CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

 

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

pdf version 

June 22, 2009

4:00 PM

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING

Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street, State College, PA

 

 

 

BOARD MEMEBERS PRESENT:        John Spychalski, Chairman
Joseph L. Davidson, Vice Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Gary Powers
Kathryn Bittner

 

STAFF PRESENT:                               Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judi Minor, Director of Administration

                                                            Mark Kutzer, Director of Maintenance

                                                            Eric Bernier, Service Planning Manager

Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager
Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

 

 

  1. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:05 pm. 

 

  1. PUBLIC COMMENTS

There were no public comments.

 

Chairman Spychalski made note of three additions to the agenda under New Business: 

Item C. Resolution for Execution of DOTGrant Agreements

Item D. Exchange of Buses with IndiGO (Indiana, PA)

Item E. Underground Diesel Tank Issues

           

  1. OLD BUSINESS

A.      Approval of June 1, 2009 Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the June 1, 2009 regular Board Meeting Minutes with the following corrections to typographical errors: Old Business, Section B, second page, second paragraph, second to the last line, change seat to seats; Section C, Policy Adoption, first paragraph, delete the after that in the fourth line; third paragraph change Judy to Judi; fourth paragraph, last sentence Joe not Richard inquired.  New Business, Section A, first paragraph, change Plane to Plan; change none to non-represented.

 

Richard Kipp moved to approve the minutes with the corrections noted and Gary Powers seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

 

Note that Joe Davidson joined the meeting at 4:12 pm.

 

B.      Receipt of the May 2009 Financial Report

Judi Minor commented that federal operating assistance may come in lower than budgeted and everything else is unremarkable.  Chairman Spychalski commented that Revenue Vehicle Maintenance is 43% over budget which is to be expected with an older fleet of buses.  Judi responded that the figure will go even higher.  Chairman Spychalski noted the need for a minor correction on the balance sheet; line three temporty should be temporary.  Hugh Mose commented that CENTRE RIDE paratransit is down slightly, individual One Pass sales are up 35 percent, Ride-for-Five numbers have not fallen off, and token sales declined for the month but are up 34percent overall.  CENTRE LINE showed a decline for the first month in a long time, which is due to having seven Full Service days compared to six last year.  Hugh then referred everyone to Greg Kausch’s Red-Green Report for details.

 

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the May 2009 Finance Report with the correction noted.  Kathryn Bittner moved and Richard Kipp seconded.  With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

C.     Summer Meeting Schedule

Hugh Mose noted that although the Board typically does not meet during one of the summer months, and that it was confirmed at the June 1 meeting that the Board would need to meet in July, he was not ready to recommend cancelling the August meeting.  Hugh stated that the August meeting may be necessary due to procurements and other activities, and that by the July 27 meeting there will be a recommendation for Board consideration.

 

  1. NEW BUSINESS

 

A.      Rebranding Project – Bus Design Recommendation

Jackie Sheader provided a recap on the progression of the Rebranding Project from its introduction to the Board six months ago until the present.   Jackie referred the Board to the memo in their packets from the Rebranding Committee that included photocopies of mock ups for the final bus color scheme recommendation, as well as photocopies of the top three designs from which the final recommendation evolved.  Jackie reminded the Board that it would be necessary for a decision to be made tonight if the color scheme recommendation is to be in use by the start of Full Service on August 22.

 

Hugh Mose commented that Jackie Sheader, Gary Powers and a South Hills student tried hard to provide 3-D images of the recommended color scheme for the Board to see, but that did not work out.  Chairman Spychalski made a historical observation that Richard Kipp’s wife Phyllis, helped to develop the current color scheme.  Jackie Sheader went on to explain how the Rebranding Committee came up with its final recommendation, including the fact that committee members did not like the consultant’s designs better than the current color scheme.    

 

Richard Kipp commented that our buses have a lot of window and CNG tank area, which dictates color scheme options, and that the committee’s recommendation represents the best solution given all the parameters that needed to be considered.  Chairman Spychalski asked whether it was necessary to include the 100% Clean Compressed Natural Gas versus simply Clean Natural Gas.  He also inquired whether there would be a change in the shade of orange or whether the color on the photocopies was due to the computer printer’s lack of ability to duplicate our current color scheme.  Jackie Sheader responded that we could delete the 100% Clean Compressed portion of the wording, which was added in response to the Committee’s desire to have the wording appear more prominently on the gas tanks.  She further responded that the printer could not duplicate our current shade of orange on the photocopies, and that the current CATA orange will continue to be used.   

