Comment On Skagit County's Proposal For A New Guemes Ferry

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Al Millikan starts us off:
For the  record my wife and I have been full time residents of Guemes Island for over 25 years
The proposed ferry taxing district is oppressive, disproportional and very unfair for the following reasons.

  • It will dramatically increase the cost of ridership. Calculated at $0.75 per $ 1000 assessed evaluation my cost will increase about $375/year in addition to any surcharge to be imposed. My wife and I, like many Guemes Island residents are retired and live on a fixed income.  Our assessed evaluation and thus property taxes have nearly doubled in recent years.  Another tax on property will place another strain on our limited income.  The proposed tax alone would increase our ferry cost by about 50%. An additional ticket surcharge could increase that toward DOUBLE our  current cost.
  • The ferry tax is based on property value not on ferry use.  There is no attempt to tie the tax to use.  Further, it does not address the rental population who do not pay  property taxes  The tax may require rent increases to cover the additional tax.  IF  a new ferry is put into service fees should be based on use, not on new taxes on a limited captive population.
  • Without a change in the existing law it could result in “ taxation without representation”.  Remember the impetus for our national Revolutionary War!!!
  • The whole concept of a new ELECTRIC FERRY is controversial.  Many residents question the wisdom of the concept and many would prefer existing and proven propulsion.  Many residents would rather spend less and would rather refurbish the existing ferry.
  • Any taxing district should include a much larger ridership population to include at least Skagit County and perhaps the entire state. Of course I prefer NO TAXING DISTRICT.

 Respectfully, Al Millikan



Martin Taylor: 3:40pm - 2/3/18
Thanks to Al Millikan for opening this format for input. There is much to be said but I would limit my comments to supporting what Al said and adding two additional items. I am part of a third generation Island family and live full time on Guemes. 1) As part of Skagit County, Guemes Island currently contributes significantly to county coffers. I don't have the numbers, but with the amount of waterfront and view property on Guemes, the collectives tax contribution is very large. Our taxes help pay for services throughout the county. (e.g. bridge, roads, etc all over the valley). Forcing Guemes' property owners to bear the burden of ferry costs apart from other county residents is a departure from the way county infrastructure is financed and is grossly unfair. 2) Forcing Guemes Island property owners to bear a larger tax burden for the proposed ferry forces us to underwrite all non-property owning users. Tourists, bicyclists, kayakers who base out of the park, people who use the resort or come for an evening of music at the store--all good things--but these would have their cross channel transportation costs partially defrayed by those of us who own property on Guemes. Again, not a fair approach.
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