CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

ANNUAL PUBLIC HEARING and

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

pdf version 

February 27, 2012

4:00 p.m.

BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS

Room 304, 243 S. Allen Street

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

                                                            Sherry Snyder, Director of Operations

                                                            Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager

                                                            Greg Kausch, Senior Transportation Planner

                                                            Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

                                                            Dina Ruggiero, Paratransit Coordinator

 

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

            Chairman Spychalski called the Annual Public Hearing and Regular Board Meeting to order at     4:03 p.m.

 

II.        PUBLIC HEARING TO RECEIVE SUGGESTIONS ON BUS SERVICE CHANGES       AND EXTERIOR ADVERTISING

            Eric Bernier referenced his memo which provided background regarding the need for service        reductions and process being utilized as possible cutbacks are considered, and also stated that            comments on the exterior bus advertising would be welcomed.  Eric provided the       following list   of service reductions under consideration:

           

·         Interlining of the A (Park Forest) and G (Stormstown) Routes, which would eliminate the last evening A Route trip but preserve the midday G Route trip

·         Elimination of the evening K (Cato Park) Route service

·         Expansion of Express service to the R (Waupelani Drive) Route

·         Reduction of frequency on the NV (Martin St. /Vairo Blvd.) Route

·         Operate a Saturday service schedule on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s

 

 

            Eric Bernier went on to state that the staff is also looking at ways to extend the current X             (Bellefonte) Route to serve the new Weis Market along I-99 in Spring Township. Eric then           referenced two memos which provided the following public comments received through staff        email prior to the Public Hearing:

 

            From: Peggy Myers

            Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 10:45 AM

 

            I just read your newsletter regarding financial constraints. I very much appreciate the bus service which I've been taking advantage of for a little more than a year. I have a Ride for $5             pass though Penn State. I would be very happy to pay $10 a month and would still recognize            that it’s an outstanding deal. Have you considered raising pass fees?

 

            From: Phyllis Favorite
            Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 11:25 AM

            Re: State and Federal Funding

            The federal and state funding picture continues to be extremely disheartening. In fact, the best     we can hope for in the coming year is a continuation of current levels, which means that    additional service cutbacks will be necessary. As a result, our service planning will continue to focus on finding reductions that can be made with minimal inconvenience to our riders.

            It is my hope that W is not cut further. Because of the change for the afternoon, I end up with a   longer work day to compensate for the deleted stop. So what’s the problem? Not all that much    flexibility in my schedule. It would seem to me looping from Valley Vista to Devonshire around         Melissa to Canterbury to Devonshire to Valley Vista would be an okay way to make that turn          around, rather than going on Bachman.

            I do not know whether the funding levels have been raised in recent years for the student dorms off of N. Atherton, Vairo, et al, err, I mean the apartments. But, as a resident it would be     comforting to know that the levels of funding from these units have increased for the owners     and not placed on the shoulders of the taxpayers, especially with the additional express buses on          the V route and so forth. While I understand the desire for relief of congestion, greenness, etc.    by Penn State and drivers on Atherton, these apartments are not bankrupt and should provide            their fair share as well.

            From: Joel Solkoff
            Sent: Monday, February 2, 2012 9:33AM

            Subject: Requested items on CATARIDE for today's agenda and questions about "Meet n           Greet" with new Ride Right

 

            The attached letter from Louwana Oliva dated February 13, 2012 caught me by surprise. I am a   paraplegic who has been using CATARIDE for six years, and have come to depend on it,     among other things, for trips to the physical therapist to improve my health.

 

            I am disturbed that the 100 or so users of CATARIDE a day, such as myself, were not informed             that CATA was in the process of deciding whom to choose as the forthcoming provider of this            service. The bible of the disability rights movement is entitled Nothing About Us Without Us by         James T. Charlton.

            While the title tells us all, simple courtesy would have required that you consult with the               customers of CATARIDE as to their experience with the current provider (which has been    serving disabled and elderly residents of this area for some 30 years) before making a decision.

            This is especially the case since in my view Handy Delivery has done an excellent job and we       have come to rely on the courteous drivers and schedulers. Attached is a photograph of one of           the regular riders, my neighbor Lillian Hutchison who has been treated with affection and            respect by CATARIDE. Why did you not ask Lillian or me or any of the customers of your            after-the-fact decision?

