Takeover Talk, Formica Bread – Thursday’s Roundup

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Takeover Talk
We’re on day 77 of the state takeover of Atlantic City and there has been no announcement of any plan the state has for its newest ward. So, understandably, the state says it is annoyed that there are rumors circulating. But, while there’s no official plan, we do know that associates of Gov Christie’s takeover czar Jeffrey Chiesa (who hasn’t been officially seen in town since November) have been talking to police and fire representatives about job cuts. We also know – thanks to Christian Hetrick’s Press of Atlantic City reporting – that Senator Jim Whalen and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (who sponsored the takeover bill last year) are concerned about those cuts leaving Atlantic City with a potentially dangerous reduction in firefighters. John Wisniewski, governor candidate and chair of the New Jersey Fire Commission, is also concerned by the reports. The thing is, Atlantic City’s financial crisis was caused by the tax base eroding to $6.6 billion from $20.5 billion in 2010, as well as its high costs. The city has already made cuts to its spending. It needs help finding revenue – but there has been no word from the state on plans for the city’s key remaining assets, Bader Field and the Municipal Utilities Authority.

Formica Bread
Meanwhile, County Freeholder Frank Formica attended an Atlantic City school-board meeting the other day because the company (Sodexo) that supplies food to Atlantic City and Pleasantville schools has said it will no longer buy bread from Formica Brothers Bakery. The county freeholder said he wanted to let the school board know, so they could be aware of the issue when they come to re-award a food services contract for the schools. A state monitor cautioned the board that promoting using specific vendors would be an ethics violation. The Press of Atlantic City has the story, which says that Formica’s deal with Sodexo was worth between $2,000 and $4,000 per week for both Atlantic City and Pleasantville.

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The rest of today’s headlines include the news that Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson believes just-joking-freeholder John Carman should apologize for his “denigrating” post on the women’s march, Atlantic City joining the Downbeach helium-balloon ban, an Affordable Care Act vigil outside LoBiondo’s office and Donald Norcross joins the Democratic leadership committee. All that and more below:

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