BOARD WORK SESSION
March 20, 2012
CATA MEETING ROOM
2081 W. WHITEHALL ROAD
State College, PA 16801
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
STAFF PRESENT: Hugh Mose, 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 Resource Manager
Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski convened the Work Session at 4:00 p.m.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
There was no public comment.
III. EXECUTIVE SESSION
At 4:01 p.m. the Board went into Executive Session to discuss labor negotiations and related personnel matters. The Open Session resumed at 5:20 p.m.
Hugh Mose stated that the most important issues for the Board to address during the Work Session would be the Preliminary Draft Budget for FY 2012/2013 and the service plan summary.
V. FIVE YEAR PROJECTIONS
Hugh Mose referenced the spreadsheet which shows the staff’s current projections of CATA’s revenues and expenditures for the next five years and commented that until funding improves CATA will have to constrain growth in operating expenses while increasing operating revenues in order to avoid significant service cuts in future years.
VI. REVENUES AND LOCAL SUPPORT
A. Fares, Token Prices and Pass Rates
Hugh Mose reported that following last year’s price increase for both rolls of tokens and OnePasses, the sale of tokens has leveled off, but the purchase of OnePasses has continued to grow. After determining that the average OnePass holder is riding at a per-ride rate very close to the cash fare, the staff believes that OnePasses are priced correctly. Consequently, other than the Shared Ride fare increase that the Board approved at the February Board meeting, the staff does not recommend any further fare increases this year.
B. Penn State
Hugh Mose reported that during a recent meeting, the new Senior Vice President at Penn State, David Gray, confirmed that there will be no increase in support from the University. As a result, the Preliminary Draft Budget assumes that CATA will reduce LOOP/LINK service hours, and it also proposes to eliminate the sole remaining element of the Free Fare Zone, the HP (Toftrees/Scenery Park) Route. The Board concurred with the elimination of the campus Free Fare Zone on the HP Route and a modest hourly rate increase for the University.
C. Apartment Contracts
Hugh Mose reported that Eric Bernier has been able to negotiate per-ride
arrangements with all of the owners and managers of the apartment complexes with which CATA has contracts for service and that over the coming year all complexes will reach a rate of at least $0.90 per ride. The Board concurred with the current per ride contract arrangement and rate.
D. Local Shares
Hugh Mose reported that at the request of the Board the staff presented the proposed 5% increase in local shares to the COG Finance Committee, which supported the increase. Hugh further reported that the representative from Halfmoon Township suggested that 3.0% might be preferable, and that he will be attending the Thursday, March 22 meeting of the Halfmoon Township officials to respond to their questions and concerns. Hugh also reported that there seems to be some interest on the part of Ferguson Township to reconsider its strong allegiance to the Miller Formula.
E. Exterior Bus Advertising
Jackie Sheader reported that in response to the Board’s request the staff had solicited comments from our local funding partners regarding the extension for another year of the current trial exterior bus advertising program, and that feedback from the COG Finance Committee, Penn State, and Ferguson and Harris Townships indicated support for the continuation of limited exterior advertising. The Board gave its approval of the staff request to continue the current trial program for another year, and to hire a part-time salesperson at an hourly rate plus commission.
F. State and Federal Funding
Hugh Mose reported that he expects passage of another Continuing Resolution until the House and Senate come to agreement on a Transportation Funding bill.
G. Service Planning
Eric Bernier referenced his memo which listed the changes proposed for Community Service and stated that revisions to Campus Service are still being negotiated with Penn State. Eric further stated that the staff will seek final approval of the FY 2012-2013 Service Plan at the April Board meeting.
After discussion regarding the elimination of the last evening trips on the A (Park Forest) and K (Cato Park) Routes, it was agreed that Eric Bernier would provide further information at the March Board Meeting.
H. Line Item Budget
Judi Minor referenced the Preliminary Draft Budget and accompanying narrative memo. In response to requests from the Board, Judi will check into the possibility of leasing tires for the vanpool vans and revise the insurance line items to specify the type of insurance being referenced.
Kimberly Fragola provided a brief description of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank Loan, which could be used as an alternative to a line-of-credit until the State Capital Grant allocation is received toward payment for the new buses.
Following review of the entire Preliminary Budget and input from the Board, Judi Minor stated that adjustments to the Purchase of Service for Penn State would be made, and the $15,000 for the Universal Access Study would be moved from this year’s expenditures to next year due to the change in the start date for that project; a five-page Draft Budget will be provided for approval at the March Board meeting.
VII. OTHER ISSUES
A. Centre County Office of Transportation
Hugh Mose reported that the County Commission is once again interested in exploring how the Centre County Office of Transportation and CATA’s paratransit programs can be brought together. Hugh expressed that CATA’s new paratransit contractor, Ride Right, has the capability of assuming responsibility for dispatching all county paratransit services, which would result in one call center assigning all trips to whichever carrier would best serve each passenger. The Board concurred with exploring a new operating model for paratransit service and human service transportation in Centre County; Tom Kurtz stated that any changes should result in no additional direct or indirect cost to CATA.
B. Vanpool Van Disposition
Hugh Mose reported that vans in the vanpool program are reaching the end of their “useful life” as defined by PennDOT; CATA will now begin to replace up to six vans each year, which because of their generally good condition, could continue to be used by other local government and non-profit organizations in the community.
Terri Quici referenced her memo which outlined suggested policies and procedures
for the disposition of CATACOMMUTE vanpool passenger vans. Tom Kurtz requested that paragraph regarding the determination of van condition be reworded to address inconsistencies. Board consensus was to remove from the policy the provision that CATA retains the right to place “This vehicle provided by CATA” on the van. Chairman Spychalski asked that the revised policy be brought back to the Board for adoption at the April meeting.
C. Donation of a Bus
Hugh Mose stated that the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI) has requested that as CATA surpluses CNG buses, it consider donating one to CPI for use in their new Transportation Training Center; market value of the 1996 Orions is currently between $5,000 and $8,000. Joe Davidson stated that CPI may be interested in more than one bus. Judi Minor commented that consideration should be given to lost revenue if more than one bus is donated to CPI. The Board expressed willingness to consider the donation of a surplus CNG bus to CPI, and suggested that CPI be asked to submit their request in writing.
D. Bus Dedications
Hugh Mose reported that following the death of CATA Driver, Bob Moses, a fellow employee approached him and asked if CATA could put a plaque in memory of Bob in the driver’s compartment of one of the new buses and that he had agreed to do so. Hugh went on to comment that he recognized there may be other former employees who might be similarly honored and that there is also the potential for placing the individual’s name in a more prominent location, or even naming the bus. Hugh asked if the Board wished to consider the honoring of additional members of the CATA family via recognition on buses. The Board consensus was that it would entertain staff recommendations for such a program on a narrow scale.
Hugh Mose reported that CATA is currently about three Drivers short of optimal staffing, so even with an anticipated 2% reduction in service, there will not be a need to furlough anyone and there may even be a need to hire several Drivers. Hugh concluded by stating that while CATA still needs more staffing in Operations, and better facility and vehicle cleaning, CATA’s financial situation precludes consideration of any additional positions at this time, with the exception of the part-time exterior bus advertising sales position.
Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 8:04 p.m.
Hugh A. Mose, Secretary