March 2017 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Greater Hartford Transit District
Hartford Connecticut
March 16, 2017

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

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: Marilyn Pet (2.30), East Hartford; Stephen F. Mitchell (2.00); Mark Lockwood (1.01), Granby; Frank Lord (2.79), Jennifer Cassidy (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; Gary Pitcock (1.15), South Windsor; Peter Gardow (1.19), Wethersfield; Richard F. Messenger (2.83), West Hartford; 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.)

The Chairman asked if there was any members of the public who wished to address the board.

Mr. Smith from the Town of Windsor asked about the adjustments made midyear to the Governor’s budget.  He asked how has the adjustments made by the Governor affected the District?  Mr. Mitchell responded by saying the budget will be reviewed and a response will be provided at the next meeting.

Mr. Lord then moved adoption of the December 15, 2016 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Rainey and approved without modification by a vote of 28.02 yea, 0.00 nay and 1.01 abstention.

Mr. Hall asked why the Directors’ names were followed by a number in parenthesis.  Mr. Mitchell responded that it is explained at the bottom in parenthesis.  The number represents the weighted vote for each Director.

Mr. Lord wanted to know how the cancelled February board meeting was recorded in the District’s records.  Ms. Shotland responded that a (cancelled) meeting notice was submitted properly to all the member towns and that a copy is in the District’s records.  The cancellation was also posted on our website.

Mr. Mitchell then asked that Ms. Vo-Le provide the financial report.  She stated that the District’s financial report reflects activities during the first six months of FY’17 for the ADA Paratransit Program, General Fund, Spruce Street Parking Lot, and Union Station.

ADA Paratransit
The ADA program has incurred a total of $8,429,747 in expenditures.  Of which, 98.5% or $8,301,890 is funded by CTDOT and the remainder is covered by other source of revenues such as passenger fares ($82,197), performance standard penalties ($28,160), and transit advertising revenues ($17,500).  Comparing actual result to budget, total revenues and expenses are slightly under budget by 1% or $72,000.   Passenger Fares Revenue line item is significantly below budget by $156,724 or 66% due to a ticket system implementation at the Town of East Hartford effective July 2016.  Under this system, town ADA riders are required to pay for their own fares as the Town has no longer subsidized for this cost.  On the expense side:  ADA service is slightly under budget by 1% or $46,751, fleet maintenance is slightly over budget by $84,036 due to major repairs such as replacing injectors, new engines, and transmissions on the older fleet, and fuel and diesel is 22% or $173,718 under budget.

General Fund
The General Fund has generated $90,055 in revenues, incurred $11,526 in expenses, and yielded $78,528 in excess of revenues over expenses.  This excess mainly reflects the current fiscal year member town contributions (about $79,000) that have been collected.  This fund is anticipated to generate from $40,000 to $50,000 in excess of revenues over expenses by the end of the fiscal year.

Parking Lot
The Parking Lot has generated $198,759 in total sales including sales tax.  As compared to the first six months of fiscal year 2016, sales have declined by $18,705 or 9%, which is a combination of decreased daily and increased monthly sales.  The District will meet with Propark over the next few weeks to discuss a strategy to improve the daily parking revenue. The report on page 7 shows the Parking Lot’s financial performance with $195,487 in total revenues, $65,987 in expenses, and $129,500 in excess of revenues over expenses.   Also comparing actual to budget, the Parking Lot yields a net unfavorable variance of $15,597 mainly due to the impact of lower daily parking revenues ($29,647); which is partially offset by lower professional services ($8,966) and indirect cost allocation ($4,949) than was originally budgeted. Overall, the Parking Lot continues to perform strongly; yielding an excess of revenues over expenses in the range of $280,000 to $333,000 for the past four fiscal years.  The fiscal year 2017 excess of revenues over expenses is projected at $259,000.

Union Station
Union Station actual revenues and expenditures totaled $874,127 and $875,436; respectively, and yielded $1,309 in excess of expenditures over revenues.  Comparing actual result to budget, the Station yields a net favorable variance of $23,410 primarily due to rental income which is higher than anticipated.

Starting this month, Paychex will be managing the District’s payroll including filing its quarterly payroll taxes and W-2s.  This will be a savings to the District.  She also stated that the District is in the process of preparing the fiscal year 2018 budget.  This budget will be presented to the Board in May at the Annual Meeting.  The 2017 preliminary financial audit has been scheduled for June 2017,

