Atlantic City Mayor Details Emergency Manager Process
Since an emergency management team was appointed in late January to dig Atlantic City out of a financial mess, the manager and his right-hand man have been silent on their plans for the gambling resort town. An initial report is due by early next week, and according to the city's mayor, there's plenty of work going on behind the scenes.
During a sit-down interview with Townsquare Media at the Golden Nugget on March 12, Mayor Don Guardian said Kevin Lavin and Kevyn Orr have had a team of accountants on site for the past few weeks, tasked with scouring through whichever records they feel are necessary in order get a handle on the problem.
Guardian said the ultimate goal is to refinance the city's debt, find where and how the city can cut expenses and determine how the state can provide financial assistance.
"Unlike other cities, my city is producing $780 million in taxes, so it's not like we're not giving the state anything," Gurardian said.
The mayor was initially against the move, and specifically the term "emergency manager," as it would predicate the route of bankruptcy, but that doesn't appear to be the direction in which the process is moving.
Guardian said rarely a day goes by when he is not in direct contact with Lavin.
"He's across the hallway from me and across the hallway from the finance director," Guardian said. "He has an open door policy with me and with everyone else in City Hall."
In the meantime, legislation from Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) has been placed on the back burner. It would establish a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) program for casinos so they could count on a fixed amount each year.
However, Sweeney indicated he wouldn't move ahead with the bills until he was certain Gov. Chris Christie would sign them.
If the original deadline holds true for the emergency manager, a report would be expected by next Monday. A Christie spokesman did not say whether the deadline could be extended.