Advisory Board Meeting Minutes
Monday, June 8, 2015
The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) Advisory Board met on Monday, June 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm, at 15 Blandin Avenue, Framingham, MA, at the call of Mr. Joe Nolan, Chair.
In attendance were: Edward Carr/MWRTA Administrator, Patrick Moynihan/MWRTA Counsel, Joe Nolan, Chair/Wayland, Jay Marsden, Clerk/Holliston, Ed Burman/Ashland, Brian W. Murray/Milford, Charles Hughes/Natick, Christina Winterfeldt/Sherborn, Kathleen Bartolini/Southborough, Trish Pope/Marlborough, Toni Wolf/Weston, Cheryl Tully Stoll/Framingham, Brian Herr/Hopkinton, Susan Stocker/Disabled Community.
Also in attendance were: Dennis Giombetti/Representing Senator Karen Spilka, Harold Rhodes/Milford Community Member.
MWRTA Consultants: Lynn Ahlgren, Daniel Fitch and John Glynn.
MWRTA Staff: Eva Willens, Sara White and Joy Glynn.
The meeting was called to order at 4:37 pm.
Joe Nolan declared a quorum was present, announced the agenda and requested a roll call.
Order of Business:
Mr. Nolan recognized and welcomed the following individuals in attendance:
Cheryl Tully Stoll/Framingham Board of Selectmen has replaced Jason Smith as the Framingham Representative to the MWRTA Advisory Board.
Brian Murray/Chairman of the Milford Board of Selectmen, the Milford Representative to the MWRTA Advisory Board.
Harold Rhodes, an alternate designee to the board, from Milford.
Dennis Giombetti, from the office of Senator Karen Spilka.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
A motion was made by Joe Nolan to waive the reading of and approve the previous minutes as stated.
Second by: Charlie Hughes. No opposition – The vote was unanimous.
A request was made by Joe Nolan to hear any public comments from the audience. Hearing none, the meeting proceeded.
MBTA: On-going discussions with Budget and Real Estate Dept to take over Banana Lot in Framingham; working with MBTA and Keolis to update the Commuter Rail Station there.
RIDE: Negotiate and identify the appropriate funding to take over the RIDE Service in Dover, Wellesley & Weston.
Commuter Rail Station: Working with MBTA to gain access to the Framingham/ Mansfield spur that abuts Blandin property, in order to connect the bike path to the Commuter Rail Station.
Kiessling and Thompson Transit: Working together daily to set up the new Demand Response System, progressing toward a seamless transition.
Wellesley Fixed Route: Modified to accommodate Mass Bay Community College.
Additional Capital Revenue anticipated at year end FY15:
$100,000 Senate Budget for Vietnam Veteran’s Monument;
$150,000 Senate Budget for CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) Program;
$1,500,000 Blandin Ave Project.
Additional Capital Revenue anticipated at beginning of FY16:
$1,000,000 RTA CAP funding;
$500,000 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) RFP.
15 Blandin Ave. Grand Opening event on Friday, July 17th @ 11 am.
Questions to the Administrator:
Joe Nolan: With regard to the additional $500K for CNG what are we doing to reach out to the member communities to utilize the CNG facility?
Ed Carr: Asked members to bring information back to their select boards and DPWs. Has already met with Natick and Framingham DPWs. Offered tours of the facility, which is spec’d out to perform CNG Maintenance and fuel station. Garages are required to have certain specs to maintain the CNG vehicles. Hoping RFP is out before September. Anticipated start up/implementation is approximately 1 year (Sept 2016).
Charlie Hughes discussion: MWRTA employees will perform maintenance and an outside vendor will operate the CNG facility?
Ed Carr: Outside vendor will bring in their own compressors (privatization of services). Generation of revenue from CNG was discussed. Original grant was $1M to start the CNG project and now an additional $500K. Some towns are going in the direction of CNG, (trash trucks). Current CNG facilities in Northborough and Lexington. 5 year plan is to convert 20% of RTA fleet to CNG per year.
Joe Nolan: Who initiated Ride possibility in Weston, Wellesley and Dover?
Ed Carr: Ongoing discussions. Once we do reach an agreement with those towns, there will be plenty of outreach.
Public hearing for Charlie Card Adult Fare Adjustment:
Hereby open the public meeting of the MWRTA for public hearing/discussion of the Fixed Route Charlie Card Fare Change of MWRTA.
