The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and the Revel’s holding company have settled a dispute over unpaid tourism-district fees that led to CRDA filing a lien on the shuttered casino property at the northern end of the Boardwalk in May. Documents filed with the Atlantic County Clerk show the lien tied to the dispute over $64,604.30 in unpaid 2015 Special Improvement District Assessments was discharged on June 30. Reports of a possible sale of the Revel have swirled in the last few weeks. The Press of Atlantic City reported that a $220 million offer for the property was made earlier this month. Revel’s owner Glenn Straub last year leased the property to a group of developers who rebranded it as TEN.
Could Atlantic City’s arts district (around Ducktown) soon be getting some new space? The Parish of Saint Monica is working to reopen the old St. Michael’s School on Mississippi Avenue (it’s been closed for 30 years). “I want to bring some life back to it. We want the parish … to be a part of the (city’s) arts corridor,” Rev. Jon Thomas told The Press of Atlantic City’s Vincent Jackson. Rev. Thomas and the St. Michael’s Church Preservation Society hope to refurbish the rooms and former school offices for use by the church, the parish, the city and the neighborhood, he added.
A lot has been happening on Tennessee Avenue in Atlantic City since a trio with a vision announced a plan this spring to create multiple hangout spots for locals and visitors on the beach block. But most of the activity has been behind closed doors. Bringing long-empty buildings back to life means spending a lot of time reconnecting utilities and getting down and dirty with mops–and recycling trips to the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, apparently. Soon, though, facade work is set to begin on the project which is scheduled to open in the fall. Four tenants have been lined up for spaces on the Inlet-side of the street between the Super 8 motel and the Chinese restaurant on the corner of Pacific.
A push to renew talks about combining Atlantic City’s water authority with the Atlantic County Utilities Authority has worried community organizers who just two days ago won a commitment from the city council to hold a public vote on any plans to sell or lease the city’s water.
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo hopes there will be new discussion about combining Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) with the Atlantic City water authority, according to a letter he sent on Wednesday. “The time is now to ensure that Atlantic City’s prestigious water company stays in public hands,” wrote Mazzeo in the letter addressed to the two top executives at the authorities and lawyer Jeff Chiesa, who is charged with overseeing the state takeover of Atlantic City. The ACUA and the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority (ACMUA) last year held talks about working together to help the city water authority generate more income, which would help bolster the city’s own financial position. “I’m writing today in the hopes that this letter will help renew the conversation in an effort to bring together two well-run utilities authorities for the sake of the public good,” Mazzeo wrote. The fate of Atlantic City’s water authority has been uncertain since the precarious position of the city’s finances put pressure on officials to sell or lease it.
Atlantic City property owners could see a tax cut of more than 5 percent this year after the state budget released some funds to the city and county, Mayor Don Guardian told WIBG 1020 in an interview on Monday. City residents will be”very surprised at the considerable decrease, way beyond just the 5 percent that we had promised them,” Guardian said. The state last week passed its budget after a three-day partial shutdown caused by a political standoff over school funding and legislation related to the state’s largest health insurer. The state’s new school funding package will help ease the tax burden for residents in Atlantic City and Atlantic County, Guardian explained. At the same time, the state has promised Atlantic City $13 million to fund tax appeals, which means the city will not have to issue new debt, he said.
The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers written in some South Jersey counties increased between 2015 and 2010, bucking the national trend of a decline in opioid prescription rates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Cumberland and Cape May counties saw an increase in opioid prescription rates over that period, while the prescription rate in Atlantic, Camden, Salem, Gloucester and Burlington counties remained stable, but much higher than the prescription rate in North Jersey, the CDC found. The report, part of a nation-wide review of opioid prescription rates published last week, showed that South Jersey has some of the highest opioid prescription rates in the nation. The CDC report found some socio-economic characteristics were associated with a higher rate of opioid prescription: “a larger percentage of non-Hispanic whites; higher rates of uninsured and Medicaid enrollment, lower educational attainment; higher rates of unemployment; micropolitan status; more dentists and physicians per capita; a higher prevalence of diagnosed diabetes, arthritis, and disability; and higher suicide rates. Together, these factors explain approximately 32% of the variation in the amount of opioids prescribed at the county-level.”
Outside interests with deep pockets want a say in Atlantic City’s mayoral election – why? We dug deep into the campaign filings made by Democratic Mayoral Candidate Frank Gilliam during his primary run and found some clues.
New Jersey’s Division of Law has spent $6.3 million with six consulting and law firms hired for projects related to Atlantic City’s oversight since March 2015, according to invoices released in response to a public records request. The invoices are heavily redacted so it is hard to glean details of the lucrative advisory work, but they show that many more thousands of dollars have been spent on unspecified consulting and takeover-related litigation than on monetizing Atlantic City’s few remaining assets. Just over half of that money was spent with Ernst & Young, which was hired in 2015 to analyze the city’s finances. The West Orange law firm Chiesa, Shahinian & Giantomasi, which was appointed by the state in November to run Atlantic City has charged $2.4 million for six months of work on everything from city council agendas to waste management and litigation, the documents show. You can download a copy of the database compiled by Route 40, with links to each invoice, here.
Atlantic City’s Garden Pier, purchased earlier this year by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, will be reopening next month as a locals-focused entertainment venue with live music and a bar area. In the shadow of the still-shuttered mega-casino Revel and not far from Blatstein’s Showboat hotel, the newly renamed PierAC plans to draw Atlantic County residents with a reward-card program and drink specials – plus entertainment.