CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
BOARD WORK SESSION
OCTOBER 15, 2010
CATA Board Meeting Room
2081 West Whitehall Road
State College, PA 16801
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
STAFF: Hugh Mose, General Manager
Louwana Oliva, Assistant General Manager
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Kimberly Fragola, Assistant Director of Administration
Sherry Snyder, Director of Operations
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager
Julie Hartley, Human Resources Manager
Ryan Harshbarger, Transportation Analyst
Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager
Call to Order
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 2:04 p.m.
There was no public comment.
1. CATA’s Financial Condition
Hugh Mose reported that at the September Board Meeting the Board and staff had discussed CATA’s financial condition and the likelihood for the need to begin implementing service cuts, perhaps as early as January. A special Work Session was set for October 15, and staff was directed to come back with a prioritized list of recommended service changes.
Judi Minor explained two spreadsheets which she had prepared that show the “Pessimistic” and “Optimistic” projections for CATA’s operating budget over the next five years. Judi stated that: the Pessimistic version, which includes no increase at all in state operating assistance, demonstrates that CATA will completely run out of money in 2012/13. Judi went on to state that the Optimistic version, which assumes that growth in state sales tax receipts will resume in FY 2011/12, shows that while the drawdown of CATA’s carry-forward of federal funds is prolonged, CATA eventually becomes insolvent. Hugh Mose stated that in all likelihood the actual outcome will be somewhere between the two extremes, but that clearly CATA’s current financial situation is not sustainable long-term.
Hugh Mose stated that with falling sales tax revenue eliminating CATA’s ability to capture the funds that Act 44 seemed to promise, and the loss of the federal natural gas tax credit and reductions in state operating assistance further impacting us, CATA needs to begin taking actions to modify policies, reduce services, increase revenues and in general tighten its collective belts. Although CATA has adequate resources for the next year, Hugh and the staff recommended making some modest service reductions in January, and between now and next spring review carefully the fare, service level and other policies, and also look at potential new revenue sources and savings throughout the organization.
Hugh Mose further stated that if the Board is willing to consider implementing some selected service reductions in January, to be consistent with CATA’s adopted Policy on Public Comment (included in the Work Session materials) an opportunity needs to be provided for riders and others to voice any concerns they may have. Because the policy calls for a two-week prior notification, Hugh suggested that the Board consider setting a separate public hearing, which would not necessarily require full Board participation, for late October or early November. Doing so would allow the Board to make a final decision at its November meeting, which would enable the staff to complete all of the necessary background work prior to January.
2. Service Changes for Consideration
Eric Bernier provided a chart that showed selected service reductions that the staff recommended for implementation in January and explained the process that the staff used to arrive at its recommendations, which included identifying the least productive service from a subsidy-per-trip, and subsidy-per-passenger standpoint. Eric reported that the total saving associated with the proposed changes will be on the order of $50,000 in the current fiscal year. Hugh Mose stated that while changes of the magnitude presented for implementation in January will have a fairly small impact on CATA’s long-term financial stability, he believes it is important that CATA show the community, local and state elected officials and others that it is taking actions to begin bringing operating expenses in line with expected revenues.
Joe Davidson inquired whether elimination of all Holiday Service had been considered. Eric Bernier responded that elimination of Holiday service had not been considered. Hugh Mose reported that Memorial Day and Fourth of July would be the only two Holidays affected. No service is operated on Memorial Day, but staff will look at July Fourth.
After a thorough discussion of the recommended changes in service, the Board consensus was to make the service reductions beginning with the return to Full Service on January 8, 2011 which staff had recommended. Chairman Spychalski specified those changes as:
· Elimination of Saturday Service on the K (Cato Park) Route in both Reduced and Full Service.
· Reduction of H (Toftrees) and W (Valley Vista) Route frequencies to 60 minutes in Reduced Service.
· Elimination of mid day trips on the A (Park Forest), S (Science Park) Routes in both Reduced and Full Service.
· Elimination of the first morning trip and the last two evening weekday trips on the AP (Airport) Route during Reduced and Full Service.
3. Public Hearing
Hugh Mose explained the FTA regulations and CATA Policy regarding the requirement for a Public Hearing as a result of the proposed service reductions. A date of Monday, November 8 at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the State College Borough Building, 243 South Allen Street, State College, PA 16801was set.
4. For Long-term Consideration
Hugh Mose briefly discussed several issues that the Board may wish to consider at a later date: service policies, fare policy, prepaid fare contracts and the sale of exterior bus advertising. In addition, he reviewed potential cost savings and new revenue sources that may be possible in the future.
4. By-Laws Revisions
Chairman Spychalski and the Board went over the By-Laws and made revisions which are to be presented at the October 25, 2010 Board Meeting for approval and Adoption.
Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 4:32 p.m.