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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SPECIAL MEETING
GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT
Hartford, Connecticut
March 27, 2014

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

Presiding........................... Welcome to the Greater Hartford Transit District's new website

About GHTD
ADA Paratransit Service
Board of Directors
Business Opportunities
Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium
Employment
Going Green With GHTD
Grant Activity
Grantee Reporting
Insurance Consortium
Meeting Information
Member Towns
Recent GHTD Initiatives
Spruce Street Parking Lot
Transportation Links
Union Station

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

SPECIAL MEETING
GREATER HARTFORD TRANSIT DISTRICT
Hartford, Connecticut
March 27, 2014

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

Presiding...........................

At 7:02 p.m., a quorum determined to be present; Mr. Mitchell called the Special Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Hartford Transit District (the "District") to order in the District's temporary Conference Room at the Union Station Transportation Center (the "Center"), One Union Place, Hartford, Connecticut. The following Directors were present: Peter J. Bonzani, East Hartford; Stephen F. Mitchell and Kevin T. Mooney, Enfield; Russell G. St. John, Granby; Jennifer Cassidy, Hartford (arrived at 7:30pm); James R. McCavanagh, Manchester; William G. Hall, Newington; Ferguson R. Jansen, Simsbury; Mark S. Etre and Mary A. Oliver, Vernon (arrived at 7:16 pm); Peter Gardow, Wethersfield; Richard F. Messenger, West Hartford; and Ricardo Quintero, Windsor. District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director; Kimberly A. Morton, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services; DJ Gonzalez, Operations Administrator, Sandra E. Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration; Sandy Fry, Grants and Procurement Program Coordinator.

Mr. Mitchell made mention that this was a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors and only items on the agenda may be discussed. The Chairman then asked if there was any members of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.

Mr. Jansen then moved adoption of the February 6, 2014 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and approved by a vote of 20.03 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Chairman next asked for consideration of a Resolution-GHTD-GEN-0314 to authorize the Chairman and/or Executive Director to direct the investments of the District’s funds in any investments permitted by law. Mr. Mooney inquired about the potential risk factors to the District. Ms. Shotland responded that the funds could be withdrawn early without penalty. Mr. Etre wanted to know about the Treasurer’s involvement in the process, and the response was that he approves all trial balances monthly, and in this sense is apprised of the District’s financial activities on an on-going basis. Mr. Etre also wanted to know if the Executive Director had looked into the USAA for a comparison of rates. Ms. Shotland indicated that she had not looked into that specific fund, but has compared many other possible investment opportunities over the past several years. She would however look into the USAA rates for comparison purposes. Mr. Gardow wanted to know if the resolution up for consideration limits where the Chairman and Executive Director can invest. Ms. Shotland and Mr. Mitchell emphasized that it does not, as long as the investment is permitted by the laws applicable to the District. Mr. Quintero then moved adoption of the motion, which was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and approved by a vote of 20.03 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Chairman next asked for presentation of the financial report. Ms. Morton in her first presentation to the Board stated that in preparation for the meeting it was her intent to replicate as closely as possible the format previously used, but with some specific changes. She presented three sets of financial statements, Spruce Street Parking Lot, the General Fund and the Special Revenue Fund. She explained that the reporting tool that she was providing them represented actual numbers with no adjustments. She explained that the figures were extracted directly from MASS 90, the District’s financial operating system. She explained further that it will also serve the District well as we approach the upcoming budgeting process.

She went on to speak about the Spruce Street lot and noted that February was the first month in which we exhibited decreased revenue figures year over year. Total parking lot revenue was $27,725 for February ‘14 vs. February ’13 of the prior year which was $33,684. She acknowledged that the decline was probably a direct result of the harsh winter conditions. Ms. Morton explained that on a very positive note, the District still remains with a positive 12.87% increase over the year prior. She then asked the Board to look at the Spruce Street operating report which was being presented in a new format. She explained that the first two columns are a comparison of budget to actual in a month to date format. She said that the third and fourth columns represent budget to actual in a year to date format. She specifically spoke about the professional service line item in the expense section. She noted that in December ’13 the District realized its first full month of savings from the automatic pay system in the parking lot by reducing actual staff hours in the booth. She stated that fees previously charged for this service was approximately $14,000.-$17,500 monthly, but those operating costs are steadily decreasing.

Ms. Morton then addressed the General Fund which currently has a balance of $7,800. She stated that the District had to pay $38,000 in real estate taxes attributed to the acquisition of the property at Roberts Street in East Hartford.

The final report that she presented was the Special Revenue Fund which she explained includes the District’s programs and projects. She stated that the projects are funded primarily through State and Federal Grants. She said that to get a true understanding of the intricacies of the Special Revenue Fund you need to analyze each individual project within the fund. She also reiterated that some of the construction projects are currently carrying deficits, and in part that is due to the project being expensed, but not yet billed to the funding sources. Mr. Etre did ask for District staff to look into the possible loss of parkers in the lot based on a manned booth vs. the transition to an automated parking system. He questioned the perception of safety in the parking lot. Ms. Shotland said that they will address and respond to his inquiry.

