Vehicles
Investigating propane powered vehicles as an alternative to incorporate into the current fleet. 

Disposed Vehicles
The District is hoping to send additional out-of-service vehicles (ones that have met their useful) to auction before the end of the fiscal year.  Funds received will go into the “restricted fund.” 

New Service Vehicles Procured for the ADA Paratransit Service

  • dump truck with a large plow and sander
  • bobcat with a sweeper to keep the property clean
  • supervisory vehicle to cover the new service area

There being no additional questions, Mr. Lord then called on Mr. Gonzalez to present his operations report.  

Insurance Consortium
Mr. Gonzalez is putting together a round table discussion made up of transit agencies and Districts for input into a comprehensive safety manual for consortium members.    

Union Station
Several small projects are being completed for Union Station’s upkeep and Mr. Gonzalez is coordinating those efforts with staff and vendors.

Currently working on three major venues for the Great Hall; one is a high-end sneaker convention to take place this month, a second is for a fashion weekend made up of locals who have created clothing lines, and a third is for a large party in October for a charity benefit.

There being no questions, Mr. Lord then called on Ms. Vo-Le to present her administrative report.   She stated the following:

Statewide Insurance Consortium
The on-going site visits have been resumed with the consortium members.  The purpose of the meetings is to address concerns that the member agencies may have in regard to claim status, risk management and best practices.

Statewide Drug & Alcohol Testing Program (Consortium)
FTA Audit:  Preparation for the upcoming FTA audit is going well.  The eight consortium members who have been selected for this audit are:  CT Transit - New Haven Division, Eastern CT Transportation Consortium, First Transit, Greater Bridgeport Authority, Nason Partners, Northwestern CT Transit District, Southeast Area Transit District, and Transdev.  Notification letters have been sent to those eight members.  CTDOT liaison – Michael Guerrera - and Ms. Vo-Le have visited and provided technical assistance to some of the eight consortium members.  In addition, Occupational Drug Testing Company has been a great help in providing the audit required information related to drug and alcohol testings.

She also noted that the following training sessions will be offered to all consortium members and have been scheduled as follows:  Designated Employer Representative Reasonable Suspicion, Sexual Harassment Awareness, and Conflict Resolution Strategy & Post-Accident.                                                                       

There being no additional questions, Mr. Lord then called on Ms. Sheehan to present her report.  She stated the following:

Passenger Information Display
The system is in place and has been working well.  The expansion of our system to serve the commuter rail is not yet underway but all parties have agreed to the process.

Retail Space – Great Hall
The District will be issued a purchase order for rough in plumbing for the under stairs space in the Great Hall. 

Snow Removal Contract
A Request for Quotes for snow removal at Union Station and Spruce Street Parking Lot was issued and the pre-proposal conference was held last week.  Bids are due July 13th.

Vehicle Equipment
The Procurement Dept. has been working on processing the information received for the acquisition of on-board equipment needed for the operations of the system now that it is officially merged with New Britain/Bristol Area.

Sigourney Street
This project will go out to bid next week.  It does not include desired improvements at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Laurel Street as there is not sufficient funds in the budget.

New Britain
Design is progressing on this project.  The City is seeking additional funding to enable the project to be built in one phase, rather than 2.  There is no word from Conn DOT yet on additional funding.  The improvements will make the Main Street overpass of Route 72 more pedestrian and bike friendly and will also improve the view of New Britain for motorists on Route 72.

New Freedom Accessible Taxi
The taxis purchased for Ace taxi service will arrive next month.  The District continues to work with Executive Taxi as they set up their accessible program. 

Transit Enhancements
A purchase order would be issued to Misterscapes for the breakdown of the shelter materials stored at CT Transit.  Construction activity at Windsor Locks has started.  The Town Engineer is working closely with the contractor for the installation of concrete pads, sidewalks and sidewalk ramps.  South Windsor is scheduled for the end of July.

