November 2017 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Hartford Connecticut
November 9, 2017

Frank Lord, Vice Chairman

At 7:07 p.m., a quorum determined to be present; Mr. Lord called the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Greater Hartford Transit District (the “District”) to order in the 1st Floor Conference Room of the District’s ADA Paratransit Operations & Maintenance Facility, 148 Roberts Street, East Hartford, CT.  The following Directors were present: Peter J. Bonzani (2.30), East Hartford; Gilbert Hayes (1.00), East Windsor; Kevin Mooney (2.00), Enfield; Kevin R. McKernan (2.79), Frank Lord (2.79), and Jennifer Cassidy (2.79), Hartford; James R. McCavanagh (2.61) and Paul McNamara (2.61), Manchester; Ferguson R. Jansen (2.11), Simsbury; Richard F. Messenger (2.83), West Hartford; Brendan T. Flynn (1.19) and Peter Gardow (1.19), Wethersfield; 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 & Administrative Services, Mary Deppe, Manager of Grants and Planning, and Miguel LeFebre, Transportation and Facility Coordinator.  Others present included; Vanessa Rossitto and Leslie Zoll, BlumShapiro; Andrew Burke and Matthew Lontz, First Transit. (The numbers represented in the parenthesis of this paragraph equate to the weighted vote for each Director in attendance.)

Mr. Lord asked if there were any members of the public who wished to address the Board. There were none.  Mr. Flynn then moved adoption of the September 14, 2017 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Quintero and approved without modification by a vote of 36.90 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention. Mr. Lord next presented the proposed Calendar Year 2018 meeting dates, noting in particular the Annual Meeting that is scheduled for May 17, 2018. Mr. Gardow moved acceptance of the Calendar Year 2018 meeting dates, which was seconded by Mr. Messenger and approved unanimously by a vote of 36.40 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then called to order the Public Hearing related to the proposed FY 2017 & FY 2018 budget revisions at 7:12 PM.  Ms. Vo-Le provided an overview of the FY 2017 financial activity by fund agency-wide.   The proposed fiscal year 2017 budget revision shows a comparison between the budget which was adopted in May 2016 and actual results based on the fiscal year-end audit.  Mr. Mooney questioned why it is called a final budget and not an actual and was confused by the terminology. Ms. Vo-Le elaborated to its origin for clarification.  Overall, District total final revenues and expenditures respectively are approximately $46.8 million and $46.4 million, yielding $395,000 in excess of revenues over expenditures or $4,000 higher than budget.  The proposed fiscal year 2018 budget revision shows an overall decrease of $19,000 due to a reduction in program administration related to the CT Statewide Insurance Consortium as approved by CTDOT.  As a result, the District’s fiscal year 2018 proposed revised budget is $31,642,000 million – a change of (0.06%) from the adopted budget of $31,661,000 million. Mr. Lord asked if there were any comments from the public.  There were none.  He then asked for comments from the Board.   Mr. Quintero asked if there was revenue lost due to the parking spaces lost while construction was being done.  Ms. Shotland noted that she didn’t believe that it was substantial during the summertime, but it may have had some impact over the last couple of months. She also reiterated that CTfastrak has had the most significant impact on the drop in revenue.  Mr. Lord stated that Amtrak has been running a number of buses and questioned if it has contributed to revenue loss.  Shotland acknowledged that it appears to have affected the numbers over the past couple of years.  Hearing no additional comments from either the public or the Board, Mr. Lord declared the public hearing closed at 7:38 pm. Mr. Flynn moved to approve publication of notice for budget revisions for the newspaper which was seconded by Mr. Messenger, and approved by a vote of 36.90 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

