The Emergency Manager’s report on Atlantic City was issued today. Although Governor Christie leads the effort, the report appears not on his website but somewhat buried in the Department of Community Affairs’ site – HERE. It is far from being a complete list of mandated steps, leaving discretion for the governor. There is no mention of the word “bankruptcy,” but the word “dire” appears 18 times.
The report indicates, “The immediate priority is to close the 2015 Budget gap. This could be accomplished through a combination of several items including cost reductions, potential payment delays and increased revenue… We are finalizing a plan to reduce the City’s expenses by $10.0m in 2015. We will appoint mediators to work with key stakeholders, including union leadership, casino representatives, and others.”
Regarding the City School district, the report says, “Although the School Monitor is in the early stages of his role, the Department of Education (“DOE”) has taken into account his findings thus far and has made the following recommendations: The School tax rate either to remain the same or increase very slightly to minimize the impact on Atlantic City taxpayers, and a reduction to the School budget.”
The report goes on to indicate: “Any longer term restructuring plan for the city will require shared sacrifice from a variety of key stakeholders including the city, the state, casinos, bondholders, employees, retirees, and public schools, with the “current situation” and “potential options” listed in each case.
There is much more in this 37-page report to be digested. It also states, “Lastly, the Emergency Manager may issue a second report to provide an update on the progress of resolving the City’s immediate 2015 Budget needs as well as outlining a plan to place the City on a path to long term stability.”