Mr. Gardow asked if the reduction presented by Ms. Vo-Le in the parking lot is due to bus service being provided by Amtrak.  Shotland indicated that she believed that people are going to West Haven from Hartford and parking for free, then taking the train from there.  She mentioned that some daily parkers who in the past utilized the Spruce Street lot from the New Britain/ Bristol area may be taking CTFastrak to Hartford.  Mr. Gardrow asked if the parking rate has changed at all, and was told that the rate has not changed in awhile.  Mr. Lockwood stated that he believes the passengers will return once rail service is operational.  He then asked if the parking tax is included in the Spruce Street Parking lot report, and Vo-le indicated that it was.  Mr. Lord asked if ProPark should submit the state tax for the District as part of their management role, and Ms. Vo-Le said she will look into this as an option.
Mr. Lockwood stated that on page three of the financial report it indicated that passenger fares are down.    Vo-Le stated that prior to July 2016 the Town of East Hartford subsidized the passenger fares entirely and the District was reimbursed from the town.  She mentioned that now the fare is shown as revenue from the state.  Shotland said that East Hartford residents now pay a portion of the ADA paratransit fare at a reduced rate.  Mr. Lockwood asked if ridership has decreased in East Hartford, and Shotland indicated that it had not.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for acceptance of the financial report as presented. Mr. Messenger made a motion for acceptance of the financial report which was seconded by Mr. Raney. The motion was passed unanimously 29.03 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Mitchell then asked Mr. Gonzalez for the ADA presentation at which time he stated the following:
Thirty-five (35) new replacement vehicles have been ordered. The expected delivery date is mid-May at the latest. The First Transit Fleet Maintenance staff will outfit the new vehicles with MDT’s, radios and cameras. Performing this in-house installation vs. utilizing the current contractor may save the state approximately $24K.  Anticipated move-in date to the new Roberts Street facility is on time.  It is a major effort to transition out of Wawarme and into the new site and to continue to operate the service without affecting the passengers. Some of the significant last minute details that must be coordinated include moving; the vehicles, fleet maintenance inventory, telephones, radios, computers, miscellaneous equipment, etc.  UPS now owns the Wawarme location and they have been extremely responsive to some problems at the site that the previous landlord did not take care of. The District submitted a request to CTDOT for additional staffing for First Transit. The request included (3) road supervisors, (2) reservationists, and (4) dispatchers.  Mr. Lord asked when the move-in date is.  Gonzalez stated that it is currently slated for the first weekend in July.  Shotland stated that a grand opening will take place after the operations are up and running.  She also noted that if possible a District Board Meeting may be planned at the new before the end of the year.

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

The Union Station welcome wall on Spruce and Asylum Streets are scheduled to be refurbished as soon as the weather improves.

The District is still waiting for results for the lights under the Church Street and Asylum Street tunnels. Jennifer Cassidy has worked diligently to help move the process along, but the response has been slow.

The winter has been tricky with some of the heavier storms, however our snow removal contractor has done an excellent job overall. He stated that we are always cognizant of the liability that exists with ice and snow. This year was even more challenging due to the fact that the new Transit Center has brought in many more passengers and the need to keep sidewalk passages open is critical.

The Metropolitan District (MDC) has requested permission to access our property. The manhole needs to be accessed to conduct necessary cleaning of the sanitary sewer lines.  The existing MDC easement for the sewer line is approximately 20 feet wide and is centered along the pipe alignment crossing the property.

Mr. Lockwood asked where the CTFastrak stop is currently located and whether or not the DOT should contribute for the use of the station’s facilities.  Gonzalez indicated the Union Station stop is located on Asylum Street at Bushnell Park.  He specifically stated that unfortunately the parade route this year created traffic jams on Spruce Street because CTfastrak was detoured and they had to drop off and pick up passengers there.  Mr. Lord asked if there is a schedule for when Amtrak is going back to using the railroad tracks.  Gonzalez indicated that it appears that construction activities are behind so we are not certain at this time.

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

Sigourney Street
Most of the contract work in the city signal contract has been completed.  The traffic signal controllers were delivered and installed.  Signals are now operational and the old span poles and signal heads have been removed.  As reported at last meeting, there are minor punch list items that need to be taken care of by the contractor.  These items will be addressed in the spring. Monthly meetings continue to be held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, GHTD, and the City.

New Britain
Information was provided for quarterly reports.  The District reviewed the final draft of the construction documents.  A meeting was held in February to review the project budget and to finalize the project items being funded with the Bus Livability grant program. Bid documents were released and bids are due on March 28th.

Union Station Master Plan
The documents that comprise the Master Plan are being finalized.  It was determined that this document will only include short and mid-term recommendations.

Brownstone Repairs
The District is working with the firm of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger to prepare the construction documents needed to conduct the Phase I repairs to Union Station.  The District staff provided comments to 90% design documents.  Documents will be forwarded to the SHPO office for review prior to their release. It is the intent to conduct construction activities during this construction season.



Title VI and DBE Program
The District received comments on its submissions for the Title VI and DBE Program.  Revisions have been requested by FTA.  The staff has revised and resubmitted the Title VI and is currently working on the DBE revisions.

Transit Asset Management Plan
The District is working on preparing the agency wide Asset Management Plan.  The plan’s objective is to prioritize funding allocation using an asset’s condition with the intent of maintain the transit system in a state of good repair. The first part of the plan included the preparation of Performance Measures and Targets.  District staff worked with DOT and other transit systems in developing this section of the Plan.

