ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Board of Directors on Tuesday approved its 2017-18 operating budget, which decreases spending by more than 14 percent.
The budget calls for expenses totaling more than $8.7 million, down $1.4 million from last year. Most of the savings are tied to a reduction in staff.
“This budget clearly demonstrates the CRDA’s commitment to the Tourism District and to this great destination city,” said Chris Howard, executive director of the state agency. “By investing available funding in a wide range of partnerships, CRDA will continue to be a key part of the momentum driving the renaissance of Atlantic City. We are excited for all the great things to come in 2018.”
In March, the agency cut 15 percent of its full-time staff during a reorganization after losing $22 million in casino tax revenue as part of an Atlantic City rescue package.
“The board is proud to adopt a budget that is not only responsible, but continues to deliver for the Tourism District and Atlantic City,” said CRDA Chairman Robert Mulcahy. “This budget also maintains our commitment to Meet AC and enables the Special Improvement District to make sure that the Tourism District is safe and clean for our visitors.”
Board also approved the budget for Meet AC, the resort’s convention and visitors bureau. Its budget was $7 million, the same as last year.
The goal of Meet AC, which was started in June 2014, is to promote Atlantic City as a first-class meeting and convention destination. The group will be funded through a different source of revenue than it has been in the past, said Chris Howard, executive director.
“Due to diminishing reserves, Meet AC will now be funded through the hotel room promotional fee, net income from luxury tax (if any) and our general fund,” Howard said.
The room promotional fee is a $2 per room tax at casinos and $1 at nongaming hotels. During the first six months of 2017, the fee has generated more than $3.7 million in revenue, according to state Department of Gaming Enforcement numbers.