ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (CelebrityAccess) — In a final bid to avoid a state takeover, Atlantic City officials are huddling to revise and resubmit a financial recovery plan to the state, after it was rejected early this week as a non-starter.
The plan was part of the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act, which Governor Christie signed in May, and which gave the city 150 days to submit a 5-year recovery plan to address the city's financial health. With a deadline of Thursday, the City submitted their plan earlier this week, but it didn't pass muster.
Charles Richman, commissioner of the state Department of Community Affairs, which was in charge of reviewing the proposal, said in a report this week that Atlantic City's plan "is not likely to achieve financial stability" for the troubled gaming Mecca, according to a report by Advance Media.
Now city officials have prepared a line-by-line rebuttal of the state's decision to submit late Thursday ahead of the deadline, hoping for a last-minute reprieve from a state takeover.
The city has been at odds with Governor Christie’s administration over the city's financial woes since 2010 when Christie proposed a state-controlled tourism district that was intended to spur development and bolster revenue for casinos. However, the city's then-mayor Lorenzo Langford and the city council rejected the measure, threatening legal action to block the district.
The state then placed Atlantic City under financial supervision that gave the state approval over the city's budget and in 2015, Governor Christie appointed an emergency manager to oversee the city's day-to-day operations. Earlier this year, the emergency manager issued a report that said the city was unable to address its financial situation and that a state takeover of nearly all local government functions was necessary, Advance Media said.
The City has been struggling with their finances for years, but has faced significant setbacks in the past two years, following the closure of five high profile casino properties in the city. The most recent, Trump Taj Mahal closed last month amidst a labor dispute.
“There’s been a chess game in play for about three years now and this is the next move,” Marc Pfeiffer, senior policy fellow and assistant director of Rutgers University’s Bloustein Local Government Research Center told the Wall Street Journal. “What we have is uncertainty, which unfortunately will continue for a while.”