Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hanover Votes To End NIZ Challenge

"We had to bite our tongue," notes Supervisors' Chair Diacogiannis
Hanover Township got the ball rolling. It was the first municipality to support a legal challenge to Allentown's controversial Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). A creature of a 2009 state law that could only ever apply to Allentown, it authorized the diversion of all EIT from workers inside a 130-acre NIZ, even those who reside outside the Queen City.

Sixteen townships and boroughs, along with a school district, eventually joined this litigation.

State legislators listened, and on June 30, amended the NIZ law to remove language that authorized an EIT tax grab. They also expanded the definition of a Neighborhood Improvement Zone so that it could conceivably apply to other municipalities.

Following an executive session before their July 24 meeting, Supervisors unanimously voted to authorize Solicitor Jim Broughal to terminate the challenge when he determines it is in the best interest of the Township and its residents.

After filing this suit, both Hanover and Bethlehem Townships were peppered with twenty-eight Right-to-Know requests filed by Allentown DCED Director Sara Hailstone. In addition, Morning Call columnist Bill White called township officials "smug" and "hypocrites."

"We had to bite our tongue and just take it," remarked Supervisors' Chair John Diacogiannis. But after the vote, he spoke out. Instead of lashing out, he wished Allentown well on the "difficult challenge" of revitalization. He explained that the litigation was never aimed at the Allentown arena or even the NIZ, but at "ill-conceived legislation that took away a revenue stream for local municipalities and school districts. This loss of revenue over a 30 year period would have had significant impact on many of these entities."

On July 16, Bethlehem Township authorized Solicitor Jim Broughal, who also represents Hanover, to withdraw the NIZ lawsuit at his discretion. Since that time, Palmer, Lower Nazareth, Upper Nazareth and Lower Saucon Townships have all voted to pull out

Chairman John  Diacogiannis' complete statement:

I am pleased that we have been able to withdraw this lawsuit. This has been a very difficult time for all of us. As we have been saying over these many months, the issue was not about the Allentown arena, it was not about the Neighborhood Improvement Zone. It was certainly not about the City of Allentown and their respected efforts at revitalization. We continue to wish them well on these most difficult challenges For us, it was clearly about ill-conceived legislation that took away a revenue stream for local municipalities and school districts. This loss of revenue over a 30 year period would have had significant impact on many of these entities.

I am grateful to the legislature for understanding our pleas, recognizing the problem and for taking corrective action in the appropriate place - in the legislation. I would like to extend particular thanks to the Commissioners of Bethlehem Township for helping us initiate this important effort and to the other townships, boroughs, school district as PSATS for joining in the effort. Most importantly, I would like to thank our good citizens, who gave us overwhelming and unwavering support.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shows how stupid our state legislature is to vote for it in the first place just like voting for swaptons and causing millions of lost dollars in taxpayer funds.

Anonymous said...

Abe Atiyh complaned that the city lawsuit agaisnt him was unfair because the city hired outside lawyers and spent taxpayer money to sue an individual.

That was what the Gracedale concerned citizens complained about. So I guess Abe and the
COAF were fighting the same mean government mindset.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That has nothing to do with Atiyeh's complaint. You are passing along disinformation and are drifting OT in an effort to divert attention to yourself. Post your garbage on the hate blog, not here.

Anonymous said...

The anti NIZ lost!! Plain and simple. They could have received all their EIT plus a 1% benefit from future development. Instead they were blinded by their ideology and now they are going to lose money. Show me how the "Tea Baggers" made out? They are worse off.

Anonymous said...

It was a direct quote from Atiyeh. Maybe it is you who are passing on disinformation. I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Government at its slimey worst.

Anonymous said...

2:30 -

If your side "won", why the continued anger? You should be ecstatic. Now you won't have to pay that extra money out to the munis and Allentown will become a grand tourist destination even sooner because of that.

Or could it be that you know that Allentown is headed down a long and costly road to nowhere, while the munis will remain happily smothered in prosperity?

Anonymous said...

