Norwalk Transit District Commissioners’ Meeting Minutes
July 25, 2019 at 2:00 PM – Norwalk Transit District
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Norwalk Transit District Commissioners:
Norwalk Transit District Staff:
Kimberlee Morton, CEO
Britt Liotta, Chief Operating Officer
Lori Richards, Procurement and Grants Manager
Rob Edwards, Director of Maintenance and Facilities
Matt Pentz, Director of Finance
Dennis O’Connor, Manager of Marketing
Lynette Brayboy, Director of Human Resources
The meeting was called to order at 2:03 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 JUNE 27, 2019
The minutes of the June 27, 2019 Meeting of the Commissioners were unanimously approved.
June Financial Report
Mr. Pentz presented the preliminary June Financial Statement by service, which was noted as an unaudited version of the fiscal year-end. He reported on the Fixed Route side, for the 12 months ended June ’19; the Norwalk Core Service surplus is $359,637; while a $445,687 deficit from Coastal Link Services was incurred. Mr. Pentz highlighted that the net deficit for total Fixed Route Services is $86,050 which is $62k higher than the prior year, yet in line with expectation given the new Wheels 2U service that was rolled out. He noted that due to the funding shortfall resulting from operating the Coastal Link, funding responsibility for the overall Fixed Route deficit lies with the State, which will be invoiced as part of year-end reporting.
On the Para-transit side, Stamford ADA services continued to operate within budget; State funding has remained adequate due to the increased Stamford ADA TOD received at the end of FY 18. For Norwalk ADA, Mr. Pentz reported that without local funding, the service has incurred a $237,126 deficit through June which was an improvement compared to the prior year deficit of $299k. He also reported that the Coastal Link ADA service has incurred a $47,020 deficit. He mentioned that the responsibility for adequately funding the Coastal Link ADA Services lies with the State, and the deficit will be reported and invoiced at year-end. Meanwhile, Norwalk Transit has continued to communicate the additional State funding needs required for Norwalk ADA services. Without additional State funding, the Norwalk ADA deficit will be covered by Norwalk City funds, which although sufficient, hinder the District’s ability to pay down prior debts.
Mr. Pentz mentioned that cashflow is very tight, with the District having funded two months of operations through the credit line, with now only $900k available. He expects to receive the annual City of Norwalk funding of $571k within the next week and is expecting State funding for June in early August. Norwalk Transits outgoing payments will begin to be held as available credit nears $500k.
New Bank Account
Mr. Pentz informed the Commissioners of the fraudulent action against the District’s bank account, which was the successful withdrawal of $2.3k resulting from a fraudulent check. While the District was reimbursed for the loss by the Bank, the account was compromised, and the Bank has recommended either adding a new positive pay feature or getting a new account. In the event of electing a new account, the Commissioners were notified that signatures would be needed. Norwalk Transit is awaiting final recommendation from the Bank before deciding how to proceed.
Insurance Renewal Update
Mr. Pentz reported that insurance renewals have been finalized for the July 1st policy period. He highlighted two changes in coverage, which was an additional $2m of coverage in the event of flood damage to the Norwalk Transit facility. This was a management concern given the flood zone and proximity to the coast. Additionally, Norwalk Transit elected a lower deductible in the event of theft, this was a minor change to mitigate financial impact if on-site theft were to occur.
FY 2018 Union Pension Grievance Resolution
Mr. Pentz reported that following the initial settlement of the 2017 Pension Grievance for eligible employees working between 500-999 hours, Ms. Morton settled Union grievances for the 2018 plan year. All Grievances due to prior practice inconsistencies and plan ambiguity have been settled and additional transparency is in place going forward.
FY 2020 Budget Update
Mr. Pentz reported that the District has not yet received a final budget from the State.
Pension Plan Amendment Update
Mr. Pentz mentioned that the Amendment items previously addressed with the Commissioners were a few steps closer to resolution. He noted that, in working with Ms. Morton there were a few other items in motion to be reviewed by legal and that they expect the final Amendment soon.
FY 19 Financial Audit Update
Mr. Pentz mentioned that the Seward & Monde audit team is scheduled to be onsite in September. The finance team has started working on requested items now that June books have been closed on a preliminary basis.
