DRAFT Minutes from GIFC/Public Works Meeting, 6/21/22

GIFC notes from GIFC-PW joint meeting at 1800 Continental Place,

Skagit Conference Room on 

June 21, 2022.

GIFC attendees were: John Hopkins (Chair), Sandy McKean, Allen Bush, Gabe Murphy, Andy Leech (via Zoom). Skagit County attendees were: Grace Kane (Public Works Director), Rachel Rowe (Ferry Manager, via Zoom). These notes were prepared by Sandy McKean.

Note that this is the first time in a couple of years that the GIFC has met in person with PW personnel.  The groups used to meet a few times a year, but COVID put a stop to that for the last couple of years.

This document is based on the notes taken by Rachel Rowe and sent via email to all GIFC members on the day of the meeting. Sandy also took notes at the meeting, and has used his notes to make some modifications to Rachel’s original notes.


 • Revenue Target Report—We should all be at your presentation at 10, so no need to repeat yourself, but we may have questions. If the report is available before the meeting, we would appreciate copies.

 • Status of Deficit Reimbursement Report 

 • Parking—Security concerns at the Anacortes parking lot and long-term parking needs.

 • Status of Berk-KPFF study and are any actions being taken?

 • At some future date we would like a briefing on the county's staffing and training plan to cover the period from now until the new ferry goes in operation.


? Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report

• No fare increase is being proposed at this time.

• Appendix D could show more of a history (Rachel assigned to include 2018, 2019 and 2020).

• 2022 Budgeted fare box revenue of $1,380,000 is just a placeholder; at the presentation Rachel said it assumes a fare increase because at one point that figure did, but no fare increase was proposed.

• General fare increases are not always effective in accomplishing the goal of increasing fare box revenue (e.g. ridership habits change resulting in decreased vehicle ridership or even general ridership).

• As recommended in the BERK study, the county is working on clarifying the accounting methods it uses to distinguish between capital and O&M expenses.

• Rachel proposed we think bigger picture and talk adjustments within the current structure using the BERK study as a guiding document; perhaps considering reducing/standardizing punch card discounts, and index-type guide for future rate increases, charging more for HAZMAT runs, etc.

• John commented that he did not think we should divorce fares from ferry operating costs, which any indexing scheme would tend to do.

• Grace talked about the challenges with the road fund only have a limited amount of funding.

• Some ferry related efforts at the county have been delayed or restructured due to current severe staff shortages at the county. Many businesses and government agencies have this same problem due to dislocations because of COVID (for example the Controller position at the county is open right now). Happily, Rachel did get some additional support with the hiring of Kent Dixon as Ferry Assistant Operations Supervisor.

• As a reminder, thoughts shared by Commissioner Janicki at the presentation were as follows:

? Consider capping the road fund subsidy to balance out the amount of road fund contribution going to ferry operation.

? Consider structure for future ferry replacement with a plan to reach a funding goal at the end.

? Consider looking forward with the revenue target methodology.

• Also, at the presentation, John shared a thought about the surcharge being more in line with other agencies and perhaps using some of that to fund O&M instead.

? Deficit Reimbursement Report

• The report we submit to the state is included in the Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report; however, the Committee used to receive itemized expenditures in a different format.

? Parking

• The K Street parking lot is owned by the county. Policing is shared with the county: criminal activity is policed by the city; whereas such situations as a derelict vehicle is policed by the county sheriff.

• Rachel covered different discussions happening across multiple County departments and agencies. Indeed, these problems are happening all over the state especially in long term lots.

• Discussed high definition cameras and license plate readers and cost. Installation of motion sensitive lights might help. How will these get funded? Gabe suggested that islanders might be able contribute.

• Rachel has requested increased patrols from APD; John mentioned the Committee may consider approaching the City of Anacortes. Sandy cautioned that the city will consider the needs of its residents first over the needs of Guemes residents all of whom live in the county outside the Anacortes city limits. 

• We talked about secure parking and the legal and liability challenges that presents as well as cost.

• We talked about permit parking and possibly charging for parking as potential solutions for those over-staying the 72-hour limit or those parking there and not using the ferry.

• The County understands parking lot security is a concern; this is a problem happening all over the state right now.

• A discussion was had about the Guemes Island parking lot; that project is very early in the design phase (priorities are to address safety and ADA issues).

? Rachel reminded everyone that the project is the result of feedback already received from stakeholders and the priority for the parking lot identified in the BERK analysis.

? The county may pave and stripe the Guemes Parking Lot, and construct and new waiting shed moving its location to the west side of Guemes Island Road from its current location on the east side (to minimize pedestrians from having to cross traffic going to or from the ferry).

? The Ferry Committee asked that they be involved.

? Rachel Rowe Action Items

• Provide the ridership reports and make these available online (see attached) – I will provide links to the website when these are up and running. I can go back further and send those as well if you think that would be helpful.

• Revise Appendix D of the Ferry Fare Revenue Target Report – add 2018, 2019 and 2020 to the 2021 data.

• Share the link to the recent BERK/KPFF analysis with the group.

• Rachel will provide the Deficit Reimbursement Report in the older format by 6/28.

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