Atlantic City’s Mayor Promises Change

Don Guardian (l.), Atlantic City’s new mayor, says the city is already making changes to become more business friendly and spur development. But he also acknowledged that the city is in “troubled waters.”

Donald Guardian, Atlantic City’s new mayor, said the city is trying to steer its way out of “troubled waters” and changes are already in the works at City Hall.

Guardian—speaking at a recent economic development forum—said the city cannot expect more financial aid from the state of New Jersey.

“We’re going to bring the city back. I have to figure out how to get the dollars,” he said.

One way, he said, is to make the city friendlier for investors.

The city is installing computer software linking departments such as construction, planning, zoning and licensing, to speed applications he said and City Hall also will open at 6:30am instead of 8:30am so that contractors can pick up permits before starting work.

Guardian also promised that streets outside the city’s tourism district will get the same level of cleaning, landscaping and other attention as that state-run zone by July 4. He also repeated his plan to offer free plots of land to people who will build on them and pay taxes quickly.

According to the Associated Press, Tim Lizura, president of the state Economic Development Authority, toured Atlantic City with Guardian and came away convinced that the new mayor is serious about spurring new development.

“I think for the first time we’ve got the right people on the property to make a meaningful difference,” Lizura said.