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Meeting Minutes

Hartford Connecticut
September 10, 2015

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

At 7:07 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; Marilyn Pet, East Hartford; Stephen F. Mitchell, Enfield; Jennifer Cassidy and Frank Lord, Hartford; James McCavanagh and Paul McNamara, Manchester; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr., Simsbury (arrived at 7:11pm); Bruce Snow and Gary Pitcock, South Windsor; Brendan T. Flynn and Peter Gardow, Wethersfield; David Raney, Windsor, Mary A. Oliver, Vernon. 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 Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.  Mr. Mitchell than asked for a motion to be made regarding acceptance of the June 25, 2015 Regular Meeting Minutes.  Ms. Gamble moved adoption of those Minutes. Upon seconding by Mr. McCavanagh, the motion passed by a vote of 22.39 yea, 0.00 nay, and 1.84 abstention.  Mr. Mitchell then welcomed Mr. Jesse Smith (retired Director from the City of Hartford) to the meeting.

The Chairman then moved to agenda item #3, adoption of Resolution Number GHTD-16-BOD-1. The Chairman relayed that this Resolution was adopted at the previous Board meeting. However, he stated that it was being read into these Minutes since we are also honoring Mr. St. John at this meeting.  He read the Resolution in its entirety, which acknowledged the 23-years of exemplary service and commitment to the District’s programs provided by Mr. St. John, representing the Town of Granby.  Chairman Mitchell noted that it had been a true pleasure to work together on the board with Mr. St. John.  Mr. St. John then introduced his wife Ann to the Board of Directors. Mr. St. John then spoke about his career and how he came to serve on the District’s Board, expressing his appreciation for the opportunity to interact with such a great group and commented on the accomplishments of the agency during his tenure. Mr. Mitchell next presented Mr. St. John with a plaque, District sweatshirt, and Mr. St. John’s Director’s nameplate.

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

Through the end of fiscal year 2015, the ADA Program has a variance of $408,000 as compared budget to actual for both total revenues and expenses.  The major variances come from the following line items:  State grants, fuel & diesel, and ADA Paratransit service.  As of the end of the fiscal year, the program has incurred $13.6 million as expenses that have been fully funded by CTDOT.

As of the end of June 30, 2015, the General Fund has generated $63,365 in excess of revenues over expenses.  Of which, $16,020 was generated from the sale of disposed vehicles (vehicles meeting their useful life) and is restricted; however the remaining of $47,345 is unrestricted surplus.

The Spruce Street Parking Lot has continued to perform strongly.  Through the end of fiscal year 2015, the Parking Lot total revenues and expenses are approximately $426,000 and $102,000; respectively, yielding a surplus of $324,000.   Comparing budget to actual, the Parking Lot yields a favorable variance of approximately $61,000.  This occurred mainly due to a combination of in the line items for monthly parking fees and professional service.  Mr. Gardow inquired as to the physical utilization of the parking lot, is it full, up to 50% capacity or overflow?  Ms. Shotland responded indicating that the utilization depends on the event taking place.  Mr. Gardow said he was looking at a typical day, not an event day.  Ms. Shotland indicated the parking lot is about 85% full on a typical day and less during the summer months.  Mr. Gardow said he was curious due to the amount of revenue collected.  He asked if the District is allowed to charge any rate.  Ms. Shotland said yes, but rates changes must go through the Parking Lot Committee.  She also indicated that she believes that automating the parking lot has made a big difference in increasing revenue.

The Parking Lot’s total revenues through June 2014 and 2015 are approximately $430,000 and $461,000; respectively, producing an increase of $31,000 or 7.12% over the previous fiscal year.

As of the end of June 2015, Union Station has generated approximately $1,666,000 and $1,657,000 for revenues and expenses; respectively, yielding a profit of $8,851.  As compared budget to actual, Union Station has yielded a favorable result of nearly $28,000.  Overall, Union Station’s financial performance has been significantly improved over the past 10 years resulting from the effort of maximizing rental occupancy.

