Looking to build and strengthen relations between the city and the county, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson sat down last night in Steve and Cookie’s in Margate.
“The lieutenant governor asked me to make that one of our priorities,” Small told InsiderNJ, referring to improved relations between the two government entities.
Small also felt compelled to undertake improved ties on his own.
Small, a Democrat, described his talk with Levinson, a Republican, as productive and “mutually beneficial to the city and the county,” and to the enhancement of their constituencies.
“I go back with the county executive for a long time,” said the mayor.
Levinson likewise spoke well of the dinner and said it bodes well for the future of Atlantic City and Atlantic County.
“We’ve always had a professional relationship and we now have a personal relationship as well,” Levinson told InsiderNJ.
There was some context to Levinson wanting to make sure people understand his relations with Atlantic City.
On July 29th, the county received award damages following the court’s previous ruling that the State of New Jersey had violated the terms of the 2018 Consent Order of Settlement with regard to the Casino Property Tax Stabilization Act commonly referred to as the Casino PILOT (payment-in-lieu-of taxes) bill.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Blee’s order requires the state to pay Atlantic County $2,362,500 within five days for the shortfall in payments made to the county thus far in 2022. Judge Blee also granted an increase in payments to the county that are due on Aug. 15 and Nov. 15. As a result, the county would receive more than $22 million in PILOT payments this year.
Levinson said he took exception that “the state’s attorneys stated in open court that this case was not about the unfairness of the PILOT amendment, but rather Levinson’s ‘antagonistic attitude against the State of New Jersey and Atlantic City,’ and was based upon an emotional, political argument of Levinson rather than a legal basis.”
“That’s hogwash,” Levinson said. “This was never personal; it was about standing up for the people I represent. With this ruling, the courts have substantiated my position.”
In a conversation earlier today with InsiderNJ, Levinson said the attorney in question “never met me in his life. I was not emotional and political.”
“I wanted to get that straightened out [with Mayor Small],” he added. “It was a very productive meeting, and I’m going to do everything I can to see to it that Atlantic City is successful.”