June 29, 2017 Norwalk Transit District's Commissioners' Special Meeting

Norwalk Transit District Commissioners’ Special Meeting Minutes

 

June 29, 2017, 2017 at 2:00 PM – Norwalk Transit District

 

Attending

Norwalk Transit District Commissioners:

Andrew Glickson

Alice McQuaid

 

Norwalk Transit District Staff: 

Kimberlee Morton, CEO

Britt Liotta, Chief Operating Officer

Lynette Brayboy, Manager of Human Resources

Steven Burka, CFAO

Lori Richards, Manager of Procurement and Grants Administration

 

The meeting was called to order at 2:05 PM 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 Special Meeting May 25, 2017

The minutes of the May 25, 2017 Special Meeting of the Commissioners were unanimously approved as presented. 

Union Negotiations

Ms. Morton reported that a tentative settlement was reached.  Ms. Morton detailed the major highlights of the tentative agreement.  The Union has scheduled a membership meeting for July 9, 2017 to review the tentative plan.  Ratification vote is scheduled for July 17, 2017.

Ms. Morton requested that the Commissioners’ provide formal approval of the tentative agreement as previously discussed.  Commissioners’ Glickson and McQuaid unanimously approved the tentative agreement. 

Drivers’ Room

An opportunity to rent space for a Drivers area became available in the vicinity of the hub location.  Ms. Morton presented the Lessor’s term sheet and advised this was the first step in the negotiation process and represents the high end of negotiations.  Based on the information currently proposed Ms. Morton anticipates the first year at approximately $40,000 annually.  This lease agreement will allow the District to discontinue the current arrangement with the City of Norwalk under which we rent two bathrooms at the Yankee Doodle Garage.  It also provides for full compliance with the Union contract provision that requires us to designate four parking spaces at the hub location for the sole use of drivers’. 

Ms. Morton has contacted legal counsel regarding the terms of the triple net lease agreement.  We have requested additional information regarding the District’s liability for HVAC and how the facility is heated and the cost of such bills if it is an electric heating system.  An assessment of the HVAC system will be performed by an independent contractor as well as an analysis of the existing competitive rental market rate for the area.  The proposed term sheet proposes $24 per square foot which we believe is high for the area.  Counsel will perform an inquiry of financial standing of the owner and confirm ownership as well. 

Ms. Morton requested Commissioner support of the long term lease agreement and to provide the CEO with the authority to negotiate and execute lease terms with the concurrence of legal counsel and a not to exceed the limits as presented in the term sheet.  The Commissioners provided unanimous support to proceed within the boundaries of the term sheet presented and with the concurrence of counsel. 

DOT Funding Update

Ms. Morton reported that there continues to be no additional FY 2018 budgetary information from CTDOT at this time.  As previously reported we did receive FY 2018 TOD’s at the baseline level of FY 2017 which continues to present cash flow issues for the District.  We have been aggressive in keeping CTDOT informed that this is troublesome for the District given our tight financial positon.  We continue to pressure for a revised baseline TOD that adequately reflects Stamford ADA and Coastal Link funding.  The present scenario requires the District to support the overrun expenses on our line of credit and seek reimbursement after year end. 

Coastal Link funding for FY 2011-2015 was received in the amount of $402,000 which brings closure to another open State funding matter.  Remaining open items include:

·         $11k for FY 2016 June final invoices for Norwalk and Stamford ADA (5% hold back)

·         $394k for FY 2016 Coastal Link

·         $14k for FY 2016 Stamford ADA

·         $22k FY 2017 Coastal Link

·         FY15 and FY16 silo consolidation for Norwalk and Westport ADA in the amount of $141k

·         FY15 and FY16 Westport and Norwalk fixed-route balance transfer in the amount of $136k

·         Total outstanding due is $720,000

 

FTA Grant Amendments

Ms. Morton reported that she closed one old grant which was for the construction of the Hub as mandated by the FTA due to lack of grant activity.  She additionally reported that three grant amendments were additionally filed and approved that redirected funding from closed activity line items to open line items that contained in adequate funding to support the project activity.  This will additionally facilitate grant closeout which is a priority for FTA. 

Circulator Update

Ms. Morton reported that Mr. Liotta created proposed schedules for a potential modified circulator which will operate in its beginning stages as a Commuter Express Shuttle to the SoNo Railroad Station.  There will be two routes operating during peak operating hours of 6:00 AM and 9:30 AM and 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM. with two vehicles on each route.  One route will serve Waypoint, Maritime Parking Garage and housing complex, Iron Works, and SoNo Pearl.  The other will serve Head of Harbor and Avalon on Mr. Burka’s cost analysis indicates a cost of $482,000.  We are waiting on the Redevelopment Agency to schedule a meeting with the Developers.  At that time the information will be shared and fine-tuned.  Potential implementation date is after January 1st.

Interns

Ms. Morton advised that the District has taken on two interns through the City of Norwalk’s summer youth work program.  The overall cost of the interns is $1,400 for 25 hours each intern for six weeks.  Projects include inventory and bus operations data entry.

Finance Report

Mr. Burka reported the following activities during the previous period.

