Following a second summit meeting of government, business, and labor leaders in Atlantic City, a panel appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is recommending appointment of an emergency manager for a situation the governor describes as grave.
The manager’s role “would be an expansion of the current statutory fiscal oversight we currently have in Atlantic City and other cities in New Jersey,” Christie said Wednesday after a day of discussing strategies with the panel
The governor would not elaborate on what powers or specific duties that manager would have.
Establishing a public-private development corporation for Atlantic City, tax reform and shared services are other recommendations from the panel working out how to reinvigorate the city as casino closings have put thousands of people out of work and reduced the city’s tax revenue.
Christie, who said he’s not committed to any particular proposal, said some or all of them will be needed to help the resort recover.
“The first thing you need to do is stop the bleeding, so let’s start there. Then you work on recovery, but first you’ve got to stabilize the patient, and that’s part of what we need to do,” Christie said. “Stabilizing the patient would be considered success, and then there are more long-term goals.”
Evidence of a turnaround won’t be apparent anytime soon, said state Senate President Steve Sweeney.
“It’s going to take a couple years. The problem didn’t happen over night, and it’s not going to be solved overnight,” said Sweeney. “I’d like to act on legislation within the next 90 days to stabilize Atlantic City’s government and to do the things we need to do to more forward.”
Christie said some of the initiatives could be implemented through his executive order.