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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meeting Minutes

REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT
Hartford Connecticut
May 21, 2015

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

At 7:03 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, Bloomfield; Peter J. Bonzani and Marilyn Pet, East Hartford; Gilbert Hayes, East Windsor; Stephen F. Mitchell, Enfield; Frank Lord and Jennifer Cassidy, Hartford; James McCavanagh, Manchester; John Kelly (arrived at 7:21 pm), Newington; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr., Simsbury; Gary S. Pitcock, South Windsor; Richard F. Messenger, West Hartford; Peter Gardow, Wethersfield; Ricardo Quintero and David Raney, Windsor. 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 Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.  Mr. Randy then moved adoption of the March 12, 2015 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. McCavanagh, and approved by a vote of 25.67 yea, 0.00 nay and 1.84 abstentions.

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

ADA Paratransit Program
Through the end of March 2015, the Paratransit Program generates $47,000 of revenues over expenses and yields an unfavorable variance of $59,000 as compared budget to actual.  The unfavorable variance is primarily due to unfavorable ADA program revenue and administrative costs; partially offset by favorable fuel and ADA service. 

GENERAL FUND
The General Fund yields $54,000 in excess of revenues over expenses for the nine months ending March 31, 2015 due to receipts of member town contributions. 

 

Spruce Street Parking Lot
The Spruce Street Parking Lot continues to perform strongly.  Through the end of March 2015, the Parking Lot total revenue and expense is $339,000 and $112,000; respectively, producing $227,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.   As compared budget to actual, the Parking Lot yields a favorable variance of $26,000 mainly due to lower professional services than expected. 

Spruce Street Parking Lot Revenue Analysis
The Parking Lot’s total revenue for the periods ending March 31, 2014 and 2015 is $315,000 and $339,000; respectively, an increase of $24,000 or 7.6% over the first nine months of fiscal year 2014.

Union Station-Public and Private Operations
Total revenue of $1,115,000 and total expense of $1,139,000 yield an excess of expenses over revenues of $24,000 through the end of March 2015.  As compared budget to actual, the Union Station yields a favorable of $84,000 through the first nine months of fiscal year 2015 primarily resulting from the net impact of lower property acquisition, and federal and state grants; partially offset by higher administrative costs.

Cash Flows Report
This report provides a summary of cash activities from July 2014 through March 2015.  As of the end of March 31, 2015, cash ending balance including checking, savings, and money market totaled approximately $3.9 million with cash inflows and outflows at an average of $1.9 million.

There being no further discussion, Ms. Gamble motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 27.51 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

At 7:11 p.m., Mr. Mitchell called to order the Public Hearing regarding the Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget.  Ms. Vo-Le was called upon to present the budget.  She stated the following:

The Special Revenue Fund consists of various programs / projects:  operating, administrative programs, and capital projects.  The major source of revenue for this fund is governmental grants.  The major operating program is the ADA Paratransit Service which is budgeted at $16.6 million as total expenditures for fiscal year 2016.  Program Revenue of $16,077,000 is anticipated to be funded by CTDOT. 

Administrative programs include Dial-A-Ride, Drug and Alcohol Testing, Insurance Consortium, and the New Freedom Voucher program that are budgeted as follows: 

  • Dial-A-Ride (Municipal Grant Program):  Total Program $360,000 and Administration $14,000
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing:  Total Program $340,000 and Administration $149,000
  • Insurance Consortium: Total Program $4,335,000 and Administration $106,000
  • New Freedom Voucher: Total Program $43,500. 

The Special Revenue Fund shows a significant increase of $2.6 million or 19% in the ADA Paratransit Program.  This increase is a result of the new contract for the ADA Service for the Greater New Britain Area. 

Major Capital Projects consist of the following: 

  • $15.2 million for the construction of the new ADA Paratransit Operations Center
  • $3.2 million for the replacement of 40 diesel vehicles and five taxicabs 
  • Livability Projects totaled $3.7 million
  • $886,000 for various repairs and improvements to Union Station
  • $3.0 million for  the TIGER IV project that includes construction activities for the Transit Center and street improvements
  • $517,000 for the Enfield Intermodal Center
  • $260,000 for Installation of bus shelters in Bloomfield and Wethersfield. 

Total budgeted revenue for the Special Revenue Fund is $48,026,000 primarily funded by State and Federal grants, and local match.

The General Fund is the District’s primary operating fund.  Funding sources consist of member town contributions and interest income, which are unrestricted; and disposal of vehicle revenue, which is restricted revenue.  The total budgeted revenue and expenditures is $151,200 and $45,000; respectively, yielding an excess of revenues over expenditures of $106,200.

The Enterprise Fund includes the Spruce Street Parking Lot and the Union Station Operations.  Major funding sources consist of rental income, Federal and State Grants, and parking revenues.  The Enterprise Fund is budgeted with a net revenue of $253,000. 