Ms. Morton stated that the accounting department’s goal between now and April’s month end is to examine processing procedures to test the feasibility of charging expenditures in the same month that they are billed to the federal and state funding sources. She stated that this will provide a more accurate understanding of the District’s financial position at any given time without the need for manual adjustments as was performed in the past. She also said that her department will analyze the allocation of direct costs and the impact they have on the indirect cost allocation. At the end of Ms. Morton’s presentation several Directors complimented her on the detail and thoroughness of her financial report. There being no further discussion, Mr. Mooney motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Bonzani, and accepted unanimously by a vote of 24.13 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for Program Presentations. Mr. Gonzalez started with the ADA report and noted that the District has received fourteen new CNG vehicles. He said that eight of those have already been put into service, and the remainder will be put be on the road within the next few weeks. Mr. Gonzalez then stated that the District is planning on putting out a Request for Proposal for ADA paratransit vehicles to replace those that have met their useful life. He said that we previously procured our vehicles off of another state contract, but can no longer do that due to FTA restrictions. Mr. Jansen requested that the ADA Operations Report be revised to show monthly comparisons as it was in the past.

Mr. Gonzalez briefly discussed the Spruce Street Parking Lot. He mentioned that when there is a problem with the automated equipment in the lot, Propark will staff the booth immediately. He also stated that there is a Propark Command Center inside of Union Station, and their staff is watching the parking lot 24/7 through cameras. He stated that for all scheduled large downtown events we do request the lot to be manned. He next discussed a meeting that he attended with the Metropolitan Water District. He met with their engineers to discuss preliminary coordination requirements for sewer utility improvements after TIGER construction. Next Gonzalez discussed that GHTD will not be bidding on the Hartford Dial-A-Ride service. There was not enough time provided for a thorough response to the RFP. Secondly there is a specific issue regarding Hartford’s living wage requirement that conflicts with our contractor’s collective bargaining contract. He then addressed the issue of janitorial services. Gonzalez stated that the District received twelve proposals in response to an RFP, and that has been narrowed down to two finalists. They have both submitted their best and final offers. A decision will be forthcoming. In a final matter he stated that the District hosted a training certification program during the week of March 17th through the Transit Security Institute for the Statewide Insurance Consortium. He said that there will be four more trainings scheduled in the upcoming year for consortium members.

Mr. Mitchell then asked Sandy Fry to give her report. Ms. Fry first discussed the Passenger Information Display System. She said that the District has coordinated with Amtrak and Peter Pan for the location of equipment within their space and to determine what information will be displayed. International Display Systems (IDS) has provided revised submittals that address concerns expressed by the District as well as submittals for a larger informational kiosk, and smaller display signs for the area in front of the vestibule. A Change Order Request was submitted by IDS for the smaller display signs. IDS is preparing a proposal for installing speakers in the Great Hall. She next discussed Sigourney Street and stated that the District has held various meetings with TPA and the City for the initial design phase of the project. A walk through took place with all parties involved including City planning, DPW, ConnDOT, Aetna and the District.

