Friday, April 20, 2012

Northampton County Council To Take Up NIZ in May

During Wednesday's Finance Committee, NorCo Council Prez John Cusick pointed to numerous problems with the way the Allentown Neighborhood Zone was created. While Townships and Boroughs have objected to a diversion of EIT to help finance the arena and office buildings, Cusick is worried that the subsidized rents in the City Without Limits will have a negative impact on commercial rentals in Northampton County. This could lead major commercial landholders to seek assessment reductions, depriving the County of needed property tax revenue.

Of all the arguments I've heard against the NIZ in recent weeks, Cusick provided perhaps the best analysis I've heard to date.

It might have been too good.

At Thursday night's Council meeting, former Council member Ron Angle spoke during courtesy of the floor. Before addressing the NIZ itself, Angle teed off on Cusick for his absence from the LVEDC meeting at which the NIZ was endorsed.

Cusick, a teacher, has delegated that responsibility to his VP, Peg Ferraro.

She missed the meeting as well, noting it was her first absence this year.

"It's great to grandstand, but you were needed there to cast your vote," Angle chided Cusick.

Despite antagonizing his former Council members (he also took a cheap shot at Scott Parsons later in the meeting over something else), Angle actually did agree with him about the NIZ.

"The only two people making out on this are Ed Pawlowski, with his campaign contributions, and his developer friend, who got all the sweetheart deals," Angle barked. He also credited Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan for his vote against endorsing the NIZ. " He sets there with Martin Tower. Do you think he's ever going to be able to fill Martin Tower while they're giving away square footage over in Allentown, right down the road?"

Angle wanted Council to vote to sue then and there. "I would hope you'd wake up today. Somebody wasn't awake yesterday," he argued, mixing personal animosity with legitimate points.

Instead of responding to Angle, Cusick's reaction was to move onto something else.

I pretty much thought that was the end of it. But just before the meeting ended, Council member Barb Thierry raised the same concerns already expressed by Cusick, Bob Werner, and to some extent, Scott Parsons. Thierry suggested adopting a resolution, and Cusick agreed that Council will consider the matter during its first meeting in May.

That will be too late for a formal intervention, but the County would still be able to file its own lawsuit, submit an amicus brief or decide to address the LV delegation among state lawmakers.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

These wasteful idiots blew time on a fracking discussion in a county where it will never happen. Then, they wring their hands over approving career spender/taker Stoffa's mind-boggling 10% tax increase. They should all resign and return the money they were paid for last night's ridiculous meeting. They're either the dumbest gang of blithering fools, or the laziest bunch of spineless worms in office. A deadly communicable disease that effects them all is the only hope for struggling taxpayers. Live short, that we may have a shot at prospering.

Mark Baker said...

Very disappointing. Thought they were going to act like real elected officals there for awhile.

"You snooze, you lose"

Anonymous said...

We had such high hopes for this new gang. Oh for the daze of Angle VS Dertinger. Let's bring them back and throw in Seyfried and Capozzolo and McHale too! Wayne Grube is spinning

Anonymous said...

This council does need to go, but would we get new members who would do any better? Not so sure. Last night was a disaster. They spend time on things that matter little and ignore what they should be dong. The NIZ was the topic of the evening and they all (mostly) sat with their thumbs in their mouths. There was no leadership on this when it mattered. The evening before many of them had a lot to say as private citizens, which they are not. One person raised the concern looking for direction and got very little, but maybe just enough. We will see how serious they are if this gets resurrected.

Anonymous said...

In 2013 most of them will be gone..No question about it...

Anonymous said...

It's easy to debate but REAL LEADERSHIP would have taken action that would have immediate impact.

Grow some courage council!

Anonymous said...

Way to go Cusick..Best way to annoy Angle is to ignore him..

Anonymous said...

