Murphy extends state’s Atlantic City takeover 4 more years
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Atlantic City will remain under state control for another four years now that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill extending the takeover of most of the city’s major decision-making power.
The Democratic governor, who campaigned against the state takeover only to reverse course after being elected, signed the bill late Thursday night without comment.
The state will have been in charge of most of Atlantic City’s decisions for nine years at the end of the current measure.
Mayor Marty Small did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.
The extended takeover comes as the city faces consequential decisions including what to do with the 150-acre former airport property known as Bader Field.
Small has said he soon will unveil a “multi-billion-dollar project” for the site. Any plan for Bader Field requires state approval.
The government takeover was proposed by former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, and enacted in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature in 2016.
It was designed to help the state reign in runaway expenses, high taxes, and poor governance in the seaside gambling resort that, despite the presence of the casino industry, had enduring financial woes. Appeals from the casinos successfully challenging their tax assessments blew large holes in the city’s budget.
It stripped civil service rights and protections from many city workers, making it easier to make changes in the way city departments were staffed and run.
The city’s financial situation has improved since the takeover began, and Wall Street ratings firms have upgraded the city’s fiscal outlook.
State control had been set to end this year.
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