Yesterday Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez ruled that the state of New Jersey can cut salaries, change overtime and health coverage and limit terminal leave payouts for Atlantic City police, but he stopped short of allowing the state to proceed with job cuts. As with his previous – similar – decision in the case between the fire department and the state, Mendez found that job cuts before a full hearing would cause “irreparable harm”. Read all the details via Lynda Cohen at BreakingAC. A Nuclear Mistake
Ooops. An alert set out last night that there was an incident at a Salem County nuclear plant was a mistake, officials said.
The phone and internet giant has reached a tentative agreement with 17 South Jersey towns that filed a formal complaint against the company over chronic problems with their phone and internet service. Under the agreement, Verizon will have to provide landline telephone service and at least DSL internet for most of the state. The state’s Board of Public Utilities has to sign off on the arrangement. (Most of the towns were in Cumberland County, but Estell Manor and Corbin City in Atlantic County were also included.) Read the details via Newsworks. Escape AC
The Tropicana is home to the city’s first escape room, in which teams have to tackle Atlantic City-themed challenges in order to break out of a room.
Whither The Chelsea
It sounds like a game of monopoly – Carl Icahn, who just recently sold the Taj Mahal, has now acquired the mortgage to Atlantic City’s Chelsea Hotel. We don’t know why – although it’s next to the Tropicana, so maybe he will actually reopen this shuttered Boardwalk property – but we take a look into what went wrong at the Chelsea. AC Mayor Is A Popular Job
Even though the city was taken over by the state last year, there are still five candidates hoping to become Atlantic City mayor – why? Amy Rosenberg for The Philadelphia Inquirer asks the question on a lot of people’s minds – just read the story here. In the rest of the news from the weekend, a 300-acre fire around Shamong has been contained, Somers Point’s Gateway Playhouse is one of two South Jersey theaters reopening this season, Galloway has plans to expand Smithville with a hotel and a residential and retail area, and Longport will accept Ventnor and Margate beach tags during dune construction work this summer.
The outlook for Atlantic County’s debt was raised to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’ this month by one of the global ratings agencies, the Press of Atlantic City reports. The credibility of the ratings agencies, which stamped approval on packages of toxic mortgage bonds in the run up to the Great Recession, is moot. But since the financial services industry still revolves around a debt machine that needs new issuance, we’re all still pretending the ratings agencies matter. So this is a good thing for Atlantic County. It’s another reason we don’t need to think about just how much the county’s financial health still depends on debt-swamped Atlantic City.
Buena is in the Pine Barrens, about as far on the other side of Atlantic County as it’s possible to get from our fading Queen of Resorts. Yet it is suffering a similar financial crisis. Mayor Dave Zappariello put it this way: “It is a dire picture,” said Zappariello. “Buena Borough does not have a spending problem. We have a revenue problem.
Local musician (and restaurant owner) Herb “Bubba” Birch died Tuesday. Birch’s Bubba Mac Blues Band, which featured some of the best of the best South Jersey musicians, last performed at the Ocean City Spring Block Party on May 6. Read (and watch) SNJ Today’s piece on his career here. Beer Garden
The first beer garden on the Atlantic City Boardwalk could open for July 4, The Press of Atlantic City reports. (I’m calling it the first beer garden, since surely we could replace
some of the vacant lots or shuttered souvenir stalls with more outdoor drinking and eating establishments?) Anyway.
The Senate and Assembly primary races are on track to become the most expensive in New Jersey’s history, NJ Spotlight reports. One of the battlegrounds is here in South Jersey: Stephen Sweeney and his running mates have raised $2.4 million, spent $1.4 million and have $970,000 left in the bank. Not bad for a part of the state with above-average unemployment and poverty rates. CRDA
What has the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority been up to? The State Auditor’s Office began a probe of CRDA’s finances and performance last year and it is – just about – wrapping up, after a longer-than-expected investigation, Route 40 reports.
After a beautiful day yesterday and a sunny start to the week, it’s easy to forget the torrential rain we experienced on Saturday. If you live on Absecon Island, though, what is your personal limit for those days? Those days when you are either directly housebound because of flooding on your street, or you know that if you need to drive anywhere you’ll be risking your car through brackish water somewhere along the road. The Atlantic City marina saw some of the state’s highest rainfall on Friday. In just one day, the island saw almost the entirety of May’s average monthly rain.
Have you heard about Porchfest? It’s going to be a big party made up of a lot of little parties, on porches, with live bands, in Ventnor, on June 11. It’s a little different to your average shore town entertainment. We sat down with Michael Einwechter (of Ventnor Coffee) to find out more. PILOT Fight
Are you sitting comfortably?
Tax Rates Still Uncertain
Atlantic County says all municipalities except Port Republic and Atlantic City will see a county tax-rate hike this year, reports The Press of Atlantic City. The county is quick to lay the blame on the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) deal that the state handed the casinos. But it’s actually still not clear exactly what the rates will have to be per municipality, the Press reports. While we all sit and wait for the county to turn on its calculator, you can check out this NJ Spotlight interactive map on property taxes across the state for some perspective. Campaign Finance
If you’re following the election for governor, you might be interested in this NJSpotlight analysis of who has raised and spent the most money.