 

Richard Kipp commented that other systems whose color schemes are very dramatic use window wraps, but that the Committee decided the windows were off limits due to maintenance concerns.   Chairman Spychalski asked Mark Kutzer whether the final design being recommended is the most functional.  Mark responded that it was, because wraps are very difficult to remove, and that the gradation in color shown on one of the three final designs would be challenging to replicate from bus to bus and have it look the same.

 

Jackie Sheader commented that the final design recommendation took into account the cost of maintenance.  Kathryn Bittner inquired whether a gradation in color might be easier to repair than anticipated because most damage would occur below where it was shown on the photocopy mock-up.  Mark Kutzer responded that damage does occur where the gradation is shown, and that it would be difficult to match repaired areas with the existing paint.  Jackie added that the design with the color gradation was by far the most popular with Committee members, but that the vinyl wrap required for this scheme would need to be ordered at different times over the years, and therefore color tones would vary.   

 

CATA Board members and staff discussed the details of the proposed paint scheme.

 

Hugh Mose stated that the next step would be to paint one of our new LYNX buses with the recommended color scheme, and attempt to incorporate some of Joe Davidson’s ideas that wouldn’t impact the rub rail.  Mark Kutzer responded that the LYNX buses did not have a rub rail.  Jackie Sheader responded that we would be mixing bold and non-bold type styles, and that she prefers one or the other on all the lettering.  Joe Davidson responded that he is okay with larger letters that are either bold or not bold.  Chairman Spychalski commented that there would be a trade off if all of the white space were filled up with lettering and the logo.  Jackie responded that there could be an issue with making the lettering larger because the logo is already larger. 

 

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to accept the Rebranding Committee’s final bus paint color scheme recommendation, with Jackie Sheader working to incorporate some of Joe Davidson’s suggestions for larger and bolder lettering.  Jackie Sheader noted that a CATA LYNX bus would be painted with the final bus scheme and available outside for the Board to see at the July meeting.  Joe Davidson inquired whether the options could be shown on the LYNX bus due to the lack of rub rail.  Mark Kutzer responded that a stripe could be painted on to mimic a rub rail.   Kathryn Bittner asked if we could use the design as presented, and adjust it for each bus type.  Mark responded that, due to the cost involved, it would be best if any stencils and decals ordered were the same and not modified for different bus types. 

 

Richard Kipp asked whether the Committee had considered solid orange from the top down to the bottom of the windows with no gradation, and whether there was a practical reason not to try that option.  Chairman Spychalski responded that the timetable for having the buses painted by Full Service on August 22 was a big factor.  Hugh Mose passed around a colored in sketch of that option. Chairman Spychalski responded that he thought that it made the buses look top heavy and Judi Minor commented that it did not look good.  Others agreed that the idea of trying a solid orange top to the bottom of the windows should not be pursued.  

 

Chairman Spychalski repeated the call for a motion to accept the Rebranding Committee’s

bus paint color scheme recommendation, with Jackie Sheader working to incorporate some of Joe Davidson’s suggestions for larger and bolder lettering.  Joe Davidson moved and Gary Powers seconded.  With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously. 

 

B.      Extension of the Current CENTRE RIDE Contract with Handy Delivery, Inc.

Hugh Mose commented that the current CENTRE RIDE contract with Handy Delivery, Inc. expires at the end of June.  The development of an RFP (Request for Proposal) has been slowed by Sherry Snyder’s limited work schedule and Joe Gilbert’s absence.  Therefore, an extension of the current contract would allow more time to refine the RFP, and for Handy Delivery and other interested vendors to respond, as well as time to thoroughly review all competitive proposals and enable a new vendor, if one were chosen, to mobilize and effect a smooth transition.  Judi Minor commented that when Handy Delivery was asked for new rates, the owner had proposed a 5% increase, which had been accepted.  Judi also noted that the owner had mentioned adding a 50% surcharge for Stormstown trips, which was not approved.  

 

Chairman Spychalski called for a motion to extend the current contract with Handy Delivery through December 31, 2009 at the rates of $10.15/$15.70 per ambulatory/non-ambulatory trip.

Kathryn Bittner moved and Gary Powers seconded.  With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

C.     Resolution for Execution of DOTGrant Agreements.

Judi Minor noted that there has been a change from the old system, with many agreements now being done online and consequently that a new Resolution is needed to authorize the General Manager to execute grants.  Joe Davidson inquired whether payments on grants have been regular.  Judi responded that those online are received a little faster than those not online.