Overall, total revenue and expenditure for the District is $50.6 million and $50.2 million; respectively, generating an excess of revenue over expenditure of $360,000.

Mr. Mitchell asked if there were any comments or questions from the public regarding the FY2016 Proposed Budget. 

Mr. Gardow asked if the organization should be trying to be revenue neutral when utilizing federal and state funds.  Ms. Shotland stated that federal and state program funding are very specific to projects with strict eligibility guidelines.   She said that funds outside of federal and state monies are critical to offset other operational costs.  Mr. Mitchell indicated that these funds will be needed during a possible downturn in the economy, and he noted that if you look at historical data related to the District there were relatively no discretionary funds available when needed.  Mr. Gadrow thanked Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Shotland for the explanation.

Mr. Jansen inquired if it is possible to have a monthly year-over-year comparison of actuals on the financial report that is presented at the board meetings.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated that she can provide that information.

At 7:30 p.m., Mr. Mitchell closed the Public Hearing and reconvened the Annual Meeting.  Ms. Gamble moved acceptance of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero.  Mr. Mitchell asked for any further discussion; hearing none he asked for a vote on the motion.  The FY ’16 budget was approved unanimously by a vote of 28.88 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell next asked for consideration of Resolution No GHTD-16-FTA-1 Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of Federal Grants.  Mr. Kelly moved acceptance of the motion which was then seconded by Mr. Quintero.  Mr. Mitchell asked for any further discussion on the motion; whereby Mr. Lord inquired if there were any changes to the resolution from the previous year.  Ms. Shotland stated that the only modification was the date and number of the resolution.  Mr. Mitchell then asked for a vote on the motion which passed unanimously 28.88 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell next asked for consideration of Resolution GHTD-16-STATE-1 Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of State Grants. Mr. Messenger moved acceptance of the motion which was then seconded by Mr. Kelly.   Mr. Mitchell asked for any further discussion on the motion; whereby Mr. Lord inquired if there were any changes to the resolution from the previous year.  Ms. Shotland once again responded that the only modification was the date and number of the resolution.  Mr. Mitchell then called for a vote on the motion which passed unanimously 28.88 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for a report from the Audit Committee. Ms. Shotland stated the committee met with Reed Risteen on May 18th where he provided an overview of the audit process for the fiscal year 2015 including objective of the audit, responsibilities, audit scope and materiality, audit approach, engagement timing and team, fraud risk assessment, as well as current and future accounting standards.   Blum Shapiro will audit the financial statements of the District, and prepare both of the State and Federal Single Audit Reports. The interim and final audit will be commenced the week of June 1st and August 17th; respectively.  A review of several GASB Statements was noted; however, none were determined to have a significant impact on the District.

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

148 Roberts Street
Working with First Transit to finalize equipment needs in the new facility.

Bus Fire
Another vehicle caught on fire, possibly due to the same issue that occurred approximately four (4) years ago. First Transit investigation is ongoing to determine cause of the fire.  Next step will be to work with the insurance company to see what compensation is due.

New Bus Order
The new buses are scheduled to go into production in June with a tentative delivery in September.

First Transit Contract Renewal
District staff is finalizing negotiation with First Transit on the ADA operations contract.

New Britain Service
Working on the integration plan to consolidate the two ADA Paratransit services.

Fuel Reimbursement
Still collecting an average of $3K a month in fuel reimbursement from Shell.

Telephone System
Looking into replacing the current phone lines with fiber optics at the Wawarme location.  If we determine that this is the best solution for resolving current telephone issues it is anticipated that there will be a $200 a month savings.

New Britain Vehicle Housing
Comparing costs of leasing space in the New Britain area for the New Britain service vs. housing them locally is being evaluated. DOT has indicated that they would not pay for leases at two separate locations.

Mr. Quintero inquired as to the level of security of the site the District is looking at in New Britain.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that currently it is not a secured site but, if the location were to be used by the District, it would be fenced in.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for a presentation of the operations and administrative reports.  Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:

Facility Report:

  • Carpeting in the transportation center entrance vestibule has been replaced due to wear and tear.  
  • ADA accessible door openers are being installed in the new transit area.
  • Quotes will be needed to do repairs on the stones on the “welcome wall” on Spruce Street.
  • Still pursuing upgrades to the District’s telephone system.
  • Insurance Consortium site visits are continuing at member sites throughout the state.
  • Coordinating activities with CTDOTs subcontractors regarding the work for CTRails. (i.e. platform, stairwell, etc…)
  • Exterior benches in front of the new Transit Center have been installed. 

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

Statewide Insurance Consortium
The upcoming Large Loss Claims Review is scheduled next month.  During this meeting, the Consortium Insurance Representative will discuss status of existing claims.

