TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — Members of a New Jersey Assembly committee heard testimony on a proposed 5 year financial plan developed by Atlantic City, aimed at staving off a potential state takeover.
A team of financial advisors briefed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on the nuts and bolts of the plan approved by city council Monday night and now being reviewed by the state Department of Community Affairs.READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Eddie Rodriguez Killed In Road Rage Shooting On Roosevelt Boulevard, Police Say
One key issue is a proposed settlement of a tax debt to the Borgata for about two thirds what it believes it is owed.
Borgata issued a statement before the hearing from General Counsel Joe Corbo that read, in part, “Borgata has had an ongoing dialogue with City and State representatives this year in an attempt to reach a fair and equitable settlement. In those meetings we have repeatedly expressed our willingness to compromise the amount due to Borgata.”
The difference is at least 47 million dollars. City officials say the amount agreed to be paid is 103 million dollars. Borgata has maintained the debt is over 150 million.
Joe Baumann, one of the advisors to the city, told the committee there’s a reason for what appears to be a standoff and that, in fact, there is a verbal agreement.READ MORE: WATCH LIVE: Delaware County DA Jack Stollsteimer To Announce Charges In Shooting Outside Upper Darby SEPTA Terminal
“Borgata was unwilling to paper that agreement, sign a document, until the financial plan was approved,” Baumann testified.
He insists there are assurances from the Borgata’s ownership in Las Vegas that a deal can go forward once the 5 year plan is in place.
The 120 page blueprint covers everything from renegotiated labor contracts and reductions in Atlantic City’s workforce and benefits to the sale of Bader Field to the city’s water company and other revenue enhancements. It also calls for the issuance of bonds to address long term debt and is viewed as the best way to stabilize budgets without further tax hikes while reducing reliance on state aid.
As for approval of the plan, DCA has until November 1 to decide if it is acceptable of if the state should proceed with a takeover of day to day operations.MORE NEWS: 2 Men Found Dead Outside Home In Tacony Neighborhood, Philadelphia Police Said
A spokeswoman for the agency declined an opportunity to discuss the process with KYW Newsradio.