Norwalk Transit District Commissioners’ Special Meeting Minutes
April 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM – Norwalk Transit District
Norwalk Transit District Commissioners:
Norwalk Transit District Staff:
Kimberlee Morton, CEO
Britt Liotta, Chief Operating Officer
Lynette Brayboy, Manager of Human Resources
Steven Burka, CFAO
Hal Alvord, Director of Maintenance and Facilities
The meeting was called to order at 2:06 PM and a quorum was determined to be present.
Members of the public who wished to address the Commissioners were asked to do so. There were none.
Approval of Minutes of February 23, 2017
The minutes of the February 23, 2017 meeting of the Commissioners were unanimously approved as presented. Commissioner McQuaid abstained.
March 2017 Finance Report
Mr. Burka presented March 2017 financial results. The year-to-date has a surplus $110K, which is better than our original budget and reflects receiving funds for prior years’ Stamford ADA deficits. The surplus is being directly applied to the District’s cumulative deficit. The operating deficit year-to-date for all the services is $259K, fueled by Coastal Link and Stamford ADA. Both services are expected to be fully funded by the State, but receipt of such funds is expected to be delayed until at least next year.
Our borrowing rate rose to 4.25%
Fare revenue was up $21K over February as there were more operating hours.
Farebox recovery again crept up; now 16.6% through March, up from 15.9% through December
Bank Update and Signatories
Our revolving Line of Credit (LOC) is up for renewal at the end of the month and no issues are expected. Signature cards were updated to reflect the addition of our new Commissioner.
Pension Update – Written Consent to Action
We are awaiting IRS approval to merge our 401(k) into our 401(a) plan at Empower. A resolution was passed authorizing the merger contingent on final IRS approval.
The FY18 budget is due to the state on June 1 and will be presented to the Commissioners for approval at the next meeting. At that time a public hearing will be conducted. We will propose an increase in our operating budgets.
Health Insurance Renewal
Our medical and dental insurance plans renew on July 1. Medical premiums will increase an average of 3.5% and the dental will increase 6.5%.
Transit Operations Report
March 2017 Ridership
Mr. Liotta noted that since the changes were made to the routes in February, there have been strong showings in the increased ridership per hour on the impacted runs. Specifically:
Wheels 1 – up 15%
Wheels 4 – up 3%
Wheels 7 – up 4%
Wheels 12 – up 227%
NCC Shuttle – up 387%
Greenwich Central Shuttle – up 189%
Greenwich West Shuttle – up 166%
Mr. Liotta noted that this report, while still very good, will not compare apples exactly to apples. Due to the route cuts and eliminations, mileage and hours will not line up. However, Mr. Liotta noted that the adjustment to the routes now have a much better trend with reduced passengers to reduced miles and hours, much more in line with the decreased ridership trend. As well, it was noted that we lost one full day of ridership due to winter storm, which was a Tuesday, a high ridership day. Mr. Liotta commented that one note of interest is that Westport has not adjusted any of their schedule times despite very low ridership.
Route Match Operational Changes
Mr. Liotta noted that since the reorganization of the Operations Group on March 1st, plans are moving forward with increasing the efficiency of the Paratransit work. It has been noticed that the trips per hour has dropped from 1.60 to 1.42 in the past few months. Mr. Liotta tasked his Paratransit Manager, Christina Harrison, with working with Route Match, our Paratransit routing Software Company, to work on efficiencies. Ms. Harrison worked with Route Match for a week; in which scheduling was reinvented to ensure high usage of shared trips, as well as auto scheduling of vehicles each night. The result has been a positive change in trips per hour, averaging over 2.0 per day since the change. The downside of this is clients not understanding that we are a shared ride service, as they are all looking for individual rides to and from their destinations, so it has been an effort to reeducate them.
Paratransit Vehicle RFP
Mr. Alvord provided a summary of the two proposals received and made a recommendation for award to Shepard Brothers, Inc. Mr. Glickson made a motion to accept the recommendation in favor of Shepard Bothers, Inc. for up to 35 vehicles over a five year period for a total contract value of $4,243,215.00. Motion seconded by Commissioner McQuaid. The motion passed unanimously.
Paratransit Service RFP
RFP was issued March 1, 2017. The major change in the scope of work over previous years is the requirement for contractors to provide vehicles for the District’s exclusive use. All vehicles will be part of a single pool and batch scheduled for maximum efficiency with all of our current work. Nine proposals were received by the due date, April 14, 2017. One proposal was determined unresponsive. The first step in the evaluation process is complete. Eight proposals were qualified as possible viable contenders in some form or another. Request for Best and Final Offers (BAFO) were disseminated on April 26, 2017. The request was specific to each proposer based on areas that need to be enhanced or clarified. BAFOs are due by 5:00 pm on Monday, May 1st. The additional information will be processed and final proposal evaluations will be made. A special meeting of the Commissioners’ will convene for the formal award process.
Scissor Lift and Other Efficiency Equipment
Mr. Alvord advised we are in receipt of a scissor lift which conforms to OSHA requirements for working at heights. Additional efficiency equipment such as work benches, automated mobile oil dispensing units, bus air conditioning service units, automatic floor scrubber, 24 volt charging unit have been procured as part of a campaign to enhance the maintenance departments overall efficiency.
