Cost of tourism to the infrastructure

Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Thank God for Linda Snow. In her letter to the Assembly members, published Sept. 28, she finally asked the questions that all property owners and real estate tax owners should ask: How much of the needed raise in water and sewer fees are caused by use of CBJ infrastructure by tourism? Ms. Snow had the drive to research the water use during peak tourism times and found it 25 percent above that during normal times. Further, she checked use of the "Marine Passenger Fee" and found none of it goes towards capital or operating costs of CBJ water/sewer systems. As a resident I benefit from tourism by wending my way through thousands of "visitors" as they clutter downtown sidewalks. I'm glad the visitors spend money to buy emeralds, diamonds and furs. I don't want to discriminate against our guests and downtown merchants. Yet the hard questions must be asked and answered. Is the tax levied by the CBJ on tourists paying its fair share to maintain and operate the community infrastructure? Ms. Snow phrased the necessary questions very succinctly. Now our elected representatives and city employees should provide the answers. Remember if you're going to play, you have to pay.

Jerry Madden

Juneau



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