Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - It's recommended that an ordinance up for action at tonight's Assembly meeting appropriating $11 Million for the "Archipelago Downtown Waterfront Improvement Project be pulled.
Part of the funding for the deal includes marine passenger fees the use of which was addressed in a recent federal court ruling.
Mayor Beth Weldon and City Manager Rorie Watt talked about that matter while guests on Action Line Monday. Watt is recommending that the ordinance be delayed until next month. He cited two reasons. "One, we've got the litigation and we have the order from the judge and we're all looking at that trying to figure out exactly what it means." In addition, Watt says the purchase and sale agreement for the project is not ready.
Host Pete Carran asked the city officials what CBJ has used the funds for in the past that could no longer occur. The mayor responded by saying they will receive an update from the CBJ Finance Director during an executive session at this evening's meeting. Watt said it's a little complicated since the judge did not provide clear guidelines on how the fees could be spent or not spent. The guideline provided by the judge, according to Watt, is that that it must be a service to the vessel and must advance "the marine enterprise operations of the vessel." "We're not a hundred percent sure what that means, but he also said that he did not think things like Internet service and crossing guards would be appropriate. So I would say its a complicated issue."
In the meantime, city hall is now inviting proposals for funding by marine passenger fee proceeds. An amount of around $5 point 8 Million is anticipated. Watt said people have asked him if they should interpret the judge's ruling. Watt said that's on him and suggested that they propose what they believe is rational. In the meantime, he'll come up with guidelines he'll submit to the Assembly outlining what they think the judge's ruling means.
Proposals are due by January 2.