The first Republican mayor elected in Atlantic City since 1990 is vowing to improve cooperation between the city and the state.

 

Gov. Chris Christie and Mayor Lorenzo Langford have clashed on the state's plans for the city's tourism district.

But Don Guardian, elected Tuesday, said he has a great relationship with state officials forge as part of his job as head of the city's Special Improvement District.

"Everyone has expressed an interest in helping Atlantic City, and we need a lot of help," Guardian said. "There's a lot that's broken here, and I look forward to working with the state, the governor, our state assemblymen and senators in working together to rebuild our city."

Efforts will continue to make all areas of the city cleaner and safer, Guardian said. He said he'd like to work on reducing taxes, as well as finding a more equitable way to determine how casinos pay their property tax so the city doesn't have to fight tax appeals every year -- and lose to the casinos.

Daniel Douglas, who directs the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton College, said Guardian's victory creates a greater opportunity for the city to work with New Jersey on the five-year plan to make the casino district more attractive to visitors.

"Mayor Langford had opposed much of that legislation. Mr. Guardian seems to be supportive and has worked within it in his role with the special improvement district," Douglas said. "So I think it's an opportunity to see if he can make it work."