|Solicitor Jim Broughal|
Obviously, Supervisors met with Frank to discuss a possible settlement to their constitutional challenge to the statutory framework creating Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). Hanover and Bethlehem Townships have told Commonwealth Court that it is unconstitutional "special" legislation that could only ever apply to Allentown.
Why do Supervisors care? Because in the NIZ, the EIT of Township residents can be used by the developer to fund his construction projects instead of going into a Township's general fund.
Allentown has offered to allow affected municipalities, which do include other cities, to keep the existing EIT of their residents working inside the NIZ. But it wants to keep the EIT of residents who are lured there by the subsidized rents offered by J.B. Reilly and other NIZ developers.
Rejecting this offer, Allentown's neighbors have proposed that the Queen City keep the EIT, but in a much smaller NIZ than the current 130 acres. Townships and office building developers both believe they can absorb the loss of EIT from downtown development, near a proposed hockey arena. But they worry about the development being considered along the riverfront, and its impact on their bottom line.
Allentown has rejected this counter-offer, but was reportedly ready to unveil Plan C during last night's executive session. It will be presented to Bethlehem Township Commissioners in another executive session today.
What is it?
Hanover's sealed up tighter than a drum. I tried leaving a few bugs in the room. But Township Manager Jay Finnigan brought in the dogs, and they ate my listening devices.
In contrast to the Townships, Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski will probably hold a news conference to reveal his latest offer and threaten lawsuits if they don't play ball.
One thing is very clear. Townships, and not Pawlowski, are in the driver's seat. If he wants to float bonds, he better be ready to mollify both Townships and developers like Abe Atiyeh.
You don't achieve that by suing them for $150 million.