New deal may be on table to settle dispute over arena funding

Posted: 5:03 PM EDT Apr 27, 2012   Updated: 12:22 AM EDT Apr 28, 2012

A new deal may be on the table to settle the dispute over Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone.

A lawsuit was filed last month by Hanover and Bethlehem townships in Northampton County over the NIZ, which is the special tax zone that's helping to fund the new hockey arena.

Several other municipalities have voted to join the suit over the past month.

Now, Mayor Ed Pawlowski is offering a deal to all municipalities in Lehigh and Northampton counties to settle the dispute.

As part of the offer, the townships and boroughs would get their share of the tax money generated by their employees working inside the NIZ, based on the number of employees working in the zone right now.

The city would also charge developers $1 per square foot of occupied leased space.
That money would go into a fund to be distributed annually among the municipalities.

In return, the townships would have to drop the lawsuit.