            I am formally requesting that the CATA Board reconsider the decision to award the contract to   an out-of-state provider when the local provider has been doing an excellent job.

            Specifically, I am requesting:

1.         An inquiry into whether the current provider was given appropriate notice of the timing    of the request for proposal.

2.         An examination of why new CATARIDE buses remain in the CATA garage when they   could be used today to replace buses that are clearly in need of replacement.

3.         CATA take action on the requirement that drivers and schedulers (who have proven          their worth) reapply for their current positions with Ride Right. Some of the drivers who          have not been retained by Ride Right have families to support and should not be treated         in this unfeeling manner.

4.         Members of the CATA Board accompany me or my fellow riders on a CATARIDE van   as it is operated today to understand what the service means to the elderly and disabled   consumers.

 

The following comments were received during the Public Hearing portion of the meeting:

 

            Mr. Solkoff, Addison Court, State College, PA, reiterated what he had conveyed in the previous             email. 

            Jolly Harris, Bellefonte, PA, expressed his appreciation that consideration was being given to       extending the X (Bellefonte) Route to the new Weis Market in Spring Township.

            Martha Evans, Waupelani Dr., State College, PA, commented that the M (Mall) Route should      run via Branch Road instead of East College Avenue through Lemont to expedite service to the   Mall; Ms. Evans also stated that CATA’s current Carry-On Policy is limiting to those with          many parcels.

            Jane Taylor, Director, Centre County Office of Aging, expressed support of extended service in   the Pine Grove Mills and Potter Township areas as well as to the new Weis Market in Spring          Township. Ms. Taylor also suggested that senior citizens would benefit from large print bus     route schedules and instructions on how to read bus schedules.

            No further members of the public stepped forward to offer comment.

            Chair Spychalski closed the Public Hearing portion of the meeting at 4:25 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

III.       PUBLIC COMMENT

            Noreen Byers, President, Handy Delivery, of State College, PA and the current paratransit           contractor for CATA, stated that she was grateful for the thirty years that Handy Delivery     has been able to provide paratransit service for Centre County residents. Ms. Byers also stated         that she was disappointed in CATA’s RFP process, and that the new subcontractor, Ride Right,    had only hired two of Handy’s current drivers.

 

            Martha Evans, State College resident, commented that electronic signage at the College and         Allen bus stop would be useful, and that she believes that the reducing of LOOP Service on             Saturdays at the beginning of semester breaks is just when students need the service.

 

            Josie Smith, State College resident, expressed her gratitude to Handy Delivery for their    service, and her regret that CATA chose an out-of-state company to be the next paratransit             service contractor.

 

            Chris Deck, CATA Driver, stated that he thinks the CATA Board needs to reconsider the            current Carry-on Policy which creates a hostile environment for CATA drivers and riders.

 

III.       OLD BUSINESS

            A.        Approval of Minutes of January 23, 2012 Regular Board Meeting

                        Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the January 23, 2012 Board                         Meeting Minutes.  Joe Davidson moved and Richard Kipp seconded.  The motion                                     carried unanimously.

 

            B.        January 2012 Finance Report

                        Chairman Spychalski inquired whether a bank had been selected to replace Citizen’s                     Bank as the provider of CATA’s line of credit due to their discontinuation of business                  banking services as of April 1.  Judi Minor responded that proposals in response to an                     RFP for banking services are due March 19, and that a recommendation for contract               award will be brought before the Board at the March meeting. 

 

                        Hugh Mose made a number of references to the ridership report, and stated that,                           regardless of there being one more Full Service weekday this year than last, ridership                     for January was the highest it        has been in the last five years and that ridership overall                    was up 2.5%.  Tom Kurtz inquired whether the Ridership Report summary memo could                      include revenue hours in order to reflect the year-to-year difference in the number                  of days of Full Service per month.  Hugh Mose responded that staff will look at the                report and provide the Board with recommendations.

                                   

                        Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the January 2012 Finance                              Report.  Tom Kurtz moved and Richard Kipp seconded.  The motion carried                                 unanimously.

