ATLANTIC CITY — The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has earmarked $1.5 million for policing in the city’s tourist district, to fund 30 Class II police officers and five full-time officers.
Class II Special Constables exercise full police powers and carry a firearm while on duty. Class II officers work up to 20 hours per week. For many, it’s a step towards full-time police work.
The program began in 2016, according to Rick Santoro, director of CRDA’s Special Enhancement Division. He told the board in a meeting held by telephone on Tuesday that the idea is to give more visibility to the police in the tourist district.
In the past, the CRDA has hired an average of 25 officers, he said, but the Atlantic City Police Department has made changes to the unit. The additional officers will allow for greater stability as Class II officers take on other jobs, Santoro said.
People also read…
Part of the deal with the city will include an increase in hourly pay for officers, he said, although that is still under discussion. He did not say what the current rate is, but said an increase would mean less turnover.
Of the funding for officers, $1.25 million will come from Special Enhancement Division funds, Santoro said.
The approval runs from June 1 of this year until May 21, 2023, depending on the approved resolution.
At the same meeting, the board also approved up to $500,000 to continue demolishing derelict buildings in Atlantic City, and for CRDA Executive Director Sean Pattwell to negotiate a contract with the city for the work. .
According to Lance Landgraf, director of planning and development at CRDA, the demolition project has been underway since 2010, with $7 million in CRDA funding approved so far. He said 73 properties were demolished with CRDA money.
There is $459,000 left in the existing fund, Landgraf said, and the city has requested $1 million.
There is already enough in the fund to demolish around six more properties, he said.
“The project has encouraged dozens of homeowners to repair their structures or demolish them using their own funds to avoid the demolition liens that would apply if the properties were demolished by the city,” he said.
A tax lien is placed on the land once a building is demolished, with the idea that the funds recovered could be used on other properties.
“It didn’t work out as well as we hoped, but it’s still in place,” he said.
The council also approved extending an agreement with the city for CRDA to maintain street lighting in Atlantic City through July 2024.
Contact Bill Barlow: