Officials announce 11 percent tax rate decrease for Atlantic City residents

ATLANTIC CITY — Residents will get a larger tax cut than anticipated this year, city and state officials said Friday.

Gov. Chris Christie announced in a statement an overall 11.4 percent tax rate decrease for city property owners on Friday, the first tax cut in almost a decade.

City Council accepted its $206 million budget July 11 with a proposed 5 percent cut in the municipal purpose tax rate, bringing it to about $1.80 per $100 of assessed valuation.

But the county tax rate and the school tax rate also went down, said Mayor Don Guardian, bringing down the total tax rate by more than 11 percent, from $3.86 to $3.42 per $100 from 2016 to this year.

The budget is $35 million less than the previous year’s and $56 million less than the 2015 budget. The cut brings an annual savings of more than $600 for the average household valued at about $150,000.

“We had considerably reduced our budget this year and over the last couple of years,” Guardian said Friday. “I’m just glad that we’re finally able to bring taxes down.”

Guardian previously said he anticipated taxpayers could see a larger cut than anticipated in the total tax bill with school and county tax cuts. He said the city would still like to give taxpayers more reductions, however.

But Christie credited the Department of Community Affairs and former U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa, who leads a state takeover of the city, for the reduction in a statement.

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“Our hard work to stop city officials’ irresponsible spending habits is bearing tangible fruit for Atlantic City residents,” Christie said in a statement.

The budget is the first accepted since the state took over the city’s finances in November.

Tim Cunningham, the state director of local government services, said at the July 11 City Council meeting that the city and its budget were moving in the “right direction.”

The statement also mentioned hope in the city’s future, citing Hard Rock and Stockton University’s investment in the city.

“The city is on the road to living within its means,” Chiesa said in a statement. “We’re not done yet, but we’ve made tremendous progress that working families can appreciate. We’ll continue to work hard to make even more gains for the city’s residents and businesses.”

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