Have you read the recent Press of Atlantic City editorial? It featured comments from Joe Kelly, President of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. Kelly noted some highly questionable statements from the guy who wrote the original casino gaming rules for Atlantic City.
Excerpt from PRESS OF AC Editorial: Steven Perskie, the former state senator who helped write the law that allowed casinos in Atlantic City, recently observed that the casino industry has more than lived up to its commitment to the city. “The casinos were not expected to redevelop Atlantic City,” said Perskie. “They were to make major investments in money, turn over millions and millions of dollars to the government and run an honest operation. That’s what they did.”
Wow. “The casinos were not expected to redevelop Atlantic City”. Did I read that right? Whatever Perskie is smoking, we want some.
CRDA stands for Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The CRDA was primarily created to help revive the City of Atlantic City. The Press of AC, Perskie and CRDA won’t let those inconvenient facts get in the way of a good press release.
That’s just one reason why The Press of Atlantic City is hemorrhaging both readers and advertisers. This kind of monkey business is affecting radio broadcasters too.
Perskie retired from his Atlantic County Superior Court judge seat in 2010, five months after ethics charges were filed against him.
Perskie & Kelly need to spend more time in non-casino neighborhoods of Atlantic City.
To be fair, the Greater AC Business Chamber does a spectacular job with the annual Air Show. It’s an entertaining grand slam that brings 400,000 to the city. Unfortunately, these visitors get a true glimpse of the non-casino neighborhoods. These parts of the city HAVE NOT benefited from the last 40 yrs of casino gaming.
Residents never expected casinos & the CRDA, to pave the streets in gold. But they DID expect the streets to at least be properly paved in asphalt, well-lit and safe.
Example: After a great evening of dining and dance at the awesome Hard Rock, you’ll exit the parking lot that dumps you onto the eerily dark, Pacific Ave. Some intersections, like Pacific & Tennessee, are particularly scary. We pray to get a green light. We often see nervous motorists blow thru red lights. Prostitutes, homeless looking for change, drugged out zombies lurking in the shadows. Not good.
Also in that PRESS editorial, Kelly invited folks to invest and put their money on Atlantic City. The recent CRDA land auction made us think twice about that one. Plenty of CONFIRMED reports of unfair tax assessments and heavy-handed dealings by City tax assessors and CRDA Zoning CZAR, Lance Landgraf.
Caution: don’t confuse CRDA’s auction with the relatively well-run land auctions executed by the city. The CRDA’s recent auction of land-banked parcels left much to be desired. These CRDA properties could be won via auction at fire sale prices. Unfortunately, many properties were saddled with inflated 2008 tax assessments, the height of AC’s real estate bubble. Assurances were made that they’d be fairly re-assessed prior to bidding. That didn’t happen in many cases.
Ex: you bid and win a CRDA land-banked property for $25,000 at pennies on the dollar. You got a good deal and the CRDA returned the parcel to city tax roles. A win-win, right? But no. You might discover your annual tax bill is based on inflated 2008 assessments. You see, CRDA never tax-adjusted those parcels they grabbed from the city. Why would they? CRDA never had to pay taxes on those Atlantic City properties.
There are some that want Atlantic City to become a second-home market. Proponents mention the city’s affordability, its diversity and its attractions. Too bad proponents skipped over insane, always rising taxes paid by a small percentage of property owners.
Too many PILOT ( payment in lieu of taxes) deals and non-taxpaying residents in town. This places excessive burden on a small handful of actual taxpayers.
Will Stockton Help The Average Atlantic City Citizen?
Stockton pays ZERO in taxes? Hmmm.
Stockton University received another taxpayer gift recently, courtesy of City Council. It’s a ‘Stockton Overlay District’ that includes a big chunk of Bader Field. A city within a city, if you will. This give-away took many by surprise.
When you couple that smooth move, with the Atlantic City ‘Tourism District’ controlled by Zoning Czar, Lance Landgraf, we suggest investors proceed with extreme caution.
Landgraf is smart. But not in a good way.
Conspiracy theorists suggest the city and the CRDA are giving away property on the cheap. Often, to 2nd homeowners and outside investors. This grows a local taxpayer base that can’t vote, but will be solely liable for future tax increases.