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Hartford Connecticut

September 18, 2014
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 at the Capitol Region Council of Governments office at 241 Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut. The following Directors were present: Joan Gamble, Bloomfield; Marilyn Pet , East Hartford; Gilbert Hayes, East Windsor; Stephen F. Mitchell, Enfield; Frank Lord and Jennifer Cassidy (arrived at 7:09pm), Hartford; James R. McCavanagh, Manchester; William G. Hall, Newington; Richard F. Messenger, West Hartford; Ferguson R. Jansen, Simsbury; Mary A. Oliver, Vernon; Peter Gardow, Wethersfield, and Ricardo Quintero and David Raney, Windsor. District staff present were Vicki L. Shotland, Executive Director; Kimberlee A. Morton, Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services; DJ Gonzalez, Operations Administrator; and Sandra Sheehan, Director of Contracts and Grants and Procurement Program Coordinator.

The Chairman asked if there was any member of the public who wished to address the board. There were none.

Ms. Gamble then moved adoption of the June 26, 2014 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Hall, and approved by a vote of 23.95 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Chairman next asked for presentation of the financial report. Ms. Morton reported that the Fiscal Year 2014 audit process was progressing very smoothly in accordance with expected deadlines. Final Budget revisions will be presented at the November 2014 Board meeting. Ms. Morton shared preliminary audit data. Nearly $27 million in fiscal activity was processed during the period, covering twenty-six cost centers and in excess of 6,000 accounting transactions were handled. Ms Morton went on to discuss end of the year activity in both the Enterprise and General funds. On a separate note, she stated that the taxes for 148 Robert Street were reversed and credited in the month of June which was reflective of FTA's determination that the taxes were eligible and reimbursable expenditures. Ms. Morton also stated that as of June 30th revenue was under budget by $880,000 which was primarily due to the actual timing of the implementation of the Passenger Information Display System and the District's office renovations. The Federal and State funds which were expected to be incurred for those two projects in FY'14 will be reflected in FY'15. Ms. Morton stated that the Spruce Street parking lot revenue was up 11.67% over the prior fiscal year. She also mentioned that the addendums for the two consortiums and ADA have been received from the State. The invoices for membership dues to the towns have been distributed. Also the agreements for the Municipal Dial-A-Ride Grant funding are going out. Ms. Morton said that the District recently secured a diesel fuel contract by way of a consortium purchase from the futures market. The current fuel price for diesel is 3.12/gallon. After January 31st when that contract expires, the price will drop to $2.96/gallon for the new purchase which will be in effect from February through August 2015. The 7-month savings is projected to be almost $27,000.

Ms. Morton noted that since 1998, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has awarded and managed Federal financial assistance through its Transit Electronic Award and Management system called TEAM. FTA is now preparing to deploy a successor to TEAM called the Transit Award Management System, or TrAMS. Both Ms. Morton and Ms. Sheehan will attend training for the new system on October 22nd. She also stated that the department is finalizing the setup of all budgets into MAS90 which will serve as a system enhancement for monitoring budgetary progress in the new fiscal year. Lastly Ms. Morton reported that she has begun to schedule site visits as part of the District's contractual obligations under the Drug and Alcohol and Insurance Consortiums.

There being no further discussion, Ms. Gamble motioned acceptance of the monthly financial report, which was seconded by Ms. Pet and accepted unanimously by a vote of 26.74 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention

Mr. Mitchell then asked for Program Presentations. Mr. Gonzalez reported that the District is still waiting for the last two CNG buses to be delivered from our previous delivery; however it is now expected by the second week of October. He reminded the Board that two of the vehicles were destroyed when the flatbed they were on went off an icy highway in Pennsylvania this past winter. He went on to speak about the problems that the fleet is experiencing with the CNG buses, the problem is attributed to the gas valves. Mr. Gonzalez is working closely with the distributor to resolve the issue. Mr. Quintero asked if there was any U.S. manufacturer who made the valve. Mr. Gonzalez stated that unfortunately there was not.

