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Minutes


REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Greater Hartford Transit District
Hartford Connecticut
November 10, 2016

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

At 7:00 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; Peter J. Bonzani (2.30) and Marilyn Pet (2.30)(arrived at 7:02pm), East Hartford; Gilbert Hayes (1.0), East Windsor; Stephen F. Mitchell (2.00) and Kevin Mooney (2.00), Enfield;  Frank Lord (2.79) and Jennifer Cassidy (2.79), Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61) and Paul McNamara (2.61), Manchester; John M. Kelly (1.37) (arrived at 7:14 p.m.) and William Hall (1.37), Newington; Ken Goldberg (1.77), Rocky Hill; Ferguson R. Jansen, Jr. (2.11), Simsbury; Gary Pitcock (1.15),  South Windsor; *Mary A. Oliver (1.31), Vernon; Brendan T. Flynn (1.19) and Peter Gardow (1.19), Wethersfield; Richard F. Messenger (2.83), West Hartford; 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 Service; and Sandra Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration.  (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.) *Attended meeting by conference line.

The Chairman asked if there was any members of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.  As the meeting began Mr. Mitchell welcomed Gil Hayes back to the applause of the board. He also took the opportunity to paraphrase a letter that was provided to him by a member of the public regarding that individual’s comments on the Union Station Master Plan.

Mr. Quintero then moved adoption of the September 1, 2016 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. McNamara and approved without modification by a vote of 33.62 yea, 0.00 nay and 2.30 abstention.

The Chairman next presented the proposed Calendar Year 2017 meeting dates, noting in particular the Annual Meeting that is scheduled for May 26, 2016. Mr. Flynn moved acceptance of the Calendar Year 2017 meeting dates, which was seconded by Mr. Bonzani and approved unanimously by a vote of 35.92 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then  called to order the Public Hearing related to the Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Revisions at 7:10 PM. Ms. Vo-Le provided an overview of the FY 2016 financial activity by fund agency-wide.   The FY 2016 budget revision shows a comparison between the budget that was adopted in May 2015 and the actual result based on the fiscal year-end audit.  She stated the following: 

The Special Revenue Fund is funded by federal grants, state grants, and local match.  This fund includes operating & administrative programs and capital projects.  As compared adopted to final budget, a change of (21%) or ($10.0 million) in total revenues and expenditures was mainly due to an allocation of costs between fiscal years 2016 and 2017 in relation to the construction of  the new ADA facility.  The major operating program is the ADA Paratransit program that has a revised budget of $15.9 million in both revenues and expenditures.  Approximately $15.3 million or 96% of the ADA program was funded by CTDOT. 

Administrative Programs include: 

  • Dial-A-Ride:  Total program $360,000, Administration $14,000;
  • New Freedom Voucher:  Total Program $48,000;
  • Drug and Alcohol Testing Program: Total program $277,000, Administration $95,000; and
  • Insurance Consortium: Total program $3.4 million, Administration $69,000.

Administrative programs totaled $4.1 million and 99% was funded by CTDOT.

Capital Projects consist of: 

  • $1,600 for Enfield Intermodal Center;
  • $200,000 for administrative capital and support equipment;
  • Installations of bus shelters totaled $234,000;
  • Livability Programs totaled $1.4 million: Hartford $283,000; Sigourney Street $1,131,000; and New Britain $10,000;
  • $2.3 million for the replacement of 35 gasoline powered vehicles;
  • $2.9 million for improvements of Asylum & Pearl Streets and State House Square;
  • $5.2 million spent on the new ADA facility; and
  • $5.4 million for the TIGER project that includes construction activities for the Transit Center and street improvements.

Capital projects totaled almost $18.0 million.  69% was funded by Federal; 9% by CTDOT; and 22% by local match including $449,000 funded by the Districts’ restricted disposed vehicles revenue.  Overall, revised revenues for the Special Revenue Fund totaled approximately $37.9 million.

The General Fund is the District’s primary operating fund.  Funding sources consist of member town contributions, interest income, and restricted revenue generated from the disposal of vehicles.  Through the end of the fiscal year, General Fund actual revenues and expenses totaled approximately $120,000 and $42,000; respectively, yielding an excess of revenues over expenses of $78,000.  A (26%) or ($27,700) change in revenues over expenses incurred due to a reduction in the actual number of buses sold than budgeted.

The District’s Enterprise Fund consists of Spruce Street Parking Lot and Union Station (Public and Private Operations).  Rental income, parking fees, and Federal and State Grants are the major funding sources.  The Parking Lot closed up the fiscal year with an excess of revenues over expenses of nearly $281,000.  An 11% or $28,000 change in revenues over expenses was due to a combination of lower actual professional services and parking fees, and the impact of higher actual administration & overhead costs as well as federal and state funding than budgeted.  Union Station (Public and Private Operations) had a strong performance: generating nearly $1,478,000 in total actual revenues and incurring $1,283,000 in actual expenses, yielding an excess of revenues over expenses of $194,700.  A $194,100 change in revenues over expenses for Union Station was a result of lower actual professional services, administration & overhead costs, and capital improvements than budgeted.  Total revised excess of revenues over expenses is $475,300.  As compared adopted to final budget, Enterprise Fund total change in revenues over expenses is $222,000. 

