CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

BOARD WORK SESSION

MINUTES

  pdf version 

January 9, 2012

3:00 p.m.

CATA BOARD ROOM

2081 W. Whitehall Road

State College, PA  16801

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:                 John Spychalski, Chairman

                                                                        Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman

                                                                        Richard Kipp, Treasurer

                                                                        Tom Kurtz

                                                                        Tammy Gentzel

 

STAFF PRESENT:                                         Hugh Mose, General Manager

                                                                        Louwana Oliva, Assistant General Manager

                                                                        Judith Minor, Director of Administration

                                                                        Kimberly Fragola, Assistant Director of Administration

                                                                        Mark Kutzer, Director of Maintenance

                                                                        Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager

                                                                        Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager

                                                                        Nick Soccio, Facility Manager

                                                                        Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

 

I.          Call to Order

            Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:08 p.m.

 

II.        Public Comment

            There was no public comment.

 

III.       Introduction

            Chairman Spychalski introduced Tammy Gentzel, Executive Director of the Centre County          United Way, who in December had been appointed by the State College Borough Council to fill its seat on the CATA Board of Directors, which was made vacant by the resignation of Kathryn             Bittner.

 

IV.       Discussion Items

             

   1.         Maintenance Facility Expansion

               CDM Smith Facility Expansion team members Ed Rothlein, Matt Sickles, Lynn Schuetz                  and Mark Torretti made a presentation to the Board regarding the Building Expansion                     project which included information on:

·         The addition of auxiliary parking on the Whitehall Road side of the building

·         The provision of specifications for a new gas monitoring system to replace the existing outdated equipment

·         The possible need to replace the roof of the existing building in the near future

·         The need for an amendment to the Ferguson Township zoning code to address the current maximum site building coverage of 30% 

·         Building on the current site, with a cost estimate of $25 million in 2012 dollars with an additional $1 million for each year after; concept drawings including rooftop parking over the existing building and use of the existing parking lot areas for the new Maintenance Facility

·         Building on an alternate site; including the need for 12+ acres for an Administration and Operations Building, a Maintenance Facility and Bus Storage plus additional space for future expansion, and a cost estimate of $31.1 million in 2012 dollars

·         Long range plans for addressing future growth of CATA’s fleet and employee levels with the expansion of bus storage and a new administrative/operations facility.

 

            CDM Smith concluded with the recommendation that the existing site be utilized for a Maintenance Facility expansion, pending the receipt of zoning approvals, and that work should begin on securing construction funding.  Louwana Oliva expressed her preference for continuing to look for alternate sites, until the zoning amendment issue is resolved.

 

            The Board endorsed the recommendation for CDM Smith to proceed with preliminary design plans for the current site, and for staff to continue to look for alternate sites until the zoning amendment issue is resolved.  

 

2.            Exterior Bus Advertising

            Jackie Sheader referenced her memo which provided background information on the pilot exterior bus advertising program and included the staff recommendation to extend the trial period through June, 2013, on the tailgates only, and that a part-time position be created   specifically to handle exterior advertising sales.

 

            The Board consensus was that staff should seek feedback from the COG Finance Committee, the five member municipalities and the public (at the February Public Hearing) before any final decision is made on the recommendation to extend the pilot    program. 

 

3.            Funding Update 

               Hugh Mose and Judi Minor reported that no solid information was available on CATA’s federal allocation for the current fiscal year, nor on what Congress might do regarding the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU.  They further reported that recent conversations with PennDOT staff suggest that in spite of increasing sales tax receipts CATA should plan for the same level of state funding next year as we received this year. 

 

4.            CATA’s Financial Status

               Judi Minor referenced her memo and spreadsheet that provided preliminary projections on how current expenditures compare to the budget.  Kimberly Fragola provided a spreadsheet which provided projections for the next five years if federal and state funding remains at current levels and demonstrates that CATA’s financial situation is not sustainable long-term.

 

5.            Apartment Passes

               Eric Bernier referenced his memo which described the Apartment Pass program transitionfrom a flat rate approach to a pay-per-ride program, plans for increasing apartment pass revenue and further enhancing the efficiency of the service.  Eric stated that the staff recommendation is to continue the per-ride program and transition the three complexes still on flat-rate contracts to the same approach.  The Board endorsed the staff recommendation.