A motion was made by Charlie Hughes to open the public meeting.
Second by: Brian Herr. No opposition – The vote was unanimous.
Legal Advertisement announcing the MWRTA Public Hearing was read by Joe Nolan.
Ed Carr: The Board voted unanimously at the last meeting to increase the discounted Charlie Card Adult rate from $1.10 to $1.25. Cash Adult Fare will stay at $1.50. 181,424 fares @ $ .15 is $27,000 increase in revenue for the RTA. Elimination of excess coinage (pennies, nickels and dimes) from the system. Shorter onboard load times. MWRTA will have 3 public hearings, which includes today’s. Will advertise 2 more public hearings/meetings in July and August. One will be held in the morning and one in the evening.
Discussion from the Board: Who is eligible for discounted rate? Charlie Card users are eligible for the discounted rate (over 60% of Charlie Card usage now). The Senior Charlie Card Fare is $.70 and is not affected by this fare increase.
Charlie Hughes will announce the fare increase at the next Natick Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Christina Winterfeldt / Sherborn: Reported website is down.
Daniel Fitch: Working to move this service in house from a vendor host.
A motion was made by Charlie Hughes to close the public hearing.
Administrator Evaluation Committee Recommendation:
Jay Marsden discussed the review. Committee is pleased with the Administrator’s work and progress at Blandin Ave. No pay raise is being asked for at this time. The committee will present a report of the evaluation in writing, sign and submit at the next meeting. The Administrator needs to be evaluated once a year and has been encouraged to use his vacation time. New Evaluation Committee will be appointed at the next scheduled meeting.
Budget Approval: 2 votes are required.
#1 FY15 Revised Budget – Ed Carr - MWRTA’s independent auditor requested an adjustment to FY15 budget to reflect a closer approximation to actual budget. Operating expenses are up $200,000. Expenses are associated with providing service. Revenues were able to meet the increases.
Charlie Hughes: Explain increase.
Ed Carr: MWRTA increased the Route 1 & 9 service. Grants ran out on the Route 1. Operating grants are eligible for three years for any one route. Anticipate a 3% increase on state increase and savings on Demand Response. Anticipate another $250,000 from 5307 grant.
Kathy Bartolini: Does budget reflect anything new that creates a cushion for FY16? Could the MWRTA possibly attempt to forecast during the March budget / timeframe as we come into the end of the fiscal year?
Ed Carr: MWRTA will do more in-house, particularly maintenance. Drive down costs of Demand Response Service which is very expensive. Statutorily, not allowed to have a reserve fund and state contract assistance fluctuates. Offered to provide statements every quarter or biannually.
A motion was made by Charlie Hughes to move to adopt the revised FY15 budget.
#2 FY16 Budget – Ed Carr - Operations: New model. Major change/maintenance of Demand Response will be in-house. Hoping this will be a cost savings that will be realized next year for new Fixed Route Contract. Natural growth in Demand Response. Fixed Route providing more service, travel / training, marketing, etc. and holding the number on the Demand Response which is where our big costs are. We will need to expand, grow and provide more service on the Fixed Route. Efforts being made in marketing and travel/training in attempt to decrease ridership on Demand Response @ $30/ride and onto the Fixed Route @ $6/ride.
Charlie Hughes: Appears to be a 10% increase … $500k is Operations Center, how much of that is building vs other costs? What is the increase in local assessment (current towns)?
Ed Carr: Current towns with a 2.5% increase every year plus more for 100% new service. Towns will be assessed for COA incremental charge for new centralized dispatch service; create a service that provides more ridership. $500k Ops Center = $100k Operation of the building (utilities, personnel, maintenance of the building) + $400k Maintenance (mechanics, parts, etc.).
A motion was made by Jay Marsden to move to approve the FY16 budget.
Second by: Ed Burman. No opposition – The vote was unanimous.
Board Member Comments:
The Administrator confirmed the Advisory Board does not have to attend the future public hearings for the fare rate change.
A motion was made by Charlie Hughes to adjourn.
Second by: Jay Marsden. No opposition – The vote was unanimous.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:24 pm
Next meeting to be scheduled after Labor Day - September 2015.
The undersigned being the duly qualified clerk of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board, acknowledges that the foregoing minutes accurately reflect the actions taken at a legally convened meeting of the Advisory Board held on June 8, 2015.
Jay Marsden, Clerk,
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