Ketchikan’s City Council is scheduled to hear what city officials think about three options for the future of the city-owned cruise ship docks. A public presentation on the possibilities is scheduled for Wednesday evening.
Two companies are vying to take over port management. They’d charge cruise lines and vendors for access to Ketchikan’s cruise ship docks for at least two decades. In exchange, each bidder would take over city port debt, plus pay for upgrades and other expenses.
One goal of the process is to free up money currently restricted to the port under federal law, possibly to pay for infrastructure projects.
A proposal from a partnership called “Ketchikan Port Solutions” led by international port operator Global Ports Holding would assume collection of the city’s head tax — but provide $40 to $45 million in guaranteed revenue over the next seven years, in addition to other financial offerings.
Ketchikan-based Survey Point Holdings’ bid would allow the city to keep its $7 levy on each cruise ship passenger , but the company says much of the revenue from that deal would be restricted by federal law on how the city could spend it. However, Survey Point says it’s willing to work out an agreement for more flexibility.
And, of course, there’s always the do-nothing option. The city could reject both proposals and keep the docks under city management.
A so-called “net present value analysis” of both the proposals and the do-nothing option seems to indicate that Survey Point’s proposal would be the most profitable choice for the city. But, notably, that analysis doesn’t take into account whether funds under each proposal would remain tied to the port. And it’s not clear whether the $40-$45 million payment from Ketchikan Port Solutions would be restricted.
City officials are scheduled to present their thoughts to the City Council, including two newly-elected members. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Attendance is limited due to Ketchikan’s elevated pandemic alert level, but the presentation will be live-streamed at the city’s website and broadcast on local cable channels.