March 21, 2016 / 10:58 PM / in 3 years

Atlantic City, N.J.'s crisis forces three-week partial government shutdown

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (Reuters) - Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said on Monday that the city’s financial crisis will force a partial government shutdown for three weeks, with city hall closed for the period and public employees working without pay.

A man stands outside a shuttered store on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton - RTX245DV

Police and firefighters in the New Jersey seashore city, which is dominated by its gaming industry, have agreed to work without pay for the three-week period, which will begin April 8, said Guardian, who spoke in Jersey City where he was attending a panel on casino expansion in the state.

The city should begin receiving second-quarter 2016 tax payments on May 2, when it expects to be able to reopen City Hall.

The city is “making every effort to find solutions prior to the April 8th deadline,” Guardian said in a statement.

The gambling hub’s tax base has been decimated by casino competition in neighboring states. Four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos shut in 2014 and remain closed, putting thousands of people out of work.

Bills are making their way through the state legislature to take over city operations and to end devastating casino property tax appeals, but neither would come in time to help Atlantic City with its April deadline.

Guardian on Monday told reporters that Atlantic City would owe its workers back pay.

The city will make its April debt service payment of about $600,000, he said. Schools will remain open during the three-week period.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Leslie Adler

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