GIBA re-elects Watkins as chair, talks financials at quarterly meeting

February 13, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

STAFF REPORT – Ginger Watkins was re-elected as chairman and Drew Tucker was elected as vice chairman of the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority, when they held their quarterly board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Engineering Committee also gave their report, which included a discussion on the recent bridge inspections. The inspectors did not note any areas of significant concern. GIBA staff continues to work on mitigating paint corrosion.

Insurance representatives Eric Fogo and Jayne Boyd from Key Agency provided detailed information on GIBA’s current insurance coverages with a focus on bridge replacement values. The board voted to continue coverages at the current stated values and requested an updated appraisal be provided before the next renewal date.

Watkins discussed the GIBA’s toll rate history from inception to current date. Current toll rates were enacted in 2012 and GIBA’s long term financial plan does not include additional rate changes.

Executive Director Kathy Banson-Verrico gave an update on the recently-completed southern roadway sidewalk project. The purpose of the project was to improve passage for pedestrians and bicycles from Gulf Shores North on the west side of Gasparilla Road, to the existing GICIA bike path. It was completed in December of 2020.

The board was updated on the traffic and revenue figures for fiscal year 2021, compared to fiscal year 2020. Traffic is down two percent with a corresponding revenue decrease of six percent. January 2021 saw a drop in traffic of more than 9,000 vehicles compared to last year.

The next GIBA quarterly board meeting is scheduled for April 2021.