April 2, 2015 Meeting

4-2-15 | Agenda and Minutes

AGENDA

  1. Approval of minutes of March 5, 2015
  2. Public Comment
  3. February 2015 Financial Statement
  4. Restructuring Plan Implementation
  5. CTDOT Correspondence Update
  6. AVAIL Update
  7. New Hires:
    Operators
    Mechanic 
  8. Unfair Labor Practice
  9. NEPTA
    COA/Facility Analysis
  10. Transportation Improvement Plan
  11. Municipal Grant
  12. Western CT COG/MPO
  13. Town of Westport Budget Process
  14. CEO Update
    City of Norwalk Meeting
    Western CT COG/MPO
    Stand Up 4 Transportation
    West Avenue Developers Meeting
    Other
  15. Other Business
  16. Adjournment


Minutes

Attending
Norwalk Transit District Commissioners: Andrew Glickson and Sheldon Miller
Norwalk Transit District:  Kimberlee Morton, CEO; Nancy Carroll, Chief Operating Officer; and, Richard Bangs, Director of Finance and Administration

The meeting was called to order at 10:30 AM and a quorum was determined to be present. 

Approval of Minutes of March 5, 2015
The minutes of the March 5, 2015 meeting of the Commissioners were unanimously approved. 

Public Comment
Members of the public who wished to address the Commissioners were asked to do so.  There were none.   

February 2015 Financial Statements
Mr. Bangs presented the February financial statements.  He stated we were still in pursuit of Coastal Link funding and demonstrated we would be on task for favorable position at year end if this was achieved.  A large contributing factor to a favorable positon is the declining expense of fuel cost which the District will realize beginning May 1st.

Ms. Morton added that next month the financial information will be regrouped into silos that are consistent with our funding agreements.  This will provide for a clear picture of our financial standing by funding source as opposed to service type.  Ms. Morton also added that as we have worked on this compilation of this new information it was realized that we had yet to receive funding from the CTDOT for the additional service put on the Norwalk Commuter Shuttle run despite written approval.  Ms. Morton said she will address this immediately with CTDOT. 

Restructuring Plan Implementation
Ms. Morton reported that formal written notification was provided to the employee holding the position that would be eliminated and that the official elimination date would be May 31, 2015. 

Approximately 60 plus resumes were received for the new Manager of Human Resources position.  Interviews are being scheduled for the week of April 13th. 

CTDOT Correspondence Update
Ms. Morton reported that the transmittal was sent and received.  She has been notified that it has been circulated to other key persons within the Department.  She is waiting to follow-up with Mr. Sanders next week to allow time for CT Fastrak to settle in after the official opening this week.

AVAIL Update
Ms. Carroll reported that the adoption installation was moving along successfully.  Modifications have been made to the location of MDT’s.  New Flyer and Gillig fleets are close to installation completion.  Security protocols are being developed to ensure investment is protected. 

New Hires
Ms. Carroll reported we have six new part-time operator trainees.  They will primarily serve to reduce overtime expenditures.  We additionally hired one full-time class B mechanic who replaced a mechanic who left due to health reasons. 

Unfair Labor Practice
Ms. Morton reported that the Union has agreed to withdraw their Unfair Labor Practice claim related to the benefit level of prescription coverage.  No sooner did we resolve this matter when we learned all employees with HSA accounts received bank notifications regarding the institution of a monthly $4.00 service charge effective May 1st.  As a result Mr. Bangs has begun to research other alternatives.  Earlier this week we met with Patriot Bank as they are one of the few banks left with no fee HSA’s.  We also requested a comprehensive banking proposal which will be presented in full at a latter Commissioner Meeting.

NEPTA
Ms. Morton reported that she and Ms. Carroll attended the NEPTA Conference held in Hartford at the Conference Center.  She stated it was informative as it provided general information sessions on a variety of topics including regulatory applications, industry best practices and new innovative practices.  It also provided a transit expo which provided the opportunity to view new equipment and technologies. 

Ms. Morton reported that it provided an opportunity to discuss with several vendors the scope and related costs associated with both a COA and Facility Analysis that are high on the District’s priority list. 

Transportation Improvement Plan
Ms. Carroll reported that she and Ms. Morton met with Sandy Infantino from the CTDOT’s Capital Projects Office.  Recommendations were made on the timing of future projects and prioritization.

Municipal Grant
Ms. Carroll reported the completion and submittal of the Municipal Grant Application for the City of Norwalk and Town of Westport. 

Town of Westport Budget Process
Ms. Carroll reported that she, Ms. Morton and Mr. Bangs attended the Town of Westport’s Board of Finance Restoration Hearing in an attempt to convince the board to restore the budget back to its original submittal.  The restoration failed and will now go to the RTM for consideration. 

CEO Update
City of Norwalk Meeting.  Ms. Morton reported on her meeting with Mayor Rilling regarding her ongoing interest in the development activity in the City of Norwalk.  Mayor Rilling advised of his ongoing monthly staff meetings that would include this subject matter.  Mayor Rilling graciously extended the District an invitation to participate.

Western CT COG/SWRMPO.  Ms. Morton participated in the most recent SWRMPO Meeting.  The SWRMPO officially endorsed by way of resolution the designation of the Western CT Council of Governments as the transportation planning agency for the South Western Region Metropolitan Planning.  Ms. Morton publically commented on the potential and/or appearance of conflict that could present itself if Western CT COG assumed the continuing contractual relationship held by HVCEO with HART in respect to future planning, governance or funding initiatives that would favor the Housatonic Valley over the Southwestern Region. 

She additionally attended the Western CT COG and the HVRMPO meetings.  She will continue to represent the District at these meetings to ensure that the District remains current on activities of the entire region given the recent planning region consolidation and in anticipation of potential future MPO designation on this matter. 

Ms. Morton stressed the importance of hearing the clear message on both the state and federal level regarding regionalization.  She stated although we appear to stand alone as a one City transit system that in fact we do provide services to other towns and cities, however perception is everything.  Ms. Morton felt the District was vulnerable standing alone and would pursue possible coordination initiatives for future consideration.  While the Commissioners supported further investigation into this matter they reiterated the priority was the current financial position and restructuring plan. 

Stand Up 4 Transportation.  Ms. Morton provided a handout highlighting activities for Stand Up 4 Transportation Day on April 9th in Connecticut. The day is designated for supporters around the nation to unite in their communities an online to send a powerful message to Congress:  It’s time to provide long-term investment for America’s transportation network.  Only comprehensive, long-term federal funding will enable us to repair, maintain, and adequately expand America’s public transportation, roads, bridges, ports and rail systems to help bring our nation’s transportation system up to speed with the 21st century.  Short-term, inconsistent funding slow progress and cost America’s taxpayers more in the long run. Congress must take action by May 31st. 

West Avenue Developers Meeting.  Ms. Morton reported that she and Ms. Carroll attended a meeting hosted by the City of Norwalk’s Office of Economic Development.  All Developers were present and all expressed a unified voice in support of the need of a downtown circulator.  Ms. Carroll presented a schematic of a proposed circulator for their review which was distributed earlier this week.  On consensus the District will prepare a corresponding cost analysis with varying headway times to be presented at a reconvened meeting of all the parties on April 7th. 

Other Business
Ms. Morton provided an update on a recent meeting with the District’s insurance broker, USI, regarding contract performance issues.  Ms. Morton would consider the changes as presented but informed them that regardless of the outcome, a competitive bidding process would occur as their contract was at expiration with no viable renewals.   

Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 11:40 am.