Atlantic City Decides: Mayor Tom Forkin or Mayor Marty Small?

marty small tom forkin atlantic city

Can challenger Tom Forkin upset temporary Mayor Marty Small for the top seat inside Atlantic City?

New Jersey’s oversight role of Atlantic City finances is a central issue in this mayoral election. Small facing a very strong challenge from Thomas Forkin.

The following are lightly edited excerpts from a story written by Andrew Coen.

Forkin wants to challenge the state’s intervention efforts which hurt Atlantic City taxpayers. Small supports NJ State.

Atlantic City’s government has been under NJ state control since November 2016. Marty Small supports that. Tom Forkin does not.

“The state is not our friend. They play a large hand in problems we have today,” said Forkin.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver wants oversight of Atlantic City to be extended. Oliver is commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs, the department that oversees city finances.

Forkin wants to sue the state in federal court to end the takeover. Marty Small wants to maintain the status quo. Small defends the State and the CRDA.

Marty Small became Atlantic City mayor in 2019 after predecessor Frank Gilliam resigned, and is running to complete his term.

Forkin questions sweetheart deal for casinos making PILOT payments over a 10-year period. PILOT = Payment in lieu of taxes.

Forkin says city has been harmed by CRDA Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Tourism District, which reduced taxes and fees casinos generate for the city.

“We have been hemorrhaging money for a decade and much of the blood is on the hands of the state,” said Forkin, a former assistant city solicitor under the late former Mayor Jim Whelan and a legal advisor for the Atlantic City Police Department. “The state is draining revenue from us.”

Forkin is a teacher at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology and director of the AC Surf School. He was recently chairman of the Atlantic City Alcohol Beverage Control Board.

Small is a former city council president sworn in as mayor in October 2019 following the resignation of Frank Gilliam, who pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $87,000 from a youth basketball club he co-founded.

The winner of the Small-Forkin race will serve the remaining one-year of Gilliam’s expired term and then need to run again next November for a full-four year term.

Revenue struggles at Atlantic City casinos have resulted in lower PILOT monies. This will force the city to collaborate closely with the state for making up the funding gap.

Excerpts from Andrew Coen.

October 30, 2020.

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