Ketchikan city officials mull cruise passenger fee ruling
KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — Ketchikan city officials are mulling the potential impacts of a federal court decision on the use of cruise ship passenger fees.
U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland last week ruled that while Juneau can keep collecting the fees, their use must constitute a service to the ship. The decision restricting use of the fees came in a lawsuit brought against Juneau by the cruise industry.
Other communities, such as Ketchikan, have their own passenger fees. There is also a state head tax.
Juneau officials have not announced whether they’ll appeal.
Ketchikan City Council members had wide-ranging reactions to the decision during a recent meeting, the Ketchikan Daily News report ed. Reactions varied from wanting to talk with the industry to perhaps looking at whether to cap the number passengers who visit.
Council member Janalee Gage said the influx of tourists strains emergency health care staff, who Gage said frequently must respond to issues at the docks.
“I guess I’m really kind of disgusted in the industry that they believe that it should be our responsibility as a community of 10,000 to accommodate all these people and they can justify that all (they) have to do is put money into a concrete brick that they can dock up to,” she said.
Council member Dick Coose said it could be helpful for the city to talk with the industry.
Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon said the council should schedule a work session for January to discuss next steps.
Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com