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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Meeting Minutes

REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT
Hartford Connecticut
May 26, 2016

Frank Lord, Vice Chairman
Presiding...........................

At 7:00 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 (2.30) and Marilyn Pet (2.30), East Hartford; Frank Lord (2.79) and Jennifer Cassidy (2.79) arrived at 7:13 pm), Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61), Manchester; William Hall (1.37), Newington; Ken Goldberg, (1.77) Rocky Hill; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr. (2.11); Simsbury; Gary Pitcock (1.15) and Bruce Snow (1.15), South Windsor; Brendan Flynn (1.19) (arrived  at 7:05 pm) and John Kelly (1.19), Wethersfield; 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 Services; 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.)

The Vice Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the Board. There were none. Mr. Jansen then moved adoption of the March 31, 2016 Minutes of the Regular Meeting, which was seconded by Mr. Raney, and approved by a unanimous vote of 21.52 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord next requested the Nominating Committee report be presented. The Committee Chair, Mr. McCavanagh, reported the proposed slate of Officers as follows:

Chairman Stephen F. Mitchell
Vice Chairman Frank Lord
Secretary James R. McCavanagh
Asst. Secretary Peter Bonzani
Treasurer Brendan T. Flynn
Asst. Treasurer Mary A. Oliver

Mr. McCavanagh stated that the entire slate of officers was to be voted on by express nomination which requires a 2/3 majority vote by the Directors. Mr. McCavanagh moved the election of the entire express slate as proposed by the Committee, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero, and approved unanimously by a vote of 21.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention. Due to the unanimous vote, ballot voting was not necessary.

The Vice Chairman next asked for presentation of the current financial report. Ms. Vo-Le reported on the following: 

ADA PARATRANSIT
The ADA program incurred approximately $13.2 million in total expenses; that is 100% funded by both CTDOT and other program revenues.  As compared actual result to budgeted, this program shows a favorable variance of approximately $630,000 as a result of a lower contracted rate for ADA Paratransit service, declining diesel fuel and falling gas prices.

GENERAL FUND
The General Fund has generated a total of approximately $84,000 in revenues, incurred $21,000 in expenses, and yielded $63,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  Comparing actual result to budgeted, the General Fund is favorable by $17,000.

SPRUCE STREET PARKING LOT
Spruce Street Parking Lot operating revenues and expenses totaled approximately $329,000 and $112,000; respectively, and has yielded $217,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.   Also comparing actual to budgeted, the parking lot yields a favorable variance of $6,400.  This was mainly due to lower professional services than was originally budgeted.

PARKING LOT REVENUE ANALYSIS
While monthly parking revenue has consistently increased throughout this fiscal year, daily parking revenue has slightly decreased.  Through the end of April 2016, parking revenues show a decline of 8% or $32,000.  Over the next several weeks, we will continue to monitor the parking revenues and meet with ProPark to discuss the overall daily activities of the lot.

 

UNION STATION
Union Station operating revenues and expenses totaled approximately $959,000 and $861,000; respectively, and has yielded over $97,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  Comparing actual results to budgeted, Union Station yields a favorable variance of nearly $97,000, primarily due to a new lease agreement between the District and CTDOT for the Passenger Rail Service Improvements.

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

Mr. Lord asked when the District could expect that Amtrak be completed with the platform construction work. Ms. Shotland stated that the work is substantially complete and the DOT is waiting for the Certificate of Occupancy to be issued for the new staircase that provide access from Asylum Street.

There being no further discussion, Mr. Quintero motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Kelley, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

At 7:19 p.m., Mr. Lord called to order the Public Hearing regarding the Proposed Fiscal Year 2017 Budget.  Ms. Vo-Le provided a comprehensive overview of the FY2017 budgetary projections by program and fund.

Mr. Lord asked if there were any comments or questions from the public regarding the FY2017 Proposed Budget. Hearing none, he then inquired if there were any members of the Board having comments or questions.  

Mr. Pitcock made an inquiry as to the funds still left in the TIGER grant, as he noted that the project was winding down.    Ms. Shotland explained that the budget includes the balance of construction activities that are scheduled to be completed during this construction season.  The delay explained Mr. Lord is also due to the law suit filed by the Bushnell Towers regarding the realignment of Gold Street.

At 7:44 p.m., Mr. Lord closed the Public Hearing and reconvened the Annual Meeting. Mr. Kelley moved acceptance of the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero.

Mr. Lord asked what is the Sailors and Soldiers Arch grant. Ms. Sheehan responded by indicating that it is an STP grant the City of Hartford received for improvements associated with traffic signals and pedestrian improvements along the main transit corridors in the downtown area.  Mr. Snow asked for an explanation regarding the difference in the Enterprise fund report on page 18 and 19 between public and private USTC.  Ms. Vo-le elaborated on the differences as it relates to the accounting aspect of Union Station.  Mr. Snow asked about the administrative expense differences in the USTC public and private sides of the business.  Ms. Vole indicated that expenses related to the private/public spaces at USTC are accounted separately and thus reported separately.  Mr. Raney then inquired about the New Freedom Program.  Ms. Shotland explained the funding process in regard to the procurement of accessible taxis. Mr. Raney wanted to know why the budget is decreasing with this funding. Ms. Vole explained that the program is ending.  Mr. Lord asked what are the administrative costs attributed to the New Freedom program. Ms. Sheehan indicated that it is usually 10% percent of the total funds allocated for capital purchases. 