Mr. Liotta commented that the June ridership was down moderately from May 19 but showed a tremendous dip from June of 2018. Mr. Liotta noted that there was one less operating day in 2019 versus 2018, and there was also the elimination of three runs in August 2019 which would all play into the lower numbers. Mr. Liotta commented that he had done considerable back checking of the data to ensure the integrity of it and found nothing out of the ordinary. Ms. Morton commented that she had conversations with Matthew Abbott, the new Transportation Planner, and that he had seen anomalies of major decreases on certain days, indicating a possible issue with the fareboxes. Mr. Abbott commented that he has done some cross-checking and did not come up with anything conclusive other than school was out. He further noted that the shuttles were still consistent in their trips. Ms. Morton commented that Matt was tasked with checking on the decrease in ridership due to the addition of the Wheels2U service, which Mr. Abbott stated he was presently working on. Mr. Liotta commented that he felt that with all of the diligence done scrubbing the data over the past several months, the issue may really lie in the data from last year.
Mr. Liotta commented that the Microtransit continues to grow month over month, and that June 2019 had 1,151 trips for the month in 18 operating days. Ms. Morton commented that the ridership was showing at approximately 4.5 trips per revenue hour, which is excellent. Mr. Liotta stated that the conversion from TransLoc to Via as the Microtransit vendor was going very well, and that Mr. O’Connor would elaborate more in his report to the Board.
MAINTENANCE AND FACILITIES
Mr. Liotta took this as an opportunity to introduce Mr. Edwards, the new Director of Maintenance and Facilities.
Mr. Liotta briefly commented on the Gas Tank project was still moving along, with no updates to it. Mr. Liotta stated that the Bus Wash upgrade was currently being worked on, and that Wendel was having an issue getting a quotation back from Ross and White, the current bus wash system vendor. The quotation was to perform a complete upgrade of the current system, which was Wendel’s recommendation. Mr. Liotta stated that Wendel was in the process of working on a new project proposal to replace the system in the event that Ross and White did not comply with the request to supply Wendel with the quote.
Post Award Vehicle Inspections - Solicitation through GovSpend Software Platform
A solicitation was posted on GovSpend for Post Award Vehicle Inspection Services for NTD’s upcoming Gillig bus build. Two suppliers responded: TRC Engineering Services, LLC and First Transit. NTD will award to the lowest, responsive and responsible supplier: TRC Engineering Services, LLC. This procurement is under the micro-purchase acquisition threshold and does not require formal approval of the Commissioners; it is for information purposes only.
Ms. Brayboy presented the following HR Update.
Part-time ADA/Shuttle Drivers
Director of Fleet Maintenance & Facilities – started on July 22, 2019
Director of Maintenance and Facilities
Superintendent of Operations, Moved to First Student to oversee the Stamford School Bus Division
Transit Supervisor – Moved to Division Manager at CTTRANSIT, Stamford
ADA Driver decided to retire after over 9 years of service with NTD; August 2, 2019 will be his last day.
Two Part-time ADA/Shuttle Drivers will transition to Full-time on August 5, 2019.
One Full-time ADA/Shuttle Driver will transition to a Full-time Fixed Route Driver on August 5, 2019
PLANNING AND MARKETING INITIATIVES
Transition of Microtransit form TranslLoc to Via – Marketing Initiatives
Mr. O’Connor reported that the focus during this period is on our transition to Via from Wheels2U. We have a short time-frame to work with, with August 29th being the switch over date.
We are looking to open up Wheels2U service for the buildings that are currently served by our commuter shuttles up by Merritt 7, after 7:00 pm when the last shuttles are available.
Yesterday we made final decisions on the branding for the app. We reviewed the attached designs for the Service Name, new logos, App Launch Icon, On-boarding & Booking screens & Client Assets.
Mr. O’Connor also mentioned the enhancements/flexibility of Via, highlighting the Customer Feedback feature.
Ms. Morton had nothing else to report as she had been away on vacation and was in catch up mode. She thanked the staff for handling all matters during her time away.
Any Other Business Properly Brought Before the Commissioners
No other business was noted.
Next Meeting September 26, 2019 at 9:00 AM
The next regularly scheduled meeting was scheduled for September 26, 2019 at 9:00 AM. The Commissioners checked their calendars and due to discrepancies, it was decided that the meeting time would be changed and noticed at 3:00 pm on that date.
Ms. Morton further noted that at the last meeting the it was agreed that the August 22, 2019 meeting would be cancelled and would be rescheduled as needed. Ms. Morton requested that a Special meeting be considered to handle limited financial and budgetary related matters. The Commissioners unanimously agreed to a Special meeting to be conducted on August 8, 2019 at 3:00 pm.
The meeting adjourned at 2:45 PM.
Kimberlee A. Morton
Kimberlee A Morton, CEO
Norwalk Transit District