Not only won’t the state of New Jersey enter into mediation with the County of Atlantic regarding the Atlantic City Casinos … They won’t even talk to the County of Atlantic about it.

The state of New Jersey has declined to enter into mediation with The County of Atlantic to resolve the dispute regarding the Atlantic City Casinos and the issue of required Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT).

Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has reminded us that New Jersey Superior Court Joseph L. Marczyk strongly recommended that the two parties go to mediation.

This was in direct response to Atlantic County’s filing of an Order to Show Cause on December 21, 2021.

“I believe his exact words were that it would be ‘prudent’ to mediate, which the county is willing to do,” said Levinson.

The county wants the state to honor the previously approved legislation (casino PILOT bill), which these same two parties agreed to in open court back in June, 2018.

This agreement guaranteed the county 13.5 percent of casino tax payments through 2024 … which also included 12 percent for the last two years of the original PILOT.

The new legislation passed in the lame duck, late 2021 session of the New Jersey Legislature could cost the County of Atlantic millions of dollars if they are not successful in their litigation against the state.

Levinson contends that it may cost the county as much as $ 30 million in revenue.

Levinson is upset about the fact that the state will not even communicate with the County about the issues at hand.

“At no time throughout this process, including the writing of the bill, its movement through the state Legislature and its signing by the governor, has anyone from the state, the casinos or Atlantic City picked up the phone to discuss this issue with me or anyone affiliated with county government and we are a primary stakeholder in this issue,” said Levinson.

Levinson also pointed out that the two former Democrat Assemblyman from Atlantic County, Vince Mazzeo and John Armato both voted against the lame duck session legislation.

Armato even removed his name, after initially being a Prime Sponsor of the new legislation.

“The state’s unwillingness to seek a resolution before a neutral mediator is arrogant and incomprehensible.” said Levinson.

Levinson added, “We should be working to find a fair and equitable solution that will keep our taxpayers whole. That is what we previously negotiated to do. I question why this new legislation was needed and why it was rushed through without any discussion,” he said. “And I would ask the public to consider why the state does not see fit to mediate and settle this dispute without costing our taxpayers even more time and money to return to court.” concluded Levinson.

SOURCE: Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.

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