The New Jersey Governor’s office approved the decision to pay compensation and a year’s worth of back pay to the chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and two other previously unpaid board members, Chairman Robert Mulcahy said on Tuesday.
Governor Chris Christie has in the past pressed for pay-rise caps for public sector workers. Lawyers for his administration have argued in court in favor of pay and job cuts for Atlantic City’s police and fire departments. But earlier on Tuesday, Mulcahy and the CRDA board voted to hire 15 additional class II officers to help combat the perception of crime in the city.
I recently came across an article titled “My 5 Favorite Places to Hang with the Kids in NJ” and I was hoping to see some really fantastic local places get the love they deserve. Eagerly, I opened the link and read the article. Nope.
It was a fun day dream while it lasted but it turned out that – for the second time – there was no real money behind the latest plan to turn the shuttered Atlantic Club into a water park, reported Nick Huba for The Press of Atlantic City. The property’s owners are still hopeful they can find a buyer… AC Music Video
Atlantic City’s fight-stopping hero, Ibn Ali, is hoping to use his viral-video fame to spread more positivity around the city. Yesterday, he filmed a music video at Stanley Holmes Village – Lynda Cohen has the story at BreakingAC.Com. Reefs
The state Department of Environmental Protection, with sign off from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is going to build two reefs to help anglers in South Jersey.
Shrinking Jail Population
The number of people in jail in New Jersey is down 20 percent since the start of Gov. Christie’s administration and the costs of running the prison system have dipped below $1 billion, lawmakers heard yesterday. But amid continued discussion over the effectiveness of bail reform in New Jersey, which has done away with financial bail in most cases, it is not clear whether municipalities are now bearing more costs in cases where people fail to appear for court hearings and police have to track them down. An Atlantic County spokeswoman told us last month that the county jail had approximately 60 fewer inmates at the end of February compared to the end of December (before bail reform, initially designed to help more people avoid prison, went into effect) but there is no good data on how the reform has affected municipalities. NJ Immigration
Arrests of undocumented immigrants are up 20 percent since October, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Newark told NJTV News in this interview. The TV station also has this piece on a Rutgers student and immigration rights activist who came to the United States with her parents when she was four and recently learned that renewal of her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status was held up. Healthcare
South Jersey’s Tom MacArthur, U.S. representative for New Jersey’s third congressional district, is reviving efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and he’s getting heat for it from other Republicans, although he has the support of the Freedom Caucus.
Icahn Strikes Again
If you were the owner of an enormous, empty casino in a struggling resort town filled with other large, vacant properties (including another one owned by you), and a buyer – wafted in on the wind of political change – comes along, you’d take them up on that offer, right? Probably a lot of people would dust their hands off at that point and leave, but if you’re Carl Icahn, you get down to business trying to wring every last drop out of that property that you no longer own. The Press of Atlantic City’s Christian Hetrick has this great piece looking at the Taj’s tax appeals against the city. The state’s Department of Community Affairs, now in charge of AC’s finances, says it is in negotiations. The purchase price of the Taj was not disclosed, which in finance land means it was not significant, or under $100 million. Is Icahn really just trying to squeeze more money out of the Jingoli and Morris families?
Margate, Ocean City, Brigantine and Atlantic City schools have some of the highest-paid teachers in the state, according to state Department of Education data written up by Diane D’Amico at The Press of Atlantic City. The data ranks districts by median salary. Margate and Brigantine said the data reflects the longevity of their staff but D’Amico notes that higher starting salaries also contribute to higher median salaries in these districts.
County Executive Dennis Levinson explains his position in an opinion piece on the county-versus-city fight over the Atlantic City casinos’ PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) money. The state offered the county 10.4 percent of the casinos’ PILOT, but Levinson and Mayor Guardian had an agreement it would be 13.5 percent. The difference is $40 million that would have to be made up by county taxpayers. Levinson said that while the success of a court fight against the state is uncertain, “We’ll try anyway. Even if we lose, the depositions should be very interesting.” We see what you did there, Denny…
The Rodeway Inn along the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township could be revived as garden apartments and townhouses, according to a developer’s plan that will go before EHT’s planning board on Monday.
Dog & Pony Show
Wayne Parry’s Associated Press piece does a nice job of contrasting the fanfare and showbusiness of Gov. Christie’s Atlantic City visit yesterday with the somewhat harsher realities of the state takeover that were presented at a follow-on press conference by the president of the NAACP and others. Meanwhile, the Press has a look at the possibility of a lawsuit over the PILOT payments the county was shorted on (and Christie’s response), and The Inquirer’s Amy Rosenberg writes about Christie’s – possibly – softening stance on selling the water authority. It was a busy day.
New Jersey’s ocean and beach cleanup group Clean Ocean Action released its annual report and NJ.com runs down the list of things the group found on beaches last year: a toilet seat, a pink flamingo, decorated Christmas trees and so much more. The next round of beach sweeps organized by the group are this Saturday, from 9 am to 12.30 pm, and here is the list of beaches where a cleanup is being organized, plus details on how you can join in.
Atlantic City’s purchasing department on Wednesday awarded Egg Harbor City’s Command Company a contract to build out the chunk of a planned bike loop that will connect the beach to Gardner’s Basin via specially-adapted city streets in the inlet.
A group of young talents from the Atlantic City area has come together to form an ambitious new charity that they will kick off with AC’s first ever pop-up restaurant – outdoors, under the stars, and for 200 to 300 people.
The perennially problematic pipeline is facing a new challenge in the form of an injunction to stay its construction while the Apellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court considers various pending appeals, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Each delay raises the financial costs for the companies involved in the project, which include Atlantic County’s South Jersey Industries. One company, PSE&G, sold its stake in the project March. The completion date for the 100-mile natural gas pipeline was pushed back to the second half of 2018 and further delays look likely.
Christie & NAACP President #DoAC
Governor Chris Christie and Cornell Brooks, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will be at opposite ends of Atlantic City on Thursday. Christie will be in town for a photo opportunity with the developers and construction crew at the Stockton Atlantic City campus site, while Brooks will be at a press conference in City Council Chambers (at 1.30 pm), where he will talk about the state’s takeover of the city, the potential privatization of its water authority, and the breaking of union contracts. Mary Grant, project director for Food & Water Watch, the state’s AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech, and Firefighters Local 198 President Bill DiLorenzo will also be at that meeting. The Press’ Christian Hetrick has more here. Booming Lakewood
It’s a little outside of our area, but we know our readers like development stories, so you might be interested in this Asbury Park Press piece that looks at the backlash surrounding a developer’s plan to turn a 27-hole golf course into 1,872 homes.
A Tale of Two Drug Clinics
Pleasantville Mayor Jesse Tweedle fought hard to stop a drug-treatment clinic from coming to his city, but he said he’s heard few complaints since it opened almost a year ago. Meanwhile, as Camden officials move forward on plans to relocate a methadone clinic from the heart of the city’s downtown to a semi-industrial section of Bergen Square about a mile away, the proposal has been met with anger from those who live and work nearby. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Allison Steele takes a look at both projects.
The vertical rollercoaster planned for the former Sands casino site in Atlantic City got a grant of $38.4 million from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the Press of Atlantic City reports. The developer hopes to open the attraction – which will also feature other draws such as a zip line and ninja course – in time for the 2019 summer season. First Responders
NJSpotlight has this piece on a program run by the Jersey City Medical Center that is training volunteer first responders. The program began as a way to help the medical center reduce its response times and (according to the director) it seems to have helped… But the volunteer training program is pretty intense, requiring 60 hours of training and a serious commitment, which seems to have limited the actual number of people who have completed the course.