ATLANTIC CITY – While Governor Christie is in town for the ground breaking at the new Stockton Campus, local residents, workers, faith & civil rights leaders held a press conference to send a message to him that the state takeover has a significant negative impact on a host of issues impacting Atlantic City.
“Privatization has a long history of failing workers and taxpayers in New Jersey” said NJ State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech. “Time and time again, whether it’s the privatization of the State Lottery, the DMV or auto inspections, the road of privatization contracts “gone bad” is a long one. The privatization of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) would bring with it traditional “reforms” such as immediate reduction in workers’ wages and benefits. And although privatization often promises minor savings up front as an enticement to enter into the contract, in the long term, taxpayer costs and user fees are increased and services are reduced” concluded Wowkanech.
As a result of the state takeover, the potential for the privatization of Atlantic City services now looms – including the privatization of water services at the Municipal Utilities Authority. The negative impact of these cuts to workers, residents of Atlantic City and the environment could be drastic.
“Food & Water Watch is proud to join dozens of organizations in standing with the Atlantic City Citizens Against the Takeover,” said Mary Grant, Public Water For All Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch. “Atlantic City residents have fundamental human rights to water and deserve to decide the future of their water system. Water privatization would sacrifice local control over a service essential for public health and wellbeing. It would likely lead to higher rates and worse customer service for generations.”
The state is also currently pursuing drastic cuts to public safety, including police & firefighters.
“Atlantic City residents have seen their taxes double since 2010, yet, their fire department service has been cut in half,” said Bill DiLorenzo, President of Atlantic City Firefighters Local 198. “I doubt taxpayers would call that progress in regard to public safety.”
Simply stated, the harsh realities of the misguided state takeover of Atlantic City are setting in and has the potential to grow significantly.
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