The Vice Chairman then yielded the floor to Ms. Leslie Zoll of BlumShapiro 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 an unmodified and 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 FY 2016 and that the agency will submit for FY 2017 as well.  The Vice Chairman asked if there were any questions or comments from the Board regarding the presentation.  Mr. Gardow stated that he found an error on page VI, where it states that Mr. Lockwood is a representative from both Granby and North Granby. The change will be made and the inference to North Granby removed from the report.   Mr. Mooney made reference to the actual accrued liability, and Ms. Zoll stated that it went down in the previous year not the current one. Mr. Jansen moved, that the FY 2017 audit reports prepared by BlumShapiro are hereby accepted, subject to revisions necessary to reflect changes, if any, to the revised FY 2017 annual budget presented to this meeting made by the Board in connection with the revised budget’s adoption, such action scheduled to occur at the Board’s December meeting.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Quintero and accepted unanimously by a vote of 39.60 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then asked Mr. Gonzalez for his ADA presentation at which time Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:

  • The District is in the process of procuring (25) replacement ADA Paratransit buses.  These are expected to be delivered in the spring.  The District is requesting permission to dispose of the following vehicles that have reached the end of their useful life.
  • Vehicle radio issues are occurring in a couple of the towns that the paratransit operation services due to varying factors.
  • Currently working on restructuring some of the responsibilities and processes utilized in the District’s ADA department.
  • Looking into a future pilot propane program for fueling ADA Paratransit vehicles.  Visited a site with the CTDOT Transit Administrator for a demonstration by a vendor.


Mr. Lord asked Mr. Gonzalez to continue with his operations report.  Mr. Gonzalez stated the following:

  • There are still “punch list” items that need to be addressed at 148 Roberts Street, some are moving along quicker than others.
  • The District’s procurement department is working on the necessary preventative maintenance contracts at the Roberts Street facility. There is currently a Request for Quotes out for cleaning of the porous pavement.  The HVAC and security camera preventative maintenance services are also to be followed up with.
  • Currently in the midst of visiting each of the (11) insurance consortium member sites across the state over the next month to elicit feedback from them and to provide advice on accident prevention measures.
  • Entered into a contract with an HVAC vendor to replace one air conditioning unit at Chango Rosa, the difficult task is to coordinate the work so that there is little interruption to the restaurant’s operation as the work takes place.
  • CTDOT’s work on the I-84 viaduct which has taken place within the Spruce Street lot appears to be winding down. When complete we will get back the spaces that were lost over the past several months.


Ms. Cassidy asked who is responsible for the eroding bank in the parking lot.  The response from the District was uncertainty, but will look into it.  Mr. Gardow asked if the new facility is LEED Certified, and Mr. Gonzalez responded no.  However, there are many state-of-the-art systems that are integrated into the building to make it energy efficient.

Mr. Lord then called upon Ms. Deppe to provide her report.  Ms. Deppe stated the following:
New Britain
The City incorporated comments from CTDOT and went out to bid for the Beehive Bridge project on 10/24/17.  The city held a pre-bid conference on 11/9/17 and the bid opening will be on 11/30/17.  The city is contracting with Sign Pro for the Pedestrian Enclosure, Lighting, and Sculptures, which were removed from the larger project to reduce costs.
Brownstone Repairs
The District is working with Capasso Restoration to finalize a contract for the Brownstone Restoration project.  The contract includes the base bid ($748,400) as well as the add alternate ($73,800) to clean 100% of the Brownstone in the project area.   The majority of the work will begin in April and be completed in September.  The contractor will do a thorough examination of the Brownstone on the North side of the building this fall and ordering materials over the winter.
Audit Services
A Request for Proposal for auditing services was sent out.  Members of the review committee were sent the proposals and evaluation materials. They will meet in mid-November to review and discuss proposals, providing a recommendation to the Board of Directors for approval at the December meeting.  

DBE Program:
The District compiles information from contractors for major projects from purchase orders to develop and submit the semiannual Disadvantage Business Enterprise report to the FTA.  The purpose of the DOT’s DBE Program is to see that there transit agencies award a fair opportunity to compete for federally funded contracts.
Title VI
In response to the District’s one finding during the FTA Triennial Review, and in regard to four of our subrecipients lack of full Title VI Programs; the District was tasked with assisting Hartford, New Britain, Enfield and Mansfield with developing compliant programs.   Ms. Drake was able to work with those towns and collected all of the required information from each.  Enfield has their Title VI Program on the agenda for approval this week and a full package from the District will be submitted to FTA once this is complete.


