Borough starts saving ship revenues
The Haines Borough budget shows $137,000 in cruise ship head tax income for the coming year, but the municipality has plans to spend only a little more than half of it.
The budget shows the borough will spend $74,425 in the coming year, and put aside an unspent $62,575.
Expenditures will include $40,075 for flowers, a shuttle bus for cruise ship passengers, and janitorial services for restrooms at the visitor’s center and Port Chilkoot Dock.
Another $36,000 will go to “work orders,” including to the budgets of three borough departments that work with cruise ships, including: $15,350 for dock security to ports and harbors, $15,000 in wages to tourism and economic development, and $2,500 for maintenance to public facilities.
Borough manager Mark Earnest said the remaining $62,575 was “excess revenue” and that he would like to see the borough start saving such amounts for larger, cruise-related projects like future dock repairs.
Borough chief financial officer Jila Stuart said the total fund balance in the account, including from previous years, is about $375,000.
Although the State of Alaska will use head tax revenues next year to build sidewalks from the cruise dock along Old Haines Highway to Third Avenue, future spending of the funds may be required to be more closely tied to serving ships, Earnest said.
The state recently defined more narrowly how such funds are spent, Earnest said. Future spending may be limited to safety and upgrades of facilities serving cruise passengers, he said.