AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
October 22, 2007
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street
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
Amanda Jones, Asst. Director, Administration
Sherry Snyder, Asst. Director of Transportation
Dina Ruggiero, Executive Assistant
Craig Humphrey, State College Borough Liaison
Greg Kausch, CRPA Sr. Transportation Planner
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. and asked for Hugh Mose to introduce the new Executive Assistant, Dina Ruggiero. Mr. Mose asked for Ms. Ruggiero to give a brief introduction of herself. Everyone welcomed her. Chairman Spychalski announced that Kathryn Bittner would be absent due to a medical condition and Gary Powers would be late to arrive due to a previous work commitment.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
Craig Humphrey commented on the designation of the Allen Street parking lot for the Board members and attendees to park in and asked if everyone was clear as to which lot he was referring to. All acknowledged with no questions.
Mr. Humphrey asked for an explanation as to how Penn State’s express bus service to New York City operates. Mr. Mose explained that the service is being provided for those people wanting to commute to and from the State College area to New York City area on the weekends for whatever purposes, replacing the discontinued service to Manhattan that Greyhound once provided. Mr. Mose continued that there has been such a good response that the University has had to add an additional bus to accommodate the passengers. The service is operated by Fullington Bus. Eric Bernier explained CATA’s involvement with the project has been limited to providing information to the public, primarily the students, by providing a link on the CATA website and by placing advertising materials on the CATA buses.
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Approval of Minutes of September 24, 2007 Regular Board Meeting
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the minutes. Hugh Mose asked for a correction to the staff attendees to include Eric Bernier and Judi Minor and to delete Sherry Snyder. Joseph Davidson moved to approve the minutes of the September 24, 2007 Regular Board Meeting with those corrections. Richard Kipp seconded. With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
B. Receipt of August & September 2007 Finance Reports
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to accept the August and September Finance Reports. Richard Kipp moved to accept the August and September 2007 Finance Reports. Joseph Davidson seconded.
Chairman Spychalski asked for an explanation from Judi Minor on the Service Vehicles expense. Ms. Minor explained that the increase is due to an unexpected tire expense on the dump truck where eight (8) tires needed to be purchased at a cost of $400 each. This expense was not budgeted.
Hugh Mose asked for an explanation from Ms. Minor regarding the One Pass revenue on the Fare Media report. The report shows an increase in numbers for One-Pass and PSU Ride for Five, however the dollar amount is down. Mr. Bernier offered that the numbers may be off due to the semester starting in August this year as opposed to the semester starting in September last year. Ms. Minor explained that the revenue is pro-rated by month.
Joseph Davidson asked for an explanation regarding the check for Ebay on the check register in August. He asked for clarification if this was for a commission on the sale or for a straight fee. Mr. Greg Kausch explained that he believed it to be a set fee.
Richard Kipp asked for an explanation as to the increased August Centre Line ridership. Mr. Mose explained that this is mainly due to the semester starting in August this year as opposed to September last year.
Judi Minor commented on the fuel tax credit for August which offset the fuel expense for the month. The rebate is the 3rd quarter payment from the IRS. The program is expected to continue until the end of SAFETEA-LU, September 30, 2009.
With no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote. The motion carried unanimously.
C. Policy Review and Adoption
Amanda Jones explained that only half of the Personnel Manual that applies to the non-bargaining staff has been presented. This portion has been reviewed by staff and it is recommended that no changes be made. The effective date will be 08/1/2008 because that is the next time it will be handed out to staff, unless there is a significant change that needs immediate attention, in which case we have the means to change the policy prior to that date.
Chairman Spychalski asked for an explanation on benefits eligibility. Ms. Jones explained that part-time employees working 20 or more hours per week will qualify for prorated paid leave benefits.
Joseph Davidson asked for an explanation on the wording of the disclaimer language in Section 2.3 of the policy and the language in the disclaimer at the bottom of the policy, noting that the two should be consistent. Ms. Jones recommended using the language from the disclaimer in Section 2.3 of the policy.
Chairman Spychalski commented on the wording of Sections 2.5 and 2.7 noting that it may not be clear for all employees. Ms. Jones will re-word Section 2.7 to make the intent more clear and the wording will be discussed at the next meeting.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
A. Receipt of FY 2006/2007 Audited Financial Statements
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the FY 2006/2007 year-end Financial Audit Report and Single Audit Report and authorize their distribution. Joseph Davidson moved to receive the FY 2006/2007 Audited Financial Statements. Richard Kipp seconded.
Judi Minor stated that there were no findings in the Single Audit Report which is the compliance report for federal grants. There were two letters received with the Audit. The first is the standard management letter which is intended to inform the Board of their responsibility for the findings of the Audit. The second is a new letter pointing out two deficient internal control matters. The first item concerns having adequate controls in place to allow for reconciliation of gaps in the numerical sequence of invoicing, even though there was not an actual gap in numbers. This issue will be resolved with the implementation of the new accounting system in January 2008. The second item is in regards to new vendors needing to be reviewed and approved by a senior member of management. Ms. Minor assured the board that there is a system in place where she is approving new vendors.
Joseph Davidson asked what the cost is to have the Audit completed. Ms. Minor stated that it is $18,000 per year. The audit service was put out to bid in 2007, and the firm we selected had the most reasonable cost.
Mr. Mose congratulated Ms. Minor and her staff for their efforts.
