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Minutes


REGULAR MEETING
Greater Hartford Transit District
Hartford Connecticut
September 1, 2016

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

At 7:05 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) and Kevin Mooney (2.00), Enfield;  Frank Lord (2.79) and Jennifer Cassidy (2.79),Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61), Manchester; William Hall (1.37), Newington; Ken Goldberg (1.77), Rocky Hill; Ferguson R. Jansen (2.11), Simsbury; Mary A. Oliver (1.31), Vernon; and Ricardo Quintero (1.30),Windsor.  District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director and DJ Gonzalez, Operations Administrator. (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.)  Ms. Oliver joined the meeting by conference call which was noted by Mr. Mitchell. 

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 16, 2016 Regular Meeting Minutes. Ms. Gamble moved adoption of those Minutes. Upon seconding by Mr. Goldberg, the motion passed by a vote of 21.40 yea, 0.00 nay, and 2.79 abstention. 

The Chairman then asked for consideration to amend the Board of Directors 2016 schedule of regular meetings and to reschedule the November 17, 2016 regular meeting to November 10, 2016. Mr. Hall moved that the motion be accepted, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero, and the motion passed by a unanimous vote of 24.19 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. 

Mr. Mitchell then introduced Brett Wallace, Senior Supervising Planner for WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff and stated that he would be providing the Board of Directors with a presentation on the Hartford Rails Alternative Analysis.  Mr. Wallace included in his presentation; what the study was about, necessity of the project, primary conclusions, integration with I-84 Hartford Project, and the next steps.  Several Directors had questions which were responded to by Mr. Wallace.  

For more comprehensive information on the I-84 Hartford Project the website is: http://www.i84hartford.com/.  There will be an Open Planning Studio held on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 from 12:00pm to 8:00pm at the Fellowship Hall (Immanuel Congregational Church) at 10 Woodland Street, Hartford.

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

FINANCE REPORT:

  • Expenses for the special revenue fund are funded 100% by FTA, CTDOT, and local match.  Therefore, there is no excess or deficit in the Special Revenue Fund.   At the end of fiscal year 2016, the General Fund has yielded nearly $45,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  For fiscal year 2015, this Fund produced approximately $47,000.  The Enterprise Fund has continued to perform well – ending with a net excess of revenues over expenses of $195,000 for fiscal year 2016.  This net excess reflects new lease and increased rental income for existing tenants; partially offset by a decrease in daily parking revenues, plus decreased expenses at the Union Station Transportation Center such as building maintenance, snow removal, property supplies, electric, and natural gas.  For fiscal year 2015, the Enterprise Fund produced a net excess of revenues over expenses of $48,000. Indirect costs for fiscal years 2016 and 2015 totaled $1,011,821 and $966,231; respectively, that are 99% funded by FTA, CTDOT, and local match.  The 1% unfunded amount is covered by the General Fund.  Mr. Mooney wanted a better understanding of what comprises the indirect costs.  Ms. Shotland provided a couple of examples.

YEAR-END-AUDIT:

  • Blum Shapiro auditors were on-site in July and August for the interim and final audits related to fiscal year 2016.  Both audits went well based on preliminary discussions. Nhan Vo-Le will continue to work with the auditors to finalize the audit and prepare the comprehensive annual financial report which will be submitted to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) in December of this year.  The audited financial statements will be presented to the Board of Directors by Blum Shapiro at the November 2016 Board Meeting. 
  • On a separate note, Ms. Vo-Le hired a new Accounting Assistant who comes to the District with several years of experience in accounts payable, payroll, and accounting. 

Mr. Mitchell then asked for any other questions, and hearing none Mr. Mooney made a motion to accept the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Mr. Lord, and approved unanimously by a vote of 24.19 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

 

Mr. Mitchell then called on Mr. Gonzalez to present his ADA Paratransit report.  He stated the following:

ADA PARATRANSIT:

  • Currently putting together a cost analysis for housing the New Britain buses off site.  A parking lot has been identified on the Farmington and New Britain borders.
  • The new ADA Paratransit buses have arrived and most of them are on the road already. The rest of the thirty (30) diesel buses are scheduled to arrive in late September or early October.  He noted that the next order of replacement vehicles should occur by the end of the year.
  • The ADA Paratransit Participation Group Forum is growing with attendees so the next one will be held at the Hartford Senior Center off Albany Avenue vs. the current venue which is the District’s conference room.
  • A request has been made of CTDOT to approve an administrative staff increase and vehicle increase for the First Transit operation based on the significant growth of the ADA Paratransit service.  It is difficult to know if this will be approved based on the current state of the transportation budget in CT.

Mr. Mitchell asked Mr. Gonzalez to continue with his operations report.