After the discussion, the Board approved the motion unanimously by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Next on the agenda Mr. Lord asked for consideration of Resolution No GHTD-17-FTA-1 Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of Federal Grants. Upon motion made by Mr. Jansen and seconded by Mr. Raney the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

The Vice Chairman then asked for consideration of Resolution No. GHTD-17-STATE-1, Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of State Grants. Upon motion made by Mr. Goldberg and seconded by Mr. Flynn, the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then discussed that the next four (4) agenda items which he stated are re-engagement items for contract extensions.  Upon motion by Mr. Flynn and seconded by Mr. Quintero, the Board voted unanimously to re-engage the firm of Blum Shapiro as the District’s Auditor for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2017 by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Flynn 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, 2017, which was seconded by Mr. Kelley.  Mr. Hall asked if the District procured these services. Ms. Shotland stated that these services are procured every five years. Ms, Shotland also indicated that she is extremely pleased with the firm’s performance and expertise.  Mr. Hall stated that he asked the question because the firm is very expensive.  After discussion the motion was approved by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Upon motion by Mr. Bonzani and seconded by Mr. Flynn, the Board voted unanimously to engage the firm of Occupational Drug Testing as the District’s Third Party Administrator for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2017 by a vote of 25.50 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, 2017, which was seconded by Mr. Flynn and approved by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then asked for Program Presentations. Ms. Vo-Le provided the following information:

STATEWIDE DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING PROGRAM

  • The next quarterly meeting will take place early next month.  The objective of this meeting is to discuss what we have achieved during the previous quarter, review the status of any outstanding items and areas that require improvements.

STATEWIDE TRANSIT DISTRICT INSURANCE CONSORTIUM

  • A semi-annual program review meeting with CTDOT and the Consortium’s Insurance Agency has been scheduled for mid-June to review any claims above $14,999.

Mr. Gonzalez provided the ADA Paratransit report: 

ADA PARATRANSIT PROGRAM

  • The new ADA Paratransit buses are in production and should be delivered by the second week of June  
  • Working closely with the First Transit General Manager on some ongoing issues in regard to the service (i.e. answering phone calls, on-time performance, and utilization of the Interactive Voice Recording System to enhance the communication of information.)
  • Driver recruitment is almost at 100% 
  • Working on creating procedures for the oversight of a variety of functions of the ADA service

Mr. Lord asked if the District is using or is aware of any apps for facilitating paratransit service.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that currently we don’t have any apps functioning, but we use vehicle location technology to notify passengers through automatic phone calls of trips scheduled and also of the imminent vehicle arrivals.  The IVR system is also going to be used for other notifications and alerts.  Ms. Pet asked if some of the issues that the service experiences are due to the increase in numbers of the aging population. Mr. Gonzalez said partly and also because more eligible individuals have become more aware of the services available to them. 

STATEWIDE INSURANCE CONSORTIUM

  • All member site visits have been completed
  • Awaiting additional instruction from CTDOT for the Safety Manual
  • Continuing to seek safety trainings for the consortium 

UNION STATION

  • Working with the City of Hartford to replace the lights under the tracks on Church Street.
  • Working on the following projects:
  • Repair the “Welcome Wall” on the corner of Spruce and Asylum Streets
  • Replace and repair the bollards behind the bus bays
  • Working on refinishing the external wooden doors
  • CTDOT has been working under the I-84 viaduct (Spruce Street Parking Lot portion) as they inspect and make ongoing repairs.
  • CTDOT work on the rail platform is almost complete and should be opened shortly from what we have been told.

STAFF

  • The ADA Transportation Coordinator’s position is open and the hiring process is to begin to replace that person.

Ms. Fry was called upon to present her report and she began by discussing:

RETAIL SPACE-GREAT HALL
Greg, Wies, and Gardner Architects have prepared the construction documents needed to get the understair 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 be modified for the new use. 
           
SIGOURNEY STREET
Construction began in April and has focused upon the north side of Capitol Avenue, between Laurel Street and Park Terrace.  The project is expected to be completed this construction season.  The City of Hartford plans to replace traffic signals at 2 intersections (Laurel/Hawthorn and Capitol/Park Terrace) as the bus livability project progresses.  That contract is expected to be approved soon.  Regular biweekly meetings are held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, GHTD, and the City. 

NEW BRITAIN
Preliminary design for the improvements to the Main Street bridge over Route 72 have been completed.  These are currently being reviewed and refined.  The project is being closely coordinated with the CTDOT since the improvements will be made on a City street which is located on a CTDOT bridge. 

STATION MASTER PLAN
The consulting team, led by STV Inc., is completing data collection and we expect to receive the first technical memos (Station Area Characteristics and Usage, Station Building Assessment, and Initial Public Outreach) within a week.  A survey of station patrons was conducted in April and various traffic counts have been taken.  The project is on target for completion in the fall.
           
