Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Former Governor Chris Christie made a promise to the taxpayers of Atlantic County. They would receive 13.5% of the annual casino tax payments from the PILOT legislation, according to what he stated in private, in public and on video (www.aclink.org).
When he later reneged on this promise, he said Atlantic County had not stepped up to do its part. The media pressed him for specific conditions the county had failed to meet but they received no explanation or response, nor did the county.
Atlantic County nonetheless proceeded and assumed responsibility for several Atlantic City services to help the city address years of financial mismanagement. County officials were confident the governor was a man of his word and would honor his commitment to his constituents.
Between October 1 and December 31 of 2017, Atlantic County delivered 8,826 meals to 174 unduplicated city residents; 8,793 one-way transportation trips to 450 unduplicated city residents; and case management assessments for 122 active senior participants.
Atlantic County also provided a variety of public health services for 600 city residents that helped Atlantic City save $1 million in its annual budget. These services included child health hearing and vision testing, flu vaccinations, child health screenings, communicable disease investigations, adult and pediatric immunizations and audits, health education community events, chronic disease screenings, health clinics and home visits.
The county stepped up again with financing to bring Stockton University to Atlantic City when neither the city or the state, which has been downgraded 11 times in the last eight years, was able to do so.
Additionally, the county offered to provide solid waste and recycling services through the Atlantic County Utilities Authority. The state, however, changed the bid specifications that precluded the county from bidding.
Atlantic County also expressed interest in temporarily managing the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority with a reverter clause to return the MUA to the city once it was financially stable. The state declined the offer.
Atlantic County has stepped up and continues to provide services to Atlantic City residents at a cost savings, yet it still awaits reciprocation from the state.
When will the state honor its commitment to Atlantic County and provide its non-casino taxpayers with the fair share they were promised?