Statewide Drug & Alcohol Testing Program (Consortium)
The Consortium has recently received notification from FTA Auditors regarding the drug and alcohol audit that will take place the week of July 6th.  We have scheduled to meet with CTDOT liaison to discuss the audit requirements and coordination with members who have been selected for the audit.

Mr. Messenger asked if consortium members are notified in advance of the audit.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated that members were notified well in advance of the audit.   

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

Sigourney Street
Final design has been completed and bid documents are almost ready for bidding.  We are awaiting feedback from the CTDOT regarding possible additional funding which will allow inclusion of desired improvements at the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Laurel Street before going to bid. 

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.  A meeting was held at the CTDOT to discuss possible sources of funding that can supplement the Federal Transit Administration Bus Livability funding that the District is overseeing.  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
A purchase order was issued to Ride-Away Inc. on May 15th for 5 wheelchair accessible vehicles.  These taxis will go into service for Ace Taxi Service.

Transit Enhancements
A purchase order has been issued to Misterscapes for the installation of shelters at Windsor Locks.  The DOT permit units had comments to the construction documents submitted for Windsor Locks.  Revisions to the plans are required as well as easements with some property owners.  Once revised plans and easements are finalized, the DOT will issue the encroachment permit for those shelters are to be installed along a state highway.  A PO was issued to Misterscapes for the work needed for the South Windsor shelters.  The town of Bloomfield is currently working on securing the services of an on-call A&E firm to prepare the drawings needed.  Wethersfield is expected to forward construction drawings soon. The shelters were delivered in bulk crates and it has become apparent that sorting the various components of the shelters ordered for each town will need to take place.  T

Mr. Kelly inquired as to how it came about that different towns decided on the different types of shelters.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that a style was selected, but each participating town was given the option of selecting the color, type of panel, source of electricity and whether or not the shelter will have an advertisement panel.  The Town Planner, engineer or manager made the final selection.  Mr. Hayes indicated that it would be a big undertaking to sort the shelter materials by community.  He also asked what the District has for personnel.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that the District is working with CTTransit and has asked the installation contractor to provide pricing for sorting out the materials by community.  Mr. Hayes also asked about the limitations of the grant. Ms. Sheehan indicated that funding is available for this work as it is part of the installation process.  Ms. Cassidy inquired if anyone asked for a green roof for their shelters.  Ms. Sheehan responded by saying that none of the communities had requested a green roof.  She also indicated that the roof is a dome style.  Mr. Lord asked if there were additional shelters to be installed along Asylum Street.  Ms. Sheehan responded stating that there are additional shelters for Asylum Street.

Vehicle Procurement
A low floor vehicles contract was awarded to Matthews Buses Inc.  However, Matthews contacted the District to inform us that the vehicle they had proposed is no longer available.  The District will be selecting the next manufacturer in the list for the low floor.  Contract documents will be forwarded to DATTCO.   The District has been assisting the agencies in the joint procurement to facilitate their vehicle order.

Snow Removal Contract
We are preparing an RFP for issuance for snow removal at Union Station.  With the construction recently completed at the station, the snow removal requirements have changed enough that we need to re-advertise for a snow removal contractor.

 

Enfield
The Town has a draft Purchase and Sale Agreement with NU.  A meeting has been set up with the law firm to discuss the details of the agreement.  An agreement is needed in order to provide access to the parcels to conduct a Phase II environmental assessment.  The Casket building rehabilitation continues by the Economic Development Corporation. 

Union Station Master Plan
The District staff is preparing solicitation documents for A&E firms to prepare a Master Plan for the station.  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.

TIGER IV
Contractors are back to full construction this season.  All activities started on April 1st.  Revised construction schedules have been provided, construction meetings take place biweekly and monthly reports are provided to FTA. 

Construction activities for the Transit Center are at 98% complete.  Phase IV, transit center is substantially completed and the contractor issued a certificate of substantial completion.  The canopy is expected to be completed this week.  Punch list items are being worked on.  Union Place construction is 79 % complete.  Some tree plantings have taken place.  The vaults have been redesigned e due to concerns from the City.  Contractor is currently preparing cost information for the vaults as well as Lewis Street.  A contract extension was approved by the City due to the delays caused by the vaults.  Bushnell Park North is 23% complete.  This project’s construction activities started back in April.  A lot of progress has been made to the promenade section of the project as well as the seating wall.  Ford Street will need to be reconstructed.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 52% complete.  All signal work needed for the start of CTfastrak took place.  Bus stop concrete pads as well as pedestrian improvements are being worked on.   

