August 31, 2016 Meeting

Norwalk Transit District Commissioners' Special Meeting

August 31, 2016 at 9:00 a.m.

AGENDA

  • Public Comment

  • Approval of minutes of June 23, 2016

  • Introduction of Chief Operating Officer

  • FY 2016 Year-End Ridership Update

  • Financial Update

  • Pre-audit FY 2016 year-end results

  • FY 2017 Budget Estimate

  • Authorization to extend the District’s existing line of credit with Connecticut Community Bank, of $3,600,000 to $4,000,000 and execute all documents required. 

  • Authorization Granting Powers to District Agents related to all financial activities with Connecticut Community Bank

  • State Update

  • Westport Transit District

  • Pension Payments

  • Sweep Account

  • Authorization to retain Kolinsky Wealth Management as the retirement plan consultant for the 401k plan and 457 plan

  • Authorization to move the 401k and 457 Plan to Empower Retirement

  • Approval of annual rate adjustment for FY 2017 Purchase Transportation Contracts through November 30, 2016

  • Delegation of Authority for the NTD User Manager

  • Adoption of the 2016 Public Participation Process

  • Adoption of the EEO Policy and the 2016 EEO Program Update

  • Triennial Review

  • Advertising Revenue

  • Union Negotiations

  • Transit Asset Management Plan

  • Facility Analysis Update

  • Presentation of Service Reduction/Modification Plan

  • Presentation of Fare Increase and Fare Structure Plan

  • Authorization to conduct a public hearing for the purpose of hearing comment on proposed fare increase, new fare structure and service reductions/modifications

  • CEO Update

  • Any Other Business Properly Brought before the Board

  • Next Meeting September 22, 2016

  • Adjournment

 

Norwalk Transit District Commissioners’ Special Meeting Minutes

August 31, 2016 at 9:00 AM – Norwalk Transit District

 

Attending
Norwalk Transit District Commissioners: Andrew Glickson and Sheldon Miller

Norwalk Transit District Staff:  Kimberlee Morton, CEO; Nancy Carroll, Chief Operating Officer; Lynette Brayboy, Manager of Human Resources; Hal Alvord, Director of Maintenance and Facilities; Britt Liotta, COO in transition; and, Steven Burka, CFAO

The meeting was called to order at 9:12 AM and a quorum was determined to be present. 

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

Approval of Minutes of June 23, 2016
The minutes of the June 23, 2016 meeting of the Commissioners were unanimously approved as presented. 

Introduction of Chief Operating Officer (In Transition)
Ms. Morton formally introduced Britt Liotta and welcomed him to the Norwalk Transit District.  Mr. Liotta will work closely with Ms. Carroll over the next four months to ensure a smooth transition upon Ms. Carroll’s retirement on December 31, 2016.  Ms. Morton reported the restructuring plan is currently complete. 

FY 2016 Year-End Ridership Update
Ms. Carroll reviewed in detail the Operations Report, Fixed-Route Wheels System Average Daily Ridership Report and Average Daily Ridership Comparison Reports all of which continue to trend downward and rest at an average of -5.46% at year-end.  Door-to-door services continue to trend upward in Norwalk and Stamford and downward in Westport.  The Commuter Shuttles continue to decline at an average of -10.64% for Norwalk, -13.28% for Greenwich and -27.02% for Westport.  The significant declines in Westport are attributed to the increased parking at the rail stations. 

Financial Update

  • Pre-Audit FY 2016 Results - Mr. Burka reviewed the pre-audit FY 2016 year-end results indicating an anticipated loss of $900,000. Services with deficits included WHEELS, CL, and Westport FR. There was a material difference between these results and what was projected earlier in the year. Much of the difference was explained by estimates in the earlier budget not materializing, e.g., additional State funding and additional fare revenue. Additionally, the State did not inform the District that the budget was going to be flat with the previous year until mid-June, 2016, once the year was effectively over, so mid-course corrections could not be made.

