REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
Conference Room 241, 243 South Allen Street
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Jacqueline Sheader, Marketing Manager
John Lazration, Receptionist (Temporary)
Richard McCarl, State College Borough Liaison
Tim Geibel, CRPA, Transportation Planner
Owen O’Neil, Consultant, Abrams-Cherwony & Associates
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. and noted for the minutes that two work sessions had been held, one on 8/13/03 regarding personnel matters and one on 7/8/03 regarding the recently completed Management Performance Review.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
Chairman Spychalski asked for any public comments. There were none given.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Approval of Minutes of June 23, 2003 Board Meeting
Richard Kipp moved to approve the minutes of the June 23, 2003 Board Meeting; Gary Powers seconded the motion. They were approved unanimously.
B. June and July 2003 Finance Reports
Judi Minor indicated that the reports were not yet available due to the year-end audit not being complete. She did note, however, that only $867,000 of federal operating money was used, resulting in more carry-over for the current year.
C. Centre County Long Range Transportation Plan (Centre County Planning Office)
Hugh Mose introduced Tim Geibel, Transportation Planner at CATA through the Centre Regional Planning Agency. Tim has been working with Owen O’Neil from Abrams-Cherwony and Associates in Philadelphia, who provided an update on the Transit Element of the Plan.
Mr. O’Neil provided the following:
- Discussion Paper #1: Service Area Characteristics - examined Centre County for key socioeconomic and land use indicators of transit need.
Population Density and Growth - areas with population density over 4,000 persons per square mile are in State College, Bellefonte and Philipsburg. Most of the county has population density of less than 50 persons per square mile. The highest concentration of areas with growth of over 10% between 1990 and 2000 is in the area immediately surrounding State College. In almost all areas of CATA service area, public transit use is over 3 percent. Millheim and Rebersburg are at 2 percent.
Analysis showed the greatest need for transit in State College Borough and immediately surrounding municipalities with isolated pockets of transit needs in outlying areas such as Bellefonte and Philipsburg. Milesburg, Pleasant Gap, Centre Hall and Snow Shoe constitute a second tier of communities with transit needs.
- Discussion Paper #2: Resident Attitude Survey - 408 residents of Centre County surveyed over the telephone.
Results include: 86% are non-users of public transportation; 17% have members of their household using public transportation; 85% knew CATA; 52% rated CATA as excellent, very good or good, while 38% said “Don’t Know”. When filtering out the “don’t knows”, 85% rated CATA as excellent, very good or good. 70% of respondents indicate service is at least “important”, while 45% said they would be willing to pay higher taxes for improved transit.
- Discussion Paper #3: Stakeholder Interviews - over 50 individuals were interviewed, mainly in panel sessions.
Most individuals interviewed are aware of CATA and CCOT; many feel that public is generally aware of CATA but very few know about CCOT. Most have a very favorable opinion of system performance of CATA and some felt the level of service is not high enough. Many stated that CCOT has very low visibility and the level of service is insufficient. Almost all said that the primary beneficiaries of the CATA service are students. CCOT beneficiaries include elderly and individuals with disabilities. Individuals also felt CATA is limited in terms of the area of the community that is served, and CCOT is too limited in terms of the level of service provided. With regard to adequacy of the current funding and expectations for the future, most recognize that the current situation very austere. The County and municipalities do not have the resources to provide additional funding for services to outlying areas. UPass type programs were discussed, but PSU stated its reluctance to adopt such a program.
- Issues to be addressed in the Mid-Range Strategic Plan are:
Service issues included improvement of existing services in the Centre Region (currently service is just barely adequate to serve areas of the community); improved service (i.e., better coverage and frequency) to the urbanizing periphery of State College; regional commuter service modes such as park-n-ride, long haul commuter bus, van pool, etc. and which models are appropriate in which corridors; and development of an effective rural transportation model for the transportation disadvantaged outside of the Centre Region.
Policy/capital issues included how PSU policies (i.e., parking, development) affect transit service throughout the Centre Region; technology opportunities for CATA; fleet replacement needs; and other capital needs, such as CATA will need to replace its three CNG compressors some time in the near future.
Institutional/organizational issues included discussion of coordination models (single agency with two divisions, brokerage, coordination, consolidated functions, status quo) and which is most beneficial for Centre County; and the best/appropriate role for PSU in any modified structure.
Funding issues included discussion of the need to examine other funding allocation models if expansion is to take place; the need to examine the current local funding formula; and how PA operating assistance policies affect Centre County.
Tim Geibel concluded the summary by stating that this is a strategic document that will provide the necessary information for future planning.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
A. Resolution authorizing use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures
Judi Minor reported on the history of purchasing procedures, using federal and state regulations. She noted that the state has recently passed legislation that allows transit authorities to use the federal standard in lieu of state thresholds. These Simplified Acquisition Procedures would include increasing the threshold for written quotes from $4000 to $5000 and eliminating the need to publicly advertise acquisitions of less than $100,000 under certain conditions.
Chairperson Spychalski asked for a motion to pass the resolution authorizing the use of Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Gary Powers moved; Richard Kipp seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.
B. Bus Procurement - 30-foot Low-floor CNG Buses
Joe Gilbert reported that an invitation to bid (IFB) was issued in June. Although seven or eight firms requested packets, only one bid was received. El Dorado National Co., a division of Thor Industries, submitted a bid of $289,043 per bus; the bid has been determined to be responsive and the firm a responsible bidder. On that basis, Hugh Mose noted that staff recommends the approval of the bid.
Richard Kipp questioned our obligation to the public to use natural gas buses and just wanted to remain open to opportunities for changes in technology and other new developments.
Richard McCarl wanted to know why only one bid was received. Joe Gilbert indicated that only one firm currently builds a 30' CNG bus with two doors, and we were unwilling to accept a longer bus or only one passenger door.
Chairperson Spychalski asked for a motion to approve the bid from El Dorado National Company. Richard Kipp moved to approve the bid of $289,043 per bus; Gary Powers seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.
Joe Gilbert indicated it would take about 250 days’ lead time to build the buses, which would most likely mean a delivery date in April 2004.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
A. General Manager's Report
Hugh Mose reported that:
• Terri Weight has been hired as Executive Assistant and will be starting on September 2nd.
• Three campus bus stop improvements are virtually complete: Visual Arts Building, Pollock Road and N. Atherton Street. Hugh noted that the University has made a significant investment in these improvements.
• Ag Progress ridership was down this year.
• Customer Information updates completed include the Ride Guide and our website. Chairman Spychalski complimented staff on the improved graphics in the Ride Guide this year.
• Employee training has been conducted, including sexual harassment, customer service, and disability sensitivity issues. Driver refresher training was also provided.
• The first Annual CATA Golf Classic was held on Sunday, August 24th. There were 6 participants and Gary Powers led the pack by 25 strokes.
B. Service Development Report
Mr. McCarl asked about the closing of Shortlidge Road. Hugh Mose indicated that it seems to be a foregone conclusion, but if State College Borough wanted it kept open, he was sure that the University would consider the Borough’s concerns. Staff has asked the University to consider making Shortlidge Road available on an emergency basis.
There being no further discussion, Chairperson Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 5:21 p.m.