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.
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:
Search Halted for Reported Missing Atlantic City Swimmer–The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended a search for a swimmer reported missing in the waters near the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. The search ended about 8 pm Wednesday, the Coast Guard said. Philly.com
Experts Disagree on Effects of Drug in Fatal 2014 Hamilton Township Crash–Experts testifying at a vehicular trial disagreed on whether the drug in a driver’s system would likely have contributed to a 2014 fatal crash. Nicholas Garreffi, 42, allegedly had the equivalent of 2.4 to 3.4 milligrams of alprazolam — commonly known as Xanax — in his system when he crossed the center line on Rout 40 in Hamilton Township, sideswiped a box truck and then struck a car with five teenage girls inside, according to a blood test taken about 90 minutes after the Aug. 30, 2014 crash. BreakingAC
55 Arrested, 650 Bags Of Heroin Seized During Atlantic City Police Investigation–Fifty-five people have been arrested following an Atlantic City Police Department investigation. The arrest comes in the wake of “daily complaints from residents, merchants, and visitors concerning narcotic distribution and quality of life issues along Pacific Avenue” police said in a news release. philadelphia.cbslocal.com
What Atlantic City Casinos are Supposed to do When They Spot Problem Gamblers–The American Gaming Association has unveiled a new code of conduct on responsible gambling. The code focuses on training gaming entity owners and employees to properly display the odds of winning and advertise responsibly, identify and help problem gamblers and prevent underage gambling. New Jersey 101.5 – Proud to be New Jersey – New Jersey News Radio
Did You Know That South Jersey Has its Own Fringe Festival?–Downtown Hammonton is getting its arts adventure on again with the second annual New Jersey Fringe Festival. Jersey Fringe is a three-day event featuring 12 avant-garde theatrical productions at nine different venues centered around its hub, the historical Eagle Theatre. Newsworks.org
Day Center in AC Opens For Those Who Need Help–Normally, Timothy Koons spends his afternoons hanging out with friends in the courtyard outside City Hall on Bacharach Boulevard. On Wednesday, Koons, 41 and homeless, was in the air conditioning using his cell phone to fill out job applications online inside the Turning Point Day Center on Bishop Richard Allen Avenue. Press of Atlantic City
Hometown Security Initiative Targets Terrorism Possibilities in Cape May County–Behind the spectacle of packed beaches and boardwalks at the Jersey Shore lies a very real threat: terrorism. At a hometown security initiative seminar in Avalon on Wednesday, Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor told an audience of law-enforcement officers and the public that the possibility of terrorism is real, no matter where you live. Press of Atlantic City