Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian Says “Bankruptcy is Now Back on the Table.”
Following Governor Christie's pocket veto of the PILOT bill on Tuesday, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian says bankruptcy for the city is now back on the table.
In a statement released late Tuesday, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said the following:
“When I was sworn as Mayor on January 1st, 2014, I made a vow to protect the citizens of Atlantic City and to work hard in order to bring in new businesses, create new jobs, reduce the cost of government, and provide better services for our municipal residents. On all these fronts, we continue toward progress and improving the quality of life for everyone living, working, or enjoying life in Atlantic City.
Governor Chris Christie and State Senate President Steve Sweeney initially reached out to Atlantic City last year and told us of their plans to draft a PILOT bill that would greatly aid our financial recovery. It wasn’t a perfect bill, but it was a bill that everyone could agree on. The bill was discussed, debated, and deliberated about endlessly. Then there was radio silence. We needed a decision and anticipated an answer on this crucial bill many, many months ago. All of us worked hard on the passage of this bill for over 18 months. So much time was wasted. And today, we finally have received that answer from the Governor.
I must say, we are tremendously frustrated by the veto of this crucial bill because of all the hard work and effort that went into crafting this bill, for all the consensus building in the New Jersey Legislature that has gone for naught, and for all the cooperation locally that is now cancelled. It is certainly disappointing.
The City of Atlantic City is now fighting four major battles simultaneously. We are fighting a State takeover, a foolish North Jersey casino gaming agenda, an inequality of state funding, and an unprecedented drop in casino ratables because of the oversaturation of casino gaming market in the Northeast. So as a community, we need to go back to the drawing board, work with those who truly want to help Atlantic City and continue to move Atlantic City forward.
Leadership is doing what’s right. Leadership is bringing people together for a common cause, and then working together to solve common problems. However, we will not tolerate the striping of our God-given civil rights and right to self-governance. Let me repeat that statement: we will not tolerate the striping of our God-given civil rights and right to self-governance. Atlantic City has worked too hard and has come too far to let that happen. This above all, will be our priority.
Bankruptcy is now back on the table. If the State is not able to come up with the funding we need within the next few weeks, we will have no choice but to declare bankruptcy. The signing of the PILOT bill would have saved us from looking at that, but unfortunately, the Governor did not sign the bill so we have to think realistically. The next few weeks will be very interesting.”