DBE GOAL SETTING
We are in the process of updating our DBE goal.  The new goal will be advertised in June for public comment and then submitted to the FTA by August 1.

Ms. Sheehan was then called upon to present her report:   

TRANSIT ENHANCEMENTS
A meeting was held with the Town of Bloomfield to review the draft plans for the locations identified for replacement shelters.  The Town’s participation will be with in-kind services.  Eligibility information has been provided to Wethersfield as the Town has requested the town share of construction activities be provided in-kind services.  Replacement plexiglass panels and ancillary equipment has been ordered. 

ENFIELD
The Town has finally being provided access to the property by Eversource.  The Town is working on the scope of work the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment that needs to be conducted at the property. 

TIGER IV
Bushnell Park North construction is progressing on Wells Street and Gold Street.  The CTFastrak bus stop has been temporary relocated to Jewell Street.  Ford’s Street road base has been redone as well as the needed trenching and installation of conduit. Sidewalks have been poured at various locations.  The construction crew has been working at Fox Gate.  The City is finalizing negotiations for a contract extension for Station 20+ on.

Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 94% complete.  Trees have been installed, pavers are being installed.  Punch list items are being addressed including those related to signal timing.  The main issues pending are the mast arm at Market and Kingsley and the 55’ mast arm at American Row.  The City has asked the contractor to complete the sidewalk at 266 Pearl Street and install lighting.

148 ROBERTS STREET
Banton Construction Company continues construction activities at the site; all piles caps have been installed.  Excavation, backfilling and compacting for grade beam as well as building and pouring the grade beams have taken place. Banton was able to secure a steel subcontractor.  Steel is being delivered next week.  Installation is expected to start the first week of June.  Construction meetings are now held on a weekly basis. 

Ms. Cassidy asked if the sidewalk along Asylum Street is part of the TIGER project.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that it’s actually part of the Livability Grant. Ms. Cassidy mentioned that the sidewalk is cracking.  Ms. Sheehan said she will bring it to the attention of the City.

Ms. Pet asked if errors like the mast arms occur frequently.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that construction activities are unpredictable and human error can occur anywhere within the process.

Ms. Shotland presented her administrative report by discussing the following:

  • Finalized the leasehold agreement with Bear’s Smokehouse.
  • Negotiating a new lease with a tenant for the 3rd floor north space which Crosskey Architects will be vacating.
  • In discussion with a prospective tenant regarding a new build out at the station.
  • Announced that the District will receive 5307 funds for FY’17 totalling $2.8 million. This includes funding for Union Station, Rolling Stock, and Admin Cap/Support Equipment.
  • Stated that she was appointed to the Transit Development Corporation Board of Directors, a separate corporation acting on behalf of APTA in matters of research and education.  The purpose is to select projects to be undertaken by the Transit Cooperative Research Program providing oversight and evaluation of the program.

A question was asked regarding Bears Smokehouse anticipated opening.  Ms. Shotland indicated that it may be within the next 90-days.  Mr. Lord asked if the tenant needs to install a ventilation system. Ms. Shotland stated that ventilation maybe needed in some areas. 

Ms. Fry provided the CRCOG Transportation Committee report:

TIGER APPLICATION:  Staff discussed the TIGER application for the Capitol Region Opportunity Corridor project, which was submitted by CRCOG on behalf of New Britain, West Hartford, and Hartford.  The project will improve access to CTfastrak and downtown Hartford transit.

LOTCIP PROJECT SELECTION:  Projects have been selected for LOTCIP funding; this is the new pot of state funding provided to regions for transportation projects.

ROUNDTABLE PRESENTATION: Will Britnell, the lead designer at CTDOT for roundabouts discussed the safety record of roundabouts and indicated that we can expect to see roundabouts implemented on more state roads over the next several years.  Mr. Quintero asked if it has been documented that roundabouts are safer than an intersection. Ms. Fry stated that it has been documented, roundabouts are safer based on the number and type of accidents recorded as compared to a typical intersection. She stated that a well designed roundabout is a lot safer. 

MDC PRESENTATION:  Susan Negrelli, MDC Director of Engineering gave a quick overview of the MDC’s Clean Water project which has been underway since 2006 and will be completed in 2029.  It will end all sewer discharges to the Wethersfield Cove and the North Branch of the Park River and will significantly decrease overflows to all other water bodies.  The project has removed the Gully Brook (which flows underground in the vicinity of the Station) from the sewer system - previously the natural flow from the Gully Brook was treated in the sewage treatment plant.
Mr. Lord asked if there was any new business for discussion.  Mr. Lord reminded the Directors the next meeting (and last one before the summer) will be held on Thursday June 16, 2016. 
There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Flynn moved that the meeting be adjourned.  Upon seconding by Mr. Bonzani, the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.50 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Annual Meeting was adjourned at 8:42 p.m. 

 


 

Respectfully submitted,


JAMES R. McCAVANAGH
Secretary

Adopted: 06/16/16