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Supervisors Intervene in Lawsuit Against Allentown

Upper Macungie Supervisors vote 2-1 to become an "intervenor" in the lawsuit involving Allentown's new hockey arena.

 

stopped just short of joining the lawsuit challenging Allentown’s ability to use earned income taxes from township residents to help build the city’s new minor-league hockey arena.

At last Thursday’s supervisors meeting, the board agreed to become an “intervenor” in the suit.

“This gives us a seat at the table,” said supervisor Sam Ashmar.

Township Solicitor Andrew Schantz explained that an intervenor is a party that has an interest in the action, but, in this case, neither joins nor withdraws from the case.

“I’m not saying we should join the lawsuit,” Ashmar said, “but we have to look after our residents. … I’m very worried.”

About 93 percent of Upper Macungie residents work outside the township. Those who work in could have their earned income taxes used to pay for the hockey arena instead of being forwarded to Upper Macungie and Parkland School District.

Anyone working within the 130-acre area in center city Allentown or along the waterfront, are the employees being targeted. Now, area municipalities are challenging in court Allentown’s right to do that.

The vote was 2 to 1, with Supervisor Kathy Rader voting against the motion.

“I think we should just play wait and see until we get some real numbers,” she said.

Ron Kistler, Upper Macungie’s member on the Lehigh Tax Collection Committee, said there are no hard numbers available yet. But he did say it’s possible that $25,000 to $30,000 could be taken from the township residents’ school tax payments and diverted to the Allentown project.

“We have a vested interest in following this,” Ashmar said. “Someone has to show me [how much money] the township will lose.”

Chairman Ed Early said the arena project has put the township at a total disadvantage, and it can’t be ignored.

“If we need to join [the lawsuit], we will,” he said.

The arena will be the home of the Philadelphia Flyers' farm team, the Phantoms, by September 2013. To date, about 10 other municipalities voted to join the suit against Allentown, including:

  • Stockertown
  • Whitehall-Coplay School District
  • Whitehall Township

 

 

 

 

Joe Corcoran May 09, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Supervisors Earley and Ashmar did the right thing to protect UMT residents. They did not take a position for or against the NIZ, admitting they didn't have enough information to make that decision. Supervisor Rader, of course, backed her political connections (Reichely and Browne) instead of the residents of Upper Macungie Township. There was no excuse for her to vote against being an intervenor in this lawsuit except for the fact that the State Senator donated to her campaign and even rents space in the township building for his office.
Brunell May 09, 2012 at 05:28 PM
When we decided to purchase our home, our builder had property in Allentown School district. We chose not to call that home for several reasons. One, the higher taxes and the secondly, the school district. I had a choice. This current legislation is taxation without representation at its finest. Why can't this plan stand on its own merits? Why must we take monies from surrounding communities? Why can't we get answers as to how this money is collected, spent, and possibly paid back via this new "Regional Development Fund", that by the way, monies will come from building owners in the form of a new tax on square footage? When will this end?!!!!
Just Sick and Tired May 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Allentown politics chased their tax base away, and now thinks it has a way to chase the dollars. If Upper Macungie supervisors can't figure out that we are being ripped off and the voters are being denied their rights to vote in this matter then we need new supervisors. They should be leading the charge against this not sitting back and watching Upper Macungie residents get their pockets picked. We already had our homes reassessed to pay for the county's part in this corrupt enterprise, now we are to take a wait and see attitude while Supervisors plan to make up the shortfall by raising our taxes. I don't care if the amount of money is ten cents, I don't want my money going to Allentown and it's cronies. If we are to be ruled by Allentown, then disband Upper Macungie Township, its proving to be useless anyway. Appoint Jaindl and Butz rulers and stop the pretense of calling this a democracy.

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