Allentown's special tax zone where the hockey arena is being built could rake in nearly $2.3-million in projected earned income tax this year.
It took Allentown months to produce these numbers, and during that time suspicion and anger grew in local municipalities. Leading to two lawsuits over the city's use of their tax dollars.
The earned income tax withholdings were made public Friday by Allentown's tax collector. It's unclear if the figures, from the first quarter of this year, will change the minds of the groups opposing the zone. Saturday, neighbors weighed in.
"I'm not sure why we're being saddled with any responsibility living here in Hanover Township," said resident Calvin Fritz.
Hanover and Bethlehem Townships in Northampton County are behind one lawsuit that 14 others have joined. Combined the two townships stand to lose about $75,000 a year.
"I think if you work in a certain area that money should probably go back to the township where you live because that's where all your schools are and that's where you pay your taxes," said Jerry Turillo from Lower Nazareth Township.
Ten municipalities have collectively set aside more than $60,000 to fight the so-called NIZ. According to records they've already spent $28,000 in legal fees.
"I think it's worth it because you have to stand up and fight for what you believe in," said Hanover Township resident Bonnie Fritz. "Even if that means losing then at least they made an effort and they tried."
The NIZ is set to last thirty years, and the localities argue EIT funds over that amount of time will add up to millions of dollars.
But not all residents think this is enough to follow through with the lawsuit.
"I think it's a waste of money," said East Allen Township resident Gene Coken. "They're squandering money."
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski hopes the EIT numbers will aid in settling the lawsuits. He says the settlement offer is still on the table, and the municipalities will get all of their EIT money back and will have a chance to share in future growth.
Now we'll just have to wait and see what the municipalities decide.