148 Roberts Street
Demolition services have concluded and the District will be issuing a Certificate of Substantial Completion.  The District’s staff, as well as, First Transit’s staff continues to provide comments to the design documents.  Final design documents were reviewed last week.  First Transit staff met with GHTD to go over the equipment listing for the new facility.  The schedule indicates bid documents will be ready for release towards the end of May, beginning of June.  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.

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

Grants Update
The District will receive a total of $20,350,000 in 5307 funds.  The breakdown is as follows: $20,000,000 in construction costs for 148 Roberts Street, $250,000 for development of a Master Plan for Hartford Union Station, and $100,000 for Miscellaneous Support Equipment.

Mr. Lord inquired if the RFP has been done.  Ms. Shotland indicated that staff is currently preparing the document and that assistance was sought from New Haven.  Mr. Lord asked if Board Members would have the opportunity to participate in the development of a Master Plan.  Mr. Lord also inquired as to the participation of the general public such as: train riders, bus riders, etc…  Ms. Shotland stated that public outreach and input are extremely important and would most likely be part of the process as we move forward.

ADA Paratransit Service Contract Award
First Transit was selected to operate the consolidated ADA Paratransit service for both the Greater Hartford and the new New Britain service area.  Negotiations are close to being completed. 

Passenger Information Display
CTDOT decided to modify the District’s PIDS system to serve the new commuter rail service rather than purchasing a separate new system for commuter rail only. Ongoing negotiations are underway between CTDoT, AMTRAK, and the District. 

Retail Space-New Transit Center
The lease agreement was signed and the new tenant will be opening his store by September 1st, 2015.  The first year will provide the District with $18,000 which will help to offset costs of the new transit center.

Retail Space-Transportation Center
Finalized new lease agreement with U.S. News & Gifts.  Effective date of the new sublease is effective
June 1, 2015.

Rail Update
Provided CTDOT with a “right of entry” to its construction contractor (Amtrak).  They have begun to work on repairs and improvements necessary to maintain an aggressive schedule in preparing the Union Station for the commuter rail service.  As stated over the course of the past several months an agreement is forthcoming, and if necessary the District can terminate the temporary “right of entry” agreement quickly.

Great Hall Events (past & present)
Senators Blumenthal and Murphy held a press conference on May 15th to launch a major campaign to get Congress to pass their four point rail safety plan.  Also, there continues to be several inquiries from external entities inquiring about the rental of the Great Hall.  Finally, the upcoming 100th Anniversary and Transit Center dedication plans are moving along well.   Ms. Shotland asked the Board Members to please RSVP to the event.  She also indicated that the 100th year anniversary is actually in September.

Mr. Hayes asked if the District was calling the event the 100th Anniversary.  Ms. Shotland acknowledged that it was.  Mr. Kelly stated that Ms. Shotland had indicated that the building was almost 100% occupied, and he inquired about the new rental space.  Ms. Shotland stated that the new rental space is the result of renovations done to create the transit center.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Mr. Hayes to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee meeting report. 

Plan Updates
CRCOG is in the process of completing minor updates to its Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan and its Long Range Transportation plan.  It has also adopted a new unified planning work program which outlines all the planning work that staff will undertake over the next 2 years.  CRCOG is also focused upon developing projects that will better connect people to work via transit.  This will likely include infrastructure projects to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to transit.  For those communities that do not have any transit service today, the Comprehensive Service Route Analysis, should address these transit needs.

Major New Regional Project 
CTDOT has initiated a project to improve the I-91/Charter Oak bridge interchange.  Cost is expected to be $180 million.

Funding 
Three projects were forwarded to the CTDOT for consideration for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding.

LOTCIP Funding
The state budget will likely include a next round of funding for LOTCIP and CRCOG anticipates conducting a project solicitation in the next few months.

Letter to CTDOT
Lyle Wray sent a letter to the CTDOT expressing CRCOG concerns regarding late notice from the DOT regarding funds available to the region.  Subsequently Lyle had a meeting with Commissioner Redeker to discuss the letter.

Mr. Mitchell then asked if there was any new business to be brought before the Board.  Ms. Gamble mentioned that the Town of Bloomfield was having a weeklong event called “Celebrate Bloomfield.”  She passed out flyers and spoke to the Directors in detail about the various events that were to take place.  Ms. Pet then addressed Mr. Hall’s hospitalization indicating that Mr. Hall wanted to thank the members of the Board for their good wishes. 

Mr. Mitchell stated that the next board meeting will be held on June 25, 2015.   He also mentioned that it was with regret that Russell St. John was resigning his position with the District’s Board of Directors after serving in that capacity for 23-years, the longest serving active board member.  Mr. Mitchell wished him well.
             
There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Bonzani moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. Kelly, the motion passed by a vote of 28.88 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Annual Meeting was adjourned at 8:43 p.m. 

 

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,


JAMES R. McCAVANAGH
Secretary

Adopted: 6/25/15