ü  May 2017 Financial Report and Update

 

Mr. Burka distributed the financial report.

  • Operating Shortfall: $-226K
    • Wheels $-57K due to Coastal Link deficit of -$340K, offset by the rest of Wheels
    • ADA $-169K due to Stamford ADA
    • Wheels and Stamford ADA are fully expected to be funded by the State (in the future)
  • Overall District Surplus: $150K
    • Stamford ADA prior years funding $211K received
    • City of Norwalk grant unapplied portion $165K
    • Applied to cumulative deficit
  • Interest year-to-date on LOC is $77K; interest rate rose to 4.5% (prime+.25%)
  • Fares of $150K were flat with April, and $10K lower than 11 month average

ü  Expected Year-End results Operating Shortfall: $-250K (est.)

·         Overall District Surplus: $200K (est.)

·         If Wheels and Stamford ADA funding were received, surplus would be over $400K, offsetting cumulative deficit.

·         Total Fares: $1.9M, down from FY16 $2.0M (5% decline)

ü  Cash Flow Analysis

·         Due to the State’s moratorium on payments until late August (same as last year), we are very tight on cash. We are stretching but will be short in August without some additional cash. Appealed to State and bank.  As a result of the problematic cash flow extreme precautionary measures have been taken.  We have temporarily halted the non-union, 401a employer contributions and notified vendors in writing of our temporary restricted cash flow. 

Final Approval of the FY 2018 Budget.

No changes to previous presented budget. Published in newspaper; no public comments received

·         Revenue decline to $1.7M

·         Planned 3% State increase, plus full funding of Coastal Link, Stamford ADA, and Norwalk ADA

·         City of Norwalk $518K grant unspent (except for interest), thereby offsetting prior deficits

·         New Norwalk Circulator service incorporated

Mr. Burka requested formal and final approval of the FY 2018 budget as previously presented and without change.  Commissioners’ Glickson and McQuaid formally approved the FY 2018 budget.

Approval of the FY 2018 Non-Union Wage Plan

Ms. Morton distributed the FY 2018 Wage Plan.  The merit increases reflected are consistent with the Union contract and would be made retroactive to July 1, 2017 if applicable and are contingent on a satisfactory performance review.  It is important to note that all employees received a 0% increase in FY 2017.  The exceptions noted are red circled employees whose wages are either well above the expected salary for the positions and are currently highly compensated and/or are on performance freezes.  Two salary adjustments are noted for the assumption of additional job responsibilities. 

Operations Update

ü  Transition of ADA Work

Transition of ADA work - Mr. Liotta reported that the changeover of vendors is effective for July 1st, going from 6 active vendors down to just two vendors.  The District has two executed contracts in place for the next five years with the vendors.  In addition, Mr. Liotta reported that all of the vendors' drivers completed a successful training session held by District managers to ensure policies and procedures are in place, and the drivers are comfortable with the inner workings of our business prior to starting the work.

ü   Ridership

Mr. Liotta reported that ridership for May was very encouraging with Wheels producing an increase of 5,000 riders for the month.  Passengers per mile and hour are trending in the right direction, showing improvement over the previous year for the past two months.  ADA service continues to stay constant in terms of trips provided.  Positive strides made with the software will allow us to become more efficient in the upcoming months

ü  Bus Wraps

Mr. Liotta reported that the two buses were wrapped and have been very positive for the Maritime Center.  Mr. Liotta spoke with Tina Tisson, the Director of Marketing for the Maritime Center, and mentioned that we would definitely be able to extend the wrap contract if they wanted to run it longer than the four months.  Mr. Liotta will check back after two months.

Ms. Morton added that she and Mr. Liotta participated in media day at the Maritime Center along with Mayor Rilling which led to radio and television coverage. 

ü  Greenwich Shuttle

Mr. Liotta reported that with the new vehicles scheduled to come in to the District with the ADA bus order, The District would be able to perform the Greenwich Shuttle work in-house as opposed to outsourcing.  The vehicles would be able to be used for shuttles, and then immediately go into Paratransit work to help reduce deadhead costs.   Mr. Liotta is scheduled to prepare a full analysis of the work over the next month.

ü  Roadeo Results

Mr. Liotta reported that the district drivers did a tremendous job this year at the Transit Bus Road-E-O - the results:

ü  Jean Mompremier - BOC - 5th out of 20 - rookie of the year - $100 check

ü  Pablo Marcalle - BOC

ü  Pasko Dedaj - 35 Foot

ü  Johnny Langley - 40 foot - 4th out of 21 - $100 check

ü  Howard Stultz - 40 foot – 9th out of 21

ü  40 foot team (Langley and Stultz) placed 2nd of 8 teams

Ms. Morton added it was a wonderful example of team work and camaraderie on behalf of Union and Management.  A special shout out to Patrick Cooney who assisted in training prior to the Roadeo and served as a supporter at the Roadeo for the entire team.  Also thanks to management (Christina Harrison, Rob Vallerie) that attended the event and showed their support.  It was appreciated by all!