This report provides a summary of cash activities from July 2014 through June 2015.  As of the end of June 2015, cash ending balance including checking, savings, and money market totaled approximately $4.7 million with cash inflows and outflows at an average of $2.279 million and $2.218 million per month; respectively.  

Ms. Oliver asked is the retirement payment included in the payroll tax line item.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated that it is included in payment to vendors. Ms. Oliver then asked if the line described as payment to vendors includes the cost of liability insurance.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated that it does.   Ms. Oliver asked how much does the District pay out for retirement.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated the past year’s cost was $119,000.  Ms. Oliver asked for the total number of employees.  Ms. Shotland indicated that there are 13 employees, but new employees are not entitled to the Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) until they meet specific criteria of the plan.  Ms. Oliver inquired as to the cash balance of the District and is it in the restricted funds?  Ms. Vo-le indicated that the majority is sitting in the State Treasurer’s Short Term Investment Fund (STIF) account, and the District can liquidate any and all funds within two days.  Ms. Oliver also inquired about the allotment of funds from the DAR Municipal Grant Program. Ms. Shotland explained how the funds were distributed to member towns quarterly.

The Finance Department is in the process of establishing an Accounting Policies & Procedures Manual that includes financial, accounting, and payroll policies and procedures.  

Mr. Mitchell asked for comment or questions regarding the financial report.  There being no further discussion, Ms. Oliver motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Ms. Gamble, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 26.34 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

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

Currently preparing for a federal ADA Compliance Review which is scheduled for the last week in October.  In the meantime information is being sent to the FTA’s contractor in preparation for their site visit.  This will be a comprehensive audit of both the Hartford and New Britain areas.  Reviews are done approximately every five years.     

The delivery of the 35 new buses will begin within the upcoming week. The District is working with Marcus Communications (radio provider) in order to get the buses ready for revenue service. In order to expedite the process of retrofitting the buses, they will be delivered to Marcus directly.

The 2nd bus which caught on fire was appraised and the insurance company has settled at $16, 300.

The District will be requesting CTDOT approval for additional buses to add to the fleet’s current total to meet the increased demands on the service.  A record number of passengers were carried recently for a one-day total surpassing 2100.  Ms. Oliver asked if those were ADA trips.  Mr. Gonzalez stated that the trips were ADA trips for the Greater Hartford and New Britain/Bristol service area.

Mr. Gonzalez informed the Board that the District continues to purchase our CNG fuel from the Shell Station near Brainard Road and our reimbursement from September 2014 to August 2015 (11 months) is $36,538.75 for a monthly average of $3,322.

Ms. Oliver asked if the vehicles are sent to the state auction.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that the District’s vehicles are sent to Central Auto Auction in Hamden.  Mr. Gonzalez also indicated that if a town wishes to purchase a vehicle, the town can purchase at that auction or others if open to the public.  The state requires the District to dispose of the vehicle through an auction process unless CTDOT requests that the District transfer to another transit agency or transit district.

Mr. Gardow asked if the vehicles are stripped before they are sent to the auction.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that some parts are taken out of the vehicle depending on their condition and the need to repair a similar vehicle in the fleet.  He also stated that equipment such as MDTs, radios, cameras, etc. are removed and placed in newly purchased vehicles.

Mr. Pitcock told the Board that he sees the District’s buses all the time throughout the day.  He stated that the drivers do a great job and that he had no complaints.

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

The construction contract for the 148 Roberts Street, East Hartford was awarded, but Ms. Sheehan will provide more detail in her report regarding this next step in the process.

Continuing to visit statewide insurance consortium members with CDOT staff.  A current goal is to develop a Safety Training Manual for the transit systems and districts throughout the state.  A steering committee is in place to help move this project along.   Mr. Gonzalez also noted that a safety training for wheelchair securement will be provided to the consortium members.

Working with Sandy Fry on procuring services for skylight replacement.
Working with Hot Tomatos on several different issues that are occurring & reoccurring.
Involved with City of Hartford regarding snow removal.  The city has been proactive the last couple of winters to include commercial land owners on a committee to minimize snow removal problems.

