ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Nov 2 (Reuters) - New Jersey’s cash-strapped coastal gambling hub of Atlantic City will submit an updated fiscal recovery plan to the state, local officials said on Wednesday, in an eleventh-hour bid to hold off a takeover of city government.
Trenton rejected the city’s five-year plan on Tuesday, questioning the viability of a $110 million land sale to raise revenue and saying the overall plan was unlikely to lead to financial stability.
The city will respond to the state’s concerns and resubmit the plan on Thursday, Mayor Don Guardian said at a press conference.
“We believe there are a lot of inaccuracies and misinformation” in the state’s response, Guardian said.
If the state still does not approve the plan, “the next step is going to be taking it to the court,” the mayor said, pledging to appeal.
The costs of a lawsuit to appeal the decision would be expensive, but Guardian believes there are groups and organizations that are “friends” of the city and would help support the legal expenses.
State lawmakers passed a package of legislation in May aimed at rescuing Atlantic City after its property tax base plummeted due to gaming competition in neighboring states that cut into the seaside city’s casino industry.
Under the new laws, the city got a $73 million bridge loan and had 150 days to craft a recovery plan acceptable to the state, or face a state takeover.
That deadline is not until Thursday, giving Atlantic City officials hope that the state will still consider their revised plan.
The city’s finances have already been under state oversight since 2010. Atlantic City even had a state appointed emergency manager for a year, who along with a team of professionals, cost state taxpayers at least $2.6 million.
His term ended in January.
The city has the money to meet its debt payments through the end of the year, although it is waiting for the state to send it about $26 million in promised transitional aid and more than $60 million in casino taxes, Guardian said. (Reporting by Hilary Russ, editing by G Crosse)