Our tour companies don’t want to pay an increased permit fee to the Borough. Our borough set the permit fee to pay for the ‘administration’ of said permits- but the labor to administer is costing far more than the current fee. Now we are arguing on what the borough needs, or what the operators can afford.

How about saving the borough and operators both time and money? Remove the local tour permit requirement from code.

Consider the continuous turmoil in our community any time someone wants to start a tour. They apply, the assembly has meetings, the public testifies to how the tour will A) destroy the town’s ‘feel’; B) cause irreparable harm to the environment; C) cause loss of sleep from stress knowing the tour exists; or D) will be the greatest tour ever offered. The Assembly deliberates with emotional opinions for an extended amount of time, tables the discussion, asks the attorney questions that borough code shows are not germane to the discussion, has a second meeting to discuss the attorney’s findings, then approves the permit.

Let’s stop the hours of befuddled opinion espousing. Almost all tours in Haines are conducted on land managed by state or federal agencies that have their own regulations, and most importantly- enforcement personnel with the ability to apply fines and penalties for operators not following regulations. We can’t even prevent local tour operators from blocking traffic with their groups standing in the middle of the Chilkoot River Bridge.

By removing local tour permits from code we will actually reduce our administration costs, yet still collect income through sales taxes. Doesn’t it make sense to reduce the overlapping permit process that has done nothing to make residents lives better?

George Campbell