Currently there are two upcoming venues scheduled for the Great Hall. The first is for a fashion weekend made up of locals who have created clothing lines and the other is a charity benefit.  Both are scheduled for October 2015.

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

The FTA Audit fieldwork was conducted the week of July 6th.  The audit includes interviews with members’ program managers, medical review officers, substance abuse professional, collection technicians, as well as reviewing the drug and alcohol records, and collection site visits.  The audit will be completed by October 6th of next month. 

Over the next few months, the procurement for on-site auditing service will be finalized and discussed with CTDOT whether the Consortium should consider the on-site auditing service, where an adjustor would be on-site to exam the damage and then provide an estimate.  If this service would benefit the consortium then request for proposals will be issued.

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

The District has been using the displays to relay travel information regarding Amtrak’s shuttle service.

The District has secured the services of Crosskey Architects to develop a design schematic for the use of the space underneath the stairs as a potential wine and beverage bar. 

The District received bids in response to an IFB issued for the work to be done as part of the Sigourney Street Station.

The taxis purchased for Ace taxi service have arrived.  The District continues to work with Executive Taxi as they set up their accessible program and will be facilitating the set up of the program with Ace Taxi now that the vehicles are here. 

Construction activity at Windsor Locks is almost complete.  South Windsor will be next.  The Town Engineers are working closely with the contractor for the installation of concrete pads, sidewalks and sidewalk ramps.  Quotes for the Wethersfield work have been requested from contractors.

The District staff received six responses to a Request for Qualifications for A&E firms to prepare a Master Plan for the station.  The Selection Committee is currently in the process of reviewing the documents.  We hope to make a selection shortly.  Mr. Lord asked if the scope of work for the Master Plan was available for review.  Ms. Sheehan stated that it is available.  Mr. Lord asked if the information could be placed on-line.  Ms. Shotland indicated that it would be placed on the District’s website as soon as possible and that once that is done, an email will be sent out to notify the Board members.

The Town has not heard from NU/Eversource regarding a Purchase and Sale Agreement that was submitted for their review and comment.  Because of that the Town has approached Conn DOT in an attempt to work collectively to move the project forward in the parcel located on the east side of the tracks on what is Bigelow property.  The DOT is receptive to the idea.  A meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 16th.  The Casket building rehabilitation continues by the Economic Development Corporation. 

Construction activities for the Transit Center are at 99% complete.  A change order has been issued to the contractor in order to address the leak that appeared in the roof of the transit center.  The Contractor is working on replacing the gutters in order to ensure that the water hitting the backsplash of the gutters does not flow outside of the system.

Union Place construction is 79 % complete.  The City has issued a notice to proceed to the contractor to do the vault work as a time and materials contract.  Once this work is completed, the next phase includes the street work and traffic table. 

Ms. Sheehan indicated that a cross walk imprint had been placed at the cross walk area on Spruce Street.  Mr. Snow asked if white lines will be painted to mark the crosswalk area.  Ms. Sheehan said that the imprint work was completed the night before and that permanent pavement marking will be installed within the next two weeks.

Bushnell Park North is 43% complete.  Progress continues along Jewell Street on the north side.  Most of the sidewalk and seating wall on the park side is complete.    Work at the new gates continued with Asylum and Pearl Street almost completed and work progressing at Pearl Street gate.   
Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 84% complete.  Installation of pedestrian signals, traffic signals and all ancillary equipment is almost complete.  Bus stop concrete pads as well as pedestrian improvements continued to be worked on at various locations along Pearl and Asylum.    

The District received ten responses to the Invitation to Bids for construction of the operations and maintenance facility.  A Notice of Award was issued to the lowest bidder, Banton Construction Company.  Contract documents have been drafted.  Mr. Pitcock asked if the bid was lower than the estimate.  Ms. Sheehan stated that it was.  Mr. Lord asked if the firm selected was from Connecticut.  Ms. Sheehan indicated that it was and that the firm built the Wyndham Regional Transit District’s new facility.  Ms. Sheehan stated that as part of the construction activities, the District issued a Request for Qualifications for firms to provide special inspections and materials testing during construction.  In addition, 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 called on to provide her administrative report for the Board.

