Most Americans think of April 15 as the day that they must settle their tax bills.
But, for owners of companies and businesses in the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ), Thursday, Jan. 30 is a date that must be circled on their collective calendars.
Deana Zosky, a certified public accountant for Bethlehem-based Compass Point, told members of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA) that tax forms have been sent to all businesses and companies residing in the NIZ.
The NIZ, which is helping to develop downtown Allentown and includes the hockey arena now under construction, is funded by the Authority's issuance of bonds for revitalization efforts.
The bond debt is repaid by state and local NIZ taxes. The local NIZ taxes are due Jan. 30.
Zosky said hundreds of packets containing the required forms and explaining the NIZ taxes have been distributed in person and via e-mail.
"We're in good shape. Folks realize it this year," Zosky said. "We're meeting with business owners in storefronts. And help is here for the businesses that need it."
Businesses that require assistance with filing their NIZ tax forms prior to the Jan. 30 deadline can call 610-625-1198.
Penalties will be assessed to businesses who do not pay NIZ taxes in a timely fashion.
"This is the time to get the word out," said ANIZDA chairman Seymour Traub. "NIZ taxes that are paid are no detriment for businesses, it's only a benefit to the growth of the city.
In other business, the Authority approved its $1.517 million budget as presented by Executive Director Sara Hailstone.
The majority of the Authority's revenue, Hailstone said, is bond proceeds, arena rent payments, development fees and a $750,000 pre-opening payment from the arena.
The budget includes $100,000 in spending for marketing purposes, Hailstone said, so the Authority can become more aggressive in marketing Allentown to out-of-state businesses.
Hailstone told board members that activity at the arena site, at Hamilton Boulevard and Seventh Street, will continue to pick up this month as more steel and roofing will be installed and the concrete slabs for the arena floor will be poured.
"You'll see more and more people at the site every day," Hailstone said.
The Authority also passed an updated intergovernmental services agreement, which basically allows the board to utilize city services and employees.