Atlantic City, NJ Collapses Financially; Immediate State Takeover in progress!
Post by Newsroom Superstation95.com
- Nov 09, 2016
The local government of Atlantic City, New Jersey has financially collapsed! After years of problems from over-spending, and failure to properly assess taxes, the city government in the gambling casino mecca of the JErsey Shore, is no longer able to function.
Gov. Chris Christie's administration on Wednesday was granted the authority to immediately seize control of financially distressed Atlantic City.
The state Local Finance Board voted 5-0 to approve a five-year state takeover of the local government in the seaside gambling resort — an effort Christie says is the best way to keep the city from becoming the first New Jersey municipality since 1938 to go bankrupt.
The decision gives the state the power to assume key functions usually controlled by local leaders: renegotiating union contracts, hiring and firing employees, selling city assets, reversing decisions of the city council, and more.
Mayor Don Guardian had said in recent days that if the takeover was approved, the city would challenge the move in court. But after Wednesday's vote, he said local leaders will meet with state officials first before deciding their next step.
City Council President Marty Small said: "All of our options are still on the table."
"This is definitely a sad day in the history of Atlantic City," Small noted.
Five casinos have closed in Atlantic City since 2014, causing the city's tax base to plummet and blowing a $100 million hole in its budget. The 39,000-resident city is also more than $500 million in debt.
After months of arguments among state lawmakers of how to help the city fix their problems, Christie signed a rescue package in May that gave local leaders 150 days to come up with a five-year plan. The state could impost a takeover if the plan was rejected.
The state Department of Community Affairs shot down the city's proposal last week. The Local Finance Board then voted to finalize the takeover.
The only power the board did not grant the state was the ability to file for bankruptcy on behalf of the city. Timothy Cunningham, director of the department's Division of Local Government Services, who will oversee the takeover, called the move "unchartered territory. Asked if he was pleased to have these powers, Cunningham said "pleased" is not the word he'd use. "I did not sleep over the couple of days heading into this," he added. "And I'm sure I'm not going to sleep much tonight."
Ted Light, a board member, said the decision was not an easy one.
"It almost make you feel you've one to be a god to do these things, and I'm no a god," Light said. "But you have to make the decisions you feel are best." Guardian told the board the city put forth "an excellent plan" and asked instead for the state to simply lend a hand — not assume power.
"The city is not going to fix itself by itself," the Republican mayor said. "It's the partnership that we need."
But is there hope for the city?The vote comes a day after Republican Donald Trump was elected America's president. Christie, one of Trump's top advisers, could be given a post in the new administration, forcing him to resign as governor.