Tax Rates Still Uncertain, Campaign Finance – Thursday’s Roundup

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.

Gubernatorial Debate, AC Beer Garden – Wednesday’s Roundup

Gubernatorial Debate
It seems there wasn’t a whole lot of news in South Jersey yesterday beyond Stockton University’s hosting of the first debate among candidates for New Jersey Governor. There was a lot of Christie-bashing, which morphed into follow-up bashing of lead-candidate Phil Murphy’s ties to Wall Street. There was little in the way of new policy and there was broad agreement over funding schools and public pensions. Read The Philadelphia Inquirer’s take here and The Press of Atlantic City’s here.

CRDA Planning Officer Green Lights Beer Garden Project

A plan to open a beer garden on Atlantic City’s boardwalk is one step closer to launch after a public hearing last month. The planning officer for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which oversees the boardwalk and tourism district, last week recommended the beer garden project to CRDA’s board for approval. The board’s next meeting is on Tuesday.

Walmart Plaza Details, Mapping NJ Immigration, $50 mln For Taj – Tuesday’s Roundup

Walmart Plaza Details
What else is going into the new Walmart plaza along the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Townships? We’re willing to bet you could probably guess the likely retail: yup, there’s a cellphone store (T-Mobile) and a nail salon (because 21st century strip mall). But there’s also a Starbucks, which I could see becoming a meeting spot for a lot of on-the-road sales people around here. Laura Stetser has the details.

Troublesome Taxes, Immigration Arrests, Better News – Monday’s Roundup

Troublesome Taxes
In some neat reporting that came out after the Roundup published on Friday, the Press of Atlantic City’s Christian Hetrick discovered that, in spite of all the hullabaloo over the county getting a lower cut of casino taxes, the casinos will actually pay a half-million more this year to the county. Read it here. But Atlantic County’s administrator said its municipalities are still facing tax hikes because there is a tax credit owed to the city for taxes the casinos overpaid in previous years. In response, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) snippily advised the county to check its math (the DCA is overseeing the Atlantic City takeover).

Op-Ed: Stand Together to Fight State Takeover

Ben Franklin said it best at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.” These words are very applicable in Atlantic City and Atlantic County today, with the unconstitutional state intrusion, taking of tax revenue and giveaways in Atlantic City.

The Optimist

William K. Cheatham attends most of the meetings of the City Council of Atlantic City. He attends the board meetings of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. He is president of the Board of Trustees of the Atlantic City Free Public Library, a member of the Shade Tree Committee and an alternate on the board of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority.

Tax Breaks, Stockton Housing – Thursday’s Roundup

A report by Pew Charitable Trusts has faulted the tax incentives doled out to New Jersey projects, such as the over $1 billion that has gone to Camden development projects and the millions of dollars used to fund Stockton’s Atlantic City campus, the Courier Post reports. New Jersey’s tax incentive program is classified as ‘trailing’ the leading programs in other states in part because it has not program to regularly evaluate the tax incentives. The state’s Economic Development Authority said the report incorrectly characterizes its programs, which are evaluated. You can read the Pew report here. You might also be interested in the State Auditor’s report from earlier this year into selected incentive programs, which also found some flaws with the Camden projects.

Water, Dunes, Hard Rock Plans – Wednesday’s Roundup

Water
New Jersey on Tuesday suddenly got a new blueprint for managing water resources, after the state’s Department of Environmental Protection surprised everyone by publishing a document that had been in the works for 20 years, NJ Spotlight reports. The timing of the publication of the ‘New Jersey Water Supply Plan’ might seem like an omen if you’re in Atlantic City since the state – at the end of this month – is set to decide the fate of the city’s Municipal Utilities Authority. Yes, we’re that cynical. The blueprint will help value assets, which it says need ‘targeted investment’. Critics slammed the report as ‘flawed’ because it fails to lay out a plan to protect the state’s water supply. Also, separate but related, is this piece that looks at how federal funding cuts might affect the state DEP.

Atlantic City Water, Dead Deer, Minimum Wage – Tuesday’s Roundup

Atlantic City Water
The fate of Atlantic City’s water authority is still unclear and Councilman Kaleem Shabazz is trying to revive talks with Atlantic County about possibly buying or leasing the water system, Christian Hetrick reported for The Press of Atlantic City yesterday. Under the state takeover law, the city has until the end of the month to “maximize the value” of the Municipal Utilities Authority. Separately, if you want a behind-the-scenes look at Atlantic City politics, read this Insider NJ piece on the mayoral race. Dead Deer
NJ.com has this listicle on the 13 worst counties in New Jersey for dead deer problems – you might be surprised to see the South Jersey counties that feature. Also, fun fact, did you know that deer carcass removal is pretty expensive?

Op-Ed: From the Boardwalk in Atlantic City – The Reckoning

The city and county are mad at the other over taxes, the Governor and his cohorts seemingly lied to both about many things, and New Jersey’s bureaucratic presence known as the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) voted to adopt a new master plan. It is understandable that much of the local populace seems mad at them all.