Ignore Angle....How petty and at whose expense? As far as members leaving in 2013 I think all or most only wanted 1 term so your threats are wasted here. You get want you deserve. You only think the R's spend money........$800,000.00 for council chambers? Never pass up a chance to give a handout...Higher taxes are looming.

Anonymous said...

All or most wanted one term?? LOl.
That's bullshit, but we'll see next year...Either way, they'll get their wish..It's no threat but fact..All those who opposed Gracedale lost..The others that did will lose next year..Simple..
Higher taxes are looming because the last council refused to listen to Stoffa 's advise and raise taxes.

Anonymous said...

It was weak nobody from Northampton County showed up for the LVEDC vote.

No way around it.

Anonymous said...

Bernie I see why you call them Gracedale goons....Taxes should have been raised by all of the council members who wanted to keep GD. That was the right thing for them to do. Instead they listened to Barron who said the county had plenty of money. Privatize what you can. One year and done because they know the greedy union members will come out against them. They did not care. They tried to do the right thing. Which is why I voted them in. Let's see what happens with GD in the near future. My guess is they were right. GREED will not always win. Where are the give backs? What a joke.

Anonymous said...

The real problem is at the top. did anyone grill Stoffa on his absence? He already raised taxes and now again? He inherited the largest surplus in County history. Just like Bush, he blew it. Yet he accomplished very little.

I think this county council is just following in the sad example of John Stoffa.

By the way Steve Barron is not the COAF, nor is he in county council. They voted the tax increase down, no one else.

Anonymous said...

Under the Democrats Stoffa did spend a lot of money...Council members decided Barron was right and not Doran which gave them cover to vote against a tax increase. They got to keep Gracedale, didn't raise taxes and they listened to Barron who told them what they needed to hear. Now we wait to see....

Anonymous said...

Who the hell cares about the asbestos laden monument to corporate greed, Martin Tower? Sell raffle tickets to push the button to implode it and build an arena there! The N I Z is a good thing for Allentown and the entire LV. The arena will create thousands of jobs. But these whiny suberbs, where former Allentownians fled and now have taj mahal community centers and municipal buildings and high paid managers are now crying about delayed revenue. BOO HOO.

Anonymous said...

That's one heck of an attitude, 5:18. It sums up exactly why people like me think NIZ advocates are huge assholes.

Anonymous said...

So the Republican council members used Barron as the excuse for their no vote on the Stoffa tax, yeah right. You baggers are so funny.

Anonymous said...

10:49 go hide in your NIMBY McMansion and ignore what's best for the area.

Anonymous said...

Republican council members wanted to privatize Gracedale and lost. Why should they vote to raise taxes? The D's wanted to keep GD so it was on them to raise taxes to support it. They did not and Barron gave them the phony numbers of which they had the conversation about before the meeting. You do not have to be a teabagger to see what happened here.

As far as Allentown and the NIZ. These towns get plenty of money from the surrounding areas they love to attack. Only here can you drive thru and see so many people not at work. Here you see so many ares simply not cared about be the neighborhood. Here you see the properties showing little if any pride. Soap, water. paint a little lawncare and general cleaning up would go a long way. We can't legislate pride, cleanliness. order, commomsense or ambition. This is not the whole area but certainly parts of it. You see very little of this out of town. So just how much additional money does the 52% need to make this all better? Lose us and you are done.

Anonymous said...

This last comment hits home! You can't legislate pride!

However you can assist the city with funds to improve and clean-up or clean-out the rat nest's that have accumulated in the cities.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't Allentown get a ton of money from a Casino that doesn't even exist THERE?

Where did that money go?

Anonymous said...

52% is exactly the amount of Casino revenue that John Stoffa signed away to Allentown and Lehigh county. Also there was a little known provision in the "agreement" that made Northampton county give some money to Bethlehem to make up for what they gave away.

This brand of regionalism was a win win for everyone but Northampton County, where it was a big "LOSE" "LOSE".

