Make visitors pay share

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003

Dear Assembly Members: You will be contemplating a substantial water and sewer rate increase at your Oct. 6 meeting. I recommend that you consider an option to raising local resident and business rates. During the summer season, Juneau sees an increase in daily population of between 5,000 and 10,000 people or more, most of whom are traveling aboard cruise ships. Many of those visitors use our water and sewer facilities while in port. Although I could not find statistics on increased sewer volumes in summer, I did find that during July, water use is about a million gallons per day over the 3 million gallons per day used in January (a 25 percent increase). In addition to the costs of increased summer usage, the borough must cover the costs to develop and maintain water and sewer systems which will accommodate the peak usage. We are carrying and paying for a system which can accommodate far more people than the 31,000 who live here.

The Marine Passenger Fee is a charge to cruise passengers as sort of a user fee to be commensurate with the services they receive from the Borough while in port. Water and sewer usage are part of these services. I checked with the Borough's finance department, and none of the revenues from the Marine Passenger Fee go to capital or operating costs of the local water and sewer systems. Why shouldn't the visitors contribute something to counterbalance the increased costs they create? Why put the burden of additional costs on the residents of Juneau? Let's pay for some or all of the additional water and sewer costs from the Marine Passenger Fee. Thank you.

Linda J. Snow


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