Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Legal objections to arena and Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone are disappearing with local earned income taxes no longer part of the funding stream.
Bethlehem Township commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to drop its stake in a lawsuit that has for months held up construction of a hockey arena in downtown Allentown. Bethlehem Township was one of at least 11 municipalities across the Lehigh Valley that sued to stop Pennsylvania from funneling a portion of their earned income taxes toward project funding. As part of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, state, local and school district earned income taxes collected from employees who work within a 130-acres area of center city Allentown were redirected toward projects to revitalize the city, including the $158 million hockey arena. But new legislation adopted in June removes the local and school district taxes from the funding …
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Commissioners say they won't drop lawsuit unless NIZ law is amended, earned income taxes come off the table and the special taxing zone is made smaller.
Bethlehem Township Commissioners on Monday night rejected the settlement offer from Allentown to drop a lawsuit that is holding up construction of a hockey arena at the corner of Seventh and Hamilton streets downtown. Instead, commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution that says the township will not consider dropping the lawsuit unless three things happen: Bethlehem Township is one of 11 townships to file and join in a lawsuit to stop revenue collection through the NIZ, which will take earned income taxes normally sent back to the home municipality of employees who work in the designated zone, and funnel it into the arena and other qualifying development projects in the zone. The actual financial impact on affected municipalities is…
Monday, May 21, 2012
Bethlehem Township Commissioners are expected to discuss city's settlement offer, which would allow construction to continue.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Bethlehem Township Commissioners are expected to discuss the Allentown arena project and their role in a lawsuit that could halt the project during a public meeting tonight at the township office building. The “City of Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone,” is on the commissioners’ agenda as a “discussion item” tonight. The Morning Call reports that commissioners expect to discuss – for the first time publicly – Allentown’s offer to settle the lawsuit out of court. The city plans to build a $220 million arena, office and hotel complex at Seventh and Hamilton streets. The project is being funded by a special 130-acre tax zone where all state and local income taxes will be used to develop properties inside the zone. The use of this …
Friday, March 23, 2012
Bethlehem Township joined Hanover Township this week in approving legal action to stop funding mechanism for arena project?
This week, Bethlehem Township became the second municipality to decide to sue to stop the application of local earned income taxes to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone. The NIZ, created in legislation written by State Sen. Pat Browne, R-16, is designed to provide a funding mechanism for revitalization of Allentown’s center city and western riverfront neighborhoods. The first project is to build a hockey arena that will be the home to the Phantoms, a minor league team to the Philadelphia Flyers. Under the law, state and local earned income taxes from the 130-acre zone will be put into a special fund that will be used to pay for the $158 million arena and other revitalization projects, instead of being distributed among the …
Friday, March 16, 2012
Taxing bodies still waiting for answers from Allentown on its Neighborhood Improvement Zone, which threatens flow of earned income taxes.
Representatives of most of the municipalities and school boards of Lehigh and Northampton counties met for the second time in the past month Thursday morning to discuss Allentown’s new Neighborhood Improvement Zone and its impact on their earned income tax collections. But the discussion was short and uneventful because they are waiting for promised answers to questions submitted to Allentown officials last month. City officials have told leaders of the Tax Collection Committees of both counties that they are still trying to compile the necessary information. “In my opinion, they are operating in good faith,” said Steve Miller, chairman of the committee. “They aren’t trying to stonewall.” Nonetheless, at least one municipality has …
Friday, February 17, 2012
Neighborhood Improvement Zone will divert $550,000 in earned income tax to arena, other Allentown development; away from other Lehigh Valley school districts and municipalities.
A special tax incentive zone set up to help Allentown build a hockey arena and redevelop other parts of its downtown and waterfront will skim an estimated $550,000 in earned income taxes from surrounding municipalities and school districts. So reported Garret Strathearn, Allentown’s director of finance, who had the unenviable task of discussing and defending the Neighborhood Improvement Zone to a group of local government officials who gathered Thursday morning at the Hanover Township Community Center in Northampton County for a special joint session of the Tax Collection Committees of both Lehigh and Northampton counties. By the end of the session, many of those officials remained as they were – frustrated about the apparent secrecy under…