Gee, I wonder what those millions lost could be doing in Human Services were it was intended to go when the legislation was written. This will be an election issue next year. Also the ability to fix a Human Services system that has been desperately needs reform at the local level.
Learn the facts. Stay in school.

Anonymous said...

Barron and his creepy ilk are experts on teabagging. Only Geeting is more skilled. It must be a New York thing.

Anonymous said...

Why do you teabaggers keep getting on Barron?? Did he vote on the budget? The Republicans didn't argue too much about what Doran said, if they did, they would have voted for the tax increase.

You guys want it both ways. What if Barron never spoke. The Republicans were in the majority and Stoffa says I need a tax increase, would they have said FU to Stoffa and voted down a tax increase?

It was their vote pure and simple. Stoffa said I need a tax increase to run the government and the members of council, the majority Republicans, voted no. That is their vote pure and simple. They own their votes

Hell, this one isn't even Stoffa's fault. Stop the bullshit!

Anonymous said...

"10:49 go hide in your NIMBY McMansion and ignore what's best for the area.

11:45 PM"

Hey 11:45, it's 10:49 again. What's best for the area is fiscal sanity. Sadly, the arena and accompanying DEBT are insane. You cannot build an empire on debt. That's called a PONZI scheme.

My McMansion sure beats the hell out of a run down row home next door to loud dogs and screaming people who leave trash everywhere and ignore common decency in their everyday living. You bet I don't want that crap in my backyard.

This arena plan will absolutely and completely devastate this town's financial future. I am truly scared about what might happen when Allentown goes belly-up. It is a real and possible risk; a risk that looks more probable every day. This town has potential, but we are not capitalizing on our assets. Instead, we are catering to the very few with schemes designed by greed. It makes me sick.

Sam said...

"Soap, water. paint a little lawncare and general cleaning up would go a long way. We can't legislate pride, cleanliness. order, commomsense or ambition."

Hey, you know that's a great idea! Maybe we could start a little contest and reward people with things like golden rakes for keeping their house clean and tidy. Won't the residents of Allentown love that? I would be more than happy to spearhead such an effort - for about $133K!

Anonymous said...

Like I said, the R's wanted to sell GD. They campaigned on smaller government. Which is still needed. since the D's and at least one R wanted to keep GD and got cover from Barron saying the county was flushed with money. They used his numbers to duck a tax increase while keeping GD. How many D's voted for the increase....none. Why would the R's vote for an increase? The D's had it both ways so let them fall on the sword along with Mr. Poppinfresh. Sooner or later they will have to vote for an increase regardless of how much money Barron says the county has.












.

Anonymous said...

So Republican council members have no core principles and will just take the cowardly way out and vote no to the Stoffa tax increase because of Barron?

If Stoffa asks for another tax increase, will the Reublican counil members vote for it? Will they beg Barron to tell them they don't have to?

Or will they blame FDR and the "New Deal" for their vote?

Anonymous said...

So Republican council members have no core principles and will just take the cowardly way out and vote no to the Stoffa tax increase because of Barron?

If Stoffa asks for another tax increase, will the Reublican counil members vote for it? Will they beg Barron to tell them they don't have to?

Or will they blame FDR and the "New Deal" for their vote?

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath waiting for the republicans to vote for a tax increase. The spending is out of hand and the cuts are too few. It's not politics it's the way they themselves live and manage their own finances. There are surely some smart Dems out there who do this also.No one wants to increase taxes but the Dems can't say no to anyone so at least they should vote for more of your money to fund this. And this is if you work and own property. The others certainly do not care where or how it comes. They just have needs. We could afford helping those who really need it, but being government this is another corrupt area. Fraud and abuse aplenty...

Anonymous said...

A lot of words no substance. No one twisted the Republicans arms to vote against Stoffa. Do they not have confidence in the candidate their own party endorsed. You hatred of Democrats is clear. You hypocrisy on Republicans is just as clear.

Anonymous said...

amon 5:35...makes sense to me....can't take the heat GEt OUT of the kitchen....