Head tax to pay for dock, trails

City touches up project wish list

Posted: Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Cruise ship passengers visiting Juneau this summer will spring for some new services and projects for city residents. The Passenger Fee Proceeds Committee met Tuesday to put the final touches on a wish list for fiscal year 2002 that spends $2.57 million out of an expected $2.6 million in revenues.

Among the recommended expenditures slated eventually for the Juneau Assembly Finance Committee's eyes, by far the biggest is $750,000 for an Auke Bay commercial loading facility - expected to cost $3.2 million. Along with last year's passenger fee appropriation, the project has so far put together $1.15 million for a primarily commercial facility including a dock for use by charter boats, landing craft and fisheries product transfer, according to Harbormaster Joe Graham.

"Charter boat and landing craft activity at Auke Bay Harbor contribute mightily to the congestion there," Graham said.

The project, which includes a Statter Harbor electrical upgrade, could be completed by the end of 2002, he said.

Another kind of congestion - on city buses - got attention in the form of $165,000. Coupled with $60,000 appropriated from passenger fees last year, that money will go to fund 30-minute bus service for Capital Transit during tourist season.

A long-range tourism plan recently touted by the assembly's Policy and Planning Committee got $100,000 from the committee. That brings total fee appropriations for the plan to $200,000.

Committee Chairman Jim Powell had estimated the cost to the city of putting the plan together to be $100,000. But according to City Manager Dave Palmer that cost has increased by $50,000 to reflect the scope of work required in the request for proposals issued by the city last week.

The city museum is slated to get $80,000 this year - a first-time injection of passenger-fee money for that facility.

"The money will fund more museum operations and will allow the museum to work with the school district curriculum," said fee committee member Lynn Bartlett.

Bartlett also pushed for funding supporting trail use in the form of a trail monitor, and trail maintenance and construction.

A sum of $25,000 will go to hire a summer trail monitor. A new trail at Outer Point will add to its fee-generated kitty of $35,000 with an appropriation for fiscal year 2002 of $65,000 expropriated from $163,500 originally slated for the Mount Roberts trail and general trail maintenance.

The fee proceeds committee also recommended adding $250,000 - identical to last year's appropriation - to a land acquisition fund for open space on the waterfront. "Some parcels on the waterfront are owned by agencies or are privately owned," Bartlett said.

From time to time the parcels are apt to come up for the sale, and it would behoove the city to be ready with funding, she said.

The committee recommended $100,000 for a continuation of the city's baseline noise study of flightseeing operators. This segment of the study will deal with heliports, according to Palmer.

The fee committee tentatively earmarked up to $60,000 for monitoring the city's ambient air quality during the six months of winter when cruise ships aren't around. The baseline information would help determine the impact of summer cruise ship emissions on air quality.

Fernand Chandonnet can be reached at fchandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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