Union Station Master Plan
The District staff has a final draft of the solicitation documents for A&E firms to prepare a Master Plan for the station.  It is expected that a Request for Qualifications be released by the end of the month.  This plan will look at the short term and long term needs of the facility and its role as a transportation hub in the region.

The Town has submitted a Purchase and Sale Agreement to NU/Eversource for their review and comment.  An agreement is needed in order to provide access to the parcels to conduct a Phase II environmental assessment.  As of today, the Town has not received any comments from Eversource.  The Casket building rehabilitation continues by the Economic Development Corporation.  

Construction activities for the Transit Center are at 99% complete.  The glass portion of the canopy is expected to be replaced this week.  A clear glass was installed instead of the frosted glass specified.  Punch list items have been mostly addressed but the District is still looking at a leak that has appeared in the ceiling of the transit center.  Union Place construction is 79 % complete.  The Big Belly trash receptacles have been installed.  The City has approved the contractor to do the vault work as a time and materials and cost information for Lewis Street is being discussed.   Bushnell Park North is 27% complete.  Progress continues along Jewell Street on the park’s sidewalk and seating wall.    The gate at Asylum and Pearl Street is progressing.  It is the intent of the contractor to have the sidewalk along the park completed before starting the reconstruction of Ford Street.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 65% complete.  Work along Main Street at State House Square and America Row is almost complete.  Bus stop concrete pads as well as pedestrian improvements continued to be worked on at various locations on Pearl and Asylum.  .   

148 Roberts Street
The District released an Invitation to Bids for construction of the operations and maintenance facility.  A pre-bid meeting was held this morning.  The schedule indicates ground breaking sometime this Fall.  As part of the construction activities, the District will be soliciting the services of an Owner’s Representative to serve as construction inspector to assist during the construction of the building. This solicitation is currently being developed and should be released shortly.  In addition, the District has started the process of relocating the electric utility at the site. 

Ms. Shotland was then asked to provide her administrative report for the Board.

Grant Activity
Ms. Shotland noted that the District will have an additional $20,350,000 in 5307 funding for the upcoming fiscal year.  $20ml will be for the new ADA paratransit facility in East Hartford.

Investment Opportunities
Ms. Shotland and Ms. Vo-Le met with the President of Government Banking for Citizens Bank and discussed possible new products that the District is eligible to invest in over the course of the upcoming year.

First Transit ADA Paratransit Operating Agreement
The final consolidated agreement for First Transit to operate the District’s ADA Paratransit service has been finalized.  The Agreement will commence on July 1, 2015 and will continue through June 30, 2018, with two consecutive (1) one-year renewal periods if so approved by the District. 

Access Agreement
We are in the final stage of the lease and access agreement with CTDOT for the lease of 2 rooms, access to our PIDS server and location of a ticket machine in the waiting room.  We expect the lease to be executed within the next month.

The District is currently waiting for execution by Amtrak of the mutually agreed upon lease amendment, following receipt of which we will apply to the Superior Court for disbursement of the entire $58,080 CTDOT easement condemnation award.

The insurer for the Hot Tomatos restaurant operator has submitted a subrogation claim for a small loss paid to its insured; the proof of loss claim provided by the insurer cites the damage as resulting from the construction activities along Union Place.  We believe this claim relates to the work performed on behalf of the City in connection with the Intermodal Triangle Project and we are looking into having the claim submitted under the City’s or contractor’s insurance coverage.

The 100 Year Anniversary and Transit Center event in the Great Hall was well-received and feedback was very positive from many attendees.

Mr. Lord asked if there were any questions regarding Ms. Shotland’s report.  Mr. Mooney inquired about a 90-day period for filing a lawsuit in regard to the Hot Tomatos issue.  She replied that at the present time it is not a lawsuit, but an insurance claim.

Mr. Lord then called on Ms. Shotland to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee meeting report. 

