Atlantic City officials are trying to prevent a state takeover of city finances in a plan approved this week. Lawmakers in New Jersey’s Assembly Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday to vet the proposal.
Atlantic City has about $500 million in debt, thanks in part to its gambling industry contracting from a $5.2 billion market in 2006 to $2.56 billion in 2015. Five casinos have closed over the past three years.
More than 100 public employees will be laid off under the plan. A major component is being able to settle a tax issue with Borgata, the city’s highest grossing casino.
Borgata is owed $150 million in tax refunds, and Atlantic City is planning on being able to settle for about $100 million. The casino hasn’t formally accepted the settlement.
According to the Associated Press, other parts of the plan to pay off the debt include selling the Bader Field former airport site for $110 million and issuing $105 million in bonds.
The idea is to reduce its budget by about 20 percent by 2021.
State lawmakers have until Nov. 1 to approve the proposal. If they don’t, New Jersey would assume control of Atlantic City finances for a period of five years.