CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

 

BOARD WORK SESSION

MINUTES

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March 12, 2013

4:00 p.m.

2081 W Whitehall Rd

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

                                                            Kimberly Fragola, Director of Administration

                                                            Mark Kutzer, Director of Maintenance

                                                            Sherry Snyder, Director of Operations

                                                            Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager

                                                            Sylvia Rosa-Ortiz, Human Resources Manager

                                                            Greg Kausch, Transportation Planner

                                                            Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

 

 

I.          Call to Order

            Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

 

II.        Public Comment

            There was no public comment.

 

III.       Introduction

            Hugh Mose stated that, due to their impact on the Budget, the fleet replacement needs,    service plan and Transportation staffing situation needed to be considered prior to the       review of the line item Preliminary Draft Budget.

 

IV.       Discussion Items

            A.        Fleet Capital Plan

                        Hugh Mose provided a brief review of previous fleet plans including the most                                recent from 2011, which he reported had become obsolete, due to the receipt of                             grant funding that enabled the purchase of 28 buses within the space of six                                    months, and the elimination of  the MAP-21 Bus and Bus Facilities program that                           provided for discretionary capital grants.  In addition, other more compelling                                 capital needs have prevented the setting aside of money in a fleet replacement                               reserve.  The old plan also covered only buses, and CATA has significant vehicle                           replacement needs for its paratransit and vanpool vans, as well as support                                       vehicles.         

 

 

 

           

                        Louwana Oliva referenced all of the work her staff had done on the updated Fleet                                    Plan.  Mark Kutzer provided a PowerPoint presentation of a new Fleet Capital Plan,                      and five page spreadsheet, which describe the current situation.   

 

                        Tom Kurtz inquired about borrowing money and using cutaways as a bridge. The                          suggestion was made that the availability of used vehicles should be explored.

           

            B.        FY 2013/14 Service Plan

                        Eric Bernier referenced his memo which provided background information and the                        changes proposed for Community Service Routes R & RE (Waupelani Drive), M

                        (Mall), HP (Toftrees) and W (Valley Vista), to accommodate the ridership that will                       be generated by the four new student housing complexes which are scheduled to                           open in August.  A request for final approval of the FY 2013/14 Service Plan will be                     made at the April Board meeting.                 

 

A 20 minute meal break was taken at this point in the meeting.

 

            C.        Transportation Staffing Plan

                        Sherry Snyder referenced her memo which described the staffing needs in                                                 Transportation and how the management team proposes to reorganize the supervisory                    oversight of both Operations and Maintenance, the costs of which are included in the

                        Preliminary Draft Budget.   The plan includes the replacement of one supervisory                          position being vacated in May with two full-time Dispatcher positions, and the hiring                    of an additional Supervisor to cover the late afternoon and evening needs in                           Maintenance; two members of the current supervisory staff will be designated to work                        as Interim Lead Supervisors in training, until the return of Dave Effinger from his                            second military deployment. The Board concurred with the plan.

 

            D.        Facilities Maintenance

                        Sherry Snyder referenced her memo which stated that data available from CATA’s                       vehicle maintenance software confirms that far too many vehicle maintenance staff                       hours are being consumed in building and facilities maintenance, and at a higher                            rate of pay than the work warrants, and also that CATA is experiencing ongoing                                   issues with its contracted custodial services.  Sherry outlined the proposed plan to                                create one or more facilities-specific staff positions to address non-vehicle                                            maintenance and custodial services and the associated costs.  

 

                        The staff affirmed that the person would be subject to drug testing and a physical, in                    response to Chairman Spychalski’s inquiry. Joe Davidson expressed his preference                         that the position not be a represented position.  Sylvia Rosa-Ortiz responded that it                   would need to be because it is the type of work that is already being done by                          represented employees and is covered in the labor contract.  The suggestion was made                  to use of temporary cleaning services until the current custodial contract expires and                      someone can be hired.   

 

                        The Board approved putting additional funds in the Draft Budget to accommodate the                 recommended changes, with the staff to come back later with a more complete plan.

                       

 

 

           

            E.        Subsidies

                        State and Federal Funding

                        Hugh Mose reiterated that MAP-21, the new federal transportation authorization                           bill passed last summer, increased CATA’s formula funding by approximately                                $500,000, to $2,560,000, and that the new federal bill also promises 1.0% annual                           increases, which is the growth shown in the Five-year Projection spreadsheet.                                 Hugh went on to report that as the state’s economy recovers, the Act 44 “catch-                            up” provision has resulted in state funding growth in the current year of over                                 $400,000, to $3,760,000.  Because PennDOT contacts are not willing to make any                         predictions concerning next year’s allocation, no additional state assistance has                              been included in the Preliminary Draft Budget. 

 

                        Local Shares

                        Hugh Mose reported that in response to direction provided at the Board’s                                                  Planning Work Session in January, during the February meeting of the COG                                  Finance Committee, the staff had approached CATA's municipal funding partners                         about a 5% increase.  With no objections being voiced by the majority of the                                  Finance Committee members (aside from the Ferguson and Harris Township                                  representatives), another 5.0% local share increase has been included in the                                     Preliminary Draft Budget.  Hugh stated that the vagaries of the Miller Formula                              will cause the municipalities' and the University's individual shares to change                                 relative to one another, so it will not be an across-the-board 5.0% increase.

