ATLANTIC CITY — As this resort city inches closer to bankruptcy and a possible shutdown next month, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday rebuffed the Democratic mayor's pleas and urged lawmakers to approve a state takeover of the troubled municipality.

Mayor Don Guardian has said that if his municipality doesn’t receive state aid immediately he will be forced to shut down City Hall and all non-essential services for almost a month starting April 8. Police officers, firefighters and sanitation workers will have to wait to get paid until May, which is when the city expects its coffers to be replenished with property tax revenues.

During a news conference Tuesday in Long Branch, Gov. Chris Christie expressed frustration and annoyance with the mayor’s desperate plea and said government spending in Atlantic City is completely out of control.

“I mean, for god’s sake, you have lifeguards who get pensions in Atlantic City. Lifeguards get pensions in Atlantic City — could we please? This is ridiculous,” he said

Christie pointed out he’s reached a bipartisan agreement with the state Senate on two bills — one that would bring greater stability to the Atlantic City property tax base, and another to allow the state to wrest control of the city government.

“If both bills do not come to my desk in exactly their current form I will not sign them,” Christie warned.

The controversial bills are opposed by Guardian and Atlantic City officials

But Christie said drastic reforms are necessary because “the Atlantic City government costs two to three times more to operate than other municipal government in this state. They are absolutely incapable, unwilling and incapable of fixing this problem.”

Christie believes Guardian’s promise to cut $25 million in spending is laughable “because the town owes the Borgata hotel $160 million and doesn’t have any way to raise the money.

"He has no money and I am no longer going to allow the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey to be responsible for the irresponsible decisions by mayors before Mayor Guardian."

Christie accused Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto of playing “public sector union politics for his own future political aspirations” by demanding the union contracts not be subject to change if the state takes over the city.

Christie said we need to be able to “renegotiate their debt situation and work on the cost of government, and I am not going to permit the people of this state to be held responsible and have their pocketbooks picked again by Atlantic City.”

Christie said the mayor can either cooperate “or the inevitable will occur, and the inevitable is they will face bankruptcy, and if they do then the bankruptcy court will control their fate, not the state of New Jersey, if that’s what they prefer it’s their choice.”

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