AC Casino Tax Settlements, AirBnB, Pipeline Questions – Thursday’s Roundup

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AC Tax Settlements
Although state oversight and advice to Atlantic City has cost taxpayers more than $6 million and led to costly litigation over public safety staffing, the state’s lawyers-in-charge have succeeded in removing one of the dark clouds that had been hanging over the Queen of Resorts: Casino tax appeals. Yesterday, Gov. Chris Christie announced the settlement of the remaining outstanding tax appeals filed by seven current and former casinos. The settlements will be covered by an $80 million bond ordinance that the city introduced last month, Christie’s statement said.

A few small details from the last paragraph of that press release (linked above) detailing the “steady progress” in the city may be worth noting (you decide). 1. Christie is short Atlantic City achievements and again claims credit for Stockton University’s investment in AC, which was arranged long before the takeover. 2. The Showboat investment (also arranged long before the takeover) is another named item in Christie’s list. It’s hard to think who around here would pick the Showboat as an AC success story. 3. In a list that focuses on successes beyond gaming (but includes the future Hard Rock Casino), Christie doesn’t make any mention of the new venture between Caesar’s Entertainment and Borgata that he hinted at back in June and said details would be announced soon. So… what’s happening (or not) with that?

We’ve written a little about how homes used as AirBnB rentals are grating with locals in some shore towns and now Bill Barlow for Newsworks has a long look at how Councilman Jesse Kurtz in Atlantic City is trying to address the issue. While in some cases AirBnB may mean new investment is flowing into Lower Chelsea and other neighborhoods from people who see a business opportunity, newer owners might not necessarily know the city’s rules: That they have to get an inspection and license just like those renting through a realtor. “There is a challenge in enforcing the rules. City government has to be smarter in enforcement, and the public should be more diligent,” Kurtz told Barlow. Read the full piece here.

Pipeline Questions
The most recent pinelands pipeline proposal – the 30-mile, $180 million Southern Reliability Link – has been questioned by a consultant hired by the Pinelands Preservation Alliance (which has been battling this proposal and another recently-approved pipeline project). “The consultant found there are less costly and more effective alternatives to routing a pipeline through sections of the Pinelands,” reports NJSpotlight.

In the rest of the headlines from the last 24 hours, Margate is going to court (again) to try and stop the dune project, unemployment is down in South Jersey but still high relative to the rest of the country (story on Camden area here, link to BLS data here),  here’s a slightly strange and very long story about Live Nation and a whole lot of other stuff in Atlantic City, the AC Rail Line has resumed normal service, and New Jersey collected almost 5,000 firearms in the three city gun buyback last month. All that and more below:

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