May 2017 Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Greater Hartford Transit District
Hartford Connecticut
May 11, 2017

Stephen F. Mitchell, Chairman

At 7:10 p.m., a quorum determined to be present; Mr. Mitchell called the Annual 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), East Hartford; Gilbert Hayes (1.0), East Windsor; Stephen F. Mitchell (2.00) Enfield; Jennifer Cassidy (2.79), Frank Lord (2.79), and Kevin R. McKernan (2.79), Hartford; James McCavanagh (2.61) and Paul McNamara (2.61), Manchester; John M. Kelly (1.37) and William Hall (1.37), Newington; David Giordano (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; Sandra Sheehan, Director of Grants and Contract Administration and, Mary Poesse, Grant and Procurement Program Coordinator.  (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 member of the public who wished to address the Board. There was a question regarding the District’s representation at the GRCOG Transportation Meeting.  A response was provided by the Chairman and Ms. Sheehan.  Mr. Mitchell gave the members of the Board an opportunity to review the March 2016 Minutes.  Mr. Rainey indicated that there was a misspelling of his name.  Mr. Lord then moved adoption of the March 16, 2017 meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Rainey and approved with revision by a vote of 28.36 yea, 0.00 nay and 2.84 abstention.

The Chairman next asked for presentation of the current financial report. Ms. Vo-Le stated that the District’s financial report reflects activities during the first nine months of fiscal year 2017 for the ADA Paratransit Program, General Fund, Spruce Street Parking Lot, and Union Station.

The ADA program has incurred a total of nearly $12.5 million in expenditures.  Of which, 98.4% or $12,262,000 is funded by CTDOT and the remainder is generated by other source of revenue such as passenger fares ($127,600), performance standard penalties ($40,195), and transit advertising revenues ($26,250).  Comparing actual result to budget, total revenues and expenses are slightly under budget by 2% or $296,200.   On the expense side:  fuel & diesel is under budget by $304,000, and ADA service is slightly over budget by $15,900.

Mr. Lord asked why there was such a reduction in total revenues.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated that passenger fares are budgeted based on last year’s budget and historical data.  The difference is due to the changes made by the City of East Hartford regarding funding the dial a ride program.  The fares now go directly to Conn DOT and are therefore not shown on the budget.

The General Fund has generated $93,691 in revenues, incurred $16,152 in expenses, and yielded $77,538 in excess of revenues over expenses.  This fund is anticipated to generate between $40,000 and $50,000 in excess of revenues over expenses by the end of the fiscal year.  Ms. Shotland indicated that a portion of the expenses are related to the legal costs associated with the eviction at Hot Tomatos Restaurant and, the negotiation of a contract with the new restaurant tenant.

The Parking Lot has generated $262,212 in revenues.  As compared to the first nine months of fiscal year 2016, revenues have declined by $30,632 or 10%, which is a combination of a decrease in daily and event parking revenues.  Parking Lot actual revenues, expenditures, and excess of revenues over expenses are:  $274,749, $95,757, and $178,992; respectively.  Also comparing actual to budget, the Parking Lot yields a net unfavorable variance of $19,613 mainly due to the impact of lower daily parking revenues ($37,618) partially offset by lower professional services ($11,747) and indirect cost allocation ($9,291) than was originally budgeted.

Union Station actual revenues and expenditures totaled $1,290,000 and $1,347,000; respectively, and yielded $56,680 in excess of expenditures over revenues.  Comparing actual result to budget, the Station yields a net unfavorable variance of $11,350.

The District’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year 2016 qualifies for Governmental Financial Officer Association’s (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by the District and its management.  Ms. Vo-Le thanked the entire accounting staff for their assistance in getting the budget done and continuing to perform their duties.

