New Jersey judge to oversee Atlantic City finances
Apr 20, 2016 03:11 AM EDT
On Tuesday, a New Jersey judge said he will oversee the finances of the cash-strapped Atlantic City to ensure that the state will be able to pay its $25 million debt to the local school district for the rest of the school year in 2016.
According to the Daily Reporter, Atlantic City has filed a lawsuit against New Jersey over the aid that was promised but never received. The almost broke city made its demand while defending itself from the lawsuit by the Department of Education, which failed to seize control of the city's cash until all its debt to the school system was paid off.
Superior Court Judge Julio Mendez rejected a request made by the administration of Chris Christie to force the city to set aside cash for schools before paying any other expenses, which would freeze the city's spending effectively. The decision was the latest in the ever-increasing battle between local and state officials over school revenues.
Atlantic City also seeks the appointment of a special master who, in effect, would guard the city's own overseer, reports NBC News. The $35 million would have come from the city's rescue package that has been stalled in the state Legislature. Its primary provision suggests that the city's eight casinos make payments in lieu of property taxes in return for failing to appeal their tax assessments.
Although New Jersey has had some oversight of the city since 2010, Governor Christie said that city officials' effort were not enough to stop the bleeding since its casinos plummeted. Reuters reported that the city has virtually no money left in the bank after paying $4.25 million to its school district prior to the hearing.
The city is required to collect property taxes and remit them to schools. It was supposed to remit $8.5 million per month but paid only half that amount. In the meantime, other bills of Atlantic City are now mounting. Atlantic City expects to collect $40 million to $50 million of tax revenues in May.