New Jersey should increase Atlantic County’s share of casino tax payments after the county to agreed to take over several programs from Atlantic City, including senior transportation, says state Assemblyman Chris Brown, R-Atlantic.

Atlantic County officials had expected to get 13.5 percent of the casinos’ payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, paid to Atlantic City as part of the state takeover of the local government. But the city, operating under a state monitor, is only paying 10.4 percent of its casino taxes to the county. County officials have estimated over the course of the 10-year agreement, that equates to $40 million less than the county was expecting.

State officials have said the county did not do enough to help Atlantic City through shared services to earn the the full 13.5 percent.

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But Tuesday, the county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved three shared-services agreements with Atlantic City that will save the resort more than $1 million and generate close to that amount for the county. The county entered shared-services agreements with the city for transportation services for seniors and the permanently disabled, for home-delivered meals and for public health services such as flu clinics.

“Now that the bipartisan Board of Freeholders has stepped up with a shared services agreement with Atlantic City, saving the city money and without placing any additional burden on county taxpayers, it’s time for Governor (Chris) Christie to honor the promise he made to us for $40 million in property tax relief our working families deserve,” Brown said.

“While Atlantic County is taking over extra duties in the city, they are also getting paid for those extra duties. We’ve been clear with the county that it would need to take on extra duties in Atlantic City at no cost to the city to justify an increase to a 13.5 percent share,” said Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the state Department of Community Affairs.

“Even though Governor Christie promised the county we would get 13.5 percent of the PILOT, the state has not followed through, claiming the county did not provide shared services and help the city of Atlantic City,” Freeholder Chairman Frank Formica said. “With this shared-service agreement, there is no reason for the state to withhold tax relief for local families.”

The PILOT lets Atlantic City casinos collectively pay $120 million each year for a decade in lieu of property taxes, so long as casino revenue stays at current levels.

In May, the board voted to spend $500,000 to sue the state over the amount they received from the PILOT.

{span}“Families throughout Atlantic County are struggling to make ends meet, which is why the Mayors Association — Democrat, Republican and independent mayors together — repeatedly called on the state to fulfill its end of the bargain and provide 13.5 percent of the PILOT,” said Mullica Township Mayor Jim Brown, president of the Atlantic County Mayors Association.{/span}

Contact: 609-272-7046

Twitter @acpresshuba

Started working in newsrooms when I was 17 years old. Spent 15 years working for Gannett New Jersey before coming to The Press of Atlantic City in April 2015.

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