Mr. Gonzalez mentioned that there is a new part time employee in the ADA department. This individual had been an intern for the District this past summer through the Urban League. He said that she was hired her to assist with various job functions within the department. The need is based on significant growth over the past couple of years and the amount of work that the department has taken on. Mr. Gardow wanted to know how many hours the new person was working. Mr. Gonzalez said that the she works approximately eighteen hours weekly and the senior part timer works approximately twenty-one hours weekly.

Mr. Mitchell then called for the Administrative and Operations Reports. Mr. Gonzalez went on to discuss the street light on Spruce Street which is being replaced after it was knocked down by an automobile. Mr. Gonzalez then said that he is investigating the installation of waterless urinals for all the public and private bathrooms within the station. He stated that this could lead to further savings in water consumption. The actual flushers that are used currently cost $400 to $500 per unit. However, based on their continuous usage the replacement costs have been higher. He stated that the proposed waterless urinals cost approximately $500 and have a lengthier life span without the constant replacement of the flushers. Mr. Mitchell made mention that there are certain maintenance requirements to be aware of. Mr. Gonzalez stated that the plumber we use appears to be familiar with the technology. Mr. Jansen said that the MAX restaurant group and Tanglewood use waterless urinals if Mr. Gonzalez was interested in investigating further. Next he went on to discuss that he is still working with CL&P for reimbursement for LED lights and for additional lights that we will be installing. On a separate subject Mr. Gonzalez stated that he just finished negotiating with a second gas station to purchase CNG fuel. The anticipated savings to the State will be an additional .50 per gallon over the current station that the fleet is fueled at. The District now pays $2.69 per gallon, but will receive a rate of $2.19 per gallon at the new fueling site. The vehicles use an average of 7,500 gallons per month. By sending 50% of the CNG fleet to the new station we anticipate an average savings of $22,500 annually. Mr. Gonzalez is also working on soliciting proposals to upgrade to the District's phone system. Mr. Gardow inquired about the issue regarding the wanted to know what was wrong with the phone system. Mr. Gonzalez said that we are on an analogue system wanting to upgrade to an IP system. He finished by mentioning that security has begun to use the electronic touring system. Mr. Gonzalez is then able to monitor that the building is being properly secured.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Sheehan to present her report. She started by discussing the status of the Passenger Information Display Systems (IDS). She said that almost everything has been installed except for the display at the new Transit Center and the one in the Great Hall. Testing of all the equipment components will be done once data access to Peter Pan Bus and Amtrak is enabled. It is anticipated that testing and acceptance will take approximately four weeks. Next she spoke about Sigourney Street and said that full design continues to be underway. It is scheduled to be completed once the meeting with all the stakeholders is finalized and a public meeting held. Ms. Sheehan then stated that the City of New Britain completed the procurement process of selecting an A&E firm to design the project and prepare construction documents. The firm of Fuss & O'Neill was selected for those services. Regarding the Transit Enhancements, she explained that the District has placed an order with Brasco International for the purchase of (24) passenger shelters for four communities. Staff from CRCOG, CTTransit, and the District continues to meet to ensure the project is moving forward. A solicitation for a general contractor to install concrete shelter pads and assemble the shelters will be issued in the next two weeks. Ms. Sheehan will be providing a report to the Board based on a request by Mr. Gardow showing where the shelters are going to be placed. She than discussed the upcoming vehicle procurement. She said that the District will be issuing a request for proposals for the purchase of vehicles for four transit districts in Connecticut structured as a consortium. This will allow only consortium members to purchase vehicles on an annual basis or as funding become available over the next five years. The District will serve as the lead agency in the procurement process.

Ms. Sheehan than provided an update on the following grant-related projects and their progress:

The HV/AC temperature discrepancy has being addressed by the addition of a bypass damper, VAV boxes to replace duct heaters and a temperature control system. Other minor items were addressed as part of the punch list and warranty period. It is expected that close out activities will be taking place during the next two weeks.

The Town has prepared a Letter of Intent to Northeast Utilities indicating their intent to purchase the parcels for the project. Ms. Shotland and Ms. Sheehan had a conference call with FTA officials to discuss the project's progress and the next steps. The Town will be finalizing a Purchase and Sale Agreement in order to gain access to the properties to conduct a Phase II environmental assessment. The Agreement will be structured in such a way as to preclude the use of federal funds if the properties are contaminated to the point that they cannot be used for the project's goals. The FTA's PMOC will continue to provide technical assistance to the Town of Enfield. Another conference call is to take place next week.