Bushnell Park North, the crew has been working on the punch list items, including working with Eversource for traffic signal activation, installing cabinets at the Jewel Street bus stop, planter guard fencing, and submitting a proposal for park fence repairs.  The contractor will be working with the insurance company to address the damaged done to the wall in accidents involving vehicles.  These walls will have to be repaired.

Asylum/Pearl/SHS is also substantially complete.  Traffic signal activation at American Row/Central Row is still pending for one mast arm, all others have been energized.  The contractor has submitted draft as-built documents and comments to these documents has been provided by all.  Minor items are being taken care of in anticipation of completing this portion of the project.

The District continues to participate in monthly construction meetings, provide monthly reporting to FTA and is currently in the process of finalizing the reimbursement request from the City of Hartford.

148 Roberts Street
Construction continues to progress at this facility.  Mechanical systems continue to be installed, windows are being installed, bathrooms are being tiled; the walls are being painted on the first and the second floor offices as well as the maintenance areas.  The lifts have been installed and shop equipment submittals are being reviewed.  Construction meetings are held on a weekly basis.  The schedule shows completion for the beginning pf June.  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. The District staff is working with the selection committee on choosing a vendor to provide the office furniture.  The staff continues to work on the RFP for the telephone system as well as the IT components.
Mr. Pitcock asked if the work at Gold Street would be completed by April 1?  Ms. Sheehan stated that Gold street realignment was completed and the street was opened to two-way traffic.  He asked if the damage to the Rock Sculpture was repaired?  Sheehan stated that it was, and all the work as designed has been completed except for the wall on Main Street.

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

  • Attended both the I-84 PAC Meeting and a meeting held by the new committee that has been formed called the Transit Technical Committee (TTC).  Members beside the District include; CTDOT I-84 Project Team, CTDOT Office of Rail, CDOT Bureau of Public Transportation, CRCOG, City of Hartford, Inner City Bus Operators, Amtrak and Taxi Operators. The purpose of the TTC is to serve as technical advisors to the I-84 Hartford Project Team in planning and developing concepts for a Hartford Multimodal Station. The TTC will hold several public hearings as part of the public outreach in the future.  Ms. Cassidy stated that she was impressed with the number of individuals from the City of Hartford who were present at the meeting.   Mr. Lord asked if Ms. Shotland felt she had sufficient input on the station for this project, and she responded with absolute confidence that we do.
  • Thaddeus Taylor, the court had granted the case flow request to continue the Motion to Dismiss argument to March 6th, but Mr. Taylor never showed on that date. Awaiting the court’s new scheduled date.
  • We received a judgment of possession on 2/21/2017.  The Owner of Hot Tomatos asked the District to hold off executing the judgment to give him more time to settle various income tax, unemployment tax and sales and use tax liens, so that he could sell the equipment to the incoming restaurant tenant. A transfer to the new tenant free of the tax liens would avoid; damage to the premises caused by the current owner’s removal of the equipment, and leaving the District to deal with auctioning the equipment and settling the liens if the current owner instead decided to abandon it.  Settlement of those liens appears to be falling into line, but the parties are waiting for United Bank to respond on a request to discharge an open UCC financing statement.
  • Staff met with CTDOT to discuss the District’s Capital Plan for FY’17.  We have asked for approximately $4ml in 5307 funding for Union Station and replacement vehicles
  • Finalizing negotiation and a new lease with Greyhound based on new leasehold space in the Transportation Center.
  • Sent members of the State Transportation Committee and town representatives a letter regarding the impending loss of the non-ADA (Dial-A-Ride) funding in the transportation budget. The concern for the possible loss of this money which annually has been secured for our member towns as a subsidy for town dial-a-ride services for their seniors and disabled residents.
  • Request for Proposals from the State have been released. The first being the Administration of the Statewide Drug & Alcohol Testing Program (Consortium) and the other being the Administration of the Statewide Insurance Consortium Program.  The District has been the oversight for both these programs for many years and will be submitting our proposals again.
  • The Request for Proposal for the District’s Legal Services was released on March 15th.

Mr. Mitchell explained the process followed by the District for the selection of Legal Services in the past procurements conducted by the District staff.  He stated that he will appoint Director(s) to participate on the selection committee.  Proposals are due on April 14th and the Committee will convene shortly after that.

Mr. Mitchell then called upon Ms. Sheehan to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee report.  Issues on the agenda February 21, 2017 included:

  • CRCOG’s Public Participation Plan has been drafted and is available online for review.  There will be a presentation on it at the next meeting.
  • There was discussion about the 2017 paving projects and participants were asked to review their community’s plans to see if there are any changes that can be made to accommodate non-motorized transportation (bicycles, pedestrians, etc.)
  • There was discussion about the uncertainty of funding for Transit and Amtrak under the new administration.

Mr. Mitchell called for new business. He reminded the attendees that the next Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Thursday, May 11, 2017.  There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Messenger moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. Rainey the motion passed by a unanimous vote of 26.73 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.  The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:43 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,

James McCavanagh/Secretary

Adopted Posted: 05/12/17