CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES

June 3, 2002

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

John Spychalski, Chairman

Donald Sherman, Vice Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

 

BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT:

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, Borough Liaison

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:06 p.m.

 

II. PUBLIC HEARING ON FY 2002/03 SERVICE STANDARDS

Mr. Mose stated that PENNDOT requires that the Authority hold a Public Hearing to give the public an opportunity to provide input on the proposed Service Standards.

Chairman Spychalski opened the floor for public comment on the proposed FY 2002/03 Service Standards. No public comment was given. The Public Hearing was closed.

 

III. PUBLIC COMMENT

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

 

IV. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of April 22, 2002, Board Meeting

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board approve the minutes of the April 22, 2002, Board meeting as presented. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Receipt of the April 2002 Finance Reports

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board receive the April 2002 Finance Reports. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor reported that the Authority is now drawing on Federal Operating funds and she hopes to end the year within the FY 01/02 estimate shown in the Budget. Overall, she feels that actual revenues and expenses will generally be close to the projected numbers, adding that drivers’ labor and benefits, insurance and several other items will be over budget.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose reviewed the different circumstances which resulted in considerable overtime hours for drivers. He then outlined the thought process used in estimating as accurately as possible the amount of time that is going to be consumed next year by sick leave, vacation, and all the other leave categories. He went on to explain how staff then worked backwards to determine how much service can be put out on the street. This should do a better job of insuring that the Authority remains within the budget for FY 2002/03.

Mr. Mose distributed a graph which reviewed the past four years of total expenditures, noting that according to these comparisons and where the expenditures are at this point, he feels the Authority will end up within budget at the end of this fiscal year.

Mr. Mose added that there are really no surprises in this finance report. It has been clear for some time that wages and benefits for drivers would be over budget and that insurance in various categories would also be over budget. However, those items combined with the savings in areas where we have been able to tighten our belts, should bring the budget within a percent or two of the actual estimated total.

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

 

C. Adoption of FY 2002/03 Final Budget

Mr. Mose reviewed the five page Final Budget included in the Board packets, along with the capital budget. Mr. Mose asked that the Board adopt the FY 2002/03 Final Budget contingent upon the approval of local shares by each participating municipality.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board adopt the FY 2002/03 Final Budget contingent upon the approval of local shares by each participating municipality. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose noted that the Bellefonte Borough Council went ahead and approved the budget at their last meeting. In response to Chairman Spychalski, Mr. Mose went on to say that the COG Finance Committee did approve the budget unanimously; however, the COG General Forum did not have a quorum present to hold a formal vote. Nonetheless, because the COG Finance Committee had already unanimously approved the budget, the General Forum agreed to send it out to the municipalities for their individual approval of local shares. Mr. Mose also stated that Ferguson Township had several issues they would like addressed when preparing next year’s budget. They would like to see the regional tier reexamined and an increase in per rider revenue from the apartment complexes. There was further discussion on the concerns of Ferguson Township.

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

 

D. Proposed Service Changes

Mr. Mose distributed copies of some of the new maps and timetables which include the service changes to be implemented July 1. Mr. Mose reviewed each route and the changes from the current routes and/or schedules. Mr. Mose stressed that some of the re-routing was done in order to have Centre Line buses duplicate the Town or Campus LOOPs, in order to provide better service in the fare-free zone. Mr. Mose also pointed out that the P Route may be able to serve Innovation Park and the Penn Stater to replace the PSU Guest Shuttle.

Mr. Mose pointed out that there are a few final details to work out, but these were the major changes he wanted to present to the Board. Mr. Bernier also noted that the Authority has reached the point that we are now able to work effectively with developers - for example, making the Village at Penn State retirement community accessible to buses.

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Bernier noted that the summer road closings will cause detours, but should not affect schedules.

There was no formal action required by the Board.

E. Operations/Administration Area Expansion Update

Mr. Gilbert reported that work is progressing on the expansion of the Operations and Administration areas of the Cato Park facility. The new addition to the parking lot is complete, the roof is nearly on, and the walls have started going up. Due mainly to the delay in the delivery of the roof trusses, the project is about ten days behind schedule. Color selection has begun for the interior and the HVAC contractors have begun work. Mr. Gilbert also reported that there has been a problem with water leaking into the dispatch office and the drivers’ dayroom during the recent rainstorms.

There was no formal action required by the Board.

