APNewsBreak: Cruise lines declare city misused passenger fees

47
Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 5:05 AM

The Cruise Lines International Organization and its AK affiliate filed a lawsuit against the city and borough of Juneau on Tuesday in federal Ct in Anchorage.

APNewsBreak: Cruise lines declare city misused passenger fees

A life-sized whale statue has landed Juneau in hot water as a cruise ship organization alleges it'south a symbol of the AK city'south misuse of millions in fees paid by visitors.

The Cruise Lines International Organization and its AK affiliate filed a lawsuit against the city and borough of Juneau on Tuesday in federal Ct in Anchorage. They're challenging the legality of so-called head tax fees paid by cruise passengers who visit Alaska'south picturesque capital.

Cruise ships gather the fees and pass them on the city. Juneau gets a $5 entry fee per cruise ship passenger in addition to a per-passenger harbour development fee of $3.

The organization estimates it's given Juneau more than $35 million in entry fees in the past four years.

The grouping represents twelve cruise lines, including Carnival, Holland America and Disney. They contend the city has used portions of those fees on projects that don't directly benefit cruise ship passengers and therefore breach federal restrictions on entry fee taxes.

Listed among the association'south complaints is the $10 million price tag on a planned nearly 50-foot whale sculpture set in an infinity pool, along with upgrades to the city'south waterfront. The project is more than a mi from the cruise dock.

The lawsuit also lists $22 million spent on government operating expenses, $2 million for city bus services and $447.000 for upgrades to a private dock that cruise ship vessels and passengers aren't able to use.

The city'south mayor, who's also listed in the lawsuit, didn't immediately return phone calls or emails seeking comment.

Juneau is in the southeast panhandle of Alaska. It's not on the state'south road system and is reachable only by boat or plane. The city'south simple access to whale-watching, glacier views and hiking has made it a tourism hot spot in the state. Juneau'south Conference and Visitors Bureau estimates that one million cruise ship passengers will visit in 2016.

Lawsuits over head tax fees are scarce in the U. S., though passengers have sued over the quantity of fees levied against them by cruise lines. That'south because while most ports charge a fee, they don't utilize the money for non-cruise related projects, said Alaska'south organization president John Binkley.

"The Constitution allows you to charge a fee, but it's to be used in conjunction with that vessel," Binkley said. "You can't get the money and utilize it for city operations."

After consulting with the national association'south lawyers, Binkley said to his knowledge, Juneau'south alleged misuse of the funds in unique among the ports its cruise lines visit.

The lawsuit also names the city manager and finance director.

READ ALSO
Countries&#thirty-nine; Secure Alcohol Guidelines Confusing

Countries&#thirty-nine; Secure Alcohol Guidelines Confusing

The World Health Organisation says a standard drink contains 10g of alcohol - but many countries have their own version.

83
Call To Repeal &#thirty-nine;Religious Freedom' Law

Call To Repeal &#thirty-nine;Religious Freedom' Law

The bill allows businesses, social workers and public employees to deny service based on their religious beliefs, without penalty.

55
Robot Finds Number &#thirty-nine;Nessie Trench' In Loch Ness

Robot Finds Number &#thirty-nine;Nessie Trench' In Loch Ness

A robot has been searching the depths of Loch Ness following claims of an underwater trench housing the fabled monster.

69
Third Of Stalking Victims Are Harassed Online

Third Of Stalking Victims Are Harassed Online

Campaigners declare police necessity more training to assistance them realize how online stalkers work and inquire into complaints.

60