Construction activities for the Transit Center are at 56% complete. Phase I and II are substantially complete with minor punch list items open. Phase III is now the combined Phase III and Phase IV. Currently most demolition work and HVAC work has been completed, framing and soffits are completed, the conference room is taking shape and the transit center is an open space.

Construction activities continue for all the street components, Union Place construction is in full swing. The project is 11% complete. Forming and pouring of the concrete base steps at the south entrance and egress stairs and ramp wall has been done. Placement of precast steps is ongoing. Sidewalk forming and pouring in two locations on the northeast side of Union Place is partially completed. There are some issues with field conditions for the hatchway vaults.

Bushnell Park North is 3% complete with portions of the seating wall ongoing as well as the Union Station Gate work including: drainage system, electrical and granite curbing installation. This is portion of the project is two weeks behind schedule.

Mr. Lord asked if Beth Schluger had received notification of construction activities due to marathon concerns. Ms. Sheehan stated that the City of Hartford has held meetings with marathon officials to confirm the route and ensure that construction conditions would not affect the runners.

Asylum/Pearl/SHS is 12% complete and includes installation of sidewalks, sidewalk ramps & granite curbing. Installation of traffic/Lighting pedestrian foundations and handholds & covers, bus stop pads at American Row, State Street, Market Street, Prospect, State House Square and various location at Church Street, High Street and Main Street.

148 Roberts Street The design phase continues to progress. An application submission for the Inland/wetlands took place at the end of July and a P&Z application submission will take place next week. The Inland and Wetland commission requested a public hearing be held. The hearing is scheduled for September 23rd. The architects and engineers prepared site plans, footprint and elevation plans that have become part of the application submissions.

Ms. Cassidy asked for information regarding the Hartford bus shelters. Ms. Sheehan indicated that the TIGER project included shelters for the main bus stops along Main Street, Asylum Street, Pearl Street. Approximately twelve shelters will be installed. Ms. Cassidy then asked about shelters for the neighborhoods. Ms. Sheehan indicated that those shelters would be part of the Regional Shelter Program and the City of Hartford is Phase II of that program. Mr. Gill then asked about the funding for the shelter and canopies. Ms. Sheehan stated that TIGER is funding the shelters in the intermodal triangle area. Mr. Hayes asked about the funding for the shelters in Bloomfield. Ms. Sheehan stated that funding for the Regional Shelter Program comes from Transit Enhancement funds which are part of Section 5307 FTA funds.

Mr. Mitchell then called on Ms. Shotland for further updates. She provided the Board with a draft summary of the Triennial Review results and spoke about the process that had to be undertaken by the staff to prepare for this comprehensive audit. She said that the FTA Reviewer had one finding out of seventeen compliance areas. He spent three days on site, but she stated that the preparation for the District staff took almost six months. She believed that this was the most difficult Triennial to date. She stated that there was one additional module called the Extended ADA Review Module and this added almost a full day to the Triennial process. However, there were no findings or deficiencies in our procedures and policies. Mr. Lord asked if October 9th is the date the District develops the procedures or the date we agree with the finding. Ms. Shotland stated that the date is for the District to have in place internal procedures to address the finding. Ms. Shotland stated that our procedure is already in place. Mr. Lord asked what ND means under the column heading finding. Ms. Shotland indicated it means no deficiency. Mr. Lord then asked if there was a formal presentation to the Board regarding the Triennial Review or if this was it. He asked if the Board needed to accept the report or whether it was too early to take action. Ms. Shotland indicated that a formal, but brief summary report will be issued by the FTA once the District responds to the finding in writing.

Ms. Shotland went on to discuss that Hot Tomatos is having financial difficulties and that she will keep the Board apprised of the District's actions based on Day Pitney's recommendations. Ms. Pet asked how long their contract is for. Ms. Shotland stated that it is a long term lease, however there are default clauses protecting the District.

