The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has suspended accepting cruise ship passenger vessel head tax grant applications.

Borough Planning Director Tom Williams said that until the borough learns of the funding situation from the state, it will not accept grant applications. The borough normally takes grant applications in the spring and fall.

“The state hasn’t told us if we are going to get anything or not,” Williams said. “So it’s premature to get applications and to do all that review if we don’t get any money or not that much.”

Williams said the borough has asked the state about the funding situation in light of the lawsuit filed by the Alaska Cruise Association.

The association has filed a federal lawsuit seeking relief from $46 of the $50 per passenger head tax. Four dollars of that tax goes to operate an environmental monitoring program, while the rest is dedicated to improving port and harbor facilities or cruise ship tourist-related services.

Johanna Bales, Alaska Department of Revenue’s Tax Division deputy director, told the Daily News the lawsuit does not affect the distribution of revenue collected this year. She said the amount each community receives will be determined in December, with distribution in January.

The tax was approved by voters in 2006. In 2008, the state collected $46.8 million of that tax and the borough received $2.32 million.

Source: Ketchikan Daily News

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