Foreman Keon Evans completed management training
All maintenance staff trained on scissor lift operations and OSHA Hazard Communications
Status of Wheels Bus Procurement
Mr. Alvord reported he is preparing technical specifications for the procurement of 30’, 35’ and 40’ buses. This purchase will include the replacement of our Orion buses, the heart of our fixed route fleet, since they are already well beyond the FTA useful life of 12 years. We also need a 40’ vehicle to replace 329 on the Coastal Link and he is working with the State regarding a potential loaner vehicle from the retiring CTTRANSIT fleet.
Status of Automated Maintenance Management System
Mr. Alvord and staff are reviewing demonstrations of automated maintenance management systems in preparation for developing a RFP. Almost all of our current maintenance management tools and procedures are manual. Funds are available in phase 2 of the AVL grant.
Maintenance and Facilities Update
Facilities Assessment – Presentation at May Meeting
The facilities assessment is nearing completion. Wendel will present findings and recommendations at the May Commissioners’ meeting.
Temporary On-site Gasoline Storage and Dispensing
Mr. Alvord advised he was working to arrange temporary on-site dispensing of gasoline before new paratransit vehicles begin to arrive. This is a priority since the new paratransit vehicles will have gasoline engines.
Ø In March NTD hired four Part-time ADA Driver Trainees who completed their six weeks training. NTD also hired a person to perform dual roles as a Part-time Money Counter for two days a week for six hours and a Part-time Data Input Clerk for up to 16 hours per week.
Ø In April NTD hired five Part-time Driver Trainees (3 Fixed Route - 2 ADA) who started their six weeks training on April 24th. NTD hired an Operations Dispatcher, who started on April 23rd.
Ø NTD promoted our Paratransit Specialist to Paratransit Manager on March 1st.
Ø NTD is currently recruiting for a Procurement and Grant Manager.
Ø A Part-time ADA Driver resigned, his last day was on April 20th.
Ø Advised that open enrollment will be coming soon for the July 1st renewal.
Ms. Morton reported we still no official word on funding for FY 2018. Mr. Burka will begin preparation of the budget with a 3% budget increase assumption.
Ms. Morton provided a copy of the most current letter to the State regarding pending financial matter. She summarized as follows.
Ø Ms. Morton reported the State finally provided reimbursement of Stamford ADA over runs dating back to FY 2011. FY 2016 Stamford ADA deficit remains pending in the amount of $14,038 and a revised TOD will be necessary.
Ø Coastal Link remains outstanding in the amount of $402,390 for FY 2011-2014.
Ø Coastal Link FY 2016 TOD remains outstanding in the amount of $394,264 and FY 2017 expected to be approximately $25,000. Recent service cuts implemented in late January 2017 has allowed us to fund the deficit portion of the Coastal Link in FY 2017. Revised TODs will be necessary.
Ø Silo Consolidation of Norwalk and Westport ADA in the amount of $141,424 for FY 15 and FY 16 remains pending. The State has corrected this matter going forward beginning with the FY17 TOD.
Ø FY 15 and FY 16 balance transfers for Westport and Norwalk Fixed Route services in the amount of $136,463 remains pending. The State has corrected this matter going forward beginning with the FY17 TOD.
Ø The State released final payment of FY 2016 funds ($240,386) with a 5% holdback pending final review and approval.
Restructuring Plan Update
Ms. Morton presented the revised organizational structure reflecting the changes discussed at the last meeting for formal approval. Those changes included the addition of the new Procurement and Grant Administration Manager. Additional changes are as follows:
Ø Upgrade of Director of Maintenance and Facilities to Chief Logistics Officer. The salary will be adjusted to reflect the pay rate for the officer position.
Ø Removal of the Director of Information and Technology from Finance and Administration to the Chief Logistics Officer
Ø Move the responsibility of procurement and grant administration from Finance and Administration to the CEO. The ongoing reporting relationship will be reviewed during the next six months.
Ø Shared responsibility of the Manager of Safety and Security between the Logistics Officer and COO.
Ms. Morton reported:
Ø Labor negotiations are ongoing and the last round of meetings were cancelled by the Union. We are in the process of coordinating schedules for future meeting dates.
Ø Ms. Morton is currently working with legal counsel regarding the development of NTD By-Laws
Ø Ms. Morton reported that she informed the State that the District was willing to participate in a Statewide Workers’ Compensation Program as long as there was clear agreement regarding paid loss finding from first dollar to the point that catastrophic coverage would be effective.
A motion to recess the Public Meeting and move into Executive Session to discuss a pending investigation was passed unanimously. The time was 3:20 pm. No formal action was taken.
A motion to move out of Executive Session and resume the Public Meeting was passed unanimously at 3:30 PM.
Any Other Business Properly Brought before the Board
No further business was brought before the Board.
Next Meeting May 25, 2017 and future meeting times
The attached list of revised meeting dates and times for the remainder of the calendar year was approved unanimously by the Commissioners.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is May 25, 2017 and will be held at the offices of the Norwalk Transit District at 9:00 a.m.
The meeting adjourned at 3:36 pm.
Kimberlee A. Morton
Kimberlee A Morton, CEO