Democrat Tim Mancuso, 52, is seeking his fifth four-year term representing the 6th Ward on Atlantic City Council. The resort native spends most of his free time coaching, most notably the city’s high school wrestling team. He said he’s looking forward to the forthcoming opportunities for residents, evidenced by Hard Rock’s commitment to build a casino in the resort’s Chelsea section — included in the 6th Ward — and Revel Entertainment Group’s job workshops for residents leading to its property opening in May at the opposite end of the city.
What are you most proud
of accomplishing during the past year in office?
The Atlantic City Tourism District — originally the 6th Ward wasn’t included and we petitioned to get it included. And reopening Richmond Avenue School this spring. And bringing back police and firefighters.
Pending casino tax-assessment appeals could cost the city millions of dollars in revenue once those are resolved. That likely will happen during your next term, if you’re re-elected. How do you propose adjusting for that to minimize costs passed on to noncasino taxpayers in the city?
We cannot borrow to pay it off. We can’t go into debt. One reason the administration borrows is because that’s outside the cap — you can borrow on tax appeals to pay that off. But just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Another thing we have to do is be more aggressive with our tax-appeals cases. I think we need to take these cases to court. And we need to pay for better experts and attorneys to represent the city in these lawsuits — and I’ve been advocating for that for a long time.
You said during the primary you’d look to save money by renegotiating the city’s various insurance plans. How’s that going? Alternatively, what’s another area you think should be targeted for spending cuts?
When you tie in insurance plans, it’s still tied into the casino tax appeals and our debt. We’ve borrowed $125 million, and we pay $25 million a year just to offset debt service. We have to find it in the budget.
How would you generate
First, obviously, Bader Field. We need to promote Bader Field and get the best bang for our buck and work with the state. We also have to promote our beachfront property to attract investors. And, we need to sell tax certificates — there’s millions of dollars we could bring in as revenue. I understand administration can get lost on some things, but that has to be a hot topic.
You said during the primary you planned to focus on cleanliness and safety. If you had to pick one thing to focus on accomplishing during the first year of your term, if elected, what would it be?
Police officers and K-9 officers are back. With recreation, we’ve improved the Chelsea Heights parks. We just dedicated John Walsh Park and are doing more with Andy Williams Field and the baseball field. And we’ve been busy on the Boardwalk — at Bartram and the Boardwalk, we held movie nights on Fridays and concerts once a month in the summer.
The Atlantic City Tourism District was implemented nearly six months ago. Give results so far a letter grade and explain your choice.
A. With lighting on the Boardwalk, we’ve seen nothing but positive stuff out of it. I think it’s great.
What is your plan for improving communication between the city and the state Casino Reinvestment Development Authority?
We have to put aside egos. The city is in crisis right now with the competition all around us. ... It’s a team sport.
What’s something you admire, respect or appreciate about your opponent?
He’s not involved in negative campaigning.