CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING & PUBLIC HEARING MINUTES
March 2, 2005
4:00 PM
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
Borough Council Chambers, 243 S. Allen Street
pdf format


BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Gary Powers
Kathryn Bittner

STAFF PRESENT:
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Jacqueline Sheader, Marketing Manager
Terri Quici, Executive Assistant
Joe Gilbert, Director of Transportation

OTHERS PRESENT:
Tim Geibel, CRPA, Transportation Planner
Craig Humphrey, State College Borough Liaison

I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:02 PM.

II PUBLIC HEARING TO RECEIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR BUS SERVICE IMPROVEMEMT
Chairman Spychalski called upon Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager, to provide a preamble to the Public Hearing. Mr. Bernier explained that CATA solicits input from the public that can be considered as the budget is drafted. Mr. Bernier noted that this year’s Public Hearing has taken on added significance because of the highly publicized statewide transit funding crisis which, unless resolved, will create a likely $300,000 deficit in the CATA budget. Mr. Bernier directed the Board’s attention to a memo that was included in their meeting packet identifying initial strategies to reduce the deficit. This handout was also made available to the public. Mr. Bernier then reviewed expense reductions and additional revenue possibilities under consideration. Mr. Bernier also stated that the Board had been provided a summary of six emails and verbal suggestions he received concerning service changes and would like to include these statements as part of the official record.

Joe Banks, State College, stated that he would like to see CATA downsize buses and run more of them, be proactive in looking at other ways to haul people around, and advertise the actual cost of running a bus. Mr. Banks was insistent and demanded the Board to look at alternatives to providing service instead of raising rates. Chairman Spychalski asked Mr. Banks to prepare a detailed cost analysis of his suggestions and provide it to the General Manager at his earliest convenience. Chairman Spychalski stated that staff will compare it with information that CATA has already and if there is something viable, it will be implemented. Mr. Banks also suggested a monorail system and a subscription service be considered and stated that he would be happy to cooperate and meet with Mr. Mose.

Sherry Greenawalt, property manager at State College Park, stated her concern about reduced service to her property with 700 tenants and would like to know as soon as possible if the proposed changes will go in effect. Ms. Greenawalt supports exterior advertising as a means for additional revenue. Ms. Greenawalt also noted that the tenants are completely happy with the service.


III. PUBLIC COMMENT

None

IV. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of January 11, 2005 Board Work Session
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Gary Powers moved to approve the minutes of the January 11, 2005 Board Work Session. Joe Davidson seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

B. Approval of Minutes of January 24, 2005 Board Meeting
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Kathryn Bittner moved to approve the minutes of the January 24, 2005 Board Meeting. Joe Davidson seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

C. Approval of January 2005 Finance Reports
Hugh Mose reported that CATA is very much on budget this year. He noted that ridership continues to be off, with Centre Line decreasing and LOOP’s either remaining steady or increasing. Mr. Mose also stated that in the Fare Media report it indicates that OnePass and Ride For Five sales are down.

Joe Davidson noted that under the maintenance paratransit line it indicates that this line is at 92.55% of the budget and asked if this is due to the aging fleet. Judi Minor reported that there have been costs associated with unexpected transmission and bodywork repairs and as a result the year-end total would probably be a little higher than budgeted.

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the January 2005 Finance Report. Joe Davidson moved to receive the Finance Reports. Kathryn Bittner seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

D. FY 2005/2006 Budget Update
Hugh Mose announced that transit funding has assumed new dimensions since earlier this week, when the Governor announced a temporary solution that would be in effect through December 2006. Mr. Mose explained that the Governor has “flexed” $361 million that was allocated to bridges and highway projects and has made it available for transit. Gary Powers asked how much of the $361 million is allocated to CATA. Mr. Mose stated that there is no set formula; the apportionment will be based on need. Mr. Mose expects that CATA could receive between $300,000 - $500,000 but cautioned that it is only a temporary fix to the long-term transit funding crisis.

Chairman Spychalski asked the Board how they would like staff to proceed with preparing the budget for 2005/2006. After discussion regarding issues of preparing multiple budgets or a budget with a contingency plan, the consensus was for staff to prepare one budget with a contingency plan.

V. NEW BUSINESS

A. Collective Bargaining Agreement – Possible Ratification
Chairman Spychalski indicated that details regarding negotiations are still in progress and will need to be discussed in Executive Session.

VI. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager’s Report
Mr. Mose reported on the Hydrogen Bus Project with Penn State. He indicated it will be ongoing and that the bus is being shipped to Reno, NV for an engine transplant.

Mr. Mose also reported that as of March 1st CATA’s employee health care plan will change to only having an HMO option, and that there is an 11% increase in premiums.

Mr. Mose stated that the celebration of CATA achieving 100% CNG fleet is now scheduled for March 21st.

B. Service Development Report
In addition to his report that was included in the Board packet, Eric Bernier reported the inclusion of real-time ridership information on the CATA website. Mr. Bernier also noted that due to the current budget situation, apartment contracts have not been negotiated, but he will proceed as quickly as possible once information is received.

C. Other
Chairman Spychalski stated that transit funding is dependent on the public sector’s support. He said that elected officials need to be aware of transit needs and that it would be helpful for those who feel there are benefits to share their views with the elected officials.

Kathryn Bittner and Chairman Spychalski offered kudos to Eric Bernier for the recent website enhancements.

VII. ADJOURNMENT
With no further business to discuss, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 4:52 PM

EXECUTIVE SESSION
The Board reconvened in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.