ANNUAL PUBLIC HEARING and
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
February 27, 2012
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
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?
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.
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.
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