 

V. NEW BUSINESS

A. Proposal for FY 2002/03 Audit Services

Ms. Minor noted that the Authority last solicited proposals for audit services in 1997, at which time a contract was awarded to Reinsel and Company, of Reading, for the FY 1996/97 audit. Since that time, we have exercised our option to select Reinsel to perform audit services for the four subsequent fiscal periods, through FY 2000/01.

With the expiration of the five year maximum contract period, staff prepared and distributed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for FY 2001/02 audit services, with an option for up to four additional years should the Authority so desire.

Three of the nine firms who received the RFP submitted proposals: Reinsel and Company, Parente Randolph, and the firm of Fiore, Fideli and Snyder. The proposals were evaluated by Judi Minor and Annette Filoromo-Beck, using the criteria specified in the RFP. As in the past, the most important factor used in the evaluation was previous experience with transit authority audits, since so many of our accounting requirements and practices are specific to public transportation entities.

Based on this evaluation, Ms. Minor recommended that Reinsel and Company be awarded a contract for audit services, based on their extensive experience with transit audits. Both the firm and the specific staff members who will be assigned to CATA currently perform similar services for the transit authorities in Reading, Harrisburg, Allentown, Lancaster, York and Altoona, and have done so for a number of years. Their experience in this area far outweighs that of the two other firms.

Ms. Minor also reported that the cost for the FY 2001/02 audit will be $13,200, considerably higher than the most recent audit fee of $9,800. However, because fees over the last five years have been fixed, the current fee reflects Reinsel’s current staffing costs and additional hours required for CATA’s audit as the Authority has grown in size and complexity. Although the price proposal submitted by Reinsel is not the lowest received (it falls between those proposed by the other two firms), Ms. Minor stated that the staff considers it reasonable, based on the work required and current audit fees incurred by other authorities.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board accept the proposal from, and authorize staff to execute a contract with, Reinsel and Company for FY 2001/02 audit services. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Ms. Minor stated that the price for each option year is specified in the contract.

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

B. Resolution Approving the FY 02/03 Grant Request for Dedicated and Supplemental PublicTransportation Assistance Funds under Act 26 of 1991 and Act 3 of 1997

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the enclosed resolution for FY 2002/03 Act 3 and Act 26 dedicated PTAF funds and direct that the grant application be submitted to PENNDOT. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion.

Referring to the memo included in the Board packets that details the resolution for PTAF and Act 3 funding, Ms. Minor reviewed the requirements for this funding and the two new projects being submitted.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Ms. Minor noted that CATA’s operating revenue has nothing to do with the PTAF funding. In response to Mr. Mose, Ms. Minor reviewed the requirements and stressed that PENNDOT’s estimates are always high, but CATA should be fine nonetheless.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Ms. Minor reviewed the capital projects which are listed in the grant, which ones are being closed out and which ones are new for this year. If there are any left over funds, they will go back into a pool.

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

C. Proposal for Performance Management Review

Mr. Mose noted that new state legislation mandates that each transit authority in Pennsylvania conduct a management performance review every seven years. For Class 3 properties, the first such review must be conducted during the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2002.

CATA and AMTRAN, Altoona’s transit agency, agreed to solicit proposals jointly, as had been done by the authorities in York and Lancaster, to reduce costs and streamline the solicitation process. Under this process, both CATA and AMTRAN hope to select the same consultant to perform each system’s review, using separate contracts to specify the work and costs for each.

The RFP generated four responses - from Abrams-Cherwony and Associates of Philadelphia; RLS and Associates of Dayton, Ohio; RTR Associates of Pittsburgh; and Tatum and Associates of East Orange, New Jersey. Ms. Minor noted that the proposals were reviewed by a committee consisting of Hugh Mose and herself from CATA and Eric Wolf, the General Manager at AMTRAN.

Mr. Mose also stated that based on this review, which rated the work plan, experience of the personnel who will conduct the review, experience of the firm as a whole, reasonableness of cost and DBE participation, the committee was unanimous in its recommendation that the firm of RTR Associates be selected to perform the review.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board accept the proposal from, and authorize staff to execute a contract with, RTR Associates, of Pittsburgh, to conduct a management performance review, at a cost not to exceed $26,986. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose stated that he does not know what the exact ramifications would be if the Authority does not comply with the requirement to have this review done. Ms. Minor noted that the Act 3 legislation states that all state funded authorities will have this review completed. There is a deadline for submitting the review and she feels that state funding could be cut off if this is not done. Ms. Minor reviewed what she knows of the review and what other authorities are paying for such reviews. In response to Mr. Sherman, Ms. Minor noted that she asked why the state did not hire a consultant to do all the reviews. The response was that it was a concern of the officials that authorities would want to hire their own consultant.