Mr. Mitchell then asked for acceptance of the financial report as presented. Mr. Peter Bonzani made a motion for acceptance of the financial report which was seconded by Mr. John Kelley. The motion was passed unanimously 31.20 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

At 7:31 p.m., Mr. Mitchell called to order the Public Hearing regarding the Presentation of and public hearing on the District’s itemized revenue and expenditure estimates for the Fiscal Year 2018. Ms. Vo-Le provided a comprehensive overview of the FY2018 budgetary projections by program and fund. The District’s budget consists of three funds:  Special Revenue, General, and Enterprise.  The Special Revenue Fund is funded by federal grants, state grants, and local match.  It includes one operating program, various administrative programs, and several capital projects.  Each of these programs and projects has its own budget.  Special Revenue Fund total budgeted revenues are $27.5 million (FY18) and $36.8 million (FY17).  Of which, 92% or $25.4 million (FY18) and 94% or $34.5 million (FY17) are transportation projects.  The FY18 budget is decreased by $9.3 million as compared to FY17 due to a combination of less construction activity during FY18 as certain projects are coming closer to completion and a new project that will be commenced during fiscal year 2018. The ADA is a major operating program of the Special Revenue Fund that has a budget of $18.1 million (FY18) and $16.6 million (FY17).  Approximately $17.8 million (FY18) / $16.0 million (FY17) are anticipated to be funded by CTDOT.  The FY18 budget is higher than the prior fiscal year as a result of an increase in operated hours and passenger trips.  The budgets for the Administrative programs are as follows: Dial-A-Ride:  $360,000 for each of FY18 & FY17; New Freedom:  $84,000 (FY18) / $97,000 (FY17); Drug and Alcohol Testing Consortium: $322,000 (FY18) / $340,000 (FY17); Transit District Insurance Consortium: $3.5 million (FY18) / $3.6 million (FY17). The budgets of the Capital Projects are presented as follows: Enfield Intermodal Center $515,000 (FY18) / $298,000 (FY17); Regional Bus Shelters $161,000 (FY18) / $220,000 (FY17); New ADA Facility $314,000 (FY18) / $5.8 million (FY17); Administrative Capital and Support Equipment $390,000 (FY18) / $364,000 (FY17); Vehicle Procurement $1.8 million (FY18) / $2,979,000 (FY17); and the new capital project:  New Britain Livability Program $1,975,000 (FY18).  The following capital projects are to be completed during fiscal year 2017:  Tiger $4.0 million; Sigourney Street Livability $1.5 million; Soldiers & Sailors/Asylum & Pearl Streets enhancements $385,000; and Hartford Livability $181,000.

The General Fund is the District’s primary operating fund.  Funding sources consist of member town contributions, interest income, and sale of disposed vehicles.  Revenue generated from the sale of vehicle disposal is restricted.  The General Fund is budgeted at $131,000 (FY18) / $143,000 (FY17) in revenues and $41,000 (FY18) / $46,000 (FY17) in expenses, yielding $90,000 (FY18) / $97,000 (FY17) in excess of revenues over expenses.  Member town contribution for FY18 is at $0.15 per capital vs. $0.14 for the prior fiscal year.  The District’s Enterprise Fund includes:  Spruce Street Parking Lot and Union Station Public and Private Operations.  Major funding sources consist of rental income, parking revenues, Federal grants, and State Grants.  Parking Lot is anticipated with $496,000 (FY18) / $448,000 (FY17) in revenues and $231,000 (FY18) / $155,000 (FY17) in expenses, yielding $265,000 (FY18) / $293,000 (FY17) in excess of revenues over expenses.  The FY18 budget includes a parking management system ($110,000) that will be funded by federal and state grants. Union Station Public Operation is budgeted at $1.2 million (FY18) / $476,000 (FY17) in revenues and $1,046,000 (FY18) / $330,000 (FY17) in expenses, yielding $118,000 (FY18) / $146,000 (FY17) in excess of revenues over expenses.  Fiscal Year 2018 Budget includes several capital improvements totaled $715,000 that will be funded by federal and state grants. Union Station Private Operation is budgeted at $2.4 million (FY18) / $1.8 million (FY17) in revenues, $2.5 million (FY18) / $1.97 (FY17) in expenses, and anticipated to have a $99,000 (FY18) / $144,000 (FY17) in excess of expenses over revenues.  The fiscal year 2018 budget includes a 1.5 million for the brownstone building improvement which will be funded by federal and state grants.  Both Public and Private Operations are budgeted at a net of $29,000 (FY18) / $2,000 (FY17) in excess of revenues over expenses.  In summary, the Enterprise Fund is anticipated to yield $284,000 (FY18) / $295,000 (FY17) in excess of revenues over expenses. Overall, total fiscal years 2018 and 2017 budgets for the District are: $31.7 million and $39.7 million in revenues, $31.3 million and $39.3 million in expenses, $374,000 and $392,000 in excess of revenues over expenses.  This excess is contributed by the General Fund and the Enterprise Fund.