She noted that she is finalizing negotiation with Zip Car for their use of two clearly marked spaces in the Spruce Street Parking Lot.  This will be an additional $2160 per year for the District.

Ms. Pet inquired as to how Zip Cars work.  Mr. Lord responded by providing details on its operation including sign up and the card provided to unlock the vehicle.  He indicated that the vehicles keys are always locked within the vehicle.

She also negotiated and executed an amendment with Bank of America for two ATMs (one current and one proposed).  The term of the current lease was extended for an additional (3) years commencing on April l, 2016 and ending March 31, 2019.  There is a 3-year option period.  The new minimum rent for the current ATM will be $825.00 per month vs. the current $360.  However, there are current transaction fees which will be eliminated in the new lease.  Those fees have averaged approximately $425 per month.  Bottom line increase will be greater than 5% when the new agreement takes effect. 

In addition the District is adding an additional ATM in the new Transit Center with a tentative installation date of November. The minimum rent shall be $200.00 per month for that equipment.  Total additional rent will be $2100 annually.

The new retailer “Union Station Convenience” store is open for business.  Business is slow right now due to various, but anticipated factors.

The District is still awaiting payment from the State of CT for the release of the eminent domain proceeds.  The court has 180 days to make a ruling.  Even though our attorney explained to the court that we are a quasi public agency on a limited budget, and that we’ve invested a lot of time and money into accommodating the state’s NHHS project, and that the lawyers filed paperwork supporting that the District is the only payee entitled to funds, those facts apparently haven’t expedited the process.  The District is awaiting a payment of over $58,000.

Mr. Lord mentioned an article regarding the start of the NHHS project.  He asked when the start date is supposed to be.  Ms. Shotland responded that by all indication it is still planned for the first quarter of 2017.  Mr. Mitchell indicated that delays are due to existing conditions encountered.  He also stated that there are some costs overruns on the project.  Mr. Lord stated that it still needs to be decided who is going to operate the service.  Mr. Mitchell said that an RFP is being prepared for that purpose.  Mr. McNamara asked what is the difference between an RFQ and an RFP.  Mr. Mitchell responded by saying an RFQ is a Request for Qualifications issued to determine the qualifications of a firm as it pertains to a project.  Selection is based on the firm’s qualifications and experience.  A request for proposals is issued to receive a work plan.  Selection is criteria-based.

Ms. Shotland finished her report by stating that the District is also awaiting payment for the permanent right of way provided to the City of Hartford on the corner of Union Place and Asylum.  The lease was recorded at the end of June, but payment of approximately $12,000 is still due.

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

CRCOG has issued a solicitation for the LOTCIP Program.  (Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program.)  The funding is 100% state bonding and comes with far fewer regulations and requirements than the STP Urban Program.  The funding is only available to municipalities.  Applications are due on December 1st.

The STP Urban Program will continue to evolve.  It will be spent primarily on state roads.  Since CRCOG will not be soliciting projects for STP Urban there is a need for a process to determine the best use of this money. 

The Transportation Committee agreed to provide approximately $1 Million of STP Urban funds to build a roundabout at the intersection of Route 190 and 32 in the Town of Stafford. CT DOT’s in-house design unit developed the roundabout concept in response to the Town of Stafford raising safety issues at the intersection.

The Job Access program will now be administered by CTDOT.  The District has been an active participant in the Job Access Task Force since the program’s inception in the late 1990’s. 

Mr. Mitchell then asked if there was any other business to be brought before the Board.  Since there was none, he took a moment to mention that District staff will be making a presentation in November to the Board regarding a proposed request to increase member dues for FY’17.  The current per capita rate has held steady for six years, but Ms. Shotland will present an analysis prior to that meeting to give each Director an opportunity to evaluate the proposal.  Mr. Mitchell reminded the Directors that the next board meeting will be held on November 5, 2015.   

There being no further business brought before the Board, Ms. Oliver moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. McNamara, the motion passed by a vote of 26.34 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:57 p.m. 



Respectfully submitted,


Adopted Posted: 11/05/15