Ketchikan City Council to consider port fee hike

Ketchikan’s City Council will consider a proposal to raise the port’s dockage fee by nearly 90 percent at Thursday’s meeting.

In July, Mayor Robert Sivertsen asked staff to review and recommend changes to the port fee schedule.

Cruise ships pay three main types of fees: dockage, port development, and the head tax.

The Norwegian Bliss is docked at Ketchikan’s Berth 3 on June 11, 2018. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

Dockage is the cost to moor a ship at the dock for up to 24 hours. Port and Harbors Director Steve Corporon recommends raising dockage fees by 88.1 percent.

That might seem like a lot – it’s nearly double the current fee. The current dockage rate was set in 1991, and the base rate hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since.

Corporon also recommended the council raise the other two port fees to adjust for inflation. Going forward, he recommends tying port fees to the Consumer Price Index to automatically account for inflation every year. But despite Corporon’s recommendation, the ordinance under consideration Thursday does not include this automatic inflation-adjusting mechanism.

Also on Thursday’s agenda is a proposal to raise data transfer caps for Ketchikan Public Utilities customers. The proposal would also adjust rates for data center services.

The City Council will also debate its priorities for the governor and state Legislature.

The council meeting starts at 7 p.m Thursday at City Hall. The public will have a chance to comment at the beginning of the meeting.