November 1, 2012 | Volume 42, No.44

Lightering rates may increase for fast ferry

In a meeting this week, the Haines Borough’s Finance Committee recommended the borough assembly refrain from tabling until March discussions on an increase on docking and moorage rates for the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry.

  The Ports and Harbors Advisory Committee and Tourism Advisory Board on Oct. 11 recommended tabling the matter until March.

 Committee member Joanne Waterman said she was opposed to tabling discussion on an increase on lightering rates for the privately owned ferry because the assembly already did that last year. She said the rate would not necessarily need to increase this coming year, however.

 “I think what happened last year is that we put it off because of the same reason we’re being asked to put it off this year...‘Well, we didn’t know there was going to be a raise, there’s no way we can do this now because we didn’t advertise it, it’s not the agreement we worked out with the companies.’ Okay, fine. Shame on us the first time, really shame on us this time. But let’s not do it again next year,” Waterman said.

 The finance committee will recommend the assembly pursue discussions to implement a 10 percent annual increase in the per-docking fee from $20 in 2012 to $24.20 beginning in 2014.

  The committee will also recommend borough staff probe cruise ship companies’ receptiveness to increased fees for dock usage, including possible port development fees, per- passenger fees, and/or security fees.