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Atlantic City officials presented a $206 million budget proposal Tuesday, the first since the state takeover in November, which includes a 5% decrease in municipal property taxes.
“Over the past three years, my staff and I have been working hard to reduce costs, streamline government, and still provide the best services possible to our residents,” Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said. “Today we are seeing the fruits of our labor. People said it could not be done – but today we are presenting the budget with a 5% decrease in municipal property taxes.”
According to officials, under the new budget, the average homeowner in Atlantic City would pay local taxes of $2.547 per year, a 5% decrease from last year. The tax decrease would be Atlantic City’s first since 2008.
“From the beginning, I have said that we need to work with the State of New Jersey to stabilize Atlantic City and to reduce the outrageous property taxes that we inherited from years of reckless spending,” Guardian said. “These are the results we expected and worked hard for.”
Officials say they will focus on reducing the tax rate, reducing department budgets, increasing revenues, reducing health care costs, outsourcing services, reducing staff and settling with Borgata Casino under the budget. They also said there will be no tax increase, reduction of services or structural deficit under the new budget.
“This has been a collective effort over the past three years,” Guardian said. “Members of City Council and I have worked together making some tough choices over the past three years and have brought about considerable change.”
The Press of Atlantic City reports City Council members unanimously voted to introduce the budget at a special meeting. A public hearing for the budget will be held on May 17.
Despite the good news for Atlantic City, officials also said Atlantic County won’t receive 13.5 percent of casino payments in lieu of property taxes which was promised last year before legislation was passed. The county will instead receive 10.4 percent of casino payments in lieu of taxes, according to the Press of Atlantic City. Officials say this could result in a big increase in taxes for Atlantic County residents.
“Unfortunately, the county has not lived up to its commitments to the state to help Atlantic City achieve efficiencies and savings,” Brian Murray, Press Secretary for Governor Chris Christie, told NBC10. “As a result, those failures make it unfair and impossible to provide the increased level of aid requested by the county and which the state had hoped to be able to provide.”
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