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Minutes


REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Greater Hartford Transit District
Hartford Connecticut
December 15, 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), Enfield;  Frank Lord (2.79), Nicholas Addamo (2.79) and Kevin R. McKernan( 2.79), Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61), Manchester; William Hall (1.37), Newington; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr. (2.11), Simsbury; Peter Gardow (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; and Mary Poesse, Grant and Procurement Program Coordinator.  Members of the public in attendance were, Jules Pitt and Tim Courtney (residents of Hartford); and Ernest Wright (CTDoT). (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.)

As the meeting began by Mr. Mitchell welcoming the two new board members from Hartford; Nicholas Addamo and Kevin McKernan.  He also introduced Mary Poesse the new Grant and Procurement Program Coordinator to the Board.  Mr. Mitchell stated that Ms. Poesse started her new position in early September.

The Chairman asked if there was any members of the public who wished to address the board.  Both Mr. Pitt and Mr. Courtney commented and discussed their concerns regarding the Union Station Master Plan in regard to the proposed parking structure and related elements to that proposal.

The Chairman next introduced STV Inc. representatives to provide a presentation on the proposed Union Station Master Plan.  James Boice and Dennis Jolly represented the consulting firm.  Mr. Boice stated in his summary that the concentration should be on the short-term (one-three year) plan which is to maintain Union Station in a state of good repair.  Ms. Shotland stated that the District will not move forward with any medium or long-term plan without CTDOT solidifying the plans for the I-84 viaduct project, and that all options are open for the future.  She emphasized that parking is critical, and at the right time all relevant stakeholders will be assembled to work together on what that future holds for a parking facility and how it will fit into the framework of the city’s vision.  Mr. Lord wanted to know if Hartford Parking Authority has an inventory of all the parking spaces in the city and who manages them and how much of it is for residents and/or visitors.  Mr. Mitchell stated that the information exists.  Mr. Boice clarified when asked the rail is scheduled for January 2018 not January 2017.  Mr. Addamo stated that it will be important to have consolidated bus services at the Spruce Street lot.  He also noted that it is the footprint of the proposed plan that bothers him.  Mr. Jolly noted that the footprint was determined by fitting in all the current and expected growth in transit service; local routes, interstate carriers, Fastrak, etc…  Mr. Jolly stated that what you cannot see in the bottom of the rendering is the gates and sawtooths which need to accommodate all bus activity.  Mr. Addamo asked if in the near term would the new parking facility be affected by I-84?  Ms. Shotland noted that there is no near-term possibility for a parking structure to be built by the District.  Mr. Lord asked what is the next step and will the Board approve the plan at some point?  Ms. Shotland stated that the Board will be involved, but there is no immediate step to be taken.  Mr. Lord just noted that the Board and stakeholders are comfortable and that this remains an open process.  Mr. Gardow asked if the tunnel is built, would you have to move the rail line at all or just leave it where it is?  Mr. Boice said that he could not answer that question at this time.

Frank Lord then moved adoption of the November 10, 2016 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Joan Gamble and approved without modification by a vote of 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Poesse to provide a summary on the Title VI Program.  Ms. Poesse talked about some of the key elements which included; updates to maps and demographics, public involvement activities and locations, information on the Board of Directors, the updated CRCOG Atlas of Title VI Populations and a revised the Language Assistance Plan(LAP).

David Raney moved for acceptance of the District’s Title VI Program as outlined, which was seconded by Ms. Gamble and accepted unanimously by a vote of 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Chairman next called for the acceptance of the District’s Final FY2016 Budget and Revised FY2017 Budget, each as presented at the public hearing held November 10, 2016, published in The Hartford Courant on November 17, 2016, and presented to this meeting. 

Mr. Jansen made the following motion which was seconded by Mr. Quintero:  “Resolved, that the District’s Final FY2016 Budget as presented to this meeting be adopted.”  The motion was passed with 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Ms. Gamble made the following motion which was seconded by Mr. Raney: “Resolved, that the District’s Revised FY2017 Budget as presented to this meeting be adopted.”  The motion was passed with 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.   