Grant Application
CRCOG, working jointly with the CTDOT, applied for TIGER grant funding to implement a complete streets project which will improve bicycle and pedestrian access to CTfastrak stations.  The USDOT will make a decision on funding in a couple of months.

LOTCIP Funding
A proposed project selection policy for LOTCIP funding was approved.  This is a pot of state funding that is managed by CRCOG.

TIP Amendments
TIP amendments related to GHTD efforts were approved:  funding for the construction of our new paratransit facility and for the development of a Union Station Master Plan

I84 Viaduct Project
The project team gave an overview of progress to date with the I84 viaduct project.  This elevated section of highway in downtown Hartford must be replaced.  The earliest the work will be completed is in the late 2020’s.  At this point, the lowered option looks the most favorable.  To learn more about the alternatives being considered, go to i84hartford.com and look at the meeting materials.

Mr. Lord then discussed that the next four agenda items are re-engagement items for contract extensions.  Upon motion by Mr. Flynn and seconded by Mr. Quintero, Mr. Lord asked if Mr. Flynn would like to discuss Blum Shapiros performance prior to a board vote.  Mr. Flynn praised the firm and their performance. He asked if Ms. Vo-Le would like to comment, and she mentioned that the new audit team was doing well.  Mr. Flynn mentioned that it is good practice to bring in new people to perform the audit process.  Mr. Flynn also mentioned that this was their last year of the contract, but Ms. Shotland was going to verify that. Mr. Lord called for a vote, and it was unanimous to re-engage the firm of Blum Shapiro as the District’s Auditor for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2016 by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Messenger next made motion to re-engage the firm of Day Pitney, LLP as the District’s Legal Counsel for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2016, which was seconded by Mr. Jansen.  Prior to the vote Mr. Lord asked Ms. Shotland for her opinion.  She highly recommended to the board that the firm be re-engaged based on their strengths in varying areas, but especially municipal and real estate law.  The Vice Chairman asked if this was also their last year.  Ms. Shotland stated that she believed that it was, but once again would verify that.  She also stated that Ms. Sheehan would start preparing RFPs for both audit and legal in or around January 2016.  She also stated that District staff will place Directors on the committees as has been done in the past.  Mr. Lord asked if the District can contract with more than on firm providing legal services if needed.  Ms. Shotland stated that you can if you don’t believe that you are being served well in a specific area by the contracted firm.  Ms. Oliver stated that subrogation should be done by our insurance company.  Ms. Shotland acknowledged that it is in most cases.  She stated that we needed Day Pitney to help us out with the current Hot Tomatos claim because she does not feel that it is the District’s responsibility, and that it should be submitted to the City of Hartford.  Mr. Lord then asked for a vote to re-engage the firm of Day Pitney, LLP, and the board approved 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mooney next made motion to re-engage the firm of Occupational Drug Testing as the District’s 3rd Party Administrator for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2016, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero and approved by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Quintero next made motion to re-engage the firm of The Lexington Group as the District’s Employee Assistance Program Service Provider for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2016, which was seconded by Mr. Mooney and approved by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

At this point in time the Vice Chairman moved that agenda item #12 be heard before agenda items #10 and #11.  This was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and approved by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.  There was no new business to be heard at this time.

At 8:05 p.m. the Vice Chairman invited a motion to continue in Executive Session to discuss the Performance Review and Compensation of the Executive Director. Mr. Flynn made motion, which was seconded by Mr. Bonzani and passed by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Jansen made motion to reconvene the Regular Meeting at 8:34 p.m. Upon seconded by Mr. Bonzani, the motion passed by a vote of 23.34 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Upon motion by Mr. Messenger and seconded by Mr. Quintero, the Board voted to adopt the matters discussed in Executive Session by a vote of 23.34 yea, 1.31 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord reminded the Directors that the next board meeting will be held on September 10, 2015.   

There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Flynn moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. McNamara, the motion passed by a vote of 24.65 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:36 p.m. 





Respectfully submitted,


Adopted: 9/10/15