ATLANTIC CITY (November 20, 2019) – The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved operating budgets for the authority, Meet AC, the Special Improvement Division and the Convention Center Division during Tuesday’s public meeting.
The CRDA budget increased by 14% to $7.13 million, with salary and employee benefits accounting for a majority of the increase, Board Chairman Robert Mulcahy said.
Last year, the $6.7 million budget was increased nearly 10% from 2018 for similar reasons.
Nearly $6.47 million of the CRDA budget is allocated for the operating costs of the Special Improvement Division. The remaining $1.3 million of the SID budget comes from taxes levied on Tourism District properties. The SID assessment of $38 per $100,000 of assessed value has remained flat since 2011, when the CRDA assumed control of the division, Mulcahy said.
Meet AC, the resort’s convention and visitors bureau, will have a $10.39 million budget for 2020, with $10.1 million from the CRDA.
The combined operating subsidy from CRDA for the Atlantic City Convention Center and Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall totaled $12.7 million. Expected revenues for 2020 from the two CRDA-controlled facilities are $4.8 million, which represents a slight increase from 2019 due to increases from the sports wagering tax and the hotel room fee.
CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty said more events have been booked at Boardwalk Hall for next year than at the same time last year for 2019.
All actions adopted by CRDA are subject to a review period of 10 days from the Governor’s Office, which can veto any item.
Board Vice Chairman Richard Tolson said the budgets adopted Tuesday had been rigorously vetted and reviewed by committee members before being presented to the full board.
“These aren’t being passed as easily as it seems,” Tolson said. “I just want to make that clear. … It goes quickly here because of the work that is done before.”
The CRDA also approved $4.7 million to renovate eight restrooms in the Tourism District, specifically on the Boardwalk and in Gardner’s Basin. The improvements include utility upgrades.
Mulcahy characterized the action as an “extremely necessary project” for the city.
“This board is responsible for cleaning (the restrooms),” he said. “I have to tell you that some of our people get sick (when cleaning them) … so this is a really serious thing. It’s important.”
The board rejected a single bid for redevelopment of the Southeast Inlet on the grounds that the scope of the project had changed. CRDA Planning and Development Director Lance Landgraf said the authority was “reevaluating” what should be done with the proposed development land parcels.
An application by the owner of the Showboat Hotel Atlantic City to subdivide multiple land parcels was approved by CRDA, which has zoning and land-use authority in the Tourism District where the former casino is located. No applications for development of the subdivided parcels have been submitted, Landgraf said.
Rosa Farias was introduced as the new deputy executive director of the CRDA. Farias takes over the role vacated by Marshall Spevak, who left the authority in August.