ATLANTIC CITY — City Council will vote Wednesday on key parts of the city’s fiscal plan to avoid a state takeover, including selling Bader Field to its water authority for $110 million.
Council also will vote on new labor agreements between the city and its seven worker unions. The City Clerk’s Office said details of the deals would be released Tuesday.
In addition, council will consider privatizing payroll services.
Mayor Don Guardian also rolled out more details of the city’s five-year fiscal recovery plan Monday. The city projects $72.9 million in savings from 2017 through 2021. The city has annual budget deficits of about $100 million before state aid.
A statement from Guardian listed 26 items where the city has or plans to cut costs and raise revenue. They included 400 fewer full-time workers since 2013, a recent shared-services deal with Atlantic County, bidding out city services and land sales worth $7.1 million. The city also has offered early retirement buyouts to 165 senior workers.
The city anticipates saving $7.4 million next year; $12.7 million in 2018; $17 million in 2019; $17.3 million in 2020; and $18.5 million in 2021, according to Guardian’s statement.
The city has until Nov. 3 to submit its plan to the state. The plan’s rejection would result in a five-year state takeover.
“This comprehensive recovery plan will include increasing revenue, reducing costs, maximizing redirected funds from casinos, receiving state aid, restructuring of debt payments, early retirement incentives, realizing the value of City owned properties and the MUA, and much more, all while maintaining Atlantic City’s sovereign right to local self-governance,” Guardian said.
The proposed Bader Field sale is a major part of the city’s fiscal-recovery plan. Proceeds would go toward paying down the city’s roughly $500 million debt.
Proponents say the sale would keep the prized Municipal Utilities Authority in public hands. Officials have long considered dissolving, leasing or selling the water works to raise money for the broke city.
The authority, which provides the city’s drinking water, is financially independent of the city, deriving nearly all its revenue from ratepayers.
Council has pulled or voted down measures to dissolve the authority five times amid pressure from residents to keep the authority independent.
The authority would borrow to buy Bader Field, a 143-acre former airport. The authority has a B3 credit rating, according to Moody’s Investors Service. That’s better than the city’s Caa3 rating, but is still considered junk by investors.
The city tried selling Bader Field in a sealed-bid auction this summer but received a high bid of just $50 million. The city did not accept that offer.
Council must approve the sale at two meetings. The sale is also subject to state approval.
Council will vote on seven memorandums of understanding with its police, fire, white-collar, blue-collar, electrical and supervisory employees.
The resolutions didn’t have details, but Guardian’s statement said the city is renegotiating contracts to include multiple years with no wage increases, restructured pay scales and cuts to healthcare, overtime and paid-leave costs.
Also on the agenda is a resolution to privatize the city’s payroll services. Primepoint LLC would receive a one-year, $90,000 contract.
Another resolution asks council to reject a bid for emergency dispatch services.
Meanwhile, a state spokeswoman said there was no update on the city’s Monday deadline to submit a revised 2016 budget.