AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
April 23, 2007
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street, State College, PA
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Joseph L. Davidson, Vice Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Joe Gilbert, Director of Transportation Services
Terri Quici, Executive Assistant
Craig Humphrey, State College Borough Liaison
Greg Kausch, CRPA Sr. Transportation Planner
Dan Jones, Battaglia-Jones Landscape Architects
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:05 PM and announced there had been an Executive Session on 3/29/07 to discuss personnel matters.
Craig Humphrey stated that State College Borough Council met with a PSU geography class who is working on a project regarding reduction in emissions. Mr. Humphrey stated that CATA may be asked how they can further reduce emissions beyond using CNG powered buses. Dr. Spychalski stated that electric powered transit would be an option, but it is very expensive. Hugh Mose stated that investing in strategies to encourage alternative commutes, thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road, is another option.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Approval of March 22, 2007 Work Session Minutes
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Gary Powers moved to approve the minutes of the March 22, 2007 Work Session. Richard Kipp seconded. Mr. Kipp noted two minor changes on page 1, paragraph 3 in which “Ms.” Davidson and “Ms.” Mose be changed to “Mr.” in both instances. The motion carried unanimously.
B. Approval of March 26, 2007 Regular Board Meeting Minutes
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Kathryn Bittner moved to approve the minutes of the March 26, 2007 Board meeting. Gary Powers seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
C. Receipt of the March 2007 Financial Report
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to accept the financial report. Richard Kipp moved to receive the March 2007 Financial Report. Gary Powers seconded.
Judi Minor reported that partial reimbursement for labor on the hydrogen bus project was received from Penn State and it is reflected under Misc. Non-Transportation Revenue. Ms. Minor also reported that Columbia Gas has been reading the meters at inconsistent intervals, which resulted in bills for 23 days and then 39 days. Ms. Minor has requested an adjustment and said that she will have to watch this each month. Joe Davidson asked if staff can read the meter and Ms. Minor indicated that ours is a meter that requires specialty training to read it, and our staff is not trained.
Hugh Mose reported that the same upward trends continue on the Fare Media Report and that overall ridership is still increasing. Gary Powers asked what contributed to the drop in ridership on the LOOP buses. Mr. Mose stated that he was not sure but maybe riders are riding Centre Line buses from home instead of parking at the Jordan Center and riding the LOOPs. Richard Kipp asked why there was such an increase on the B Route in March. Eric Bernier indicated that March was a colder and more snowy month this year, and there were probably more people going to Tussey Mountain. Greg Kausch noted that cash fares were greatly increased on the Red-Green Report, which further indicates ridership was probably to Tussey Mountain.
With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
D. Policy Adoption and Review
Edited policies that were reviewed at last month’s meeting were included in the Board packets. Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the Code of Conduct Regarding Fraud and Ethical Conduct, Military Leave Policy, Military Reserves/National Guard Leave Policy; Political Activity Policy; Procurement Procedures; Smoke-Free Workplace Policy, Sexual Abuse Prevention Policy; Sexual Harassment Policy, and Travel Policies. Kathryn Bittner moved to adopt the policies reviewed at the March 2007 meeting. Richard Kipp seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the Substance Abuse Policy. Joe Davidson moved to approve; Gary Powers seconded. Joe Gilbert stated that the Board is not required to approve this policy but the FTA suggests it be reviewed periodically by the Board. The Board last reviewed this policy in 2002. Mr. Gilbert reviewed the minor edits, noting that a few positions were added to the safety sensitive functions list. Chairman Spychalski stated that he felt it looked good. Richard Kipp asked what blind samples were and Mr. Gilbert explained they were “spiked” samples sent by the lab to ensure that the tests were being conducted properly. Gary Powers asked if all accidents require drug testing. Mr. Gilbert indicated that it is up to the Supervisor who investigates whether it is warranted, and these decisions are explained on a separate accident report form.
With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
E. Service Planning Update
In the Board packets, Eric Bernier provided a memo outlining details of service changes proposed for the fall. Mr. Bernier stated that the three major changes are: LOOP service levels being modified to just two (full service and reduced); the P Route adding service to the airport; and the X Route service area being shortened on the off-peak trips. Mr. Mose commented that the Board had desired a service change to bring the X Route more in line with Bellefonte Borough’s contribution, and the best way to do it was to reduce the miles traveled within the Borough. Mr. Bernier noted that several changes respond to public requests. Mr. Mose stated that staff will present final changes for approval at the May Board meeting.
