Tony Rhodin Joins Team NIZ

Welcome aboard Tony!

I’m hoping Allentown has a Plan B now that suburban municipalities and a self-interested developer seem on the verge of destroying the arena development in Pennsylvania’s third largest city.

How much money would Bethlehem Township, Pa., lose if it had to give up the tiny percent it receives from certain income taxes? And it looks as if Allentown is coming up with the difference through development fees.

But the suburbs want to either have a drawn-out lawsuit — which I bet would cost them far more than the townships would save if they were able to keep their miniscule share of residents’ income from within the 130-acre Neighborhood Improvement Zone — or legislative changes, neither of which would come quickly.

But why would Lehigh Valley suburbs want to see Allentown recover? It’s not like they’ve been handed sweet developmental deals to turn all that farmland into taxable industrial parks, allowing property taxes to stay low compared to the cities. Or, have they?
I went to an IronPigs game the other day. Everyone there wasn’t from Allentown. But the game was played in Allentown. Much like, if this arena were built, the Phantoms would play here and people from across the region will be able to see a pro hockey game.

But short-sighted politicians in suburban communities say, no, they won’t do anything to help our biggest city, nothing to employ thousands of construction workers. That tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of residents’ tax money is more important.
The only people to benefit here are the law firms that represent these municipalities.

It’s a shame. So, I hope Allentown has a Plan B.


  1. FutureDowntownArenaAttendee says:

    Jon, I ran a little experiment. I took all the plaintiffs in the case and added their populations: 107,765
    Hanover Township 10,866
    Bethlehem Township 23,730
    Bangor 5,273
    Stockertown 927
    Lower Nazareth 5,259
    Upper Nazareth 4,425
    Lower Saucon 9,884
    Hellertown 5,606
    Whitehall 24,896
    Palmer 16,809

    Then I looked at all of their media incomes: $36,081
    Hanover Township 43,363
    Bethlehem Township 39,749
    Bangor 29,193
    Stockertown 33,213
    Lower Nazareth 40,149
    Upper Nazareth 34,131
    Lower Saucon 38,491
    Helertown 32,128
    Whitehall 33,054
    Palmer 37,344

    Then I took the three large businesses within the NIZ: 2,000 employees

    Sacred Heart Health Network: 1,100 employees
    PPL Plaza: 600 employees
    Morning Call: 300 employees

    Now with that information I calculated that if everyone of the those 2,000 jobs were held by people within those townships/municipalities, which is unlikely since there is 713,000 additional people in the Lehigh Valley, that the total EIT would be $721,620.

    Now let us look at those 2,000 jobs…. and let us be honest the other locations in the NIZ are small store fronts or restaurants that have much smaller staffs, but I will be liberal and say there is another 1,000 positions in the rest of the NIZ. That takes our total to about 3,000 jobs total in the existing NIZ, which I remind you does not include the PPL Tower, City Hall, The Post Office, Lehigh County and Federal Court Houses. Those 3,000 jobs represent .00365% of the total 820,000 population of the Lehigh Valley. The point is, is when Burkholder releases the EIT information within the next two weeks, these townships are going to be in for a surprise.

  2. FutureDowntownArenaAttendee says:

    Right after I did my little experiment, I came across this incredibly written post… our analysis is somewhat close in regards to numbers… but they explain it a million times better than I do… great great read.

  3. Hey Jeff, how are ya? Doing a lot of work there, the mayor will be pleased.

    Remember when you do your analysis, multiply the figures by 30, and add a factor regarding any growth in salaries/EIT collected, and add a factor for Pawlowski trying to bend people over.

    • FutureDowntownArenaAttendee says:

      Do you realize how ridiculous you sound. You have turned into nothing more than a troll. But I guess that is easy for someone whose ideology is “Fuck Allentown”

      Oh btw I have figured out that you think I am Jeff Vaughn.. now that is hilarious especially since I was standing next to the man at the First Monday of May event…

  4. Just that it took you so long to figure it out, a few weeks after you figured it out on O’Hare’s blog, is humor enough for me there Jeff. A regular side splitter!

    Actually it’s not ridiculous. The biggest problem here is how much an asshole your client is. A strong leader, with vision, would have handled this 180dg opposite of Pawlowski. Now if Ed was taking your advice in handling this, then, well you’re not that good at what you do.

    Openness. Honesty. Integrity. Allentown’s leaders lack all of these qualities.

    • I guess the million dollar question is–if indeed all the current EITdollars add up to 700k, why lose the whole project for that?

      Again, the problem is that we’re launching onto a project that is either going to be paid for in part by these EIT dollars or not, and with a big whole in the ground nobody knows how much money it is. This doesn’t strike me as a very serious proposal.

      • Jon Geeting says:

        I don’t want to believe that the townships would scuttle the whole project for $700K out of pique, but it’s looking that way.

    • FutureDowntownArenaAttendee says:

      I post numbers and relevant information, you post name calling and divisions… it is nice to see you Bernie… you IP address has been confirmed. From now on anyone that sees “John” post know it is Bernie O’Hare. It has been confirmed. Just like he does on his own blogs he is doing here. There he posts as “anonymous” here he posts as “John”. Nice try Bernie you have been discovered.

      • Publius says:

        Are you sure? I had my suspicions that this might be true. John has called himself a former lawyer and says he now owns a business. That does fit the profile.

  5. I would hope Allentown wouldn’t either! But how do you make any sort of rational public finance policy decision without even basic financial data? Pathetic.

    • Publius says:

      Allentown has tried to give the money back in the settlement. The township’s won’t accept it because they believe the legislation is unconstitutional and therefore Allentown could sneak out of the settlement deal later on public policy grounds. Frankly the township’s argument is absurd–the commonwealth court won’t want to touch this thing with a 20-foot pole. It’s a radioactive political issue for them because the issue is so novel. If the townships had wise lawyers (and a stress wise) they should be telling their clients that the courts would not upset the settlement arrived at between the township and city. It would be insane for the courts to try to intervene in a settlement agreed upon by both parties when there is no definitive answer at law.

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