  • FY 2017 Budget Estimates - Mr. Burka presented the FY 2017 estimated budget which projects a shortfall of approximately $1M due to a cut in funding of the fixed route services, an expected loss in CL approximating $400K, Westport fixed route, Stamford ADA and Norwalk/Coastal Link ADA shortfalls.  Expenses, including labor, were not increased over actual experience levels from 2016, with the exception of medical and dental insurance. Our broker has primed us for an estimated 25% increase in premiums, and the additional expense is folded into the FY17 numbers. Norwalk assistance funds are now being shown in the General Fund instead of within specific services; the amount is being applied directly to the expected shortfall. The State cut fixed route funding by 2% and increased ADA funding by 2.2% which remains insufficient to keep up with the growth. Ridership is projected to decline 5%, which will bring fare revenue down but an increase in rates is expected to offset it. No route cuts have been considered in this budget.  After we have solidified our proposed service reductions a final FY 2017 budget will be brought to the Commissioners for their approval and revised budget will be disseminated to the participating municipalities.   . 

Ms. Morton requested that the Commissioners keep in mind that at this time the FY 2017 is a fluid document as we are embarking on several initiatives that may drastically change the projected year end result.  Final service reductions and fare increase changes will impact the bottom line.  We are also working with Route Match to develop a report that will provide us with the ability to charge the actual amount of time utilized to each sponsoring agency based on the riders’ actual usage.  Currently our methodology is based on the actual percentage of total trips provided which is applied to total hours provided.  

  • Authorization to extend the District’s existing line of credit with Connecticut Community Bank, of $3,600,000 to $4,000,000 and execute all documents required - The Commissioners unanimously endorsed the extension and increase of the line of credit.  

  • Authorization Granting Powers to District Agents related to all financial activities with Connecticut Community Bank – The Commissioners unanimously endorsed the removal of Stephen Hill and Nancy Carroll as a signatory on Norwalk Transit District accounts including online banking and loans.  Stephen Hill will be replaced by Mr. Steven Burka and Nancy Carroll with Britt Liotta effective August 31, 2016.  

  • State Update – Ms. Morton presented a letter sent on August 5, 2016 to Mr. Almeida outlining all of the remaining issues and reviewed the details.  She additionally advised that the State has consolidated the fixed-route and ADA silos as requested and this was represented in the new FY 2017 TOD.  Ms. Morton stated the two major outstanding items remain to be insufficient funding for the Coastal Link and Stamford ADA.  This was not addressed in the FY 2017 TOD.  Ms. Morton provided the Commissioners with copies of her most recent email dated August 30, 2016 to Michael Guerrera requesting a very specific response to these outstanding items as it is impossible for this agency to plan properly without formal disclosure of the State’s intent to fund these programs.  

  • A lengthy discussion ensued and the Commissioners unanimously directed Ms. Morton to arrange a meeting with both Mayor Rilling and local legislators regarding the District’s current financial situation and the inability to get a response from the State on this long standing matter.  

  • Westport Transit District – Ms. Morton informed the Commissioners regarding ongoing correspondence with the Westport Transit District Board of Directors regarding their need to make service cuts to bring their programs in line with available funding.  Ms. Morton shared the recent email correspondence dated August 18, 2016.  She stated she made the District’s position clear in that we will not absorb any operating loss for their program in FY 2017.  They have scheduled a meeting with pertinent NTD staff to discuss their options on September 1, 2016.  

  • Pension Payments – Ms. Morton advised that payments were been made to the 401k and 457 plans by their respective due dates.  

It was further noted that the calculation pertaining to the payment of the Union contribution under the pension plan was not consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and in fact additional contributions are being paid.  .  Management is currently investigating the proper implementation of this provision and on successful resolution will look toward implementation and formal notification to the Union.  

  • Sweep Account – Mr. Burka advised the Commissioners that we were successful in working with the bank in setting up a sweep account which will maximize the efficiency of the line of credit resulting in lower interest payments.  

Authorization to retain Kolinsky Wealth Management as the retirement plan consultant for the 401k plan and 457 plans
Ms. Morton reported currently the Unions’ 401k plan is currently managed by Kolinsky Wealth Management.  It is the recommendation of management to have the non-union 457 plan managed by them as well.  The Commissioners voted unanimously to retain Kolinsky Wealth Management as the retirement plan consultant for the 401k and 457 plans. 

