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Key West Politicians Still Busy Trying to Chase Business Away

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

City Council will meet Thursday to consider more restrictions and higher costs to get cruise lines to take a hint.

Public radio station WLRN reports that the Key West city commission will meet Thursday to discuss measures that would attempt to do an end-run around the state's law preventing the city from banning cruise ships.

If passed, among the rules in the new ordinance would be one that would require ships to pay for cleanup costs for any pollution and abide by all state, federal and international rules.

Mayor Terri Johnston said, "We need to have environmental guidelines in there, and they need to be enforced. How do you know if somebody's violating water quality and the

environment if you're not testing them?"

Under the proposed ordinance, passenger disembarkation fees would pay for regular water quality testing, along with coral reef restoration projects.

The commissioners are also looking at ways that they can reduce the number of cruise calls, place a cap on the number of guests allowed, and honestly make it so cumbersome that the cruise ships will sail past and visit friendly Mexico.

They will consider a resolution to direct cruise ships away from the two piers that the city controls and send them to the privately managed Pier B.

The Mayor, who has supported the movement to keep cruise ships out since it began, said, "We had a maximum capacity every week of 21 ships. This change would cut it back to a maximum of seven."

The resolution calls for any ships that call at Mallory Pier, which the city owns, or the Outer Mole, which it leases from the Navy, to comply with the limits that voters approved.

It might be time for the cruise industry to consider all alternatives to the little town with too many bars and one too many T-shirts shops.

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