 

            C.        FY 2012/13 Budget Update

                        Judi Minor reported that the staff has assembled year-end projections and begun to                       develop estimates of next year’s revenue and expenditures, and that the next opportunity              for Board involvement will be the Budget Work Session.  Hugh Mose commented that it                   looks like only a small amount of the year end carry-over of federal funds will need to                   be used in FY 2011/12.

           

 

 

 

           

                        Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to set the Budget Work Session for                               4:00 p.m. on March 15.  Joe Davidson moved and Tom Kurtz seconded.  The motion                carried unanimously.

 

            D.        Facility Expansion Update

                        Hugh Mose reported that the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors has conditionally             approved plans for the addition of an auxiliary parking lot on the West Whitehall Road                 side of CATA’s facilities, pending finalization of plans.  Hugh stated that an IFB for the              project will be released within the next several weeks.

 

V.        NEW BUSINESS

            A.        Strategic Planning

                        Hugh Mose asked for the Board’s concurrence in developing a new Strategic Plan which             would articulate the organizational goals and provide guidance as to where any                              additional funding received would be invested, and where cuts would be instituted if                        financial resources continue to decline.

 

                        Hugh suggested that the first step would be for him to work with Tom Zilla and Greg                   Kausch to identify a source of funding for the project outside of CATA’s Operating                     Budget, and that if successful in securing funding, Greg be designated to serve as project               manager.  Hugh went on to state that he thought the services of a transportation planning                  consultant should be engaged, and that an oversight committee would include                                   representatives of CATA (Board and staff), the CCMPO, the COG Transportation and                      Land Use Committee, Centre County Government, PennDOT, Penn State and others.  

 

                        The Board consensus was that Hugh Mose, Tom Zilla and Greg Kausch should seek                      outside funding sources for the development of a new Strategic Plan for CATA.

 

            B.        Shared Ride Fare Increase

                        Judi Minor stated that, at the suggestion of PennDOT, the staff is asking the Board for                 authorization to submit a request for a Shared Ride fare increase to make up for the                       current shortfall in revenue for each Shared Ride trip, and to consider whether to                           authorize the submission at the same time of a fare increase request for the following                         fiscal year.  Hugh Mose stated that the last fare increase was in August 2010, and that                     the purpose for two subsequent increases is to provide incremental fare increases for                         senior paratransit riders rather than one large increase.

 

                        Judi Minor reported that the rate request would be a general public fare increase from                    $13.35 to $16.65, effective July 1, 2012 which if approved by PennDOT, would raise                   the 15% passenger fare from $2.00 to $2.50.  The subsequent increase, effective July 1,                   2012, would be to raise the public fare to $20.00 per trip, with a corresponding increase                   in senior citizen fares from $2.50 to $3.00 per trip.

 

                        Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to authorize staff to submit a shared ride fare               increase request to PennDOT to raise the general public fare to $16.65 per trip, with a                    corresponding increase in senior citizen fares to $2.50 per trip, effective July 1, 2012,                    and at the same time, a request to raise the public fare to $20.00 per trip, with a                                   corresponding increase in senior citizen fares to $3.00 per trip, effective July 1, 2013.                          Richard Kipp moved and Tom Kurtz seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            C.        Consultant Assistance – FTA Discretionary Grant

                        Hugh Mose referenced a memo from Louwana Oliva which describes the steps recently                taken to retain the firm of Delta Development Group, Inc. as a sub-consultant to CDM                 Smith, to assist CATA with a Federal Transit Administration State of Good Repair grant                  application.

 

                        Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the retention of Delta                                   Development Group, Inc. as a sub-consultant to CDM Smith, to assist in positioning                     CATA’s FTA State of Good Repair grant application.  Tom Kurtz moved and Richard

                        Kipp seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

VI.       OTHER BUSINESS

            A.        General Manager’s Report

                        Hugh Mose referred to his written report included with the Board meeting materials.

 

            B.        Service Development Report

                        Eric Bernier referred to his written report included with the Board meeting materials.

 

VII.     ADJOURNMENT   

            Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Joe Davidson moved and       Richard Kipp seconded.  The motion carried unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 5:29       p.m.

 

VIII.    EXECUTIVE SESSION

            The Board reconvened in Executive Session to discuss labor negotiations and personnel matters.

 

 

___________________________________________                                 

Hugh A. Mose, Secretary

 

 

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