AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES
March 27, 2006
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
State College Borough, Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Jacqueline Sheader, Marketing Manager
Terri Quici, Executive Assistant
Amanda Jones, Human Resources Manager
Sherry Snyder, Operations Manager
Tim Geibel, CRPA, Transportation Planner
Craig Humphrey, State College Borough Liaison
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:03 PM.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
Cathryn Juettner, a State College Borough resident, stated that she rides the M, P, and LOOP routes primarily. She complimented CATA on their service. Ms. Juettner was at the meeting to make a suggestion to expand service on the M Route on Sunday evenings. She explained that she works at a commercial business near the Mall until 10:00 or 11:00 PM and is not able to take the bus back home because it stops running on Sunday evenings at 6:18 PM. Ms. Juettner believes the original schedule was probably centered around the Mall hours of operation, but since that time, many more businesses have developed and perhaps ridership has changed. Chairman Spychalski thanked Ms. Juettner for her comments and suggestion and stated it will be given careful consideration.
IV. OLD BUSINESS
A. Approval of Minutes of February 27, 2006 Public Hearing and Board Meeting
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Richard Kipp moved to approve the minutes of the February 27, 2006 Public Hearing and Board Meeting. Joe Davidson seconded. Richard Kipp suggested a comma be placed on the last page (VI.B., second line before Premiere Theatre). With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
B. Receipt of February 2006 Finance Report
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the February 2006 Finance Report. Gary Powers moved to receive the February 2006 Finance Report. Richard Kipp seconded.
Judi Minor noted that Miscellaneous Transporation Revenue shows $8000 from the sale of buses to DuFast; otherwise the budget is trending as it has been throughout the year, with fuel overspent.
Gary Powers asked whether Farebox Revenue is as much ahead of budget as it appears. Ms. Minor stated that as we go into reduced summer service it will even out, but it’s still a little more than budgeted.
Hugh Mose asked Ms. Minor about Parts. She indicated that major parts have been charged to Act 26, so there was an adjustment, and we may spend less than budgeted. Joe Davidson asked where inventory of parts was reflected. Ms. Minor stated it shows on the Balance Sheet.
Mr. Mose asked Ms. Minor about cash flow. Ms. Minor stated that federal operating assistance funds have not been released yet. Ms. Minor stated that if we do not receive this funding soon, CATA could be facing a cash flow problem. She mentioned that she has been in contact with Citizens Bank to increase CATA’s line of credit to $1 million, which the Board supported.
Mr. Mose noted that ridership continues an upward trend again this month.
With no further discussion, the motion to receive the finance report carried unanimously.
C. Policy Adoption and Review
Amanda Jones stated that copies of the policies reviewed at the February 27, 2006 meeting (Travel Policies) were in the Board packets. Ms. Jones stated that it is recommended that the Board adopt the policies with the suggested changes. Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the policies reviewed at February 27, 2006 meeting. Gary Powers moved to adopt the Travel Polices. Richard Kipp seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Amanda Jones noted that polices for review this month are Unlawful Harassment and Criminal History Record Investigations Policies. Ms. Jones indicated that staff recommends adding “sexual orientation” in paragraph 2 of the Unlawful Harassment Policy. She asked the Board to review the policies and offer input to staff. Gary Powers asked if CATA contracted with an agency for Criminal History Record Investigations. Ms. Jones acknowledged that this service is contracted because the agency has the means to get the information and CATA does not.
V. NEW BUSINESS
A. FY 2006/2007 DRAFT BUDGET
Hugh Mose apologized to the Board for the lateness in getting the 5-page budget to the Board for review; however due to the Work Session being late in the month it was not able to be completed sooner.
Judi Minor explained that changes to the Preliminary Draft Budget as discussed at the Work Session are in bold. Ms. Minor noted the changes to Passenger Revenue, Operating Assistance, Wages & Benefits, and Printing. Ms. Minor noted that the budget assumes “flex” funding will be available to balance the budget and provide some reasonable carryover. Joe Davidson moved to adopt the FY 2006/2007 DRAFT Budget. Kathryn Bittner seconded. Chairman Spychalski added that the motion should also include allowing staff to fully complete and distribute accordingly. The motion carried unanimously.
B. Planning Projects Review
Hugh Mose announced that Tim Geibel, Transportation Planner, has accepted a position as Executive Director at the Crawford Area Transportation Authority and has resigned. Mr. Mose asked Mr. Geibel to prepare a list of projects that he has been working on to share with the Board. Mr. Geibel provided a short summary for 11 projects, noting that Advanced Public Transportation Systems and Facility Security System are the two biggest projects. Mr. Geibel provided recommendations as to who should continue working on the projects and which ones would have to wait until a new Planner is hired. Mr. Geibel thanked the Board for allowing him to work with them. Chairman Spychalski added his appreciation for his professionalism and his excellent service to not only CATA but to the community and offered best wishes in his new job.
