Questions had been raised about the implications of a federal judge’s ruling in December that the city could continue collecting the passenger taxes but the money should be spent in a way that serves the cruise ships. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Tentative deal reached in dispute over Alaska cruise passenger fees

The passenger head tax won’t increase for at least three years

A tentative agreement has been reached in a legal dispute over how the City and Borough of Juneau spends money collected from cruise ship passenger fees.

City Manager Rorie Watt said the agreement allows continued use of the fees by the city but with more input from a cruise industry association that sued the city in 2016, alleging misuse of funds.

Questions had been raised about the implications of a federal judge’s ruling in December that the city could continue collecting the passenger taxes but the money should be spent in a way that serves the cruise ships.

John Binkley, president of Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, the group that sued, said his organization is pleased with the proposed agreement.

READ MORE: More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

“It certainly achieves our goals, certainty for how the passenger fees are going to be spent in the future. And it also continues to support important services for the guests and also for the community as well,” Binkley said.

KTOO Public Media reported the city has used the passenger head taxes to provide infrastructure and services for the millions of visitors that visit each year.

“The services that we’re going to continue to provide are bathrooms and visitor information and crossing guards and extra police foot patrol and the extra ambulance,” Watt said. “All those things that seem like normal activities to us.”

Under the agreement, the passenger head tax won’t increase for at least three years and both sides will meet yearly to discuss potential projects. The city will pay $1.5 million in legal fees for the cruise organization, the agreement states.

“I think we agree that nobody won and that even though the litigation took a long time and was hard on relationships, we were working on an important question to determine the legality of the expenditure of the fees,” Watt said.

He said the city will pay the association’s attorneys’ fees and the city’s own fees with passenger tax revenue.

The city spent about $800,000 on its legal defence. Watt said about half of that has already been paid with passenger fees.

The local Assembly is expected to adopt terms of the agreement.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wounded Warriors runners arrive in Port Alberni

Fundraising dinner will take place at Royal Canadian Legion

Arrowvale Farm near Port Alberni hosts maple syrup fest

Taste west coast maple syrup on Leap Year Saturday and watch demonstrations too

ACRD urges B.C. gov’t to upgrade Bamfield Road in wake of winter storm

ACRD board to write letter to Premier John Horgan, expressing urgency

More businesses in Port Alberni need a voice at city council, says one Uptown owner

Business owner says all businesses in the Alberni Valley need a louder voice

Port Alberni finishes strong in men’s bonspiel

Home teams make it to the finals at Alberni Valley Curling Club’s Men’s Open Bonspiel

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

B.C. premier speaks as talks scheduled with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

BREAKING: Kelowna RCMP to further investigate 12 sexual assault cases, create sexual assault unit

Recommendations come five months after it was revealed 40% of sexual assaults were deemed ‘unfounded’

Most Read