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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey officials say Atlantic City’s water utility will not be privatized.

Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Chiesa (Key-EH’-sah) said Wednesday the state will not seek to sell the utility.

There had been speculation that the state, which had seized control of Atlantic City’s assets and major decision-making power a year ago, would try to sell the water works to help pay down the city’s debt.

Chiesa said he became convinced of the utility’s importance to Atlantic City.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration took over Atlantic City’s finances in November 2016, saying the city wasn’t making the hard choices needed to tame its finances.

Incoming Gov-elect Phil Murphy, a Democrat, has promised to end the takeover.