Tax-Exempt Redevelopment, Cumberland County Jail Suicides – Tuesday’s Roundup

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Tax-Exempt Redevelopment
Camden’s redevelopment is often touted as a blueprint for Atlantic City, so it’s worth paying attention to. The Inquirer’s Kevin Riordan recently took a tour along Cooper Street in Camden to look at the results of urban renewal projects that have revived and restored older buildings, and connect the street with newer building projects around the town. Much has happened with the investment of local colleges and Rutgers (as is the plan with Stockton University’s big spending in Atlantic City). “But almost every property along Cooper is tax-exempt. Save for a convenience store in the impressive new Rutgers high-rise dormitory at Fourth and Cooper, and a gas station several blocks east, there’s almost no private enterprise at all; the street is a pretty but bland monoculture of educational, institutional, and nonprofit uses,” writes Riordan. Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian squeezed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes out of the Stockton project in AC but the city is in a similar predicament, where tax-exempt (and multi-billion-dollar properties and vacant lots) stymie private development. Read more from The Inquirer here.

Photo from the Wharton State Forest by Kevin – @khustarelli on Instagram.

What Is Up With Cumberland County Jail?
There have been six suicides in three years at the Cumberland County Jail (average inmate population: 375). Now there are lawsuits and three corrections officers have been indicted. What went wrong? The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Avalon Zoppo finds that some simple things – like making sure cells don’t have ceiling sprinklers from which to hang bed sheets – hadn’t been considered and could have been a factor in the unusually high number of hanging deaths. Another problem is that New Jersey does not have state-wide procedures for dealing with mentally ill inmates. High numbers of the inmate population go through opioid withdrawal on arrival (this is also a problem in Atlantic County’s jail, which is testing out a methadone program.) And the medical service at the jail was provided by a private contractor (this is problematic when the contractor’s profit incentive pushes them to cut corners in service provision to save money.) Read more via The Philadelphia Inquirer here.

In the rest of the day’s headlines, Christie has a plan for funding his $200 million opioid program, Dem. gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy’s campaign team says now is the time for “sensible” gun safety measures, Rep. gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno said the Trump tax plan to eliminate property tax deductions would be a “disaster” for New Jersey, and Atlantic City’s back bays are reopened for fishing and boating after a sewage leak. All that and more below:

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