Mr. Davidson stated that he feels this is not a necessary expense and would like further information on why this needs to be done.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose noted that he expects that AMTRAN will be using the same firm.

Chairman Spychalski expressed his concern that the Board is uncomfortable with the magnitude of this expense. However, the Authority cannot take a chance on losing its state operating funds. He suggested that the General Manager make the transit industry trade association and lobbyists aware of the Board’s concerns. Ms. Minor reviewed how this information will be used.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously. Chairman Spychalski also recommended again that the General Manager take up the Board’s questions with the State Transit Trade Association. He feels that this is an unnecessary expense when funds are needed for operating and capital expenses. However, he added that done correctly, a management review can be constructive and provide value for the money invested.

D. Adoption of Proposed 2002-2003 Service Standards

Mr. Bernier reported that the Authority is required to advertise and adopt Service Standards and then measure them throughout the year. The document included in the Board packets reviews the five prior years’ performance, the current performance year and the proposed goals set for the upcoming year. Mr. Bernier reviewed the trends and what has affected them each year, pointing out how the no-fare LOOP impacted certain performance levels.

Mr. Bernier also noted that the standards have been submitted to PENNDOT and he anticipates their approval with no changes. In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Bernier noted that no response from PENNDOT usually means that the goals have been accepted.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Bernier stated that the ability to look at the Service Standards and performance over the past years is a valuable tool for staff.

Mr. Mose stated that PENNDOT does not mandate the review of past years, but the comparison table is the best way to use the material.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the FY 2002-2003 Service Standards as proposed. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Bernier noted that the information from other authorities would be available and may provide some value to review. Ms. Minor noted that there is an annual report on statistics, but it does not show what other systems’ goals are. There was further discussion on the standards and how this information can be viewed. Mr. Mose noted that there are no other transit authorities in Pennsylvania which would be CATA’s peer.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Bernier noted that road calls could have a stricter definition. . . such as saying a road failure would be only for buses which simply cannot stay on the road, not simply because the air conditioning did not work. Anytime a bus is switched out, CATA notes it as a road failure.

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

E. LOOP/LINK Contract

Chairman Spychalski recommended that this item be deferred for discussion in the Executive Session.

F. Resolutions to Amend Money Purchase Plans to Permit Loans - ICMA-RC Accounts

Mr. Mose reported that one of the negotiated items included in the new contract with AFSCME Local 1203-B and Council 83 is to add loan provisions to CATA’s 401(a) plans. The two resolutions included in the Board packets address this change for both accounts for represented and non-represented employees. Mr. Mose stressed that no other options will change as a result of the new resolutions, only the ability to allow loans.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the enclosed resolutions to permit loans from employee ICMA-RC Accounts in accordance with the Loan Guidelines adopted by the Authority. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

G. Summer Meeting Schedule

Mr. Mose noted that since the Budget and Service Standards have been adopted at this meeting, there are no anticipated business items which would mandate the regular June meeting. Because of this, it is staff’s recommendation that the June 24, 2002, regular Board meeting be cancelled.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board cancel the regular June meeting due to a lack of agenda items. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

VI. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

There were no additional items to report at this time.

B. Service Development Report

Mr. Bernier reported that he left the Service Development report in his car and they will be mailed out with the next Board mailing. In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Bernier reported that he has secured a preliminary agreement to allow the Football Shuttle to be staged in the parking lot at Hills Plaza. With the farmer’s market moving from Meyer’s Dairy into the Hill’s Plaza parking lot, he is trying to make sure CATA still has the use of the parking area.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose reviewed the work process in preparing for a July 1 implementation of the new service changes.

 

VII. EXECUTIVE SESSION

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting to Executive Session at 5:38 p.m. to discuss contract negotiations with Penn State, personnel issues and other confidential matters.

The Board returned to Open Session at 6:23 p.m.

E. LOOP/LINK Contract (cont.)

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to finalize negotiations and execute a contract with the Pennsylvania State University for the provision of the no-fare LOOP/LINK, Centre Line Fare-free zone, P Route service to replace the Guest Shuttle, subsidized employee passes and other matters relating to transit service on the Penn State campus, for the three-year period from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2005. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. After a brief discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

VIII. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Authority, the meeting was adjourned at 6:32 p.m.