Skip to Content

Transportation Cmte Minutes of May 2017 Meeting

Printer-friendly version

Transportation Committee- Minutes of May 2, 2017 Meeting
At the regularly scheduled Transportation Committee May meeting representatives of GEMS and TAG presented and discussed the proposed 2017-18 budget for their external entity contributions. Board of Education representative Jim Hricay also contributed detailed information related to school busing. In attendance at the meeting was Leslie Tarkington representing the BET who answered questions on some of the general budget issues for us.
Budget Review GEMS
Tracy Schietinger, Executive Director of GEMS and John Strong, GEMS Financial Officer along with several board members of GEMS discussed their budget request in detail. All committee members received a copy of the GEMS financial information that was supplied to the BET in advance of our meeting. GEMS is a 501(c)3 private contractor to the town for ambulance and life support services. The Greenwich contribution of $4,655,800 being requested reflects a 1.7% increase over last years request. This amount funds approximately 62% of the GEMS operating budget. Capital is funded through donations to GEMS. Mr. Strong detailed the financial request and some efficiencies being sought by GEMS and Ms. Schietinger described some potential areas that they could use to increase revenue consistent with their mission. Caroline Baisley, Director Dept of Health and Leslie Tarkington, BET indicated that GEMS reports to their groups and links to the documents were forwarded to committee members. The recent news articles related to FOIA requests was covered and has been taking up a lot of time. The legal cost related to the FOIA issue is less than $4,000. GEMS representatives were responsive to our committee requests for information and meeting with us to explain their budget and we appreciate their help. The GEMS budget was voted as part of the total Transportation Related Budget vote.
Budget Review TAG and Safe Rides
Jim Boutelle, Executive Director of TAG presented information related to the extensive senior transportation services that TAG supplies for town residents. He handed out documents describing the number of trips that TAG makes annually and broken down by group. The town contribution to TAG for next year is proposed at $193,698 which is up 2% from $189,900 last year. Mr. Boutelle also detailed for our committee the contribution to Safe Rides of $18,000 and some of the history of the organization. He also brought along some glasses for us to try that simulated different levels of intoxication that will be used at the High School for demonstration purposes to the teens. We appreciated Jim Boutelle’s experience with the senior and teen transportation issues.
Budget Review Board of Education
Jim Hricay, Managing Director of Operations, supplied our committee with financial analysis similar to what we reviewed from the Board last year detailing financial information on each segment of student transportation. The new total for next year is $8,959,856 with the majority of the increase from last year coming from the decision by the Board of Ed to change school start times adding $741,755. This amount was described as being lower that what could have been added by the change due to a rebid of the contract. Thank you to Mr. Hricay for providing the information needed by the committee to understand the components of student busing expense.
As the committee had previously met with representatives from DPW, Fleet, and Parking Services at our monthly meetings in March and April we moved to discuss any motions related to the budget. Discussion started on RTM Budget Overview Committee motions to reduce with Jim Michel of DPW describing the Oneida Drive bridge project to us. Amy Siebert of DPW had previously provided members with the Annual Bridge Condition report summary that supported the bridge project as it was already funded for design work last year and was moving to construction next year. It was described to the Transportation members that while the removal of the Oneida Drive bridge project had passed at a BOC meeting last week that the member who proposed the reduction withdrew the motion at their meeting May 2. Next the Budget Overview motion to reduce the Fleet Department by $730,000 divided between Police, DPW, and Parks and Recreation was discussed. As the committee had previously met with Jay Domeseck to review his budget we knew that he provides detailed supporting information when he decides to recommend vehicle replacement. Additionally the new vehicles have a warranty and so are less expensive to maintain and if older vehicles are kept in the fleet then additional maintenance costs should be expected for the Fleet department. The department budget for the last three years has reflected operating expense reductions and so the department is run very tightly. The reasoning that was supplied by the BOC to support the reduction appears based on the assumption that a capital estimate included in the prior years budget constitutes a commitment by the department to keep under that estimated amount in the next year. The BET budget guidelines themselves under capital clearly request departments to submit what they believe is needed each year for discussion and analysis. Neither BET or BOC budget guidelines indicate any specific sanctity of the estimated capital figures from a prior year being met as a limit. The initial BOC motion to reduce Fleet was for $492,000 to reduce the vehicles to last years amount and this was the same motion as was made in a BET meeting but since the budget for vehicles last year was $4.13 million and next years was $3.1 million the rationale did not really make sense. Based on the information provided by the Fleet Director, and the departments it was determined by the BET what vehicles should be replaced in 17/18 budget. The capital amount anticipated in the 16/17 budget for new vehicles for 17/18 was over $4.1 million and the amount approved by the BET was $3.1 million. Many vehicles for departments were deferred by the BET. Jay Domeseck supplied to the BOC a letter a copy of which is attached that was his response to their motion to reduce. A similar letter from DPW Director Amy Siebert supporting her vehicle request was also supplied to the BOC and is attached. Amy Siebert described to our committee that the vehicles help the efficiency of the department. Next discussion on the BOC motion to reduce the line item for the Steamboat Road reconstruction by $600,000 was discussed. DPW Director Siebert addressed the design funds already expended on the project and the risk managers report issued recently declaring the area unsafe and a potential liability to the town leading to the closing of the area. Some discussion among the committee members related to more discussion being needed on the use of the Steamboat Road pier and possibly a public hearing being held to discuss what uses should be allowed for the pier.

