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Advice on the way for businesses in Neighborhood Improvement Zone

By Len Righi, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Dec 03 2012 09:06:38 PM CST
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Businesses in Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone will be getting free tax advice in the very near future to help them comply with the new law that governs the zone.

Deana Zosky, an executive with Compass Point, told the authority overseeing the construction in the so-called NIZ on Monday that a comprehensive information packet for the businesses will be ready in a week or two.

Compass Point and Concannon Miller were hired by the authority several months ago to compile the information.

Zosky said the packet is being put together using information from the city of Allentown and the state Department of Revenue. It will include general information about the NIZ; specific examples of what information the businesses need to report, and the timeline businesses must follow in reporting about taxes.

Answering questions from members of the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority, Zosky said businesses have until Jan. 30 to file their reports, adding that more than 300 of them will have to file.

She pointed out that she has had both face-to-face meetings and phone conversations with businesses in preparing the information, "and the feedback has been very, very good."

Zosky noted that the information in the packet may be presented in Spanish as well as English.

In other business, ANIZDA member Jennifer Mann submitted her resignation, effective Dec. 31. Mann ended 14 years in the state legislature last Friday, and officially started a business consulting firm, JL Mann Consulting, on Monday.

Mann told the board she was proud that she helped draft and pass the legislation that created the NIZ. But, she noted, "I find myself overwhelmed now that I'm out in the private sector," adding that it would be "counter-productive" for her to involved with the authority.

Authority chairman Sy Traub accepted her resignation with regret and said the rebirth of Allentown's downtown is possible, thanks to her work on the NIZ legislation and the nine-member authority board.

Authority interim executive director Sara Hailstone reported that bid specifications for investment services are almost ready.

ANIZDA is looking to hire a consultant who would advise on the investing of $30 million in a reserve fund that is part of the 30-year $234-million bond issue that will be used to build a hockey arena and other projects in the NIZ.

Traub said the advisor is necessary so that ANIZDA investments do not violate the I.R.S. tax code.