I’m not a fan of a state taking over local government or local schools but, after years of not keeping up with the changing times, Atlantic City (where my wife’s Mother is from) was in desperate need. Nice to see the City has stabilized, for now.
One year after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie moved to seize control of this cash-strapped coastal city, property taxes are down and municipal bankruptcy no longer poses an immediate threat.
But the recent successes haven’t alleviated many Atlantic City residents and officials’ anger at the governor over the state’s intervention, which has led to pay cuts for police and firefighters and deepened concerns about local control. The city’s mild-mannered mayor, a Republican, refers to the governor’s upcoming departure from office as “liberation day.”
“This could have been done without all of this infighting,” said Mayor Don Guardian. “I don’t think a takeover was necessary.”
Once flush with casino cash from a longtime monopoly on East Coast gambling, Atlantic City has slipped into economic and fiscal crisis over the past decade. Five Atlantic City casinos have closed since 2014, largely due to competition from new gaming halls in neighboring states, decimating the local tax base and straining the city’s bloated budget.
Under the state’s oversight, Atlantic City saved about $90 million by settling a huge property-tax appeal with its biggest casino, secured a commitment from Hard Rock International to open a location in the former Trump Taj Mahal and cut residents’ property taxes by 5%.
Read more at this link.