CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES

September 24, 2001

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

John Spychalski, Chairman

Donald Sherman, Vice-Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

Gary Powers

 

OTHERS PRESENT:

Hugh Mose, General Manager

Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, State College Borough Liaison


I. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.

 

II. PUBLIC COMMENTS - CITIZEN INPUT

Chairman Spychalski called for comments or input from the general public. No public comments were presented.

 

III. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of August 22, 2001 Board Meeting

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve the minutes of the August 22, 2001 Board meeting. Mr. Powers seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

B. Receipt of the June, July, and August 2001 Finance Reports

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board receive the June, July, and August 2001 Finance Reports. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor noted that as expected, certain line items were over budget, as anticipated. Although the revenues are higher than budgeted, expenses are even higher. Therefore, the difference becomes additional operating subsidy, which as shown on the report is primarily Federal. Ms. Minor also pointed out that on page 2 of the Finance Reports, the additional state supplement is interest earned on those funds. Act 26 also increased during the year.

Ms. Minor also noted that she has reviewed the single audit report and the financial report and she has been working with the auditors to make some changes on the final versions.

Mr. Mose reported that operating revenues were over budget by 7%, but unfortunately the Authority was 14% over on the expenditures side. This was mostly a result of higher drivers' wages and benefits, as well as revenue vehicle fuel and lubricants. Ms. Minor pointed out that this represents 14% of $6M and 7% of only $3M because the total expenditures and the operating revenues are not equal numbers.

Mr. Mose also noted that the pass sales report shows an increase in revenues by 17%, but the number of passes sold has decreased slightly. He was not sure of the significance of these numbers at this time, but stated that this trend will be watched.

Mr. Mose referred to the year end paratransit ridership summary and noted the dramatic increase in users on the paratransit program.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Ms. Minor noted that the uniform expenditures are only the inital set of uniforms for new drivers. If there are more new drivers hired than anticipated, this number will be higher than budgeted. The uniform expenditures under maintenance are for rental of coveralls for the shop people. In response to Mr. Kipp, Ms. Minor noted that work was undertaken as part of the shelter program, thinking that it could all go under a capital grant, but the expenses were not allowable as such and needed to be charged to the operating budget. Mr. Bernier added that these expenses include the reconditioning of the bus stop shelters recently taken over from Penn State.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

C. FY 2001/2002 Financial Projections

Mr. Mose reminded the Board that last year CATA ran into financial difficulty when there was more service put on the streets than was budgeted for, along with higher fuel prices than anticipated. Referring to the memo and spreadsheets included in the Board Packets, Mr. Mose reviewed several issues that are impacting this year's budget. Mr. Mose reported that this year additional service is again needed during the morning and afternoon rush hours, particularly on the N and V routes. The other item which is higher than anticipated is overtime wages. This is basically the result of drivers who did not return to work in August after the summer layoffs and that it has been a problem finding qualified applicants to replace them. Mr. Gilbert noted that there are also drivers out on sick leave, causing a need for additional overtime hours to cover their shifts. Another item which is uncertain at this time is the cost associated with the new union contract to be negotiated and implemented in March. Mr. Mose added that Ms. Minor has been able to lock into lower natural gas prices for the next year.

Mr. Mose pointed out that the spreadsheets show CATA's financial projections for the remainder of this fiscal year and the long term impact of a fare increase. The difference between the two spreadsheets is that the first assumes a $0.25 fare increase next August, while the second moves up the fare increase to January.

Chairman Spychalski, noting that there are some contractual issues involved in this discussion, suggested that these issues be discussed in Executive Session following today's Board meeting.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose explained the issues to be considered regarding drivers working overtime and the additional costs involved to cover drivers on sick leave with overtime drivers.

In response to Mr. Kipp, Mr. Gilbert noted that all the layoffs at other corporations in the area are not really helping to produce a qualified pool of driver candidates.

 

IV. NEW BUSINESS

A. Resolution Authorizing Filing of FY 00/01 Federal Formula Assistance Grant

Ms. Minor reviewed the resolution included in the Board packets for filing for federal operating and/or capital funds. Once transit appropriations for the new fiscal year have been passed by Congress, staff will prepare the annual grant application for formula funding (capital and operating assistance) under Section 5307 (formerly Section 9) of the Federal Transit Act. Although funding estimates are still uncertain, staff expects to program the entire allocation for operating assistance, as shown in the FY 01/02 budget document. Adoption of the required resolution at this time will allow staff to prepare and submit the grant as soon as funding levels have been announced.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the enclosed resolution authorizing the filing of CATA's FY 01/02 federal formula assistance grant. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. Mr. Mose noted that normally this is the time the Authority would find out what the appropriations will be. However, with all that is going on in Congress at this time, this has not come through as yet. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

B. Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant (AFIG) Application:

Mr. Mose noted that this is an informational item and does not require Board action.