Overall, District total revised revenues and expenditures totaled $39.9 million and $39.4 million; respectively, yielding an excess of revenues over expenditures of nearly $554,000.  As compared adopted to final budget, the District total change in revenues over expenditures is $194,500.

The FY 2017 budget revision shows a net increase of $392,000.  This increase reflects CTDOT’s budget approvals for: ADA Paratransit program – increased by $410,000; Statewide Drug and Alcohol Testing Program – increased by $4,000; and Statewide Transit District Insurance Consortium – decreased by $22,000.  As a result, the District’s fiscal year 2017 adopted budget totaling $39.7 million is increased by 1% or $40.1 million.

Mr. Mitchell asked if there were any comments from the public.  There were none.  He then asked for comments from the Board.  Jennifer Cassidy said she heard during the report that the District had sold fewer vehicles than those proposed to be sold.   Ms. Shotland responded by indicating that the District sold the proposed number of vehicles, but not before the end of the fiscal year.  Hearing no additional comments from either the public or the Board, Mr. Mitchell declared the public hearing closed at 7:29 pm.   Mr. Flynn moved to approve publication of notice for budget revisions for the newspaper which was seconded by Ms. Gamble, and approved by a vote of 37.29 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Chairman then yielded the floor to Ms. Leslie Zoll of Blum Shapiro to provide a presentation on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the State Single Audit Report, and the Federal Single Audit Report. She stated that after the budget revision approval process is completed, the reports will be forthcoming.  She reiterated that they will be issuing a modified or clean opinion on the financial reports, and there were no material weaknesses in the internal control over financial reporting.  She then noted that the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting had again been awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2015 and that the agency will submit for FY16 as well.  She summarized the results of the financial statement reports and provided some highlights including;  the General Fund revenues over expenses were $44,00 higher than last year, the proprietary funds on the revenue side were up 14% and expenses were down 21%, the OPEB liability which is based upon expected outlay of current retirees who benefit from retiree health care benefits had decreased by almost $1 million due to management decisions that affected the significant change, and federal grant funding increased by 33%.  There were no issues with the audit and Ms. Zoll noted that the agency had another good year.  The Chairman asked if there were any questions or comments from the Board regarding the presentation.  Kevin Mooney asked why the private sector was down.  Ms. Zoll indicated that it was down due increased overhead costs and lease negotiations.  Ms. Gamble wanted to note that Ms. Vo-Le has been doing an excellent job and the District will be submitting our nomination for the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016.  The Board expressed their congratulations.  Ms. Oliver recommended acceptance of the year-end audit reports, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero and accepted unanimously by a vote of 37.29 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:

  • The most recent order of replacement buses has arrived.  Most of the (25) vehicles are currently at Marcus Communications for radio and AVL installation.  All of the buses have been registered.  The buses that have met their useful life will be sent to auction as approved by the FTA and/or state.
  • The District just received approval from CTDoT to increase our spare ratio by approximately (10) vehicles.
  • The statewide fare increase goes into effect on December 4, 2016.  The standard fare for a one-way trip for the disabled will go from $3.00 to $3.50.  The District’s ADA Paratransit staff has prepared accordingly by posting notices on buses, on the website, updating software, and instructing First Transit to inform all of their employees appropriately.
  • Continuing to participate in the oversight of the 148 Roberts Street ADA Paratransit facility.  Also coordinating the comprehensive move out of the current site at Wawarme Avenue.
  • Based on FTA regulatory changes the District has modified its Title II and Title VI internal policies in regard to the ADA complaint process and Visitor policy. 

Mr. Jansen asked how many vehicles are currently in the fleet. Mr. Gonzalez responded that currently there are 147 vehicles in the fleet with a temporary approval from CTDoT for an additional (10) spares. 

 

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

  • A purchase order was issued for the Spruce and Asylum Street “welcome wall.”
  • Working on a difficult and expensive problem with the City of Hartford to replace lights under the track on Church Street.
  • Awaiting response to an RFP that was issued on refinishing all external wooden doors.
  • The District’s contractor completed all “fit out” and finishing work to ready the Great Hall kiosks for Bears BBQ and the back-end of their restaurant in the new transit center.
  • The skylight project has moved along very well and is approximately 75% complete.
  • Open Studio’s annual art event will be held in the Great Hall on November 12th & November 13th.

Mr. Quintero asked about the Art Studio event.  Mr. Lord responded that it is this upcoming weekend and the hours are 11:00am to 5:00pm.  Ms. Cassidy mentioned that the canopy on Spruce Street has downspouts missing.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that the District is aware of it and is working to address them.  Mr. Pitcock wanted to know how the buses are being sold.  Mr. Gonzalez indicated that they are sold through an auction process.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Sheehan to provide her report. 

Sigourney Street
Construction is almost complete. Regular biweekly meetings continue to be held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, GHTD, and the City.  Most of the contract work in the initial contract has been completed.  The replacement signals at the two intersections were due to be installed in September but there has been a delayed in the delivery of the mast arms.  Work at the intersections from Capitol to Laurel have been completed.