 

6.            Service Policy 

               Hugh Mose reported that again this year, CATA service policies need to be discussed, to give the service planning team guidance as they adjust service levels to be commensurate with CATA’s reduced resources.  Eric Bernier referenced his memo which provided information on potential service reductions and increased operating efficiencies.  The Board endorsed the approach that Eric Bernier recommended for integrating service reductions and increased efficiencies. 

 

At this point in the meeting, the Board took a brief meal break.

 

7.            Fares

               Hugh Mose stated that in August 2010, CATA increased fares for the first time in eight years.  Pass and token rates were set to reflect deeper discounts from the cash fare than had been offered in the past, which moved riders from cash to pre-paid media and depressed the collection of additional revenue.  Hugh further reported that in August 2011, pass and                     token rates were raised, while leaving the cash fare unchanged, in order to move people                   back to cash.  However, that did not happen; more riders are still using OnePasses.  Hugh                made the recommendation that pass prices be increased, but because such a price increase                would make the pass less attractive for a twice-a-day commuter, that the introduction of a              time- specific fare product be considered.  The Board consensus was that staff should                      further             evaluate the impact of such a commuter pass on people working non-traditional                    work schedules and come back with further recommendations.       

 

               Hugh Mose also stated that CATARIDE fares need to be reevaluated in light of the recent             increases in the cost of providing the service and that the staff will develop a proposal for                         the Board’s consideration.  

 

8.            Penn State 

               Hugh Mose reported that Penn State currently pays $57.54 per revenue hour for LOOP                    and LINK service and until FY 2010/11, the University had always agreed to an annual                   increase in the hourly rate commensurate with the growth in the cost of operating the                       service.  However, for the past two years Penn State has said that they could not pay the                 additional 5.0% needed, so a combination of  smaller hourly rate increases, slight service                  reductions, an increase in the Ride-for-Five rate, and this past year serving the hospital with                      the Red LINK have been implemented.  Hugh requested that the Board confirm that it is in                  agreement with continuing this approach and the Board concurred.

 

         9.            Local Shares  

                        Hugh Mose reported that for eight out of the past ten years, including the current year,                             CATA has requested and received a 5.0% increase from our local funding partners, who                           currently contribute $462,823 in local shares, which is less than four percent of CATA’s                            total operating budget.  Act 44 dictates a local share requirement, which in most cases is                                    15%; CATA’s required local match in the current year is $431.313.  Next year, the required                   match is expected to be $452,879, only $10,000 less than the amount CATA is currently                                     receiving.  Hugh Mose made a recommendation that to avoid having local share funding fall                    to just about the absolute minimum, that the local municipal funding partners be again asked              for a 5.0% increase, which would bring local taxpayer support for CATA’s operating budget                       to $485.964; the Board endorsed this recommendation.  

 

 

 

 

10.          Mid-year Recap 

                        Hugh Mose presented a memo providing a recap of the progress staff has made in                                                 addressing the annual goals that the Board laid out for CATA staff.

 

Other Subjects

 

Hugh Mose identified the following topics for the Board’s future consideration:

 

Capital Planning. Hugh Mose reported that sometime this spring staff would like to go over the major investments that it believes CATA will need to be making over the coming years.

 

Updated Fleet Plan.  Hugh Mose reported that as a result of the recent receipt of funding sufficient to replace all sixteen of our 1996 Orion buses, staff would like to provide the Board with an update on the Fleet Replacement Plan.

 

Strategic Plan.  Hugh Mose reported that at last year’s winter Work Session there was some discussion about conducting a long-range planning exercise, which was set aside due to lack of Board support and no funding for the project; Hugh recommended that the discussion should be continued.  

 

Board E-mail Procedures.  Hugh Mose recommended that the Board discuss the suggestions that Tom Kurtz has made concerning electronic communications, to determine what changes might protect both CATA and individual Board members.

 

Hugh Mose further recommended that since none of these issues requires immediate attention, that they be integrated into the agendas of regular Board meetings over the coming months unless there is a need for another Board Work Session, in which case these topics would be candidates for inclusion in any such agenda.

 

The Board concurred with the suggestion that these topics be integrated into the agendas of regular Board meetings over the coming months.

 

Hugh Mose reported that:

·       The Union would be meeting on Sunday at Toftrees Resort to poll the membership as to what the issues are with the current contract offer.

·       Facilities manager, Nick Soccio has resigned effective January 18, to accept a position closer to his home in Newport, PA.

Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 7:36 p.m.

 

 

 

__________________________________________                                                __________________

Hugh A. Mose, Secretary                                                                                           Date