She next talked about New Britain. The District officially submitted a grant application to FTA for this project. The District should be executing this grant shortly. Staff has assisted the City of New Britain with the RFQ to be issued for the selection of an A&E firm that will provide design services. Lastly Fry discussed the Bike Share Study. The second of three Advisory Committee Meetings was held at the beginning of the month. The Consultant (Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning) presented their analysis results to date. They identified the areas with the most potential for bike share and estimated capital and operating cost for several different scenarios for bike share deployment. The area with the most potential for bike share is central Hartford, followed by New Britain, West Hartford and Waterbury. Next steps include developing a realistic plan for an initial system, with recommendations for phasing; exploration of ownership/operation model; identification of funding sources; and a detailed business plan. In April, a final advisory committee meeting will be held and also a focus group for large employers and regional institutions to gage their interest in bike share. Ms. Cassidy asked when the intersection of Hawthorn and Sigourney would be complete. Fry responded that it would be at the end of this upcoming summer. Mr. Quintero asked her when the PIDS project would be complete, and she responded that it would be by the end of September 2014.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Sandra Sheehan to present her report. She first discussed the Transit Enhancement Grant stating that the District continues to work with CRCOG and CTTRANSIT on the regional shelter program. An RFP for the purchase of the shelters was released by the District. Proposals are due on April 16th. The Towns of Bloomfield and South Windsor are in the process of approving resolutions that would allow for installation of shelters in their respective communities as well as display of advertisement. Sheehan then informed the Board that the EPA Clean Fuels Grant was de-obligated. The District provided the necessary paperwork to close out this grant agreement. After Peter Pan Bus Lines determined that the cost of performing the engine repower was beyond the available funds, the District tried to find a sub-grantee that had a project that met the eligibility criteria and had the funds to provide the local match. The District was not successful in finding a grantee. Sheehan held discussion on the Mansfield Intermodal Center and stated that substantial completion of the Intermodal Center has taken place. There are some minor items on the punch list that need to be addressed, but the grand opening is scheduled for April 14th at 10:00 a.m. State officials as well as FTA staff will be in attendance. She then spoke about the status of the Enfield Intermodal Center. FTA assigned a Real Estate PMOC to assist the Town with the acquisition of the parcels owned by Northeast Utilities. The Town needs to know the extent of possible contamination at this site in order to purchase the property. She then updated the Directors on the Hartford Intermodal Triangle Project (TIGER IV). Construction activities for the Transit Center commenced on February 3rd. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of December. Temporary offices were created, demolition has taken place, and the new offices have been framed, insulated and dry walled. Two requisitions for payments have been processed. Union Place was awarded to Morais Concrete on February 18th and revised to reflect the addition of alternates. Bushnell Park North was awarded to B&W Paving and Asylum/Pearl/State House Square was awarded to T&T Concrete. Contract documents are scheduled to be signed by April 1st. The City of Hartford decided to use its own staff from DPW for construction management services. Construction oversight for the project roadway work is the responsibility of the City of Hartford. Bi-weekly meetings are being held to ensure the project stays on schedule. A design concept for Spruce Street was provided to ConnDOT as some of the proposed city routes are to be re-routed using Spruce Street to Church Street. Finally Ms. Sheehan ended her report by discussing 148 Roberts Street, East Hartford. The findings and recommendation from the Needs Analysis were presented to the District and First Transit. A schematic of that preferred alternative is included in your packet. It includes the demolition of the pavilion structure and that of the main Elks building. This option meets the current and future needs of the District and represents the best overall scenario for maintenance and operations of the vehicles. A meeting took place today with the City of East Hartford to determine what steps are needed to ensure the District can move ahead with this design concept taking into consideration the permits that were issued by East Hartford for the purchase of the property.

Ms. Shotland followed up on the program presentation by noting that the District was successful in its appeal of the tax assessment for this current year on the East Hartford property that we acquired. The new assessment is based on a value of 16,380 vs. the original assessment of 833,390. The annual tax would have been for approximately $75,000 whereas the new tax will be less than $800. She mentioned that the District was left with a small portion of the site that was licensed to the previous owner to avoid any claim of adverse possession. Shotland anticipates that there will be zero taxes owed in the following year if the District decides to revoke that license. She next stated that she finalized a consolidated lease agreement with Propark. She estimated that the new five year agreement will provide the District with approximately $200,000 in additional revenue. She also briefly mentioned that the CTDOT public hearing on the high speed rail held at Union Station discussed two major facets of the project which affects the station. The first being the new level boarding platform and the other the south side staircase that will be installed at the end of the platform allowing egress to Asylum Street. She noted that several District Directors were at the hearing. Ms. Shotland stated that the District is still awaiting a response from the last lender to release us of our obligation as she continues to pursue the matter. Shotland stated that the District will have their logo and one of Union Station placed in the concourse of the XL Center with others representing Hartford. She also reminded the Directors that the District was nominated as the “Employer of the Year” by the CT WTS. The awards ceremony will be held in mid-April. Ms. Shotland also recognized her staff and made comment on their tremendous leadership qualities and the great collaboration and cohesiveness that exists amongst them.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Fry to provide the Transportation Committee report. She spoke about the regional boundary revisions. New boundaries for the regional planning organizations are to be finalized by the municipalities and regions by July 1, 2014. CRCOG will add four new towns on the west and four new towns to the east. CTDOT will make a report on recommended metropolitan planning organization boundaries by July 30, 2014. The MPO boundaries will not cut across council of government boundaries, but may include more than one COG. Ms. Fry also said that there is a new state transportation improvement funding program, LOTCIP (Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program). This provides greater local control over the selection and management of projects. CRCOG plans to hire consultants to assist with the implementation of this program. Fry stated that Patrice Kelly of the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection made a presentation on the state’s electrical vehicle infrastructure program. The state has a goal to have electrical vehicle charging stations located within 15 miles of every residence in the state. The DEEP has programs to assist towns in developing this infrastructure.

Mr. Mitchell than asked if there was any other business to be properly brought before the Board. Mr. St. John spoke about his concern for the liability that the District may be subject to if we do not pay close attention to the actions of both Amtrak and CTDoT. Ms. Shotland stated that the District’s law firm is being kept apprised of all actions that may affect the agency.

There being no further business brought before the Board, Ms. Oliver moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. St. John, the motion passed by a vote of 24.13 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Special Meeting was adjourned at 8:17 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

James McCavanagh
Secretary  

 

Adopted: 05/29/14