Transit Procurement Training
Ms. Drake attended a week long course given by the National Transit Institute in Procurement Management.  This is a week-long training offered for recipients of FTA funding and an overview of transit procurement, specifically FTA circular 4220.1F, and emphasizes best practices for procurement.  Mr. Quintero asked what type of work is included in the Brownstone project, and Ms. Deppe provided aspects from the scope of work in the RFP.

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

  • Greyhound has begun its start up in the Transportation Center which will generate additional leasehold revenue for the District.
  • A new tenant is in current negotiations with the District to move into the space in the unoccupied north side office area in the Great Hall effective December 1, 2017.
  • Met with CTDOT to discuss the upcoming budget challenges and a strategy for the District’s spending of capital funds over the course of this upcoming fiscal year. Other ongoing non-financial issues were also discussed.
  • Non-ADA Dial-A-Ride Funds appear to be restored under the new state budget so the District will be providing agreements to the towns over the next few months with funding to follow.
  • Attended the semi-annual Transit Research Board’s (TOPS) committee meeting in October along with other appointed transportation CEO’s to choose research projects for future funding.
  • The current pending criminal case has the next hearing scheduled for November 20, 2017.
  • The Town of East Hartford was notified in writing that the personal property owned by the District and located at 148 Roberts Street is exempt from taxation pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes Section 12-81(4).  The District has no obligation to file a declaration of its personal property, however, in response to their request, and reserving all rights with respect to such exemption, we did provide a response to their Declaration form and attached a List of Personal Property.   Section 12-81(4) exempts from property taxation property belonging to a municipal corporation and used for a public purpose. 
  • We also received by mail from both the town of East Hartford and the City of Hartford a blank Quadrennial Report (Form M-3).  This form is not applicable because the General Statutes do not require the filing of the form by a municipal corporation, such as GHTD, which qualifies for a tax exemption under General Statutes Section 12-81(4).   


Mr. Mooney asked if First Transit is a consultant. Ms. Shotland stated that they are the District’s contractor providing the ADA Paratransit service.  Mr. Lord asked if the District is going to review the parking fees in the Spruce Street lot.  Ms. Shotland stated that she will speak to Mr. Mitchell about appointing Directors to the Parking Lot Committee which has not met in quite a while.  Mr. Gardow inquired about “a pilot in lieu of taxes.”  The response was not by the District.  Mr. Hayes asked who owns the buses. Ms. Shotland told him that the District does, and that they were procured by both federal and state funds.  Mr. Lord asked if there is someone at Day Pitney that can help with this.  Ms. Shotland stated that Joseph Hammer is representing us regarding this matter.  Mr. Mooney alluded to the talk about I-84 being put underground.

Mr. Lord then called upon Ms. Shotland to provide a summary on the CRCOG Transportation Committee Meeting which was held on September 25, 2017.  She first mentioned that Mr. Mitchell appointed Ms. Cassidy as the representative to the Transportation Committee for the District as Mr. Hayes stepped down from that role.  She next mentioned that Peter Calcaterra, CTDOT gave a brief presentation on Autonomous Vehicles and the emerging legislation and pilot efforts being undertaken in the State.  She also mentioned that Cara Radzins/CRCOG briefed the Committee on the Storrs Express Bus Service (Route 913) that began operating on August 13th between Hartford and Storrs Center. Ms. Shotland stated that she attended the CRCOG Policy Board meeting which was held on October 18, 2017, however there were no additional transportation issues discussed since there was no October Transportation Committee meeting.

Mr. Lord wanted all to know that the next Regular Board of Directors Meeting will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017 at the District’s offices in Hartford.

There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Flynn moved that the meeting be adjourned. Upon seconding by Mr. Messenger, the motion passed by a vote of 39.60 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:36 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James McCavanagh/Secretary

Adopted:  12/14/17