 

Chairman Spychalski called for a motion to authorize the resolution for Execution of DOTGrant Agreements.  Gary Powers moved and Joe Davidson seconded.  The motion

carried unanimously.

 

D.     Exchange of Buses with IndiGO (Indiana, PA).

Hugh Mose apologized for the lateness of several additions to the agenda and stated that there had been a new development in the exchange of two 35’ LYNX buses for two IndiGO’s (Indiana, PA) 40’ buses.  Hugh then asked Mark Kutzer to provide background information on the exchange.  Mark explained that IndiGO’s Director of Transit Operations, John Kanyan, had visited CATA to look at our 35’ buses, but did not seem optimistic about the possibility of IndiGO’s Board agreeing to the exchange, because they had just had their buses refurbished.  He further commented that the motivation for the exchange is based on the fact that Indiana doesn’t really need 40’ buses and CATA has a few too many 35’ buses.  Mark went on to report that he visited IndiGO to see the buses and followed up with a letter to John Kanyan, a copy of which was provided at tonight’s meeting, offering that in exchange for two 35’ IndiGO buses CATA would paint the two 35’ buses, pick up the 40’ IndiGO buses, swap various items to the 35’ buses and deliver them to IndiGO.

 

Hugh Mose mentioned that the Indiana buses started out at BARTA (Berks Area Reading Transportation Authority) and that their mileage is comparable to our new LYNX buses, which is roughly 180,000 miles.  Mark Kutzer stated that one of the 40’ IndiGO buses involved in the exchange had blown an engine which was replaced, and that bus has never been run since.  Gary Powers inquired whether the tires would match.  Mark responded that the tires would be swapped.

 

Richard Kipp commented that it is a sensible plan and Hugh Mose agreed.  Joe Davidson inquired about whether there were more 40’ CNG buses in Reading.  Mark Kutzer responded that there were not. Gary Powers inquired whether the engines are the same as what CATA mechanics are used to working on.  Mark responded that they are the same.   Richard Kipp inquired whether the interiors were in good condition.  Mark responded that the interiors and exteriors are in good shape.

 

Joe Davidson inquired about the man hours required to paint two buses.  Mark Kutzer responded that it would take 40 – 50 hours per bus, and that it would be easier to paint our LYNX buses to Indiana’s colors which are darker than to paint their buses to CATA colors, which are lighter.  Joe further inquired about whether the buses would be transported over the road.  Mark responded that they would be, after appropriate title and notary work was completed.  Joe inquired whether the CNG tanks had the capacity to get the buses to Indiana without a refill.  Mark responded that they do.  Hugh Mose added that the buses were driven to Indiana, PA from Reading, which is a longer trip.  Judi Minor stated that the exchange could not occur until the FTA gave its approval, because the CATA LYNX buses have one year left on the grant, but that she did not anticipate any problems.

 

Richard Kipp inquired whether the GPS (Global Positioning System) would need to be removed from the 35’ LYNX buses and reinstalled in the 35’ IndiGO buses.  Mark Kutzer responded that the GPS system had not been installed in two of the LYNX buses in anticipation of the possible bus exchange.

 

Chairman Spychalski called for a motion to authorize staff to move forward with the exchange of two 35’ CATA buses for two 40’ IndiGo (Indiana, PA) buses.  Joe Davidson moved and Gary Powers seconded.  With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

E.      Underground Diesel Oil Tank Issue.

Hugh Mose stated that this agenda item was for information only, and that no Board action was required.  He went on to inform the board that CATA has two underground diesel fuel tanks which are periodically tested as required by the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), and that one tank did not pass testing in May.  He stated that the tank does not have a leak, but its corrosion protection is no longer functioning adequately.  He further stated that DEP requires that the situation be addressed or fines will be levied. 

 

Gary Powers inquired whether the issue was corrosion.  Mark Kutzer responded that the test failure involved the sacrificial anode on the side of the tank.   He went on to list the options for dealing with the failed tank, which were provided by DEP staff during an on-site visit:  1) Abandon the tank in-ground, which is the least expensive option.  (Abandonment requires that core samples be taken from around and under the tank after which, if no leaks are detected, the tank is filled with sand and left in the ground.) 2) Dig up and remove the tank. 3) Repair the tank, which could still develop a leak.

 

Gary Powers inquired whether abandonment resulted in the loss of a location for new tanks.  Hugh Mose responded that our use of diesel is so limited that it is likely we would not utilize underground storage tanks, but could either make a deal with Ferguson Township or the UniMart for off-site fueling or install an on-site above ground tank.  Mark Kutzer stated that if we replace the underground tanks, removal of the canopy and footer will be issues and the piping to the dispenser would need to be upgraded.  Hugh went on to state that a decision will need to be made soon in order to begin the RFP (Request for Proposals) for the project. 

