This was originally posted to: Guemes Island Ferry Committee

GIFC Minutes 2019-05-21

 Call to order

A meeting of Guemes Island Ferry Committee (GIFC) was held at Guemes Library on May 21, 2019. Attendees included: Allen Bush, John Hopkins, Sandy McKean, David Prewitt, Bud Ullman. Guests in attendance included: Barb Ohms, Carson Parks, Tom Fouts, Edith Walden, and Phyllis Bravinder.

Approval of minutes

Minutes of the February 19, March 19, and April 16, 2019 meetings were approved.


Allen has informed Carol Pellet that Allen is now the official GIFC keeper of the GI Library “red tag” key, and that he will be responsible to open the library for GIFC meetings, to insure the library property is respected, and to close the library after the meetings.

The GIFC will hold a special meeting on May 28th at the GI Library at 7:00pm to discuss and finalize the agenda for our upcoming quarterly meeting on June 9th .

Unfinished business

Needs Based Initiative:

We reviewed the latest version of the proposal which now includes a section to limit program costs and to prevent possible fraud as discussed at our 3/19/19 monthly meeting. Comments by GIFC members should be directed to Bud by 5/28/19. There is now a provision that one half of the funds that cover the cost be available every 6 months. Once the funds run out, no more discounted tickets will be sold until the next funding interval. Once Bud receives any comments from the GIFC, the next step will be to seek Rachel Rowe's approval; and then Ron Wesen's approval to put the proposal on the commissioner's agenda. John raised some fundamental questions about the current proposal (such as discount rates), and it became clear that more GIFC discussion will be required to secure John's support of the proposal.

2018 Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report (FFTRR):

Dave and Allen attended the BOCC meeting on April 23 rd that reviewed the FFTRR. Given the revenue surplus last year, the report recommended that no fare increase be imposed. The commissioners approved that recommendation with the proviso that the decision be reviewed in 6 months. Commissioner Dahlstedt commented that he thought more frequent, smaller fare increase are likely preferable to islanders than less frequent, larger increases. Commissioner Wesen commented that future discussions were needed to more clearly define which ferry expenditures should be categorized as capital expense vs operations and maintenance expense (O&M). Note: capital expenses are not part of the calculation for recapture via the fare box.

Bud reminded GIFC members that no one should use the term “subsidy” to refer to the county's contribution from the road fund to the O&M cost of ferry operations. This county contribution is a proper and normal county expenditure from the road fund just as are the other county expenditures from the road fund for county roads and bridges O&M costs. We all agreed.

2019 GIFC Election:

The total cost of the election was $1586; so far we have collected $1236 leaving $350 still to be raised in order to fully reimburse Allen for the election cost. An appeal will be made at the June 9th quarterly meeting.

New Business

Berk Study: The county has engaged BERK Consulting, Inc. to undertake an operations and service analysis of the Guemes Island Ferry system that considers future and operational service. The study will address staffing, scheduling, ticketing, loading/unloading, and other items for the ferry system. The scope includes developing and evaluating ferry system performance criteria and service delivery options/alternatives. There will be a meeting at the Anacortes Library on June 13th among the county, the GIFC, and BERK to discuss the objectives of the study, and to solicit input from the public and specifically from the GIFC. Allen expressed interest in understanding the scope and intent of the study. Bud suggested that the GIFC had an obligation to come to agreement on where we stood on each of the areas in the study, and be prepared to present our stand on each area at the June 13th meeting. Sandy disagreed and felt that for this first meeting our best tact would be to listen to what the county and BERK had to say in order to better understand the effort. He felt there would be ample opportunity to present our opinions at subsequent joint meetings as the study progresses. Dave pointed out that the study areas correspond well with our newly defined “Core Areas of Competency” organizational structure (see below).

Core Areas of Competency:

Dave presented his ideas on providing more structure for how the GIFC operates. At a top level would be five levels of “Core Areas of Competency” into which GIFC business would fit. These core areas would represent subjects that require GIFC focus on an ongoing basis; namely: Operations, Vessel Infrastructure, Shore-side Infrastructure, and Resolutions and Legislation (see attachment).

Another part of this suggested structure would be additional areas of “Ad Hoc Areas of Focus” into which time limited, project-oriented tasks would fit. As of today five such areas were identified: Ferry Replacement, BERK Operational Study, GIFC Governance Review, Midday Bottleneck Alleviation, and Needs Based Fares Proposal.

Dave also had a list of some 50 tasks which may fit into the above structure. This list of tasks will be reviewed, refined, and placed into the Core Areas of Competency or Ad Hoc Areas of Focus structure by the GIFC in the months to come. An initial analysis was done of these 50+ tasks, and the general feeling was that most were valid GIFC tasks that fit well into the proposed core areas and ad hoc tasks structure. Various GIFC members volunteered to be accountable for each of the cores areas and ad hoc tasks on a preliminary basis; some areas had two volunteers and some had one.

Action Items

Investigate the possibility of posting draft minutes soon after our monthly meetings. (Sandy)

Q&A Session

Barb suggested that the GIFC monthly meeting minutes be posted on community websites directly after our meetings in draft form. Then once approved in the following month, the draft designation could be removed. This would allow islanders access to the minutes sooner.


The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:30pm

Attachments • Core Areas of Competency.pdf 

Guemes Island Ferry Committee Core areas of competency


1. Fares 2. Operations, Maintenance and Capital accounting 3. Budget 4. Targets 5. Revenues 6. Expenses 7. Surcharge(s)


1. Schedule 2. Staging 3. Ticketing 4. Loading 5. Haul out scheduling

Vessel Infrastructure

1. Maintenance plans 2. Condition surveys 3. Mechanical outage review 4. Dolphins, bridge deck, and fixed pier

Shore-side Infrastructure

1. Walk-on waiting areas 2. Vehicle holding lanes 3. Dedicated and onstreet parking 4. Pick-up and drop-off facilities 5. Walk-on passenger vessel ingress and egress

Resolutions and Legislation

 1. Skagit County 2. Washington State 3. Federal 4. City of Anacortes

Tags: meeting minutes 2019