Friday, April 13, 2012

Will South Whitehall Join NIZ Litigation?

South Whitehall Township might be the first Lehigh County municipality to join seven Northampton County local governments in a legal challenge to Allentown's controversial Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). There will be an "official position" in the "coming days," according to a Thursday news release from Township Manager Jon Hammer.

Allentown plans to divert the Earned Income Taxes from nonresidents who work inside a 130-acre NIZ in the downtown and along the Lehigh River. Instead of passing this local tax revenue back to surrounding municipalities where these nonresidents live, the money will instead help pay for a hockey arena and other improvements over the next thirty years.

South Whitehall appears to be dissatisfied at the lack of information, the diverson of EIT, and the outright diversion of the Township's own businesses.
To date, South Whitehall Township has not taken an official action for or against the NIZ. It has been our hope that we would be provided with information which would be useful in determining our exposure as it relates to diverted Earned Income Tax revenue (EIT). This information has not been delivered and may not be available until June.

Further compounding our concerns are the artificially subsidized rents that will be charged within the Zone. Ironically, our Earned Income Tax will be used to subsidize lower rents within the NIZ, potentially luring South Whitehall businesses into the NIZ
and out of South Whitehall.

We remain hopeful that we can a collaborative and amicable resolution in the coming days.

South Whitehall's Board of Commissioners is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the Public Meeting Room of the Township Municipal Building located at 4444 Walbert Avenue.

15 comments:

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

Your reporting knocks me out. How you keep on top on all this stuff, make all the meetings, do your walks and follow Gat blows me away. As I ask you the other night, when do you sleep?

This story is top notch and if a blogging Pulitzer existed, you'd win hands down.

Bill Coker said...

Bernie,

Your reporting knocks me out. How you keep on top on all this stuff, make all the meetings, do your walks and follow Gat blows me away. As I ask you the other night, when do you sleep?

This story is top notch and if a blogging Pulitzer existed, you'd win hands down.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill, All I did was post a news release, but I'll take the compliment. Your check is in the mail.

Bill Coker said...

Obviously that should be asked.

Sorry

Anonymous said...

Appreciate your work, as well. You provide a quick reference and the latest information to those of us who appreciate not having to dig it out.

Anonymous said...

The Township would be a big loser to the NIZ. They have a generous amount of office space in the Township.

Besides having JERAS, Jaindl, Frederick and Roma as landowners all set up to take a hit from the NIZ.

It's ironic the arena itself...is almost an afterthought now. It's really about everything going in around the arena.

SWT Resident said...

I see very little coming out of a lawsuit filed by South Whitehall. Remember the outrage and civil/criminal charges and court wins by the Township against the "Bubble House". A blatant zoning violation that still exists to this day! The Township refuses to enforce their own court orders against the violation so why will they follow through with a lawsuit against a city where the Township manager lives and at one time worked in the Mayors office?

Anonymous said...

You will see all the piranhas jumping in the water now. Thank god Hanover had the vision and foresight to get out of the gate on this one.

Anonymous said...

South Whitehall at least is in Lehigh County and probably has more people in the NIZ than all the Norco townships involved.

But, South Whitehall isn't shy in taking all the tax benefits avaliable. How about the idea of all amusement taxes being directed to the state? I bet they wouldn't be happy losing the Dorney Park gravy. But the county does lots for them.

Anonymous said...

Dorney and south Whitehall have a binding agreement, Dorney park pays a direct annual fee to South Whitehall which helps offset police presence and traffic concerns during the summer. No way Dorney or Hershey park allow legislation to go through directing any amusement tax to the state. What South Whitehall should do is bill the city of allentown every time Woodlawn fire company has their cascade unit go to a fire in the city which is 3-4 times a week.

Anonymous said...

Hammer is a Bill Heydt disciple and knows Allentown better than anyone. He also knows the suburban side of things. He's also good friends with Broughal, his old Bethlehem Township solicitor. This is a huge development if South Whitehall gets involved.

Anonymous said...

Is Harrisburg listening. Hello. Oh the Gov is being entertained by JB and friends tonight. I wonder if there is anyone keeping their ear close to the doors like Allentown sent to the Best Western.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Lou & Lisa Pektor, who are adversely affected by the NIZ, were at that fundraiser. Hopefully, they had an opportunity to speak to the Governor.

zoid said...

I believe South Whitehall will be in as well as Palmer Township.

Anonymous said...

its on the agenda for tomorrow night, this is going to be great!