Sweeney: Mayor Guardian is the Problem in Atlantic City

Sweeney Atlantic City Mayor Guardian
State Senator Sweeney

WATCH VIDEO > Piling on Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian? That’s what some say NJ Senate President Sweeney did on Wednesday during a press conference. Sweeney addressed Atlantic City’s financial crisis at the State House in Trenton. The Senator and potential future Governor of NJ pulled no punches.

Topics covered: Getting caught with inaccurate info by the press and news media, council cars, health care, symbolic pay cuts, trash hauling, tow trucks, redundant jobs at the water company and more.

See Mayor Guardian’s response below.

NJ State Senator Sweeney: Atlantic City & Mayor Don Guardian.

WATCH VIDEO >

RESPONSE:

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian’s Releases a Statement

(Atlantic City, NJ) – Mayor Guardian stated, “For the past two years, I have appreciated Senator Sweeney’s leadership towards Atlantic City.  He was actually the first one to put out the PILOT bill back in 2014, which today is still a major component of the comprise needed to bringing Atlantic City solvent.  However, we must all remember why we are here today.  Atlantic City lost 70% of its property tax in just the last six years.  Last year, the State told us to put $33.5 million into our budget, assuring us that the PILOT bill would be signed.  The PILOT was vetoed twice.  We were left with a gaping hole in our budget.

Now time is running out.

I have only been mayor for a little over two years.  There is still a lot of work to be done.  I will be the first one to acknowledge that; but, there are 330 less city employees working for the City than when I was sworn into office in January 2014.  We have reduced costs and streamlined services.  We have outsourced and privatized.  We continue to look for solutions and ways to save money.

But make no mistake about it – we have accomplished these reforms through serious layoffs, aggressive attrition, best practices, and demanding more work from our employees for less pay.  Even if I fired every single City employee, we would still be in tremendous debt because of legacy costs and casino tax appeals.  As any expert will tell you, we simply cannot cut our way out of this problem.  We want a solution as much as anyone else, but we need a comprehensive solution to a problem that has been 30 years in the making.

A fully comprehensive recovery plan includes: reducing the size and cost of our municipal government; a redirection of casino funding; the State’s help in restructuring of debt; the State’s help in renegotiating of the Borgata tax appeal; equal funding to our municipality and school district; ensuring the costs of municipal government are comparable to other cities; but most importantly, making sure Atlantic City has a seat at the table throughout the entire process.

We represent the residents of Atlantic City who deserve a seat at the table.  We welcome the opportunity to be held accountable.  We believe all these principles are encompassed within Assembly Speaker Prieto’s bill – A3614.

The Atlantic City government is not the enemy.  In the end, we all agree that a financially healthy Atlantic City is good for South Jersey as well as all of New Jersey.”

 

1 thought on “Sweeney: Mayor Guardian is the Problem in Atlantic City”

  1. Reality Check

    Yes, Atlantic City is in its current position because, “Atlantic City lost 70% of its property tax in just the last six years.” However, the city also contributed to its economic woes through a variety of short sidedness. As tax collections grew due to a seemingly unending increase in its ratables, amplified by a property reassessment near the height of the real estate market, so did the city’s budget with no eye to the future. Obviously there was no consideration given to the potential for a national recession, devastating storms or just simple gaming competition from neighboring states which affected these high valuations. When things were going good, why be prudent when it was easier to spend like drunken sailors. Instead of cutting back when the city faced each of these weakening environments, it chose to go the easier route through borrowing and more borrowing. Today debt service accounts for a large part of the budget.

    There will be those who will argue correctly that Atlantic City has sent billions of dollars to New Jersey’s coffers. Some of that money should come back to the city at its time of need and it likely will. I just hope that it will be used wisely rather than allowing for more binge drinking.

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