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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meeting Minutes

REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT
Hartford Connecticut
March 31, 2016

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman
Presiding...........................

At 7:04 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) and Kevin Mooney (2.00), Enfield;  Mark Lockwood (1.01), Granby; Frank Lord (2.79) and Jennifer Cassidy (2.79), Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61), Manchester; 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; Ricardo Quintero (1.30) and David Raney (1.30), Windsor.  District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director; DJ Gonzalez, Operations Administrator; Nhan Vo-Le, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Service; and Sandra Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration.  (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.) (**Ms. Oliver joined the Board of Directors 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 February 4, 2016 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero, and approved by a vote of 25.15 yea, 0.00 nay and 4.10 abstentions. (Mr. Lord and Ms. Oliver abstained.)

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

ADA PARATRANSIT
For the first seven months of fiscal year 2016, the ADA program incurred approximately $9.1 million in total expenses.  Of which, $8.7 million or 95.7% is funded by CTDOT and the remaining $400,000 or 4.3% 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 47% since October 2015.  On the expense side, total actual spending is 2% 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.   

GENERAL FUND
Through the end of January 2016, the General Fund has generated a total of approximately $82,000 in revenues, incurred nearly $14,000 in expenses, and yielded $68,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  Comparing the actual result to budgeted, the General Fund is favorable by $6,200 or 10%.

PARKING LOT
Spruce Street Parking Lot revenues and expenses through the end of January 2016 totaled approximately $232,000 and $64,000; respectively.  The parking lot yielded an excess of revenues over expenses of $168,000.   Also comparing actual to budgeted, the Parking Lot yields a favorable variance of nearly $30,000 or 21%.  This favorable variance was mainly due to lower professional services than was originally budgeted.

SPRUCE STREET PARKING LOT REVENUE ANALYSIS
For the first seven months of fiscal year 2016, the Parking Lot generated over $247,000 of revenues.  As compared to the first seven months of fiscal year 2015, revenues have declined by $18,000 or 7% primarily due to a decrease in daily revenues; partially offset by and 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 and the low price of fuel.

UNION STATION
Through the end of January 2016, Union Station revenues and expenses totaled approximately $852,000 and $672,000; respectively.  Union Station has yielded an excess of revenues over expenses of $180,000.  Comparing actual results to budgeted, Union Station has a favorable variance of $135,000, primarily due to a new lease and access agreement between the District and CTDOT for the Hartford Line Passenger Rail Service Improvements and lower capital improvements than expected. 

CASH FLOWS REPORT
Cash ending balance as of the end of February 2016 totaled approximately $3.1 million with cash inflows and outflows at an average of $3.0 million and $3.2 million per month; respectively.

CAFR AWARD & CERTIFICATE
In November 2015, the District submitted its fiscal year 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) to the Government Finance Officers Association for a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting and has recently received the Certificate.  This Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. 

Mr. Lockwood asked if passenger ridership was down due to limited train service by Amtrak. Ms. Shotland indicated that it was. Mr. Gardow asked how passenger fares are paid?  Ms. Vo-Le responded that fares are collected via cash or tickets. Mr. Gardow indicated that his daughter had asked if passengers paid for the service.  Mr. Gardow said he came down for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and was not able to park in the parking lot as it was full.  Mr. Lord asked if there was anything in the new legislation that will affect the District.  Ms. Shotland indicated that the FastAct is a long term bill providing strong funding for transportation initiatives over the next several years. 

Mr. Messenger motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Raney, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 29.25 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

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

ADA PARATRANSIT PROGRAM

  • Noted changes to one of the ADA performance reports.
  • Awaiting news on the District’s order for new ADA Paratransit buses.  
  • The new First Transit General Manager is doing a very well, and is incorporating new efficiencies into the operation and service.
  • Hired a replacement for one of our two ADA Paratransit Associates.
  • Driver recruitment is almost at 100%. 

Mr. Mitchell then asked Mr. Gonzalez to continue with his next report.  Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:  

INSURANCE CONSORTIUM

  • He still has two consortium members to visit; some visits were postponed due to scheduling conflicts with either the insurance representative or CTDOT.
  •  Still working on the Safety manual for members.
  • Continuing to seek safety trainings for the consortium.  