Next she discussed that CTDOT intends to make certain improvements to the platform, viaduct and other structures that are part of Amtrak's Reserved Rights. It is unclear at this point whether CTDOT is entering into a lease, easement or other arrangement with Amtrak with respect to these matters. However, in regards to the Indemnity Agreement, the District needs to make sure that it remains covered under the Indemnity Agreement with respect to any use, occupancy or existence of the Reserved Property, including any improvements to the platform, viaduct, structures, structural support or other improvements owned by Amtrak no matter who constructs, maintains, or operates such improvements. CTDOT can indemnify Amtrak, so we would expect that in turn, Amtrak would reaffirm its indemnity to the District. Once again she will keep the Board apprised as the rail project moves forward. Mr. Lord asked if the District would receive any reimbursement for attorney's fees. Ms. Shotland indicated that our attorneys are keeping it to a minimum, but at this point in time it does not appear so. Ms. Shotland indicated that a wish list had been provided to the DOT regarding improvements to Union Station related to the New Haven to Hartford to Springfield rail project improvements.

Ms. Shotland stated that the District has purchased a new bond for $300,000. The previous bond was called after (3) months. This new one is a Federal Farm Credit Bank bond at 1.22 % and is due on 09/18/17, but first callable on 09/18/15.

Finally Ms. Shotland stated that NEPTA will once again be holding their biennial conference and expo in Hartford in March 2015. She hopes that the new FTA Administrator will attend and speak at a proposed groundbreaking for our new transit center if she is in town for the event. This may also coincide with the opening of CTfastrak.

Mr. Mitchell than asked for the Transportation Committee Report. Mr. Hayes presented a summary of the CRCOG Transportation Committee Meeting held on September 2014. He discussed the Long Range Plan update. He stated that CRCOG will undertake two revisions of its long range transportation plan. The first update will be completed by Spring 2015. It will be a minor update and will incorporate new federal requirements for performance measures and will incorporate recently completed CRCOG studies. A major update will be started after the governor approves new federal transportation planning boundaries, expected in 2016. It will include an assessment of regional needs, municipal surveys and focus groups, and public meetings and will cover the new region. He next talked about the Regional Planning study. He said that the board approved moving forward with 2 planning studies which will be funded by the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP). The first is a study of access to UConn Storrs. The second is a study of transportation needs in the Hartford Farmington corridor, especially as pertains to the development related to Jackson Labs. Lastly he spoke about CTDOT Asset Management. He stated that Gayende Martin of CTDOT gave an overview of the approach that DOT will take to developing an Asset Management Plan. Development of this plan is a requirement of MAP-21. In closing he noted that Ms. Shotland, Mr. Gonzalez, Ms. Morton, and he attended the Gubernatorial Forum regarding transportation. The two candidates provided their perspective and plan for transportation in CT.

Mr. Mitchell then asked the Board if there was any new business to be presented. Mr. Lord wanted to know if Ms. Shotland had devised the 2015 Board calendar yet. She stated that she would send one out to all Directors in October.

Mr. Mitchell than told the Board that Russ St. John had taken ill. Mr. Messenger asked if Ms. Shotland could send Mr. St. John's address to the Directors so that they could send him notes or cards expressing their well wishes. Mr. Mitchell also noted that Ms. Shotland, Mr. Gonzalez, and he attended a Freedom of Information Commission Hearing regarding a complaint. The complaint was inside of the Director's packages. He stated that we should hear from the Commission within the next few weeks regarding their decision. He reminded the Board how much the last FOI complaint cost the District.

Mr. Mitchell indicated that he wanted to personally commend Ms. Shotland and her staff for the Triennial Review. He stated that it is an amazing amount of work to go through with just one finding.

Mr. Hall stated that Mr. Gonzalez should be commended for his ongoing effort to find cost savings wherever he can, and finding almost $70,000 in savings is highly commendable. Ms. Oliver offered congratulations to Ms. Sheehan for seven years at the District and her excellent contribution.

There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Lord moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Ms. Oliver the motion passed by a vote of 26.74 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
James McCavanagh


Posted: 07/1414