An Atlantic City rescue bill is now awaiting action by Gov. Chris Christie.
The New Jersey Senate and Assembly approved a compromise bill Thursday that gives the struggling city five months to develop a plan for balancing its budgets — and avert a state takeover.
Senate President Steve Sweeney said he believes Atlantic City officials will be able to eliminate the city’s deficit and devise ways of balancing its budget over five years.
“I thought from the very beginning it was extremely doable. It’s just a matter of having the will to do it. There is plenty ability for them to fix themselves, and that’s what we’re hoping for,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “We don’t want the state to come in and take over. We want the city to govern themselves and manage the government.”
Mayor Don Guardian said he is confident his city can develop a plan to balance its budgets.
“A billion dollars of construction will be breaking ground before the end of the summer in Atlantic City,” he said. “That billion dollars is going to produce a lot of new tax ratables as well as jobs and that will help, not this year, but in ’18, ’19 ’20, ’21, ’22.”
The legislation provides state aid and redirected casino funds that Guardian said should help the city erase its deficit and get on the path to solvency.