FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Outlook Was Revised to Positive from Stable Because of City’s Improved Operating Environment and Structural Financial Improvement

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) highlights that S&P Global Rating revised its outlook of the City of Atlantic City finances to positive from stable in a credit report it issued Friday evening. In its assessment, S&P cited the city’s improved operating environment and structural financial improvement, as well as ongoing DCA oversight of city finances under the Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act.

The positive outlook determination was the second one the city received this month. On December 1, Moody’s Investors Service also revised its outlook of the city to positive. Both S&P and Moody’s are among the top credit rating agencies in the country.

“I want to commend the city’s professional staff and DCA’s Atlantic City team for the tremendous work they are doing to improve the city’s finances. The S&P and Moody’s reports show what can be accomplished through strong collaboration and financial discipline,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly dealt a setback, I remain confident the city will overcome the challenges it faces to achieve the goal laid out in the Atlantic City Transition Report issued in September 2018 – to build a foundation for a shared prosperity for all.”  

The S&P report noted that: “The positive outlook reflects our view that Atlantic City is likely to realize stable financial performance and may continue to improve its financial position over our two-year outlook period, despite its acute economic challenges. Atlantic City has been under state oversight since 2016 and the state--through its Department of Community Affairs (DCA)--has provided important financial and technical support to the city, which has in turn led to stronger budgetary flexibility and management allowing it to navigate an extremely adverse economic environment in 2020 without much financial deterioration.”

The S&P report listed the following city accomplishments:

  • Passed and adopted recent city budgets in a timely fashion;
  • Reported general fund surplus in fiscal 2019, with another projected in fiscal 2020;
  • Considerably reduced its outstanding payables and deferred charges;
  • Continues its implementation of recommendations from the Atlantic City Transition Report ("Atlantic City: Building a Foundation for a Shared Prosperity") that provides a path forward for fiscal and economic recovery;
  • Making progress to diversify the tax base, notably pursuing the offshore wind industry; and
  • Adopted robust budget planning and monitoring procedures that have helped produce positive results.

DCA continues to execute the Atlantic City Implementation Plan, which identifies strategic recommendations for the city and includes targeted timeframes to complete the recommendations. The State also created the Atlantic City Restart and Recovery Working Group to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on Atlantic City. The group has been meeting regularly since July and plans to provide the Murphy Administration with recommendations soon.

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055