Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"Transparent" NIZ Board Starts Off With Sunshine Act Violations

According to the Express Times, the Dizzy Nizzy Board held its inaugural meeting today. Chairman Sy Traub solemnly proclaimed they'd be as open and transparent as possible, and then they quickly voted on matters that Traub admitted had already been decided in the back room during "educational and orientation" meetings.

I guess the Sunshine Law is just a guideline in Allentown, which has been anything but transparent in all decisions concerning its controversial Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

At least Traub was "transparent" about his "lack of transparency," so he's got that going for him.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Not surprising about the Board.

Also, I was just reading the Call about the settlement the Mayor is offering to the suburbs.

Under Pawlowski’s offer, municipalities would be able to keep “current” EIT revenues from non-city residents working in the zone. The problem lies with the word “current”, which seems to mean what the municipalities were getting before the NIZ existed.

Basically, developers can build taxpayer-subsidized buildings that the City can use to poach businesses from the suburbs - FOR YEARS. This is because of the below-market rental rates in the taxpayer-subsidized NIZ, where the developers don’t have to worry about paying their own debt on their buildings.

So suburban municipalities can not only say goodbye to whatever business taxes they were receiving, but also any EIT revenue from suburban residents who move with their businesses into the NIZ. What a deal!

But the loss isn't only limited to suburbs with businesses moving from that particular suburb into the NIZ. The suburbs can also say goodbye to the EIT of suburban residents (say of S. Whitehall) who work in another municipality (say Emmaus) and whose employer is then lured into the NIZ. Before the NIZ, South Whitehall would have gotten the EIT on their resident. With the NIZ, they get nothing.

When you think it through, you have to wonder why ANY municipality outside the city wouldn't join the lawsuit.

While I guess we should be happy that the city has finally calculated the amount of EIT being taken from the suburbs, the “deal” doesn’t pass the smell test. I don’t know if the suburban municipalities will accept this deal, but if they do, maybe Pawlowski has a bridge to sell them as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's a bullshit offer, especially since it has no application to future EIT. I suspect it will be rejected. If King Edwin were to take EIT off the table completely, municipalities might hold their noses and walk away. But I think Pawlowski is too greedy to do that, so he will try to bully them. His countersuit threat is the worst thing he could have done to Finnigan, Hanover Supervisors or Bethlehem Township Supervisors. They already don't trust the guy.

Anonymous said...

Does the "offer" only apply to those two townships?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I assume it applies to all municipalities, but only know what I've read.

Anonymous said...

The offer is to make the suburbs look bad. It will backfire. NIZ needs to go.

The Mayor needs to learn from Finnigan and the township, "No Comment."

Negotiating in the press won't work!!

Anonymous said...

This fiasco would not be a fiasco if Government were not involved in the risky business of financing sports arenas.

Then transparency, or lack thereof, would not be so much of issue here ...

JUST SAYIN'

zoid said...

As I understand it, this "deal" would return EIT to all municipalities and I agree if all of the current and "future" EIT in the NIZ is not part of the deal, the deal will most certainly be rejected. I also agree with Bernie, King Ed needs not play this in the press, he is cutting his own throat and I agree that making a threat to countersue is really counterproductive, i thought he was talking about regionalism. Who does he think he is, Abe.

zoid said...

How are we guaranteed that they will return the EIT, they most certainly will have to post a bond or something because sure as hell no one trusts them at this point and their word is shit.

Anonymous said...

So now we'd have:

Pre-NIZ
Post-NIZ

Opt out NIZ, still KOZ
NIZ, but part of KOZ



The Mayor must think the burbs are stupid. That only occurs trying to follow his offer and blurred vision.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Zoid, Another problem is they still take the future EIT.

Anonymous said...

I'm interested to know where this new 8 or 9 million sum of money is coming from. Maybe money does grow on trees in King Edwin's manor.

Anonymous said...

whores all

Anonymous said...

Free Legal opinion:

Hizzoner can make all the offers he wants. Unless the Commonwealth signs off on the deal, it's no deal!

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

Does the Allentown School District's .5% of EIT get held up the same as the other municipalities?

That's one group that can't afford to lose the money, even if you could believe that it is only going to be tied up for a short time.

Perhaps ASD should join the lawsuit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They won't. They're hoping that the real estate assessments n the NIZ will increase, offsetting the loss of EIT.