C. Bus Refurbishment
Hugh Mose stated that the evaluation of our fleet replacement schedule was identified by the Board as one of this year’s goals, so that when it comes time, CATA will not need to find funding to replace all the buses at once. Joe Gilbert and his staff have been working on gathering information about bus refurbishment and recently took a trip to Midwest Bus Rebuilders in Michigan.
Mr. Gilbert stated that according to FTA standards, the 16 CNG Orion Buses are eligible for replacement in 2008. However, if the buses were rehabilitated, we could keep them in working order for another six years (2012). Mr. Gilbert noted that an important part of the process is to replace fuel tanks, which are certified only until 2010. The estimated price to refurbish each bus is $156,200. Mr. Gilbert provided the Board with a cost analysis sheet of replacement parts. Kathryn Bittner asked how much it would cost to replace the bus with a new one. Mr. Gilbert stated a new bus would run $340,000 -$375,000. Judi Minor stated that the capital money is available to finance the project through “flex” funding, an existing earmark of $1.5 million and even PTAF.
Joe Davidson inquired if there is a front bumper/bicycle rack combination assembly. Mr. Gilbert acknowledged that he has heard of them, but that typically it is just the bike rack that gets damaged, so buying the combination and having to replace the whole assembly isn’t as cost effective. Richard Kipp asked about engines and transmissions, and wheel inspections. Mr. Gilbert stated that our inhouse staff is well-qualified to handle any problems mechanically and there haven’t been any issues with wheel problems. In response to a question, Mr. Gilbert noted that the used parts would be put into salvage and would not be used again.
Kathryn Bittner asked if the process could be staggered so that some buses were refurbished and some replaced with new ones. Mr. Gilbert indicated this would be the optimum goal, but that in that case funding issues would need addressed each year.
Chairman Spychalski asked if there were other vendors. Mr. Gilbert stated that there are four businesses that he knows of and that he would expect to put together a bid package that would be mailed to each one. Mr. Gilbert would also plan to conduct a pre-bid conference.
Mr. Mose concluded by stating that he wanted the Board to be aware of this project because the availability of “flex” funds may dictate that it be undertaken in the coming year.
VI. OTHER BUSINESS
A. General Manager’s Report
Mr. Mose stated that Rabbittransit in York, PA is no longer pursuing a CNG program and has offered to transfer two 35’ New Flyer coaches to CATA at no cost. Mr. Gilbert indicated that staff had traveled to York today and that the buses should be on CATA property at that time. Mr. Gilbert noted that a brand new engine, transmission and parts were also part of the package. Mr. Gilbert said that the buses would be repainted and fitted for use very soon.
Mr. Mose announced that CATA is participating in the Clean Energy Expo. Jackie Sheader stated that the event will be held this Friday and Saturday and CATA will have a bus on display, as well as an informational table, inside the Bryce Jordan Center. Ms. Sheader also noted that Eric Bernier and Jim Ewing have volunteered to drive “Green Tours” that will run on campus on Friday.
Mr. Mose stated that CPI (Central PA Institute of Science and Technology) will be coming to CATA to pick up the two 40’ Gilligs for the new training program. Sherry Snyder stated that there would be a “photo op” set up sometime in the next week, probably Wednesday. Joe Davidson asked that Terri Quici send a note to the Board to remind them of the date and time.
Mr. Mose informed the Board that he would be meeting with Tom Fountaine (SC Borough) and PSU staff to discuss a “Fare Free Zone Pilot Project” through which borough residents could access transit at little or no cost. Mr. Mose will discourage a fare-free zone and suggest an alternative such as a “Ride for $10” program.
B. Service Development Report
Eric Bernier announced that he had received a call from the Benner Township Secretary who said that the Airport Authority voted not to provide financial support for service to the airport. Mr. Bernier has asked for follow-up.
Mr. Bernier responded to the public comment about the M Route in which he agreed that there has been economic growth in the area. Fifteen years ago the schedule was based on the Nittany Mall hours of operation, but Mr. Bernier thinks that there could be a shift in ridership now that there are other commercial businesses, and it is worth looking into.
Mr. Bernier also mentioned to the Board that when staff are guest speakers at conferences, they realize that CATA is ahead of the curve based on comments from the audience. Mr. Bernier said that the Board should be proud of CATA for being at the forefront in so many areas.
C. CCMPO Meeting
Chairman Spychalski stated that he is the CATA Representative to the Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organization (CCMPO) and the proposed interchange from I-80 to the proposed industrial park near Snow Shoe is being discussed tomorrow evening. Chairman Spychalski said that he planned to vote according to his best professional judgement based on the facts presented. He asked for comments, and the Board concurred that he should support whatever action represented sound transportation policy.
With no further business to discuss, Gary Powers moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:28 PM. Kathryn Bittner seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
The Board reconvened in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.