GIFC Minutes 2019-12-17

A meeting of Guemes Island Ferry Committee (GIFC) was held at Guemes Library on December 17, 2019 starting at 7:03 pm. Attendees included: Allen Bush, John Hopkins, Sandy McKean, David Prewitt. Members not in attendance included: Bud Ullman. Guests in attendance included: Edith Walden.

Approval of minutes

Minutes of the November 19, 2019 meeting were approved as presented, and as previously authorized for publishing by the GIFC via email.


$54.00 is still owed to Allen Bush for 2018 election expenses.

The GIFC has zero money in our treasury.                                                                                                  

Unfinished business

BERK Study

A meeting was held at the county offices in Mt Vernon on December 10, 2019 among the BERK consultants, Skagit County Public Works, and the GIFC. Some members of the public (all Guemes residents) were also present. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current status of the BERK study.

We discussed what we thought we learned at that meeting:

• State audits are done (using GAAP standards) on how the county categorizes capital vs maintenance expenses for the ferry.

• John suggested that it would be helpful to have a list of both types of expenses during the last 10 or 15 years. That list could then be used as the basis for discussion between Public Works and the GIFC as to how these decisions are typically made.

• Allen suggested that reviewing Deficit Reimbursement reports from the past could also be helpful to understand capital vs maintenance decisions.

• A major result of the meeting in our judgment was that Public Works and the BERK consultants committed to using much of the remaining time on the consulting engagement to dig deeper into the detail of the top recommendations of the study in order to answer islander questions -- especially about the cost of recommended ferry service improvements. The members of the GIFC all agreed that this change in emphasis within the BERK study was a positive development.

• Another major result of the meeting was that the study would now include recommendations for no-cost improvements in addition to the existing low-cost and high-cost recommendations.

Charter Amendments

Version 6 of the proposed amendments was thoroughly discussed. Many improvements were made. Sandy will produce a version 7 and distribute it ASAP. It was generally felt that this version 7 would be very close to the final proposal which could then be presented to the islanders for approval at our 2020 first quarter annual meeting.All member of the GIFC were in support to the proposed amendments as they now stand except Allen who does not think that the GIFC should propose changing the electorate. He continues to feel that the island is best served if only islanders who are registered to vote in this precinct are eligible to vote for GIFC membership. A vote of the GIFC will occur at our January 2020 monthly meeting to approve these amendments. It takes four-fifths majority to carry the proposal to the islanders at the annual meeting.

New Business

Capital vs Maintenance

Allen presented three snippets of documents that the county and the state use to define capital and  maintenance expenses.

• State = WAC 136-400-030

• State = a definition of expenses that may be reported on the Deficit Reimbursement form

• County = October 12, 1989 document entitled: “A Definition of Capital and Maintenance for the County Ferry Systems”

Action Items

Produce a final version of the proposed amendments. (Sandy)


• Capital vs Maintenance document snippets (from Allen)

[Notes taken by Sandy McKean]

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