Mr. Mitchell then asked Ms. Vo-Le to update both the Drug & Alcohol and Statewide Insurance Consortium.  She discussed the following:

DRUG & ALCOHOL PROGRAM:
As requested by FTA on an annual basis, the 2015 drug and alcohol testing results for all consortium members has been submitted to the FTA.  A copy of the reports submitted to FTA has also been provided to the members for their drug and alcohol program files.  The Consortium will offer over the next several months various training sessions that will be conducted by ODT (3rd party administrator) and the Lexington Group (employee assistance program and substance abuse professional).  The March 2016 quarterly newsletter has been issued to the members and a copy has been placed in the Board folders.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Mr. Gonzalez to present his next report, and he noted the following:

FACILITY

  • Experienced a major power failure. In pin pointing the source we found that a main panel had a loose connection.  A building electrical panel was strategically shut down for the repairs.  However, the power failure caused a major lighting failure which included the newest lights under the bus canopy waiting area.  In the midst of replacing the entire bank of lights, and the expense is high.
  • Security cameras have been installed in the new transit center, and we will be seeking to replace some of the analog cameras with digital ones.
  • CTDOT is currently working under the I84 viaduct as they inspect and making repairs.

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

PARKING MANAGEMENT SERVICES
The District has awarded the contract for parking management services for the Spruce Street parking lot to Propark.  Two board members (Marilyn Pet and Bill Hall) participated in the selection process.  Propark’s proposal was superior both in terms of technical content and approach as well as cost.

RETAIL SPACE-GREAT HALL
We are working with Greg Wies and Gardner Architects as they prepare the construction documents needed to get the under stair spaces ready for the new tenant.  The wine and beer bar vendor will be responsible for the final fit-out of the spaces.  The glass storefront between the Great Hall and the Transportation Center will have to be modified for the new use.  Selection of a contractor to do the storefront work is under way now. 

SIGOURNEY STREET
Construction is expected to kick off during April.  For the duration of the construction, regular biweekly meetings will be held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, and the City. 

NEW BRITAIN
Monthly meetings are being held at the DOT to ensure that the design process is well coordinated with the DOT.  The improvements will be made on a City street which is located on a CTDOT bridge.  Preliminary design is expected to be complete within a month.

 

UNION STATION MASTER PLAN
A kick off meeting for the project was held on March 10th.  The Consultant started the first phase of the project which consists of site visits and data collection.

TRANSIT ENHANCEMENTS
The Town of Wethersfield has received information from the District as to their share of the costs of the installation of shelters in their community.  The District is waiting for confirmation of their 10% local share participation before formally contracting for this work.  The shelters in South Windsor have been installed and the issue regarding the plexiglass panels has been for the most part addressed.

ENFIELD
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 on 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. 

Mr. Lord mentioned the newspaper articles on the I-84 proposed plans.  He indicated that the plan includes the relocation of the railroad tracks, and that Union Station will not serve rail passengers in the future.  Ms. Shotland, indicated that the Master Plan is looking at options for reuse of the station if the rail viaduct is relocated.  Mr. Lockwood stated that he would like to see the District as the cornerstone of transportation network in the region, a station that attracts people to use it.  He indicated that the Master Plan should address this.  Mr. Lockwood does not want to give up so quickly.  Ms. Shotland did note various reasons as to why the rail’s relocation would have positive effects on the region vs. its continued existence at Union Station.   Mr. Lord asked if the District should lay the groundwork to position itself to become the operator of the relocated train station.  Ms. Shotland indicated that this suggestion is certainly one to pursue.  Ms. Sheehan continued with her presentation.

TIGER
Transit Center project has been closed out.  Union Place construction is complete.  Books have been completed and reviewed.  Bushnell Park North is 58% complete.  Existing sidewalk has been removed at the intersection of Ford and Pearl Street and along Wells Street.  Contractor is trenching and installing conduit.  Meetings have been held with DOT and CTTransit regarding the location of the bus stop along the section of Jewell Street.  This location requires running cables for power and data to the ticket vending machine and the ticket validating machine.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 90% complete.  During February and March mast arm foundations were assembled and installed.  Cable was pulled and signals were installed.  The mast arm at Market and Kingsley has not being installed as there was a problem.  A replacement will be shipped in April.  The contract extension request forwarded to Office of the Secretary has been verbally approved. 

 

148 ROBERTS STREET
Banton Construction Company continues construction activities at the site, all 178 piles have been driven, excavation continues for pile caps as well as forming and pouring of pile caps.  The installation of the drainage system continues.  Banton is currently working on finding a replacement subcontractor for steel work.  Construction meetings are held biweekly as well as conference calls.  Terracon continues to provide rebar inspections and concrete testing via daily observations.  VHB has a resident engineer and a construction inspector overseeing the construction of the building on behalf of the District.

