CBJ, CLIA reach tentative agreement to end further litigation

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The City and Borough of Juneau and Cruise Lines International Association Alaska have reached an agreement that will end litigation over the imposition and expenditure of CBJ Passenger Fees.

    The agreement is scheduled to be adopted at a Special Assembly Meeting on Friday, March 22, at 5 p.m. in City Hall Chambers.

    City Manager Rorie Watt said he’s thrilled.

    “This agreement is a great solution for CLIA, CBJ, cruise ship passengers, and all Alaskan port communities," Watt said. "I’m so happy to move beyond litigation and get back to the collaborative work of growing and supporting our economic development. This agreement solves the underlying tension between Juneau’s need to exercise local control and CLIA’s need to have predictable applications of the law and implementations of fee and tax policy that don’t create unintended consequences. My only regret is that the parties didn’t find this practical solution sooner.”

    CLIA filed a lawsuit in the spring of 2016 alleging CBJ was unconstitutionally collecting and spending fees collected from cruise ship passengers, which CBJ denied.

    “Litigation was hard on everyone, but we all suffered enough to fully appreciate the value of a strong working relationship. I especially applaud CLIA’s willingness to step up, acknowledge community impacts, and be a partner in the provision of necessary services and infrastructure,” Watt said.

    According to the Memorandum of Agreement:

    •    CBJ will use passenger fees to continue providing services and infrastructure to cruise ships including restrooms, signage/wayfinding, motor coach staging, crossing guards, fire and emergency medical service, and police patrols. There would be no change from historical practice in the port area.
    •    CBJ will use passenger fees to fund up to 75 percent ($9.3 million) of the $12.4 million Statter Harbor project. The remainder of the project costs will come from local sources.
    •    Legal fees for both parties will be reimbursed.
    •    CBJ will continue to develop the downtown waterfront in accordance with the Long Range Waterfront Plan.
    •    Passenger fees will not increase for the next three years.

    Both parties also agree to meet annually to discuss any new proposed Juneau projects and services that may be funded with passenger fees. Moving forward, CBJ and CLIA agree to settle future disagreements through discussion or mediation before resorting to litigation.

    The Juneau Assembly has a Special Meeting tomorrow, March 15, at 5 p.m. in City Hall Chambers to introduce a Resolution and Ordinance adopting the agreement.

     

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