The county is proposing increasing the Guemes Ferry fares as much as 20 percent. If approved the non-peak car and driver rate would increase by $2.00. The adult walk-on rate would increase 50 cents.
Ferry director Captain Rachel Rowe says maintenance costs have been on the rise; specifically the ferry’s dry dock costs. Therefore, the ferry’s operating budget has increased to $2 million - $2.5 million per year.
“To give you an idea of how much maintenance costs have increased, there was nearly a $500,000 difference between 2010 dry dock costs and the lowest bid for the 2015 haul-out,” she said in a recent newsletter.
Rowe added, "As the vessel and dock’s mechanical, electrical and hydraulic equipment ages, expenditures will increase in order to keep things operating safely. Emergency shut-downs are extraordinarily painful and expensive, and can hopefully be avoided if we continue to maintain our equipment."
The county’s Public Works department will be recommending that a fare increase take place October 1, 2015 in order to meet the 2015 revenue target. The last fare increase took effect June 1, 2011.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, the Board of Skagit County Commissioners will host a community meeting at the Guemes Island Community Center, 7549 Guemes Island Road, at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, Skagit County Commissioners will hold a public hearing in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room, 1800 Continental Place, Mount Vernon, at 8:30 a.m., or as soon thereafter as possible, to consider public testimony and consider changes to the Guemes Island Ferry Fare Schedule; specifically, a 20 percent average increase to the non-peak fares and a 17 percent average increase to the peak fares;