F. Budget Update
Hugh Mose stated that he attended the COG Finance Committee meeting and there were two requests. The Committee asked that CATA’s request for Capital funds be modified to an adjustment yearly for the next several years instead of a large increase next year; and that funding assistance be requested from the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (CPCVB) to help with the cost of the service to the airport. Joe Davidson asked what the cost will be to run this service and Mr. Mose stated it would be approximately $60,000. The CPCVB will be asked to fund $10,000.
V. NEW BUSINESS
A. Schlow Library/Downtown CATA Office Streetscape Project
Eric Bernier introduced Dan Jones from Battaglia-Jones Landscape Architects, a professional design firm. Mr. Bernier explained that a set of three preliminary designs have been reviewed by the Library Board of Trustees already, and the designs are being presented at the meeting for input by CATA Board members and staff. Mr. Bernier noted that a follow-up meeting will be held with the Library Board on 5/9/07 to discuss whether there is a consensus on a design. Mr. Jones reviewed the site needs and analysis stating that it is a very visible intersection. The designs included more trees and plants, more prominent signage for the CATA office, a street clock as a landmark, public art, and information in the windows such as a flat-panel TV with bus schedule information. Discussion continued regarding the good and the bad of each design, Board members expressed concerns that the CATA office is made prominent and that pedestrian traffic is not hindered. The Board did agree that public art was not a priority, but they liked the idea of including a historic-looking clock as a landmark. Mr. Jones reminded the Board that this can be an incremental plan which is adjusted as opportunities present themselves. Eric Bernier will return to the May Board meeting with an update after meeting with the Library Board on 5/9/07. Kathryn Bittner requested that someone from the Downtown Improvement District be included in these discussions. Mr. Bernier stated that they have been invited to each of the meetings but have not attended.
B. FY 2007/2008 Shared Ride Grant Application
Judi Minor stated that staff prepares this annual application to participate in the state’s Shared Ride program. Ms. Minor explained that this grant provides lottery funds to partially reimburse costs associated with paratransit service. Joe Davidson moved to authorize the filing and execution of the FY 2007/2008 Shared Ride Grant application. Gary Powers seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
C. Resolution Authorizing the Filing of FY 2007/2008 State Operating Assistance Grant
Ms. Minor stated that each year CATA files its application for state operating assistance funds to be used for general operating subsidy during the upcoming fiscal year. This year’s grant estimate is unchanged from the current year. Kathryn Bittner moved that the Board adopt the resolution authorizing the filing and execution of the FY 2007/2008 State Operating Assistance grant application. Gary Powers seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
VI. OTHER BUSINESS
A. General Manager’s Report
Hugh Mose reported that the Union held elections over the weekend and elected Percy Hagenbuch, President; Karen Ilgen, Vice-President; Dave Hollabaugh, Steve Hagenbuch and Lee Osmond, Stewards; Richard Lyon, Treasurer; and Beth Watkins, Secretary. Mr. Mose stated that he received an invitation from Tom Fountaine, State College Borough, to participate in a press conference that Mayor Welch is conducting on May 10th. Mr. Mose indicated that he and Jackie Sheader are attending on behalf of CATA. Chairman Spychalski indicated that he would also attend. Mr. Mose noted a Transit Coalition meeting will be held on 4/26/07 at 8:00 AM at Panera Bakery and that the Employee Breakfast is scheduled for 5/11/07 from 5:45 AM – 9:45 AM.
Mr. Mose asked Greg Kausch to provide an update on two events. Mr. Kausch announced that the Centre County MPO has two plans out for public comment. Mr. Kausch stated that the first plan, the Public Participation Plan, is out for comment until 5/24/07 and a public meeting will be held on 4/30/07. The second plan out for comment is the Coordinated Public Transit – Human Services Transportation Plan, which went out for public comment on 4/19/07. Mr. Kausch invited the Board to review these plans and offer any comments.
B. Service Development Report
Eric Bernier stated that a report was included in the Board packet and he did not have anything further to add. Joe Davidson asked if Eric had any information about possible student housing being constructed on Waupelani Drive. Mr. Bernier did not but indicated that he would do some follow-up.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:10 PM.
No Executive Session was held.