Area Transportation Authority Board Work Session
March 11, 2004 4:00 PM
CATA Conference Room
2081 W. Whitehall Road, State College, PA
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Don Sherman, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judi Minor, Director of Administration
Joe Gilbert, Director of Transportation
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 PM to discuss the preliminary DRAFT 2004/05 Budget.
Hugh Mose began the meeting with items of interest that he previously had provided in a memo. Mr. Mose noted that for the first time in a number of years, the FY 2004/05 DRAFT Budget is essentially a status quo budget; therefore, staff proposes to maintain service levels, fares and existing programs and allow for a slight increase in staff levels. In addition, an increase in either federal or state funding is anticipated and staff members plan to identify some initiatives should the funding become available.
The following revenue issues were discussed by staff and Board members:
The following expenditure issues were discussed between staff and Board members:
Staffing Level issues were next discussed by staff and the Board members. Mr. Mose noted that the Purchasing Agent position has been eliminated and replaced with a second Maintenance Supervisor. Mr. Mose stated that staff is recommending the following: adjusting the Money Counter position to a full-time position (currently part-time) and adding a full-time Operations Supervisor.
Mr. Mose described the need for additional administrative support in the front office to cover telephones and greet customers. Mr. Mose indicated that making this a full time position will free up time for Terri and allow Pegeen to provide more help for Amanda, who could then take on more duties for succession planning.
Mr. Mose stated that consistent with the number one recommendation of last year’s Management Performance Review, staff has included a sixth Operations Supervisor position. With the increase of on-street supervision, accident investigations, customer complaints, training, etc., the existing five operations supervisors couldn’t cover the job adequately,
In summary, Mr. Mose stated that the FY 2004/05 DRAFT Budget is still being reviewed. He believes that a few minor adjustments may still be made, particularly relating to Bus Driver wages and benefits.
Joe Davidson asked whether more apartments will request contracts with CATA. Hugh indicated that no contract goes beyond the end of the coming fiscal year but if ridership increased, there would be consideration to adding trippers. Hugh noted that the apartments are competitive and that CATA will continue to see more interest as they add benefits to their respective contracts.
After a break for dinner, Chairman Spychalski called upon Judi Minor to discuss the 5-page DRAFT Budget line items. Ms. Minor stated that she prepared the memo that was included in their packets to address significant line item changes. Ms. Minor described each line item to include revenue, subsidies, maintenance expenses, transportation expenses, and administrative expenses.
Discussion continued regarding the procedure used for filling a job, re-classification of jobs, and overtime. Don Sherman noted that overtime seemed to be creeping back into the budget. Judi Minor and Joe Gilbert explained that there are three additional working holidays this FY, as well as coverage for vacancies in maintenance. Hugh Moses explained it was unusual because of the three working holidays.
Joe Davidson asked whether provisions were needed to inspect the CNG bus tanks, as reported in the November report. Hugh noted that it was discovered that the tanks are good for the life of the bus. He had thought that a mid-term check was needed, but that was not correct.
Ms. Minor felt it was worth noting that the per-tire lease rates have significantly increased, with the expiration of the current five-year contract. Other areas of interest noted by Mr. Minor included maintenance & licensing agreement costs for the RideShare program and an upgrade to the Intellifare program, as well as probable increased cost for legal counsel.
Don Sherman asked about increased travel costs to see new buses. Joe Gilbert noted that it is charged to capital grants.
Richard Kipp asked about the projected natural gas prices and how we would adjust the budget. Judi Minor stated that part of the carry-forward of $440,000 would be used. Chairman Spychalski shared information about concerns with natural gas prices and noted that some say it will greatly increase with higher usage by other countries.
Chairman Spychalski acknowledged that it is the best first cut and that the DRAFT Budget looks good and provides a good sense of direction.
Gary Powers inquired about ridership compared to last year. Hugh indicated that overall it doesn’t show any changes. There is an increase in Ride for Five and LOOP/LINK services but a decrease in Centre Line cash and Pass riders. Don Sherman asked how much Penn State could contribute on these services and Hugh indicated that the best thing would be for Penn State to expand the Ride for Five program. Hugh also noted that when the new parking garage at Lot 80 opens, Penn State may not support the cross-campus service any longer.
Chairman Spychalski asked for additional comments and questions. Hugh Mose also pointed out the final attachment that highlights Programs, Services and Activities that staff expect to pursue over the next year.
Don Sherman asked if there were a possibility for municipalities to make voluntary contributions or pay for additional services. Hugh Mose stated that there may be a way in which a fund could be set up, perhaps through an organization like Centre County Charitable Foundation, in which community members could make donations for services. Mr. Sherman indicated that it was worth looking into for more information.
As there was no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 PM.
Attachment: Addendum A – March 5, 2004 Memo