Ms. Pet asked if any monies were lost due to the filing of Chapter 11 by the structural subcontractor to Banton.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that no money had being paid as the steel had not been delivered. Mr. Pitcock asked who owns the property behind 148 Roberts Street.  Ms. Sheehan explained that the communication towers is behind the property and behind that is the Hockanum River. 

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

WINDSOR TRAIN STATION
A conference call is scheduled to discuss the agreement and lease dated April 1986, between Amtrak, the District and the Town of Windsor in regard to the Windsor Train Station bathrooms.  Amtrak leases the station property to the Town until May 30, 2026.  Amtrak is planning to complete improvements in connection with compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The improvements, worth approximately $2,200,000, are currently scheduled to be completed in Amtrak’s fiscal year 2017 and include work to the restroom.  The funds to complete the Improvements are for the benefit of Amtrak’s passengers.  It is necessary for Amtrak to ensure that passengers will continue to have access to the restroom throughout the term of the lease, and that the restrooms be kept open during the hour before and the hour after all Amtrak train arrivals & departures at the Station. 

LEASEHOLD
Anticipating the loss of one of Union Stations tenants before the end of the year.  However, once formal notice is received by the District the tenant may wish to leave the premises earlier if a new tenant is found to occupy the space.    

GRANTS
Awaiting final approval from CTDOT (finance department) for the capital projects that they will fund for this upcoming fiscal year.

FOIC
The complainant was a “no show” at the March 15, 2016 hearing.  The initial complaint was denied by the Commission in October 2015, but the complainant appealed that decision.  The complaint was in regard to the June 2015 Minutes not being posted on the District’s website.  The Commission responded in their October 2015 decision that “there is no requirement for municipal entities to post minutes on websites.”  It appears that the District will receive another favorable decision shortly.

Mr. Mitchell next called on Ms. Shotland to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee meeting report.  The summary of the committee meeting is as follows:

CRCOG TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE - Meeting(s) held on: 2/22/16 & 3/21/16

Comprehensive transit Study:  Staff gave an update on the transit study which is currently underway.  The first round of public outreach has been completed and a draft plan, with a menu of options, will be drafted.  The plan is expected to include a discussion of how local government can be supportive of transit (from pedestrian amenities to traffic signal prioritization.) The draft options can be found here:  http://hartfordtransitstudy.com/ 

State Bike/Pedestrian Plan update:  DOT staff gave an update on the ongoing process to update the state’s bicycle and pedestrian plan.  The plan is to be completed in Spring 2017.  CRCOG asked that this plan address bike share in the state.

Hartford Line Updates:  Staff from CTDOT and the consulting firm PB gave a several part update on the status of the Hartford Line improvements:

  • Improved service is expected to begin in early 2018 with double tracking completed south of Hartford. 
  • Design for new stations, including those in Newington, West Hartford, Windsor Locks, and Enfield, is underway.  The station project will complete final design for each of the new stations and all required environmental work.  The projects will be “shovel ready” but DOT indicated it will not make sense to go ahead with constructing the stations north of Hartford unless there is funding to double track the line north of Hartford.
  • Rail relocation, while relocation of the rail line in Hartford has been discussed as part of the I84 viaduct project, CTDOT also has an alternatives analysis underway to help guide decision making with respect to what to do about the deteriorated Hartford rail viaduct.  They are examining 3 alternatives – maintain the existing structure, replace the existing structure, and relocate the line.  They have concluded that only the relocation options have higher benefits than costs.

I 91/I 84 Interchange Capacity Study:  CTDOT has a new study underway looking at I84 east of where the viaduct study ends.  This study will take about 12 to 16 months to complete and is examining alternatives that can resolve congestion at the 84-91 interchange.  The options include building a new bridge for I84, north of the Bulkeley Bridge and converting the Bulkeley back into a surface street crossing.

Mr. Mitchell next asked if there was any new business to be brought before the Board.  He stated for the record that we have had two resignations from the board, Meg Casasanta (Granby) and Mark Etre (Vernon).  Mr. Mitchell also noted that the Annual Board meeting will be held on May 26, 2016.  There being no further business to discuss, Ms. Oliver motioned that the meeting be adjourned, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 29.25 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m. 

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,


JAMES R. McCAVANAGH
Secretary

adopted Posted: 05.26.16