Mr. Mitchell then asked that Ms. Shotland provide the financial report.  Ms. Shotland noted the following:

 

The ADA program has incurred a total of approximately $5.6 million in expenditures for the first four months of fiscal year 2017.  98% or $5.5 million of the program cost is funded by CTDOT.  The other 2% is generated by other sources of revenues.  Comparing actual result to budget, both actual revenues and expenses are 2% or $85,000 under budget.  Actual passenger fare revenue is significantly below budget ($99K or 62%) due to a ticket system implementation at the Town of East Hartford effective July 2016.  Under this new system, town ADA riders are required to pay $1.00/trip for each ride they take. The Town is no longer subsidizing the entire cost of each fare.  On the expense side:  the actual fuel and diesel cost is 18% or $93K under budget; the line item for ADA service is very much in line with the budget; actual fleet maintenance expense significantly higher than budgeted (62% or $81K).  This has occurred due to major repairs such as replacing injectors, new engines, and transmissions on the older fleet. 

GENERAL FUND
As of the end of October 2016, the General Fund has generated $87,000 in revenues, incurred $8,000 in expenses, and yielded $79,000 in excess of revenues over expenses. 

PARKING LOT
Spruce Street Parking Lot actual revenues and expenses totaled approximately $147,000 and $40,000; respectively, and yielded $107,000 in excess of actual revenues over expenses during the first four months of fiscal year 2017.   Also comparing actual to budget, the Spruce Street Parking Lot yielded a net favorable variance of nearly $11,000.  This favorable variance was mainly a result of lower professional services than was originally budgeted.

SPRUCE STREET PARKING LOT REVENUE ANALYSIS
Through the end of October 2016, the parking lot has generated nearly $135,000 in total revenues.  As compared to the first four months of fiscal year 2016, revenues have declined by $8,600 or 6%, which is a combination of a decrease in daily parking revenue; partially offset by an increase in monthly parking.

UNION STATION
Union Station actual revenues and expenses from July 2016 through October 2016 totaled approximately $640,000 and $639,000; respectively, and yielded $1,000 in excess of actual revenues over expenses.  Comparing actual result to budget, Union Station yields a net favorable variance of $57,000 mainly as a result of lower administration and indirect cost allocation.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for acceptance of the financial report as presented. Ms. Gamble made a motion for acceptance of the financial report which was seconded by Mr. Quintero. The motion was passed unanimously 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.   

Mr. Mitchell then asked Mr. Gonzalez for his ADA presentation at which time Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:

  • (20) new replacement vehicles have been placed in service. (10) additional vehicles are being outfitted with their MDT units.
  • Another (35) buses are being placed on order with an expected delivery date of June 2017.
  • The statewide fare increase went into effect on December 4, 2016.
  • Continuing to coordinate the comprehensive move out of the current ADA Paratransit site at the Wawarme Avenue location. 

Mr. Mitchell asked Mr. Gonzalez to continue with his Operations Report.  He stated the following:

  • Spruce and Asylum Street “welcome wall” has been delayed to the lack of responsiveness from the contractor who was awarded the contract.  
  • Ms. Cassidy was acknowledged and thanked for her assistance in helping to move the right parties along in obtaining new lighting under the Church Street and Asylum Street tunnels.
  • Received proposals for the Union Station door project.  
  • Still working with the contractor on the “fit out” and finishing work for the Great Hall kiosks for Bears BBQ and the back-end of their restaurant in the new transit center.
  • The skylight project has been completed and the workmanship on the project was excellent.
  • Preparation for the winter weather is underway.    

Mr. Addamo asked if the lights would be on posts or mounted to the viaduct?  Mr. Gonzalez stated that they would be viaduct-mounted LED lights.  Ms. Pet then stated that she wanted to extend her appreciation to Mr. Gonzalez and his staff for addressing issues in East Hartford.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Poesse to provide her department’s report. 

SIGOURNEY STREET
A walk thru punch list was conducted on December 2nd.  There are minor items that need to be taken care of by the contractor.  They have indicated that due to weather conditions and winter shut down, punch list items will be addressed in the spring. Biweekly meetings continue to be held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, GHTD, and the City.  Most of the contract work in the city signal contract has been completed.  The traffic signal controllers are not delivered yet.  As soon as they receive them, the work will be completed. 