Mr. Mitchell asked if there were any comments or questions from the public regarding the FY2018 Proposed Budget. Mr. Bradshaw Smith, a member of the public, raised a question concerning the budget. There was a disturbance, which Mr. Mitchell, Mr. McKernan, and Mr. Kelly left to address.  Mr. Lord took over from Mr. Mitchell the running of the remainder of the meeting.

At 8:12 p.m., Mr. Lord closed the Public Hearing and reconvened the Annual Meeting.Mr. Lord than asked for Consideration of adoption of a motion approving and authorizing the publication of a report of the District’s: (1) Fiscal Year 2017 itemized revenues and expenditures, (2) Fiscal Year 2018 itemized revenue and expenditure estimates, and (3) estimated revenue surplus or deficit as of the close of Fiscal Year 2017.   The Vice Chairman than asked if there were any members of the Board wishing to make comment. Mr. Hall asked why the Janitorial and building maintenance services budget line item is decreasing year over year.  Ms. Vo-Le indicated those costs are fixed for the upcoming year based on current contracts.  After no additional discussion, the Board approved the motion made by Mr. McNamara and seconded by Mr. Quintero.  The motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.04 yea, 0.00 nay and 0.00 abstention.

Next on the agenda Mr. Lord asked for consideration of Resolution No GHTD-18-FTA-1 Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of Federal Grants. Upon motion made by Ms. Gamble and seconded by Mr. Quintero the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.04 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

The Vice Chairman then asked for consideration of Resolution No. GHTD-18-STATE-1, Authorizing Filing and Acceptance of State Grants. Upon motion made by Ms. Joan Gamble and seconded by Ricardo Quintero, the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.04 yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention.

Mr. Lord then asked for Program Presentations. Ms. Shotland was called upon to present the ADA Paratransit report and she began by discussing:

  • Received (35) new replacement vehicles. At the present time almost 100% of the buses are on the road.  The decision to retrofit the buses in-house has proven to be a benefit since it has cut down on the time to get the buses road-ready.  This has also made stripping the retired buses much easier.  Also as the replacement buses go on the road, the vehicles that have met their useful life are properly auctioned.
  • Anticipated move-in date to the new Roberts Street facility is still on time.
  • An eligibility determination appeal was heard and the initial decision was overturned by a diverse panel to allow the prospective passenger to ride the ADA Paratransit service.

Mr. Lord asked Ms. Shotland to continue with the Operations Report.  She stated the following:

  • Union Station “welcome wall” on Spruce and Asylum streets has been completed except for lighting.
  • Lighting for Church and Asylum Streets will go out for RFP by June.
  • Working with procurement staff on the Union Station door refinishing project.
  • Coordinating efforts with procurement staff to repair the massive pothole located at the exit-way onto Church Street.
  • Met with Union Station tenants to go over fire alarm and proper evacuation procedures.
  • Had an unscheduled fire drill on May 9th, all went well. Tenants and passengers cleared the facility properly based on District staff’s coordination efforts.
  • Will be hiring a Security Supervisor under an agreement with our contractor (SSC) to help train and elevate the performance of the other Union Station security officers.

Ms. Shotland presented her administrative report by discussing the following:

