TRENTON – A Senate committee today approved legislation to amend the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act, which guides state takeovers of jurisdictions, to restore civil service status and protections for public employees in municipalities subject to the MSRA, which covers Atlantic City.
The bill, S-3819, also extends state control of Atlantic City’s finances from five to nine years.
“Atlantic City is on the road to recovery,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), the bill’s sponsor. “City officials have made a lot of progress by working in partnership with the state. This bill will help protect the city’s public workers as we work toward the day Atlantic City’s operations are once again under local control. It’s critical that our police officers, firefighters, and essential public workers regain the labor rights and protections they deserve.”
The state assumed control of Atlantic City in 2016 to manage the city’s finances and ensure appropriate distribution of government services.
The takeover has helped to stabilize the city’s finances and governing abilities, at a time when increased gaming competition from neighboring states caused several casinos to fail and others to successfully lower their real estate values and the taxes they paid.
Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the city’s credit rating two notches in January, to Ba3. In November, Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings upgraded the city’s general obligation bonds and gave a positive outlook to the city’s financial performance.
The measure was approved by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.