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New Jersey Rejects Atlantic City Recovery Plan

City Expected To Appeal Decision In Court

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A New Jersey agency has rejected a plan Atlantic City officials approved to correct their dire financial situation. The decision by the state could puts it one step closer to assuming control of the city’s finances.

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Charles Richman wrote in the decision that the rejected plan was “not likely to achieve financial stability” for the beleaguered seaside gambling town.

Atlantic City gaming win has been cut in half since a high of $5.2 billion in 2006. Five casinos have closed within the last few years, leaving the city with just seven.

“I would have much preferred to leave management of the city’s recovery in the hands of its municipal officials,” Richman wrote. “However, I am constrained by the plan the city has placed before me. The enormous problems confronting the city did not occur overnight. City leadership has had ample time to improve the city’s financial condition yet has avoided doing so in any meaningful way. Significantly, the city failed to take the steps necessary to implement the signature components of its plan during the past 150 days.”

Atlantic City has about $500 million in debt. Part of the plan was to lay off 100 employees. Another component was to seek tax settlements with the casino industry. Atlantic City also wanted to sell a former airport site for $110 million and issue $105 million in bonds.

According to the Associated Press, Mayor Don Guardian said the city will appeal the state’s decision to reject its recovery plan. If Atlantic City loses, New Jersey would take over its finances for five years, though the specifics of how it would do that haven’t been hashed out.