  • Reached a settlement agreement with Thaddeus Taylor in the amount of $5,500.00, conditional upon the plaintiff executing a release agreement in the District’s favor releasing us from any and all claims. The release will contain confidentiality language. The court conference has been scheduled for 5/15/17 so that the plaintiff confirms his understanding and agreement to the terms and amount. He will file a withdrawal of action at that time.
  • Negotiations with Greyhound on a new lease and revision to their current space is ongoing, but getting closer to resolution.
  • Also presenting a draft lease on additional space that Propark desires.
  • Will be actively looking for a new tenant(s) shortly for the retail space in the Transit Center.
  • Received notification that the District was once again awarded the statewide Drug & Alcohol Program and the Statewide Insurance Consortium Program for the next five years.
  • District is to receive 100% of funding requested for FY’17 for Capital Projects.  The federal portion of each is $1.4M for paratransit vehicles, $520k for Administrative Capital & Miscellaneous Support, and $1.5M for Union Station projects.
  • A temporary (interim) employee has been hired to replace Ms. Sheehan for up to 90-days. This provides time to advertise for the Director of Grant & Contract Administration position.
  • A sanctioned amateur boxing event will take place in the Great Hall on May 13th.  An estimated 400 people will be in attendance.


Mr. Lord then asked Ms. Sheehan to continue with the presentation of her department’s report, and she stated the following:

Sigourney Street
All of the contract work in the city signal contract has been completed.  The punch list items that needed to be taken care of by the contractor have been.  Monthly meetings continue to be held with the Contractor, field inspection staff, designer, GHTD, and the City. Reporting is needed in the interconnect testing and volume books need to be completed in order for the project to be closed out.

New Britain
The city received three bids in response to the IFB issued for the project.  Bids were received from three contractors and prices ranged from $4.6M to $9.3M. The low bidder withdrew their bid and the two others were well above the budget of $5.8M. The City of New Britain is analyzing the bids to determine why certain items were bid so high to value engineer the project to get bid prices down to the budget for re-bidding.

Brownstone Repairs
The District continues to work with the firm of Simpson Gumpertz & Heger to prepare the construction documents needed to conduct the Phase I repairs to Union Station.  Construction documents were forwarded to the SHPO office for review prior to their release. It is the intent to conduct construction activities during this construction season after final approval from SHPO

Title VI and DBE Program
The District addressed comments on its submissions for the Title VI and DBE Program.  Revisions to the documents were made a submitted to FTA.

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 to complete all the items on the punch list, items completed include traffic signal activation, installation of cabinets at the Jewel Street bus stop, plater guard fencing, and park fence repairs, repairs to damaged walls, staining of wall, landscaping, etc… A revised punch list was issued and contractor is working to complete these items by May 19th.  There are six pedestrian street lights that will need to be installed once the lights arrive.  Asylum/Pearl/SHS is completed.  The contractor has submitted as-built documents and signal plans are being overlay on these documents to be placed at traffic signals.  Book Volume reviews are taking place.   The District continues to participate in monthly construction meetings, provide monthly reporting to FTA and coordinating close out activities with the City of Hartford.

Construction continues at the facility.  Substantial completion is scheduled for June 20th.  Mechanical systems are complete with balancing and testing taking place, windows and restrooms are complete, the walls continue to be painted as is the trim and window frames.  The bus washer has been installed and shop equipment will start arriving soon.  Perimeter fencing is being installed and construction is taking place for the heated slab.  Landscaping work is being done.  Construction meetings are held on a weekly basis.  VHB has a resident engineer and a construction inspector overseeing the construction of the building on behalf of the District. The District staff has chosen a vendor to provide the office furniture which will be delivered on June 12th.  The Selection Committee is reviewing response for the telephone system.  A Purchase Order has been issued for the IT components.

Mr. Lord then called upon Mr. Hayes to provide the CRCOG Transportation Committee report.  Mr. Hayes provided the committee report from the April 24th meeting.  A discussion item included the Comprehensive Transit Service Analysis (CSA). Recommendations were developed for the purposes of; improving transit services for current and prospective users, complementing recent and planned transit investments, and ensuring that CTTransit operates as efficiently as possible.   One other item of interest is that CRCOG will be hiring a consultant to develop the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and work is expected to begin in June.
Mr. Lord asked if there was any new business for discussion.  He then reminded the Directors the next meeting (and last one before the summer) will be held on Thursday June 22, 2017.
There being no further business brought before the Board, Mr. Bonzani moved that the meeting be adjourned.  Upon seconding by Mr. McNamara, the motion passed unanimously by a vote of 25.04yea, 0.00 nay, and 0.00 abstention. The Annual Meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

James McCavanagh/Secretary

Adopted: 06/22/17