With no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote. The motion passed unanimously.
B. Resolution Authorizing Filing of FY 2007/2008 Federal Formula Assistance Grant
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the Resolution. Joseph Davidson moved to adopt the Resolution Authorizing Filing of the FY 2007/2008 Federal Formula Assistance Grant. Richard Kipp seconded. With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gary Powers joined the meeting at this time.
C. Resolution for Transportation Enhancements Grant
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the Resolution. Richard Kipp moved to adopt the Resolution for Transportation Enhancements Grant. Joseph Davidson seconded. Ms. Minor explained that the invoices for the grant originally had been misplaced by PENNDOT and were then coded wrong which caused the delay in payment of the grant. In order for the grant to be paid, the Board needs to sign a grant amendment and a new grant resolution. Following brief discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
V. OTHER BUSINESS
A. General Manager’s Report
Hugh Mose called upon Eric Bernier and Greg Kausch for an update on CATA’s technology project. Mr. Kausch stated that the project has made significant progress since the last progress report in three key areas that include: equipment, data entry and training. All of the computer equipment has been installed and is working properly with the exception of the web interface. All CATA vehicles have also been installed with the necessary equipment, however some still need to be inspected. About half of the fleet has already been tested with the other half to be completed by Monday.
In terms of the data entry, all of the Centre Line routes with the exception of the “V” Route have been added. In terms of training, all drivers have received preliminary training and are currently using the system; however, additional training will be needed. As the drivers are using the system they have found some problems that are being worked out. The staff hopes to have the testing phase started by the first week in November with the web interface to come much later after the upgrade to the network server. It is anticipated that system launch is still a couple of months away. There are four obstacles that have delayed the launch: the timeline that was designated, the hardware purchase and delivery, the development of the data and testing it, and the installation and training, all of which are attributed to the uniqueness, complexity and seasonal nature of our transit system.
Joseph Davidson asked where we stand in respect to our financial commitment to Avail. Mr. Bernier explained that it is proportional to the amount of work completed. Mr. Mose asked the staff to identify their main concern in regards to a successful implementation of the system. Mr. Kausch expressed that his concern lies with getting the drivers trained, getting them to use the system and then getting their assistance in finding problems, at the same time keeping the drivers confident and optimistic. Mr. Bernier added that his concern lies in maintaining the system on our own in the future in regards to the time needed to identify the data for service changes. Mr. Bernier also stated that the process of putting the “pattern” information together has made us look at our system operationally, planning and public information-wise in a very detailed manner that we have never used before. In the end, all forms of public information will be more accurate.
Gary Powers asked about the remaining portion of money that is owed to Avail and what criteria have been established for the last phase of the contract to determine what falls under Avail’s responsibility and what falls under our responsibility. Mr. Kausch offered that he is confident in the equipment phase and stated that all of the in-vehicle equipment is covered by a one year warranty. Avail will be responsible for any problems and/or failures. In regards to the data entry phase, this mainly falls on our shoulders. Mr. Bernier assured the Board that we will not sign off on the project until the staff is fully satisfied with the pre-testing that has been completed. Progress from there will be maintaining the system and moving forward with Phase II. Ms. Minor pointed out that there are specific payments made at specific times, with no provision for retainage.
Hugh Mose excused Amanda Jones and Sherry Snyder from the meeting at this time.
Hugh Mose stated that he, Chairman Spychalski and Jackie Sheader had attended the APTA Annual Meeting in Charlotte, where they met with the FTA Administrator. Chairman Spychalski stated that he was favorably impressed at the very positive attitude toward transit. Mr. Mose concluded that all in all it was a good meeting.
Mr. Mose commented on the Curtin Road Transit Center photo opportunity that took place last week with Congressman Peterson. Joseph Davidson was the designated Authority Representative who spoke with the Congressman on the importance of the facility. Mr. Mose thanked Mr. Davidson for his involvement and for also providing the transportation following the CBICC luncheon.
Hugh Mose stated that the vanpool program kicked off effective October 1st. There are six (6) former Penn State vanpools that are currently operational, and as time permits we will be looking for opportunities to merge with other entities in the Centre Region. We will soon start to look to replace the older vans.
Mr. Mose stated that Judi Minor and the Regional Technology Consortion have been working together to update our network server. We are anticipating the cut-over to begin on November 1st and may last through November 5th. During the upgrade there may be an issue for us to be able to access the internet and email.
Mr. Hugh Mose stated that he, Eric Bernier and Jackie Sheader are involved with the Regulation Development process for Act 44. He noted that Congressman Peterson continues to advocate against the tolling of Interstate 80. Mr. Mose commented on the points that the Congressman made in regard to Act 44 and the I-80 tolling project.
B. Service Development Report
Eric Bernier stated that CATA did assist Penn State in promoting the service to New York City by providing a link on our website and providing information on our buses. Joseph Davidson asked if there are any service changes coming up. Mr. Bernier offered that he and Greg Kausch are considering transit issues related to the amendment to the Toftrees master plan.
Chairman Spychalski commended Hugh Mose on his recent article about the United Way in the Centre Daily Times. The Chairman also thanked Mr. Mose for his encouragement to the Chairman to attend the APTA meeting which he found to be very helpful and educational.
With no further business to discuss, Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Joseph Davidson moved to adjourn the meeting at 5:25 PM. Richard Kipp seconded. The motion carried unanimously.