Juneau approves another $100,000 for cruise ship lawsuit

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) –The city of Juneau has decided to put up another $100,000 to defend itself in a lawsuit brought by the cruise industry alleging it misused funds paid by cruise ship passengers.

The $100,000 approved by the Juneau Assembly on Monday was drawn from the city’s sales tax fund levied on merchants within the city. It is in addition to more than $283,000 the city has already spent in legal fees in the case. Some of the funds have been covered by marine passenger fees.

The lawsuit filed by Cruise Lines International Association in April 2016 challenges the legality of Juneau’s use of a $5 per-passenger fee it collects from the nearly 1 million cruise ship passengers who visit annually. It claims the money was spent on projects that violate federal guidelines, including the development of a park featuring a life-sized whale sculpture a mile away from port.

Assembly members did not comment on the transfer of the funds Monday, KTOO-FM reported.

Their decision comes less than a month after the assembly voted 7-1 to exempt on board sales and services on cruise ships in port. The city Finance Department estimated the exemption would cost about $100,000 annually.

 

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