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.

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Stockton In Talks For Atlantic City’s Bader Field

Stockton University is in “preliminary talks” to develop* some or all of Atlantic City’s Bader Field, according to people with knowledge of the matter. If the university were to occupy the site, it would further extend Galloway-based Stockton’s reach in Atlantic City, where it is building a residential campus, parking garage and academic center scheduled to open in 2018. The university is considering using the Bader Field site for a marine sciences and resiliency center, one of the people said. University President Harvey Kesselman discussed the idea as part of wider plans for the university in a presentation to Stockton foundation board members last week. Kesselman has had talks with Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian about buying* some of the site, one other person said.

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Buzby’s Last Stand

A little before three o’clock last Saturday afternoon, November 19, Albertus V. Pepper Jr., age 72, of Chatsworth and Washington “Wash” Orme, 85, of Tabernacle, walked into Buzby’s General Store in Chatsworth, via the commercial kitchen. They were in a state of high animation, shouting back and forth, over and around the heads of fellow patrons.

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Princeton Antiques Book Shop Is An Atlantic City Treasure

You’ve probably driven or walked by Princeton Antiques Book Shop on Atlantic Ave in Atlantic City. It’s a tall, colorful and eye-catching building with hundreds of books in cases outside. Maybe you’ve even thought about going inside. Apparently, a smattering of locals each week stop in to tell owner Robert Ruffolo just that – that they’ve always wondered what it looks like inside. It is an above-ground catacomb lined with books.

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Ratings agency warns Stockton over debt for AC development

Stockton University will have a “weakened financial position” after issuing new debt to build a parking garage and residence hall in Atlantic City, and it may look to raise tuition fees, according to debt ratings agency Fitch Ratings. Stockton, which gained university status last year, is borrowing $70 million to pay for the Atlantic City development and $211 million to refund outstanding debt and finance $25 million in projects at its main Galloway campus. Since the University’s operating results were in the red last year in spite of healthy enrollment growth, Stockton needs to trim expenses and raise revenue – likely by making tuition “adjustments,” the ratings agency said in a statement on Wednesday. Without those changes, Stockton would not be able to borrow for any further expansion projects without risking a ratings downgrade, which would increase the cost of its borrowing and further worsen its financial position. “Stockton’s operating results have been negative since fiscal 2014,” said Fitch.

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Privatize the AC Fire Department, State Manager Says, and More in Today’s Roundup

Atlantic City Austerity
Emergency manager Kevin Lavin released his final report on the state of Atlantic City at five p.m. on Friday, the same day a Reuters story reported his team had cost taxpayers $2.6 million in the past year with little to show for it. Laving recommended the city privatize its fire department and regionalize the police force with neighboring towns, blaming “parochial politics” for hampering progress, though the Howler notes parochial politics didn’t cause the tax base to fall by $13 billion in five years. It also said the city should sell Convention Hall (or Boardwalk Hall), though not Bader Field on the water authority. Read more here. Lavin endorsed a state takeover of the city, saying he supports “legislative efforts underway in Trenton,”’s Andrew Seidman reports, saying sales or privatizations of Bader Field and the utilities authority were among the recommendations, as was a sale of Gardner’s Basin.

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