Committee Votes on the Budget
BOC Motion to Reduce Fleet by $730,000 5-6-0
Members voting against noted that the Fleet Director provides excellent supporting detail related to vehicle replacements and town should listen to its professionals
Motion to Reduce Steamboat Rd Reconstruction by $600,000 3-8-0
Members voting against cited the liability to the town
Transportation Related Budget as Reviewed 10-1-0
Submitted by
Alan Small
Chairman RTM Transportation Cmte
Dist. 1 Varga, Helma H. x
Dist. 2 David, Franklin x
Dist. 3 Walsh, Allison x
Dist. 4 Bozzuto, Steven J.
Dist. 5 Petersen, Jr., Thomas G. x
Dist. 6 Ducret, Carol x
Dist. 7 Fassuliotis, Karen
Dist. 8 Bates, Jonathan x
Dist. 9 Darula, Barbara x
Dist. 10 Small, Alan A. x
Dist. 11 Wellington, Jr., Richard x
Dist. 12 Whyko, Donald T. x

Dist. 1 Sanders, Elizabeth
Dist. 2 Collins, Jude
Dist. 3
Dist. 4
Dist. 5 deCsepel, John

Dist. 6
Dist. 7 Ryan, John
Dist. 8 Margenot, Richard
Dist. 9 Shisler, Sharon
Dist. 10 Balidemaj, Granit
Dist. 11 Fassuliotis, Despina

Dist. 12 Ginsberg, Teresa

From: Domeseck, Jay
Sent: Monday, May 01, 2017 1:50 PM
To: ''
Subject: Fleet Budget Review

Mr. Ozizmir,

In response to your request for further information on the FY 2018 Fleet Capital, I would like to offer the following:

Fire Department – For FY 2017 the Fire Department received 2 pumper trucks and 3 vehicles. The requirement for FY 2018 is just 1 pumper and no vehicles hence the reduction in capital.
P&R – The dump truck requested is to replace a model year 2005 which is in poor condition both physically and mechanically. This vehicle has 50,059 miles and 5,383 hours on it which equates to 177,639 miles. The current mechanical condition is poor. This vehicle was originally scheduled for replacement in FY
2017 but was deferred a year.
The pickup truck requested is a model year 2004 with 52,906 miles and 5,445 hours which equates to 179,685 miles. This vehicle was scheduled to be replaced in FY 2016 and has been deferred for 2 years already. The vehicle condition is now deteriorating.
Both of these vehicles are scheduled replacements in the 15 year capital plan.
DPW - Both the dump truck and the low boy dump truck are equipment required to allow DPW to operate effectively and efficiently as detailed in both the capital request from Fleet and the information previously provided by Ms Siebert.

Be advised that Fleet does not request replacement vehicles solely on a time and mileage basis. Vehicles are constantly evaluated both mechanically and physically and actual replacement is adjusted each year based on this criteria.

