A recent court ruling that restricts how local and state governments can spend cruise passenger head taxes will be discussed during Monday’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting.
The early-December decision by a federal judge focused on Juneau’s use of its $8-per-passenger fee. However, the ruling has implications statewide. While the borough doesn’t levy any of its own head taxes, it does receive a share of the state’s commercial passenger vessel excise tax.
According to a chart provided by the borough, various departments receive portions of that excise tax. The transit department, for example, had about $550,000 in CPV funds in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The borough’s transit department offers a free summertime shuttle specifically for cruise passengers to more easily get around town.
The court ruling means that kind of use is no longer allowed. The judge said only services directly tied to the cruise ships themselves, like a gangplank or a new dock, are acceptable uses for cruise head taxes.
Borough Attorney Glenn Brown will give a presentation to the assembly Monday about the ruling and what it means for the borough. An executive session to discuss potential litigation related to that issue is on Monday’s agenda.
Also Monday, the assembly will hold a public hearing and second vote on an ordinance changing borough code related to animal protection regulations. The changes will, among other things, make it easier for the borough to respond to and prosecute complaints about excessive animal noise.
Monday’s meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in Borough Assembly chambers at the White Cliff building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.