Ms. Minor also noted that CATA's most recent AFIG application, to partially fund the cost of the six CNG New Flyer's now on order, has been approved. However, because the bus contract includes an option for up to six additional vehicles over the next three years, staff has prepared a second AFIG application to cover a portion of the cost for these vehicles in the event the Authority exercises its option. This application requests $60,000 in AFIG funding for 20% of the estimated incremental cost of acquiring alternative-fueled vehicles.

 

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose reported on the following items:

Business Bootcamp: CATA will be hosting an information booth at the CBICC Business Expo Bootcamp on Thursday, September 27, at the Penn Stater Conference Center. Anyone wishing to attend should see Ms. Heichel for tickets.

APTA Awards Luncheon: CATA will be receiving an award for the most Outstanding Transit System in North America for systems with 4 Million to 30 Million riders annually. The presentation of the award will be held on Tuesday, October 2, at the APTA Annual Conference in Philadelphia. Anyone wishing to attend the Awards Luncheon should contact Ms. Heichel. Chairman Spychalski asked Ms. Heichel to provide the Board with a list of attendees who will be riding the bus to Philadelphia, as well as anyone else who will be attending the luncheon on CATA's behalf.

In response to Mr. Powers, Mr. Mose noted that there will probably be a decrease in attendance due to the recent terrorists attacks and the public's hesitancy to fly.

Mr. Sherman acknowledged the loss of people in the transit industry at the World Trade Center. Mr. Mose noted that the transit systems, especially the rail and subway systems are at great risk for terrorist attacks.

In response to Mr. Kipp, Mr. Bernier confirmed that Resource Communications prepared the video to be shown at the awards luncheon.

Schlow Library: Mr. Mose noted that he and Chairman Spychalski attended a recent legislative event which was sponsored by the Schlow Library Board, along with the Friends of the Library as well as the architects. The event gave them the opportunity to hear the presentations on the library expansion plans.

Schedule Adherence Problems / Traffic Congestion: Mr. Mose noted the increase in traffic in the area, especially on campus and downtown. Routes which have operated successfully for years are having difficulty staying on schedule because of the downtown traffic. There are several things being considered to help with this situation.

Football Shuttle: The ridership on the football shuttle is booming. The Miami game was the highest ridership ever, and this past Saturday's game was the second highest. However, this may create a problem at Hills Plaza since the football parking is overflowing into other areas of the shopping center.

Mr. Gilbert noted that he's had additional people at the bus staging area on University Drive to direct pedestrians to the sidewalks. The problem of people crossing in traffic seemed to have improved during the last game. Mr. Mose also added that there are a few other situations they are trying to improve upon.

B. Service Development Report

Mr. Bernier reported on the following items:

Service Development Report: Mr. Bernier reviewed the Service Development Report distributed at the meeting.

Pass Sales: Mr. Bernier also noted that he and Ms. Minor spent most of the past two weeks processing bus passes at the different apartment complexes. There were some problems with the new digital pass equipment, but as it becomes more familiar to staff, he feels it will work very well.

Ride Guides: Chairman Spychalski suggested that before rerunning additional copies of the RideGuide, some of the typographical errors be corrected. Chairman Spychalski also suggested that the first morning trip on the W Route be reevaluated to meet the need of the riders. He also added that the second inbound trip on the A Route has lost customers due to the new schedule. He would like more consideration given to the destination timepoints for the riders. Mr. Bernier noted that he, Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Mose had met this morning to discuss those issues.

VI. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting to Executive Session at 5:44 p.m. to discuss contractual and personnel issues.

 

VII. EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Board moved to Executive Session to discuss contractual matters.

 

VIII. OLD BUSINESS (Continued)

A. FY 2001/2002 Financial Projections

The Board returned from Executive Session at 5:45 pm, at which time Joe Davidson moved, and Richard Kipp seconded, that a public hearing be held at the October 22 Board meeting, for the purpose of accepting public comment on a proposed fare increase. Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

IX. EXECUTIVE SESSION (Continued)

The Board then reconvened in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.

The Executive Session was concluded at 6:15 pm, at which time Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting.