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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Pride flag unveiled at North Island College in Port Hardy

Festivities included a barbecue, cupcakes, buttons, and rainbows flags for people to wave proudly.

Loggers Golf Tournament returns to the links at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club

The North Island Logger’s Golf Tournament has been running for over 30 years.

Port McNeill Kids in Motion gets 300 bucks from council for swimming time at outdoor pool

Port McNeill Kids in Motion are a registered non-profit society,

Tyson’s Thoughts: Flag raising ceremony a great start to pride festivities

It was beautiful to see a group of people celebrate who they truly are and not be afraid to do so.

Blue Sox dominate Sneak Attack at Fathers Day Classic

Blue Sox got out to an early lead and kept building on it with strong hitting and quality fielding.

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

Most Read