As to the likelihood of success...


http://www.cityrating.com/crime-statistics/pennsylvania/allentown.html



VOR

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The anti NIZ lost!! Plain and simple. They could have received all their EIT plus a 1% benefit from future development. Instead they were blinded by their ideology and now they are going to lose money. Show me how the "Tea Baggers" made out? They are worse off.
2:30 AM

You are completely nuts. This project is destined to FAIL. They never would have seen their EIT never mind the 1%.

Hizzoner's losong streak:

NIZ
Queen City Airport
Fire Academy
(Next)

Anonymous said...

Anon 230am (aka FDAA), please stop.

Anonymous said...

"blinded by their ideology"
Clearly illustrates the arrogant ignorance of this cabal.

Anonymous said...

"Tea Baggers"?

That certainly cannot help drive Phantoms season ticket sales.

Permanent damage to AHL's Assisted-Living team's product label at the soon-to-be record-smashing Palace of Sport continues unabated.

Anonymous said...

OBAMA to BROOKS BROTHERS :

"You didn't build that!"

Anonymous said...

can somebody explain to me how Allentown expects to sell almost a quarter of a billion dollars in municipal bonds in this economic environment and when the City in general if fire selling its assets to meet operational costs (pension costs)

This is one of the things that has always bothered me about this project, that is a lot of money to digest in this market and you are assuming a lot. They may be able to sell them, but at what rate? My guess the debt service will be a lot higher than what they are internally using

Anonymous said...

How can you possibly issue bonds when the City is teetering on Bankruptcy. They are attempting to sell water and sewer resources to fund an unfunded pension system. Makes me want to buy some bonds, how about you?

Anonymous said...

Allentown crime statistics report an overall upward trend in crime based on data from 11 years with violent crime increasing and property crime increasing. Based on this trend, the crime rate in Allentown for 2012 is expected to be higher than in 2009.

The city violent crime rate for Allentown in 2009 was higher than the national violent crime rate average by 62.51% and the city property crime rate in Allentown was higher than the national property crime rate average by 62.53%.

In 2009 the city violent crime rate in Allentown was higher than the violent crime rate in Pennsylvania by 83.39% and the city property crime rate in Allentown was higher than the property crime rate in Pennsylvania by 124.13%.

Anonymous said...

I bought tickets.

Anonymous said...

...to the padded room.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:1, I read a report sent by a friend over the weekend. It corroborates what you say.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:44 to your Mothers bedroom. 2 for 1

Anonymous said...

Were and when is the bond sale, what intrest will be paid and who are they insured buy? I'll be there cash in hand!!

Anonymous said...

I'm told by those that know that given the NIZ structure the bonds will sell. They're not general obligations of the City (which you couldn't give away right now), they're tied to specific tax revenues, a large portion of which already exist.

Of course I can't go into specifics because the unwashed masses have not been allowed to see the projections....

The Banker

Anonymous said...

When do the Phantoms start passing out FREE TICKETS to poor, underprivilidged inner-city children?

The Palace of Sport is being built with FREE MONEY from the Government ... so I just don't see any reason why the wealth should not be spread around a little bit.

Obama told Joe the Plumber that was a good thing, you know.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Bernie, nice of you to allow anon 11:44 am post. Of course you will delete posts that you don't like but as long as the offensive posts make you happy they can stay.

You are King Hypocrite. Go march with the GA guy. Sal will dress up and march with you.

Karl Pilkington said...

You are the hypocrite. You didn't care that he slagged off the fella at 10:41 by insinuating he has some mental disorder. Wanker

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't even understand the comment at 11:44, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

The crime stats make me nervous.

The pro-project cheerleaders won't accept the following facts because they're blinded by the light, but just because you are building an attraction near or in your downtown does not mean that success will follow. There are fairly local examples of crime-ridden medium sized cities where they installed these attractive money gererators and prosperity has not followed, even after a decade or more. Think Reading, Camden. We are watching Chester.

I realize that the pro-NIZ crowd chafes at being compared unfavorably to such obviously distressed cities, but the truth is, Allentown has now sunk to this level. Operative line- "Sunk", as in, "already there".

These facts, along with the bankruptcy and the crime rate make betting on Allentown a bad bet.


VOR