Should Atlantic City go deeper into debt? Council President Marty Small and the State of NJ certainly think so. Local residents are NOT in agreement, as they packed Council chambers on Tuesday night.
Taxpayers not happy how the State is keeping Atlantic City deep in debt. (See video by Triax 57)
Council President Small applauded the state’s local government services director, Tim Cunningham. Small told the crowd he’ll support the State plan, and vote YES next week.
During public comment, Atlantic City resident Seth Grossman, noted that in Oct. of 2010, the State asked the courts to OK their plan to ‘supervise’ the city. Once in control, the State of NJ continued to be in violation of local budget law. The State piled up 100’s of millions in debt over the past few years.
Grossman noted inaccurate Press of Atlantic City coverage of this public hearing. Grossman says the Press leaves out key facts. LISTEN >
Atlantic City Council will vote next week on a bond ordinance totaling $55 mil. This would pay deferred pension and health care contributions.
By law, the State can do almost whatever they want with Atlantic City. So why is NJ pressuring Council to vote YES on this $55 mil bond issue? Maybe the State doesn’t want to get it’s hands dirty? They’d rather City Council take the blame for this financial shell game.
Atlantic City has $344 million of debt. The State of NJ & Council President Small prefer that debt grow to $400 million.
Is this bond ordinance in the best interest of Atlantic City? Taxpayers are saying no.
Small: “Atlantic City owes that money. This council is always going to do the right thing and make sound decisions for the residents.”
Governor Christie took control of Atlantic City finances soon after he took office in October of 2010.
Grossman: Instead of balancing AC’s budget as required by law, Christie’s state officials approved budgets and contracts with massive increases when Atlantic City lost 2/3 of his tax base. Christie’s state officials let Atlantic City borrow $300 million–for operating expenses! When this wasn’t enough, state officials in 2015 secretly allowed Atlantic City to refuse to make $37.2 million mandatory contributions for employee pensions and health benefits–without informing City Council or the public.
They again ignored local budget and bond laws designed to protect taxpayers. This was all done to cover up Christie’s failures in Atlantic City while he was running for President.
Grossman: Last night, Christie’s holdovers tried to dupe Atlantic City council members into covering up their mistakes by borrowing another $55 million to pay back that $37.2 million and adding $10 million in interest, plus more money for Wall Street bankers and bond lawyers. Hopefully, City Council will refuse to pay this hush money next week and instead demand a full investigation of what happened in 2015. Meanwhile, they should negotiate a better deal with our new Governor and State Senate President Steve Sweeney.
The State & Marty Small were accused of using scare tactics all night. They buried the audience in state-friendly facts & figures.
If you don’t approve this ordinance, each Atlantic City taxpayer will be hit with at least, a $700 tax hike.
- Councilman Jesse Kurtz: Was there a written agreement? Analysis of impact?
- Henry Green: Why wasn’t IAT used for city, instead of casino expansion, conference centers, etc? Cunningham says: ‘I am not a CRDA expert’
- Mo Delgado: Jeffery Chiesa charging city $6.5 million was simply a ‘hookup’ from Christie.
- Carol Ruffo: ‘We want to see docs’. State putting words in AC’s mouth. Where did this 10% rate come from? State made City ‘defer’ past payments.
- Sonny Ireland, Retired AC Firefighter: ‘You guys are just pushing pencils’
- Steve Young: ‘Stop threatening us’
- Geoff Rosenberger: Why pay off credit card with another credit card? I never see AC council people at the CRDA meetings.
- AC Dems Chairwoman, Joyce Molineux: Did Governor authorize what you’re doing tonight?
- Imam: State is offering us a ‘plea bargain’. Make more debt…then pay that debt.
The bond ordinance will be voted on at the next AC council meeting, Feb. 21.
Public Hearing Tonite in AC
Posted by Mel Taylor on Tuesday, February 13, 2018