NEW BRITAIN
A meeting was held last week with the director of Public works and the City Engineer to review and discuss the federal requirements needed to comply with for the procurement and construction activities related to the Beehive Bridge.  The project continues to be on track for a February 2017 bid.  The project construction documents will be reviewed by the CTDOT and the District before being released to the public. 

TIGER IV
Bushnell Park North construction was substantially completed as of December 1st.  The crew is currently working at Main and Gold Street completing a wall that was added to the project.  The bus stop at Jewell Street is now being served by CTFastrak.  The contractor is waiting for traffic signal activation by Eversource at Jewel and Trumbull, Gold and Wells and Gold and Main.  Unfortunately, there have been some accidents involving the park walls.  These will have to be repaired.

Asylum/Pearl/SHS is also substantially complete.  The work associated with the reallocated funds for the Amtrak Tunnel improvements to pedestrian improvements along High Street as well as Church Street was completed except for the installation of a concrete bus pad at the bus stop on Farmington Avenue.  The City decided not to go ahead with that work due to utility conflicts and traffic conflicts during construction.  Punch list items are being addressed.  The contractor is waiting for traffic signal activation at American Row/Central Row.  

148 ROBERTS STREET
Construction continues to progress at this location.  Mechanical systems are being installed, the electrical main switch gear power panel is installed and conduits are being placed inside CMU walls.  Sheetrocking is also taking place as well as taping on the second floor offices.  Construction meetings are held on a weekly basis.  Terracon continues to provide special inspections and testing services.  VHB has a resident engineer and a construction inspector overseeing the construction of the building on behalf of the District.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Shotland to provide her Administrative report.  Ms. Shotland stated the following:

  • Motions to dismiss Thaddeus Taylor’s complaint against all three defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction.  On its own initiative, the court issued an order staying all court proceedings until the motions to dismiss are decided.  Going forward the only court activities permitted are 1) the filing of plaintiff’s objection and the parties additional briefing of the motions to dismiss; and 2) the oral argument hearing on the motion to dismiss.  All discovery and other court filings have been stayed. 
  • Eviction proceedings against Hot Tomatos is ongoing.  Hot Tomatos is contesting the eviction action, claiming it is not obligated to pay rent due to alleged conditions of the premises. Court has set a January 19th trial date.  As part of court supervised mediation, the parties are discussing an agreement that would require Hot Tomatos to cease operations by January 15th and vacate the premises by January 31, 2017 without further court proceedings. 
  • The District’s initial submission of comprehensive information to the FTA for the Triennial Review is due December 16th.  The staff has worked diligently to produce the information. A tentative schedule has been set for the triennial reviewer’s site visit of July 11- 12, 2017.
  • The consultants and Ms. Shotland met with the Commissioner of CTDOT, Deputy Commissioner, and the Bureau Chief to discuss the master plan in detail.  While there, Ms. Shotland also asked if the Commissioner would consider looking into the deterioration of the east side platform and track.  She asked if there is any funding to assist in creating a positive image to those who utilize CTrails in the future. The current conditions are unsightly and unwelcoming.
  • Ms. Shotland also attended a meeting of the Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission to calm concerns about the Union Station Master Plan.

 

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Shotland to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee report.   Two major issues on the agenda included:

Bradley International Airport is currently preparing a Master Plan which will guide airport development and operating improvements.  Currently, the plan is in the inventory phase and forecasting.  The committee will be updated as information becomes available.

Lyle Wray reported that he met with Congressmen John Larson (CT) and Congressman Richie Neil (MA).  He asked for the inclusion of the Hartford Line into the State of Massachusetts Rail Plan.  A letter was sent from Congressman Larson to the Secretary of Transportation asking to formally include Hartford on the rail link to Boston.  He emphasized the need to be inclusive and to have correct ridership estimates as they currently appear to be low.  Mr. Wray also stated that it is important to support Western Mass as this will help Connecticut.  He also advocates for double tracking between Springfield and Worcester. 

Mr. Mitchell called for new business. He reminded the attendees that the next Regular Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Thursday, February 9, 2017.  He also called upon Mr. Gonzalez who wanted to also mention that (13) vehicles were sold at auction.  There being no further business brought before the Board, Ms. Gamble moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. Quintero the motion passed by a unanimous vote of 24.39 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m. 

 


Respectfully submitted,


James McCavanagh/Secretary

Draft Posted: 12/19/16