Assembly considers land swap, head tax

Posted: Monday, January 24, 2000

The Juneau Assembly is presenting the cruise ship passenger fee ordinance it hammered together earlier this month for public hearing tonight.

The measure specifies how the fee will be calculated, establishes exemptions, imposes criminal liability for insufficient or delinquent payment, and creates a Passenger Fee Proceeds Committee to look at how revenues might be spent. The committee will comprise two cruise ship industry representatives, a docks and harbors board member and two members of the public.

A related ordinance up for a vote tonight appropriates $25,000 to pay a consultant to determine the financial impact of cruise ship passengers on city operations. The study would help determine how much money can be charged to passenger revenues by city departments. The money to pay the consultant would derive from passenger fee revenues.

Scheduled for introduction tonight is an ordinance conveying 134 acres of city property above the Douglas townsite to the Alaska Mental Health Trust in exchange for the trust's 50 acres of property near Sunny Point. The city has already received title to that 50 acres.

The former township's residents met last week at the Douglas library to register their unanimous condemnation of the proposed swap. At the meeting, several Douglas residents proposed that the city opt for a cash payment of $900,000 to the trust, in lieu of conveying the land.

The city Planning Commission conducted a public hearing on disposal of the Douglas property to the trust in September 1999. A month later, the Douglas Service Area Advisory board met to review disposal of the property.

The questioning at the Douglas meeting nevertheless registered a consensus that residents had not been properly notified.

Even as the assembly considers what to do about the city's end of the swap, Douglas residents will be meeting at the Douglas library again - at 7 tonight - to organize a neighborhood association, elect officers and discuss the swap.

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