At a time when revenue is so important, the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities recently voted to implement a policy that will cost the City of Atlantic City’s MUA substantial dollars now and in perpetuity.

For reasons unknown and very difficult to justify, the ACMUA unanimously voted (with one abstention - Nynel Langford) to waive all past water fees owed at the time a distressed property is sold in Atlantic City.

This formal action took place at a recent special ACMUA Zoom Board Meeting that was held on September 1, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

The expressed purpose of the meeting was to address one issue only; A vote to decrease the amount of revenue that they will be able to generate now and going forward.

It has been the long-standing policy that when a distressed property in Atlantic City is sold, the buyer is responsible to pay any back water bills (or, any other liens) owed to the ACMUA.

Now, just like that, the ACMUA Board has voted to waive these dollars owed?

When someone buys a distressed property, they typically receive a substantial discount. Paying any back water bills due or other liens always came with the purchase.

This particular list of auctioned properties (of September 14, 2022 City auction) may represent $ 10,000 to $ 20,000 in lost revenue. However, going forward, the lost revenue will take place every time that a distressed/auction property is sold.

It doesn’t appear to make good business sense and it will really hurt the ACMUA going forward.

Former ACMUA Chairman John Devlin strongly disagrees with this decision, telling us:

“Exactly right. We’re talking tens of thousands now, but hundreds of thousands moving forward - which will drive our water bills thru the roof,” said Devlin.

"This continuing horrific and damaging leadership from Michael Armstrong and Marty Small is not a surprise! This behavior and terrible leadership is now going to cause great expense to our tax payers and anyone buying water from Atlantic City’” said Devlin.

“The Armstrong and Small team has been selling out Atlantic City and beyond since their inception. These types of decisions shows how incompetent Armstrong/Small Team truly is … to forgive water liens on auction properties that are being sold at a already discounted rate is ludicrous and makes one wonder if the fix is in" said Devlin.

A reading of the September 1, 2022 ACMUA board meeting minutes clearly indicates that the board was unclear about this sudden, new policy.

Board Member Gary Hill stated that they will have to revise their policy going forward. ACMUA solicitor Bruce Ward agreed with Devlin.

Below, is Page 7 of the ACMUA (September 1, 2022) board minutes that outlines the scope of this new forgiveness policy:

Harry Hurley
Harry Hurley

Devlin has also alleged that Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small directed this forgiveness policy. Considering how uncertain and unprepared the board appeared to be about the change, it’s likely that Small directed the change.

Devlin asked, “What does the ACMUA get by forgiving these tax liens?”

Any reasonable examination of the facts appears to yield that the ACMUA just voted against their own self interests?

Why would they do this?

SOURCE: Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Board Meeting of September 1, 2022 & John Devlin.

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