Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson was prepared to introduce the 2022 county budget to the Board of County Commissioners on March 1, but with the Superior Court ruling last Friday, Feb. 25, regarding the new PILOT bill, the county is postponing its budget introduction.
Judge Joseph L. Marczyk ruled in favor of Atlantic County in its claim that the State of New Jersey had violated the June 2018 Consent Order for Settlement that provides Atlantic County and its non-casino taxpayers with 13.5% of casino payments as part of the original PILOT legislation.
Levinson said in a release that the new PILOT bill, passed in lame-duck legislative session last year and quickly signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy four days before Christmas, removes internet gaming and sports betting from gaming gross revenues and revises the calculations upon which casino payments to the county are determined.
Under the original PILOT, Atlantic County would receive $22.275 million in payments in 2022. Under the new PILOT the county would receive only $17.550 million, a loss of $4.7 million this year.
“We prepared our 2022 budget based upon the new PILOT legislation. Now with Judge Marczyk’s ruling, it would appear that we will be entitled to the $22.275 million so our budget will need to be adjusted,” Levinson said. “All we ever wanted was what was agreed to by all parties in open court in 2018, including Governor Murphy, to keep Atlantic County taxpayers whole.”
A court hearing will be held on March 8 to determine sanctions and/or damages. The county believes it is wise to wait to see how that will impact this year’s budget.
Levinson said the new introduction date is tentatively scheduled for March 29.