Authorization to move the 401k and 457 Plans to Empower Retirement
Ms. Morton reminded the Commissioners that at the June 23, 2016 meeting presentations were made by the finalists for the handling of the 401k and 457 Plans.  The Union on both the local and international level was invited to participate.  Mr. Medina served as the representative during the presentations.  Mr. Medina advised he was favorable to the change and encouraged input from other members.  Ms. Morton in written correspondence advised the Union that it would be Managements’ recommendation to make the change and encouraged the Union to make any objection prior to the August 1, 2106 Commissioners meeting when this recommendation would be discussed and moved for final approval.  Absent any objection the Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the transition to Empower. 

Approval of annual rate adjustment for FY 2017 Purchase Transportation Contracts through December 31, 2016
Ms. Carroll presented the FY 2016 to FY 2017 rate adjustments submitted by each of the respective Purchased Transportation Contractors.  She noted that we are still in negotiations with several of the vendors that submitted increases as the District felt they were outside of price estimate parameters that were established to be fair and reasonable.  Ms. Carroll requested that the Commissioners endorse the fees as presented in the analysis as maximum not to exceed rates pending the successful closure of negotiations.   The Commissioners unanimously agreed to the not to exceed rates with the caveat that Ms. Carroll report back her final results.  They further stipulated a not to exceed date of December 31, 2016 as the impact of our service reduction plan needs to be included in any contract issued beyond that time. 

Delegation of Authority for the NTD User Manager
The Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize Ms. Kimberlee A. Morton, Chief Executive Officer, to be assigned the role of NTD User Manager for the FTA National Transit Database and FTA Transit Award Management Systems (TrAMS)

Adoption of the 2016 Public Participation Process
The Commissioners of the Norwalk Transit District unanimously adopted the 2016 Public Participation Process as a component of the previously submitted Title VI Plan Update. 

Adoption of the EEO Policy and the 2016 EEO Program Update
Ms. Brayboy highlighted the EEO program update and goal submission which is due on September 20, 2016.  The Commissioners unanimously adopted the EEO Policy and EEO Program 2016 update.  

Triennial Review
Ms. Morton noted that first round responses were submitted timely to FTA for closure.  To date one Procurement Finding was closed.  Ms. Carroll is currently working on her final response to the ADA review findings. 

Advertising Revenue
Ms. Morton requested that the Commissioners consider the possibility of bus advertising to produce the additional revenue needed to address our financial shortfall.  The roughly estimated revenue could be in the range of $80,000 to $150,000 annually depending on the market.  The discussion today was to facilitate the thought process for future discussion.  It is the intent to bring the subject back to the forefront after we analyze the impact of our upcoming service reductions and fare increase. 

Union Negotiations
Ms. Morton reported that we continue to provide the Union with information as requested.  It is her understanding that the Union will meet on this during early September and then we will arrange for a future meeting. 

Transit Asset Management Plan
Mr. Alvord reported that he is now nearly through with our first plan draft which is well ahead of schedule.  On finalization we will send it to the State for review and comment. 

Facility Analysis Update. 
Mr. Alvord reported the project is on track and a short list of four firms was selected for final proposal submittal. 

Presentation of Service Reduction/Modification Plan
Ms. Scavelli presented an extensive power point presentation on the proposed service reduction plan which is incorporated into the minutes by reference. 

Presentation of Fare Increase and Fare Structure Plan
Again Ms. Scavelli presented a detailed analysis in power point format which is incorporated into the minutes by reference.

Authorization to conduct a public hearing for the purpose of hearing comment on proposed fare increase, new fare structure and service reductions/modifications
The Commissioners unanimously authorized staff to move the proposed fare increase, new fare structure and service reductions/modifications as presented to formal public comment in accordance with NTD Public Participation Procedures.

CEO Update
No further report was noted.

Any Other Business Properly Brought before the Board
No further business was brought before the Board

Next Meeting September 22, 2016
The next regularly scheduled meeting is September 22, 2016 and will be held at the offices of the Norwalk Transit District at 9:00 a.m. 

Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 10:55 am.