ü  Norwalk & Westport Emergency Operations Plan

Mr. Liotta reported that the Norwalk and Westport Emergency Operations Plan, which is written jointly between the City of Norwalk, Town of Westport and the District, has been finalized and is ready for signatures.  The Emergency Plans are consistent to the previous years, with no changes made other than names and fleet sizes

Maintenance Update

Ms. Morton reported that Mr. Liotta is currently overseeing the maintenance, facility and IT operations during Mr. Alvord's absence.  He is handling all of the day-to-day functions relative to equipment, repair, and maintenance, and information systems as well as the personnel.  Decisions have not been made at this time about bringing in a temporary employee or at what level for the long or short term.

HR Update

Ms. Brayboy reported the following activity during the previous month.

Hired:

Ø  Procurement and Grants Manager

Ø  Operations Dispatcher

Ø  Part-time ADA Dispatcher/Scheduler for 25 hrs. per week

In the process of hiring a part-time money counter for 9 hours – the person will start on Monday, July 10th.

Recruiting:

Ø  Manager of Planning and Marketing

 

Resigned

Ø  Mgr. of Planning and Marketing

Ø  Part-time Money Counter

Ø  Four Part-time ADA Drivers

Ø  One  - Part-time Wheels Driver

Terminated

Ø  Part-time Wheels Driver

Ø  Full-time ADA Dispatcher

Open Enrollment was from May 29 through June 9th

Finalized Non-union Employee Handbook – will present at the next meeting

Procurement Update

ü  Revised Purchasing Procedures

Ms. Richards distributed a summary of the changes to the Purchasing and Procedures Manual.  She reviewed the changes in detail.  The Commissioners voted unanimously in support of the changes to the revised manual with an effective date of July 1, 2017.

ü  Vehicle Procurement / Buy America Inspection Services

A preproduction meeting is scheduled for July 13, 2017.  At this meeting we will execute the contract that was formally approved by the Commissioners on April 26, 2017.  We will also place the first purchase of 10 vehicles.  Total approved project budget for 35 vehicles is $4,243,215.

A single quote was received in response to Bus Inspection Services.  The quote is under review and analysis in accordance with federal guidance for single bids.  Total project cost $25,930. 

ü  Fuel Procurement

On June 14, 2017 the District officially locked in diesel fuel pricing for the period November 1, 2017 through October 31, 2018 under the CTTRANSIT issued bid.  Our FY 2018 budget reflected $2.40 per gallon and the locked in rate was $1.87.  The projected budget savings is $149,500.  Total project budget $527,368.

ü  Procurement Training Course

Ms. Richards attended and NTI hosted procurement training course June 12th through the 15th.  The course was the third in a series of four courses offered titled RFP’s and Competitive Contract Negotiations. 

ü  Metro Taxi – New Freedom Funds

CTDOT contacted NTD to assist with the purchase of accessible taxis to be used in the Freedom Ride Accessible Taxi Program that will soon be offered in the greater Norwalk area.  This program is a partnership between Metro Taxi and the Kennedy Center, designed to accommodate individuals in the greater Norwalk area who need flexibility and accessibility in transportation options beyond the existing ADA paratransit service area and hours. The program is already in operation in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport.  The program is funded through the FTA New Freedom grant program and is administered by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. The voucher program extends beyond the ADA paratransit service area and hours by providing a pre-paid taxi voucher card at a 50% reduced price to people defined as having a disability under the ADA regulations. The voucher may be used for taxi trips that go beyond the ADA service area, during times that ADA paratransit is not available and for same day service 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

ü  Upcoming Ticket Vending Machine

Specifications are under development and scheduled for release on July 10, 2017.  Grant amendments are confirmed and executed supporting the procurement.

Marketing / Planning Update

ü  Software training in LA

Mr. Liotta reported that he and Mr. Cooney would attend a scheduling software training hosted by our software provider TMS scheduling software training in Shreveport LA.  This will help prepare us for internal preparation for the upcoming run cuts that will need to be performed for the January bid.

CEO Update

University Pass or UPASS program has been mandated by CTDOT.  In March when this was first proposed I notified the Department of my concerns.  First and foremost was the financial impact on the agency since we do not currently offer a UPASS therefore impact is unknown as we do not collect student ridership information.  I advised our participation was contingent on a promise from the State that the program will fall under close scrutiny for abuse and the District will not be adversely impacted by the revenue distribution plan.  I never received a response to my correspondence.

At the most recent State quarterly meeting of Transit Districts the program was again presented but this time as a definitive with a start date of August and the directive that everyone must participate.  I again wrote on June 13th forwarding my previous correspondence with the request for a reply.  I reiterated the importance of knowing what the fare structure will be and the required assurances as previously discussed.  I explained any fare structure change would require the District to follow the formal public hearing process and would have to be formally adopted by the NTD Commissioners.  As of this meeting I have yet to have a response. 

Any Other Business Properly Brought before the Board

No further business was brought before the Board.

 

Next Meeting July 27, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Ms. Morton proposed cancellation of the next meeting due to summer vacations.  In the event formal approval for any matter is required a Special Meeting will be scheduled.  The next regularly scheduled meeting is August 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM.

Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 3:34 PM. 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kimberlee A. Morton

 

Kimberlee A Morton, CEO

Norwalk Transit District