The Bridgeton Port Authority has not been operating for years. They have no ships, no bridges and no port and for many years no board of commissioners. They also failed to prepare budgets and audits for years and did not maintain a website as required by state law.
Recently, the Authority’s board was reconstituted with appointees consisting mainly of city council members for the purpose of selling the Authority’s heavily mortgaged warehouse building. However, the state Local Finance Board held them to the fire for their failure to file financial documents and required production of many back audits.
Thomas Neff, Chairman of the state Local Finance Board, said, “Here we have an authority that doesn’t do any of those things. With all due respect it is a port authority and there isn’t a single boat anywhere — or a slip for that matter. They don’t have staff and they don’t do anything.”
Further, the mortgage on the Authority’s building is in arrears and is held by a local businessman, who has filed suit to be paid. The parties plan to mediate a settlement to discharge the mortgage. The municipality has been covering the Authority’s costs for legal and other professional services.
In light of the Authority’s continued lack of compliance and questionable need to exist at all, the state may vote in January to close them down.