FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 29, 2017

Trenton, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced that it has ratified a police contract with Atlantic City Police Benevolent Association Local 24, ending nine months of litigation and ensuring public safety without increasing costs to Atlantic City’s budget. The contract reduces the number of police officers, increases the number of hours officers work over the course of a year, significantly caps unused sick time payouts, and preserves the salary and benefits changes that took effect in March 2017.  

“We appreciate PBA Local 24’s willingness to come back to the negotiating table and work with us on a contract that is mindful of public safety and fiscal responsibility,” said former U.S. Senator Jeffrey S. Chiesa, who is the State’s designee leading the City’s financial recovery effort along with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. “The fact that the police union stepped up to get a contract done speaks volumes about their commitment to putting the residents, businesses and visitors of Atlantic City first. They understand it is going to take compromise and the combined efforts of all stakeholders to bring Atlantic City back from near bankruptcy, and we encourage others to follow the police union’s lead. The new 12-hour work schedule along with other changes we’ve made over the course of the year ensure that public safety will be maintained.” 

When the State stepped in to stabilize Atlantic City’s troubled finances in November 2016, there were 283 officers in the City’s police department; total compensation for police personnel stood at more than $47 million; and the total police department liability for unused sick time (i.e., terminal leave) payouts was estimated to be more than $10 million. In the ensuing year, police retirements and court-approved salary cuts and benefit changes reduced total police compensation to approximately $37.6 million for a savings of nearly $10 million. 

The new police contract maintains the salary and benefits reforms upheld by state Superior Court; reduces the number of police officers to 252; replaces the 10-hour work shift with a 12-hour work schedule; caps terminal leave payments at $15,000 per officer; and keeps total police compensation at a budget-neutral $37.6 million. 

Today’s announcement is the latest example of the demonstrable progress the State has made since assuming management of the City’s finances. Other positive developments include: 

  • A $35-million reduction in the City’s 2017 budget, which, at $206.3 million, is $56 million less than the 2015 budget and resulted in the first municipal tax decrease in a decade;
  • An 11.4-percent decrease in the overall Atlantic City property tax rate for 2017, which was made possible, in no small part, because of the significant reduction in the City budget;
  • More than $90 million in savings for City taxpayers as result of a settlement agreement the State reached with MGM Resorts International on property tax refunds that one of its properties, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, was owed by the City;
  • Settlement of all outstanding property tax appeals filed by seven casino properties beyond Borgata for a fraction of what was demanded by the casinos;
  • Two successful bond sales (May 2017 and September 2017) to finance casino tax appeal settlements. The bonds sold at a low interest cost to the City and with insurance, putting the City in a good position to responsibly pay down the tax refunds it owes to casinos while preserving critical public services;
  • Constraints on salaries and benefits for City firefighters and restructured work schedules that have firefighters working significantly more hours a year without incurring overtime; and
  • More than $1 million in savings for City taxpayers as a result of privatizing trash and recycling collection without requiring any layoffs. 

This progress has put the City in a better position to attract investment as demonstrated by Hard Rock’s redevelopment of the former Taj Mahal casino property, Stockton University’s development of an Atlantic City campus, and MGM Resorts’ and Caesars’ potential plans for new projects. 

Tammori Petty
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055