Christie says he’s a ‘realist’ about Atlantic City’s fiscal future
The clock is ticking for Atlantic City as officials work to put together a fiscal stability plan by October, and Gov. Chris Christie said he's "neither optimistic or pessimistic" that they'll present a realistic proposal by the fall.
"I'm not optimistic nor pessimistic, I'm a realist," Christie said during Wednesday night's Ask The Governor program on NJ 101.5.
On May 27, Christie signed an Atlantic City fiscal rescue package, giving the city the money it needs to avoid a default on its debt. A stipulation of the plan, however, required that the resort city put together a balanced 2017 budget and develop a realistic five-year fiscal stability plan by October. If that doesn't happen, the state can move to take over the operations of city government - an option Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has opposed for months.
Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian has said work on the financial plan is already underway and is expected to include monthly meetings and efforts to keep residents and civic associations updated on the process. The mayor even asked if someone from the state or Christie's administration would serve on Guardian's cost-cutting panel, but Christie says that's not a possibility.
"No, because we ultimately have to be the judges of whether the plan is appropriate and fits the legislation, so how are we going to be part of the plan and then judge the plan and be objective," Christie said.
The governor said the state offered to help Atlantic City, but Guardian rejected the idea.
"We offered to be in it. The mayor didn't want us," Christie said. "The mayor was gonna solve this problem on his own. Just let Don Guardian at the problem, he's gonna fix it. Well Don Guardian's got the problem now. I can't wait to see his plan."
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.