UNION STATION:

  • Dunkin Donuts is preparing for a remodel of the retail outlet at Union Station.  The plan is to close September 6th & 7th and re open Thursday, September 8th.
  • The construction contractor for the Bear’s BBQ project has almost completed the demolition part of the project.  The electrician is scheduled for next week and the plumber will also get started. The sprinkler contractor is preparing plan documents which will be submitted to the city for approval.
  • Bear’s held their first successful event in the Great Hall and is continuing to schedule for the future.  The next event will be held on September 10, 2016.
  • The maintenance staff power washed the tiled mural.
  • Still awaiting assistance from the City of Hartford to replace the lights under the tracks on Church Street.  Mr. Gonzalez asked Ms. Cassidy if she could possibly assist the District in contacting someone to move this need forward.
  • Some projects planned for the upcoming months include; staining the external doors, repairing the bollards behind the bus bays, replacing the skylights on the 3rd floor north, repairs to HVAC chillers, and replacement of the welcome wall located on the corner of Spruce and Asylum Streets.
  • The perimeter fencing that encloses Amtrak’s parking area on the north side of Union Station needs repairs and/or replacement.  Due to a prolonged deterioration of the fence and also due to Amtrak-owned vehicles backing into the fence when they park, the area is now vulnerable to security breaches and major safety concerns. We are working with Amtrak to replace and/or repair the fencing.

 

Mr. Mitchell asked for questions.  Mr. Hall asked if there is anything that District staff can do to enforce the “no parking” issue on Spruce Street by the old taxi queuing area.  Mr. Gonzalez said that we have been working on this issue for a long time, but currently to no avail.  District staff will continue to look for a solution, but there is not an easy resolution due to the volume of vehicles utilizing Spruce Street.  Mr. Quintero wanted to know if we had a policy on unattended packages.  Ms. Shotland said that new signs are being posted in Union Station shortly to reinforce the District’s policy on this issue.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Shotland to present the report for Administration. She stated the following:

SIGOURNEY STREET
Construction continues to progress. Most of the contract work in the initial contract has been completed.  The replacement signals at the two intersections will be installed during the month of September and work at the intersections and on Capitol to Laurel will be completed.

NEW BRITAIN
The consultants are preparing the construction documents as the project continues to be on track for a February 2017 bid.  The project continues to be 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., has completed data collection and provided the draft technical reports.  A meeting has been scheduled for the first week of September to discuss concerns that District staff has with information in some of these reports.  A presentation to the Board will occur over the next few months.

TIGER IV
Bushnell Park North construction continues to progress.  Most of the sidewalk at Wells Street has been completed, Gold Street realignment is completed and, Fox Gate is almost completed.  The construction crew will be moving to the east of Wells to complete the sidewalk and the intersection with Lewis Street.  They will also be moving to Jewell Street to construct the bus stop and the bump out at the oak tree.  The City finalized and approved the contract extension for Station 20+ on.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is significantly complete.  The portion that is missing is the 55’ mast arm at American Row that will be delivered at the end of September.  In the mean time, punch list items are being addressed communication testing.  

  

148 ROBERTS STREET
Construction is progressing rapidly at the site.  Steel erection was completed, conduits and piping were installed, the first and second floors were poured, the walls are being installed, the fire stairs were installed, and the detention basin was completed.  Construction meetings are held on a weekly basis. 

Ms. Shotland then followed up with her administrative report by stating:

  • Executed $2,207,600 of Section 5307 Urbanized Area formula funds for FY’16.  Activities to be funded include:  replacement of ADA paratransit vehicles that have met their useful life, preventive maintenance necessary to keep Union Station in a state of good repair, and the purchase of capital equipment and services to support the paratransit operations. These include on-going upgrades to the District’s hardware and software equipment.
  • Crosskey Architects moved out at the end of August from their 3rd floor leasehold and Propark will be moving in shortly.
  • Throughout the state the transit district’s ADA services subsidized with State ADA funds will be excluded from the 98% cap that is being implemented based on transportation budget constraints. 
  • A Notice of Intent by the State to increase public transit fares for CTtransit local and express bus services, ADA paratransit services, and New Haven Line and Shore Line East rail services has been posted and public hearings are upcoming.  Public hearings on the fare changes will be held in Hartford on Wednesday, September 7th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the Hartford Public Library.
  • The statewide transit district’s Dial-A-Ride services subsidized with State Non-ADA Dial-A-Ride Program Funds have been reduced by 4% in SFY 2017.  That equates to less proportionately allocated funds to our towns.
  • CTDOT’s contractor recently completed upgrades to Hartford Union Station. The project includes: a new 260-foot long, high-level passenger platform and egress stair tower finished with new decking, decorative railings and ornamental metal fencing; new electrical and communications rooms; new exterior lighting, signage, public address and passenger information display systems; and, security upgrades.
  • Nhan Vo-Le is currently assisting CTDOT with their triennial audit related to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program. She recently had a program review meeting with CTDOT and Occupational Drug Testing.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss program activities, review the status of any outstanding items as well as areas that require improvements.

 

Mr. Mitchell then asked for a Transportation Committee report.  Ms. Shotland stated that a meeting of
the CRCOG Transportation Committee took place on July 25, 2016 and there were no specific issues that applied to the District.

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 Bruce Snow (South Windsor) had resigned his position from the Board due to other commitments.  Mr. Mitchell also noted that a letter was distributed to the Directors regarding concerns that Mr. Bradshaw Smith had in reference to the Spruce Street Parking Lot.  Mr. Mitchell provided several reasons as to why XL Center events due not necessarily bring additional parkers to the District’s parking lot. Mr. Mitchell reminded the Directors that the next board meeting will be held on November 10, 2016.   There being no further business brought before the Board, Ms. Oliver moved that the meeting be adjourned. Which was seconded by Ms. Gamble, the motion passed by a unanimous vote of 24.19 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:54 p.m. 

 


Respectfully submitted,


James McCavanagh/Secretary

Adopted: 11/10/2016