 

            F.         Operating Revenues

                        Fares, Token Prices and Pass Rates

                        Hugh Mose reported that three years ago CATABUS fares, token prices and pass                                     rates, as well as CATARIDE fares were increased.  At that time deeper discounts                                     for the purchase of multiple rides, which had the effect of driving up the use of                             tokens and passes, were instituted.  As a result, in August of 2011 prices for both                          rolls of tokens and OnePasses were increased, as well as the fare on the Football                            Shuttle.  In July of 2012, the Shared Ride general public fare was increased from                           $13.35 to $16.65, which caused the senior fare to rise from $2.00 to $2.50.

 

                        Hugh Mose further reported that another Shared Ride fare increase, from $16.65                           to $20.00, is proposed for this July.  Because the senior fare is set at 15% of the                             general public fare, the effective rate will rise from $2.50 to $3.00.  This change                             will have two benefits.  First, it will allow CATA to capture additional State                                  Lottery funds to help cover the cost of the service, and at $3.00 the senior fare                              will be the same as the fare for persons with disabilities, which has been at that                              rate since 2010.  No other fare increases are recommended for this year.

 

                        Since the Board had already given its approval to the proposed increase, there was                        no further discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

                        Penn State

                        Hugh Mose reported that the staff had met with Teresa Davis to discuss the potential                    increase that CATA might expect in funding from Penn State, at this point it is                              expected that LOOP and LINK service will continue at the             current levels, with an                         increase in the hourly rate by 5.0%, to $62.22 per revenue hour.  Hugh reminded the                      Board that even at the higher hourly rate the Penn State payment still will not cover                      CATA’s direct costs nor support overheads, but the             inclusion of the Campus Service                     in operating statistics helps qualify CATA for up to $1.0 million in additional state                        and federal funds. 

 

                        Hugh further reported that Penn State also heavily subsidizes the Ride-for-Five                             program, for which current rates will remain in effect for another year, and that the                        amount the University pays to support the CATACOMMUTE program, $34,878, is                      expected to increase 5.0%. 

 

                        Apartment Contracts

                        Hugh Mose reported that as a result of all 15 apartment complex contracts having                          been moved from a from a flat fee, negotiated in advance, to per-ride pricing, and                                     continued strong ridership growth among apartment pass riders, again this year                              CATA’s Purchase of Service revenue is running way ahead of budget.  It is

                        anticipated that the per-ride rate will be increased by a small percentage each year,                         but will remain substantially below the base fare because the apartment complexes                         can be served so efficiently, and with trips that are typically short.  

 

                        Hugh Mose went on to state that with four new complexes coming on line this                               fall, and several more in the planning stage, CATA could be reaching the point                              where it cannot afford to commit any more service to this market.  Alternatively, we                     could impose steep increases in the per-ride rate, which likely would invite                                     apartment complexes to abandon CATA in favor of their own bus service, or                                 to contract with an outside entity.

 

            G.        Compensation for Non-represented Employees

                        Sylvia Rosa-Ortiz reported that in order to ascertain current market values, she                               had gathered salary survey data from the following Centre Region governmental                           entities: College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton Townships; State College

                        Borough, Centre County, the Centre Region Council of Governments, the State                            College Borough Water Authority, and the University Area Joint Authority.  The

                        survey showed that for 2013 the municipalities are granting increases that average                        4.2% - 2.2% COLA and 2.0% Merit Increase.

 

                        Sylvia Rosa-Ortiz presented a Merit Pay Grid.  Chairman Spychalski requested that

                        consideration be given to changing the wording in the Merit Pay Grid descriptions                        from “expectations” to “specified performance objectives” and that “did not fully” to                   “partially.”

 

 

 

 

 

                       

 

                        Hugh Mose stated that he, Sylvia, and Louwana are recommending that for FY                             2013/14 CATA:

 

·         Adopt a 0.0% COLA, but increase the value of all cells in last year’s Merit Pay Grid (other than those for unsatisfactory performance) by 1.0%.  This will allow more discretion in percentage increases and a better link between pay and performance.

 

·         Adjust all of the ranges in the salary schedule by 3%, to keep our overall pay table more in line with the overall market.  The only effect this will have on salaries is in those few cases where the upward shift in the pay range results in an individual dropping to a lower quartile.

 

                        Hugh Mose stated that the staff is forecasting that the annual compensation                                   adjustment for non-represented employees will have an overall impact on the                                 Budget of approximately 4.0%.  The Board concurred with the recommendation.

 

            H.        Line Item Budget

                        Kimberly Fragola referenced the FY 2013/14 Preliminary Draft Budget and her                             narrative that provides explanations for those line items which differ significantly                          from either this year's budget or the projected amount for the current year.  A revised                    five-page Draft Budget will be presented for approval at the March 25th Board                              meeting.  

 

            I.          Five-Year Projections

                        Kimberly Fragola referenced her spreadsheet that shows the staff's current                                                 projections of CATA's revenues and expenditures for the next several years, similar                       to what the Board viewed at the Planning Work Session in January, which project a                      gradual increase in operating revenues, slight annual growth in service, and the                               setting aside of $500,000+ of federal formula allocation for capital acquisitions.

 

                        Hugh Mose concluded by reporting that on the capital side, failing an increase in                           state funding, CATA will have a difficult time keeping up with its vehicle                                      replacement and other capital reinvestment needs.

 

V.        Adjournment

            Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 8:02 p.m.                

 

 

 

 

            ___________________________________________                                 

            Hugh A. Mose, Secretary

 

 

            ___________________________________________

            Date