ATLANTIC CITY - Atlantic City's mayor says the cash-strapped city has made a $1.8 million bond payment.
Republican Mayor Don Guardian said the city made the payment at 10 a.m. Monday after considering the effects on cities around the state and Atlantic City if it didn't pay up.
But Guardian says the city is "running on fumes" as state leaders continue to argue over plans to help the struggling city avoid bankruptcy.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't put the bonds before payroll, over schools, before anyone else and after doing a careful review we made the decision to pay the bonds,” Guardian says. “We think it was a viable solution. We think it was the right decision."
Guardian says that he faulted Gov. Chris Christie for refusing a state bailout. The mayor says that he wanted to avoid following in Fort Lee's footsteps in the 1930s when it failed to pay debt leading to bankruptcy.
"It would have a very negative effect on Atlantic City, our current cash flow, certainly all the municipalities near Atlantic City and even the county of Atlantic,” says Guardian.
Guardian pushed for an Assembly bill that would give Atlantic City two years on its own before a state takeover. Gov. Christie and some state senators want a state takeover immediately, something the mayor says the ACLU may help fight.
The New Jersey Senate has already passed a takeover plan supported by Gov. Christie and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, but Democratic Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has refused to put it up for a vote in that chamber, partly because it would allow the state to break union contracts.
Atlantic City’s next debt payment is due in June. Mayor Guardian says he can't say for sure if it will be paid.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.