Meeting Notes: Ferry Committee Work Session with Tom Ballard 2009.11.09


November 9, 2009


Present:  Tom Ballard, Ron Panzero, Glen Veal, Carl Cady, Terry Ebersole, Dyvon Havens, Steve Orsini

Meeting held at Skagit County Public Works 10:00 am to 11:00 am


The purpose of this meeting was a preparatory meeting for the semi-annual progress and performance report to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) scheduled for November 10 at 9:30 am.


Tom presented each participant a copy of the meeting “packet” that would be given to each BOCC member.  There were no changes from that emailed earlier to the GIFC.  The packet contained (1) an Order of Presentation, (2) the Guemes Island Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report, July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009, and (3) the Roundtable 2010 Work Plan.  Tom reported that he is developing a critical path report for the BOCC laying out the schedule of work on the ferry infrastructure.


The PW Director expects the BOCC meeting will lead off with one of the Commissioners introducing the purpose of the meeting.  He will make opening comments, Ron will speak to the Revenue Target Report with a reminder to the BOCC that this has been a year of transition with regard to the fare and schedule changes they mandated, and it will be pointed out that Public Works (with Ferry Committee in agreement) is recommending no fare change in the upcoming year. The rationale for this decision can be found in the report.  After any BOCC questions are asked and answered, Tom will then ask a representative of the GIFC to comment.


Carl points out the inconsistency in the data presentation between the Coast Guard ridership counts, which are two directional, and the fare calculations, which are by definition one directional, which needs to be recognized to avoid BOCC confusion.


Ballard reports that a good deal of the reason behind the cost savings reported at $535,000 for 2009 is the difference between the budget and actual expenditures during the year particularly for fuel and to a lesser extent the change in the number of crew members.


Steve asks whether in the current County budget scenario, the Roundtable should actually be considering a fare increase.  Tom reports the BOCC is comfortable with no increase but is charging the Roundtable with seriously addressing the fare recovery rate in the upcoming year.  The BOCC will expect something very detailed and different a year from now.


Ballard expects the first expanded Roundtable meeting will be in January.  January is also when the new permanent Director is expected to be in place with some overlap in time on his part with the new Director.  Applicant screening begins next week, with eight applications received and three to be interviewed. Tom aims to be able to “hand off” a department that is ready to proceed and not needing a new design or direction.  Between now and then the expanded Roundtable needs to be defined and its operational procedures fleshed out and formalized.  He expects members to be stakeholders in the operation of the ferry in order to participate.  Each stakeholder organization would have one seat.  He envisions the County will send a form letter to all probable stakeholders laying out the conceptual vision of the Roundtable with an estimate of the work load involved.  Those responding with a desire to be members would then receive a formal invitation to join from the BOCC.


Carl expressed considerable concern that limiting GIFC participation to one seat will water down if not ultimately lead to the demise of an elected group.  In response Tom indicates the BOCC is not interested in the demise of the GIFC.


Ballard distributes a draft resolution governing the establishment and operation of a Guemes Island Ferry Citizens Advisory Committee and indicates he would like feedback.


The meeting was adjourned at the scheduled 11 am.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 16 at 10 am.


 Note taker: Terry Ebersole

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