This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Ferry Committee

Minutes 2018-04-27

Call to order

A meeting of Guemes Island Ferry Committee was held at Guemes Church on April 27, 2018 starting at 7:08pm. Attendees included Steve Orsini, Allen Bush, Bud Ullman, Dave Prewitt, Sandy McKean.

Approval of minutes

Minutes of January 30, 2018 meeting were read and approved.

New Business

The contents of a letter to the BOCC were agreed upon (with some reservations). This letter will be read at tomorrow’s county run public forum meeting to be held at the Hall. (The final version of this leter is attached.)

Dave made the case that any GIFC letters to the BOCC should have the character of a “statement of belief”.

Proposed surcharge:

Allen opposes the surcharge since many promises have been made by the county over the years that replacing the ferry would be handled like any other transportation infrastructure project within the county. He felt that the county is now breaking those promises

Dave felt a surcharge might be justified, but that the one currently proposed by the county is excessive.

Steve felt the surcharge was very excessive, and that something like $.25 per ticket, similar to what the WA state ferries charge, made more sense.

Bud also opposed the proposed surcharge as currently proposed because it does not include a commitment from the county to establish a needs-based discount rate structure for lower income folks on the island. 

Sandy felt that it was appropriate for the county to establish a long term ferry replacement fund, and that the proposed surcharge seemed reasonable.

A discussion occurred regarding whether or not the county’s proposed plan to implement a surcharge was manadated by CRAB in order qualify for the CRAB grant. Some GIFC members suspected that it was; other members suspected that the proposed surcharge was not a “do or die” requirement for getting the grant, but rather that CRAB simply wanted to see that the county and the residents of the county have some sort of “skin in the game” if the county expected its grant application to be approved.

The county’s view was perhaps best stated in an March 8th email sent by Ferry Manager Rachel Rowe:

“And, we had a meeting with the technical review committee, for the CRAB grant, yesterday.  They have asked us to move forward with the process for implementing a vessel replacement surcharge (to prove our “skin-in-the-game”) in light of the fact that we believe we may currently be unable to form a ferry district (without a change in legal opinion or action from the legislature).  We want to be eligible for the full $10 million, so we will be making a proposal to the BCC for the user surcharge.”

It was noted that the BOCC has stated that a capital-only fund for vessel replacement is necessary regardless of CRAB funding, and that such a fund should have been implemented long ago.

The GIFC intends to implement regularly scheduled monthly meetings. It was proposed that such meeting be held on Tuesdays.

Action Items

Find out what happened to cause the unplanned ferry outage on 4/13/18 due to some sort of USCG inspection.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:09 pm


Notes taken by Sandy McKean