Jay Domeseck
Fleet Director, Town of Greenwich

100 Indian Field Rd
Greenwich, CT 06830

Town of Greenwich
Dept. of Public Works
Interoffice Correspondence

To: RTM Budget Overview Committee (BOC)

C: P. Tesei, First Selectman
B. Branyan, Town Administrator
RTM Public Works Committee
J. Michel, DPW
J. Domeseck, Fleet
J. Siciliano, Parks and Recreation

Date: April 24, 2017

From: A. Siebert, DPW

Re: Response to RTM BOC FY 17-18 Budget Questions

At a meeting on 17 April 2017, I met with the RTM Budget Overview Committee’s Lucia Jansen and Danyal Ozizmir. They had questions regarding the Department of Public Work’s (DPW) operating and capital budgets. The following provides additional information in response to those questions.

Oneida Drive Bridge Project
The question was asked if the Oneida Drive bridge project could be delayed, or even if the bridge itself could be closed more permanently. The bridge is being replaced to address its condition issues, including a significant structural issue with one of its abutments. The following provides additional information regarding the project in response to the BOC questions:

• Engineering: Design is approximately 60% complete and can readily be finished to be prepared for bid by January 2018, which would allow for construction as planned in Summer 2018.
• Rights of Way status: Given the current design, the Town needs easements from 3 parcels abutting the bridge. 2 of the 3 parcels have provided verbal agreement to date; paperwork will be pending final design. Negotiations are still underway with the 3rd owner.
• Permit Status: At 70% design, Engineering will submit the bridge design package to the Town’s IWWA, followed by the CTDEEP’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources Division (LWRD), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Coast Guard. We attended a pre-application meeting at DEEP in March 2016 to present and review the project with them; we have incorporated their comments and suggestions into the design. On our most recent coastal bridge project at Shore Road, the DEEP permitting in total went smoothly and took 6 months. We have no reason to expect this should be any different, and thus we do have sufficient time in the schedule to obtain all permits and be prepared to bid in Winter 2017/2018 for the Summer 2018 construction season.
• State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO): The Town received the sign off from SHPO in January 2017 to move forward with the bridge replacement.
• Maintenance and Protection of Traffic: The Average Daily Traffic volume for Oneida Drive (taken at the bridge in July 2016) is 1,400 vehicles per day. If this project were to be pushed out it would be possible that this project would occur simultaneously with the Davis Avenue Bridge Project. It would not be ideal to have two major bridge projects in the same vicinity with lane and road closures. In addition to the inconvenience this will cause the public, it would also impact the response times of the emergency services.
Ms. Jansen questioned the need for the two vehicles Fleet has proposed procuring for DPW operations. We can basically reiterate the need for these as outlined in the information Fleet provided in the capital budget proposal. Given the criticality of the heavy duty dump trucks used by DPW Highway for many operations, snow and ice control among them, having a spare vehicle seems to us a sensible approach to maintaining operations and service levels. As noted by Fleet and as we can confirm in DPW, in snow and ice operations, for example, we need 26 working vehicles to service the Town’s 26 plow routes developed to handle the Town’s 265 miles of roadways. Without the proper number of vehicles in service, Highway operations are hampered, response times drop, and service levels drop. It seems wise to have a spare and we agree with Fleet’s assessment.

The low boy dump truck requested is again well outlined in the capital budget proposal sheet. DPW Highway operates out of four locations, sending crews with various types of equipment to do all manner of activities in the Town’s right of way – from masonry to minor repairs to mowing. Using a low boy to move equipment is more appropriate and cost effective than using a truck too large for the purpose. In addition, the low boy’s configuration is more conducive to easier loading and handling of such equipment – which in the long run is better for reducing potential injuries to the employees doing such work. Having a fourth such vehicle means each operating location is equipped with the necessary vehicle and wasting less time borrowing one from an alternate location or using a more costly operating option.

Steamboat Road
DPW provided information regarding Steamboat Road under separate cover, sending the BOC’s Ms. Jansen and Mr. Ozizmir the memo prepared for the Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET). That memo included a cost estimate and the plan for the structure at the end of Steamboat Rd. It explained that repairs go beyond just that structure itself, and include addressing the east side of the area, including the wall alongside the parking area and the sidewalks. The site has been repaired in the more recent past, including in 1987, 1996, 2009, as well as minor work from time to time performed by in house labor. It is DPW’s opinion that the repairs proposed for the structure do not need to be delayed while the question of fishing from the structure is addressed. The repair work anticipated addresses the structural issues and anticipates putting in a railing. Putting off such repairs has the potential for them to cost more in future, as the structure is subject to the whims of weather and water.