 

Judi Minor inquired whether the off-site fuel sources provide the same grade fuel as we store on-site.  No one had an answer to that question.  Joe Davidson stated that he preferred custody of our own fuel products and indicated his support of the “abandon and replace” option.  Gary Powers inquired whether CATA had capital funds for the project.  Judi responded that we have $30,000 for the dispenser and piping.  Hugh Mose added that the estimate for abandonment was $15,000, and to install a new tank, including site preparation, would cost approximately $25,000. 

 

Kathryn Bittner commented that it could end up costing less to remove the tanks now rather than abandoning them in place, because as DEP regulations change we might end up being required to remove them at a later date anyway.  Joe Davidson inquired whether we have a cost estimate on removal.  Mark Kutzer responded that we do not, but perhaps we should get one.  Joe inquired whether Ferguson Township zoning regulations have been considered regarding above ground tanks.  Mark responded that Ferguson Township’s own tanks are above ground.

 

Richard Kipp inquired about the schedule for mitigation set by the DEP.  Mark Kutzer responded that we have 60 days, or until mid-August.  Joe inquired whether that is sixty days to develop a plan or to have one implemented.  Mark responded that as long as we are making progress on a plan of action, the DEP will be satisfied. 

 

Chairman Spychalski inquired if it was the consensus of the Board to have the tanks removed.  Hugh Mose suggested that we look at total removal, which may be complicated by the canopy and footer.   Kathryn Bittner agreed to provide the names of firms for Mark Kutzer to contact regarding removal.   Joe Davidson inquired if it is the consensus of the Board that we keep our diesel supply on-site.  Gary Powers commented that we need to move forward to avoid a fine. 

 

Judi Minor inquired as to why we were considering an RFP versus seeking bids for removal.  Hugh Mose responded that we would seek bids if that makes more sense.  Hugh went on to state that staff will contact firms regarding tank removal and further information will be provided to the Board.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

A.      General Manager’s Report

Jackie Sheader reported that Dump the Pump Day brought many visitors to the Downtown Office outdoor display, which had included food and giveaways, and that there was a definite increase in ridership, but no figures were available due to issues with capturing data. 

 

Hugh Mose reported that James Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee released his proposal for the next surface transportation authorization bill, and it is very different from what is currently in place.  The new proposal eliminates the Bus and Bus Facility Program, which is the account from which we have received earmarks.  The proposal also eliminates the Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC) program, which would be replaced with a new approach to formula funding utilizing miles, hours and passengers.

 

Hugh went on to report that ten new Drivers and a third shift Mechanic had started employment at CATA today.  Joe Davidson inquired whether the new Mechanic came from Cleveland Brothers and John Spychalski inquired whether he would provide night shift coverage.  Mark Kutzer responded that he was working with the Union to develop a four day, ten hour shift to cover Friday through Monday to help with the backlog of vehicle maintenance issues that build up over the weekend.

 

Hugh Mose stated that the first Assistant General Manager interview had been held last week, there was another candidate in town today, and a third candidate would be interviewed on Friday.  The plan is to bring one or perhaps two of the candidates back to meet the Board, after which a final candidate would be selected.

 

Hugh Mose reported that the bus refurbishment RFP (Request for Proposals) appeared in Passenger Transport today.  Money from the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus appropriation will be used for this project.  We will hold our own Bus Roadeo on Sunday morning, July 26 at the PTI Test Track near the airport.  Our three top scorers will go on to compete in the Statewide Roadeo in Westmoreland County in August.

 

Hugh Mose went on to report that Jackie Sheader is working on CATA promotions with the Spikes Baseball Club which will include staff hosting an informational table at five home Tuesday games and the All Star game.  Terri Quici is working on the annual CENTRE COMMUTE celebration at the August 2 Spikes game.  Joe Davidson commented that he had attended a Spikes game and noticed the CATA advertisement in the program. 

 

B.      Service Development Report

Because Eric Bernier had to leave the meeting early, Chairman Spychalski referred Board members to the copy of the Service Development Report in their packets.

 

         V.      ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Spychalski called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Gary Powers moved to adjourn the meeting and Kathryn Bittner seconded.  The meeting was adjourned at 5:28 PM.

 

VII.      EXECUTIVE SESSION
Chairman Spychalski stated that an Executive Session would not be necessary.