New Britain
A Public Information Meeting on the New Britain Bee Hive Bridge was held on October 25th.  The final designs were presented to the public as the consultants finalize the preparation of construction documents.  The project continues to be on track for a February 2017 bid.  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., received comments from the staff on the draft technical memos: Station Building Assessment, Initial Public Outreach, Station Area Characteristics and Usage as well as Concept Options.  An Open House was held at the Great Hall on October 20th.  Attendance to the Open House was good and comments on the plan were obtained by the consultant team.  A meeting has been scheduled for November 14th to determine how best to incorporate the comments received.

TIGER IV
Bushnell Park North construction continues to progress.  Sidewalks are mostly completed; the crew is currently working in front of the church on Gold Street.   The bus stop at Jewell Street and the bump out at the oak tree have been completed.  Traffic signals have been turned on at Pearl, Ford and Trinity streets.  The work left to substantially complete the project includes catch basins at Gold and Main and Trumbull and Jewell as well as milling and paving.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is significantly complete.  The 55’ mast arm at American Row has been installed and it is functioning.  A change order was issued to reallocate the funds for the Amtrak Tunnel improvements to pedestrian improvements along High Street as well as Church Street and to install a concrete bus pad at the bus stop on Farmington Avenue.  Punch list items are being addressed; the continuity and isolation testing for the signals was performed as well as the controller communication testing.  

148 Roberts Street
Construction is progressing rapidly at this location.  The site is taking shape with a building with walls, a partial roof, office spaces framed, sidewalks poured and asphalt rolled into the parking areas.  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:

  • Began eviction proceedings against Hot Tomatos.  A Summons and Complaint were filed with the court.  Once the deadline passed the District’s attorneys filed a Motion for Use & Occupancy Payments.   The Court granted an Order and payments must begin on November 14th. Mr. Quintero wanted to know what his rationale is for not paying the lease.  Ms. Shotland indicated that she prefers not to speculate on his reasoning for not paying. 
  • Received a Civil Summons from a complainant who has twelve (12) current lawsuits on the court’s docket.  Our insurance company will provide council based on our coverage for “unfair business practices.”  Mr. Hayes indicated that the District spends a lot of money to defend itself, and wanted to know if we can counter sue.  Ms. Shotland indicated that it is a frivolous case and there is no recourse for the District, but to defend itself.
  • The District will be going through another FTA Triennial Review.  She said that the FTA conducts Triennial Reviews to examine how recipients of Urbanized Area Formula Program funds perform and adhere to statutory and administrative requirements.
  • Met with the Director of Development Services (City of Hartford) to discuss the role of the District and to strengthen our relationship with the new regime for current and future endeavors.
  • The District was provided with the opportunity to acquire additional land adjacent to the 148 Roberts Street site for future growth.  An initial discussion has taken place with CTDoT staff regarding the possibility of obtaining funds.

Ms. Oliver asked if the errors and omissions insurance had been notified about the hot dog vendor. Ms. Shotland indicated that she has already turned over the law suit to the insurance company.  They have assigned an attorney to the District for this case.

Mr. Lord said it was worth mentioning that at the Open House for the Master Plan, the Mayor came over and that the Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission also stopped by and provided comments.  Ms. Pet wanted to let all know that the Open House event for the Master Plan was very well organized.  Staff from the consultant was attentive, provided detailed information and were very receptive to comments given.  Mr. Quintero indicated that it was very well done.  He understood the presentation.  He indicated he may not agree with everything but it was well presented.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Mr. Hayes to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee Meeting which was held on October 17, 2016.  He stated the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Office of Engineering is developing plans to relocate I-91 northbound Interchange 29, and widen I-91 northbound and Route 15 northbound to I-84 East in Hartford and East Hartford. The purpose of the project is to address safety concerns associated with the capacity and operational deficiencies at the I-91 northbound Interchange 29, which routinely experiences significant traffic delays and above average crash frequency.  Secondly he said that a discussion ensued about the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program. CRCOG issued a solicitation for project proposals for potential federal TA Set-Aside funding which included a draft 2016 Solicitation Guidance for review.

Mr. Gardow asked how the State was going to address the Route 5/15 merge to I-91 North.  Mr. Hayes indicated that he did not have the answer to that specific question and suggested to access the CRCOG website for more information.

Mr. Mitchell called for new business. Ms. Oliver wanted to know if Ms. Shotland knows of any consideration given to filling the vacancies for those communities that are missing board members.  Ms. Shotland indicated in general the District has a small number of vacancies, and she does reach out to the towns to reappoint, but some to not have candidates for the open slots.  Ms. Cassidy indicated that Hartford is working to fill vacancies.  Ms. Shotland asked for Board Members to assist in filling the vacancies by contacting their respective town officials.

Mr. Mitchell wanted all to know that the next Regular Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

There being no further business brought before the Board, Ms. Oliver moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. Jansen, the motion passed by a vote of 37.29 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:32 p.m. 

 

 

 


Respectfully submitted,


James McCavanagh/Secretary

Adopted: 12/15/16