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

West Kelowna Warriors edge Vernon Vipers 6-4

The teams meet again on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. for the final game of regular season

Prolific offenders from Alberta lead RCMP on chase from Kelowna to Abbotsford

Men first reported in Chilliwack ending with allegedly stolen vehicle in an Abbotsford pond

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Central Okanagan school superintendent addresses technology’s impact on students

Physical and mental well being for students key themes during Kevin Kaardal’s presentation

Westbank First Nation Grand Chief Noll Derriksan passes away

Derriksan was 79 at the time of his passing

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read