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Allentown's NIZ board will pay city employees to run hockey arena projects

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Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) board, had a budget of $1 million last year and it will be increased to $1.5 million in 2014. The reason for the increase in funds, many of the hockey arena projects will start in 2014.

The provisions of the special tax-zone means that much of the construction connected to the NIZ and development surrounding the hockey arena will now commence. The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority (ANIZDA), which controls the funds, will be required to do more work this year.

That work includes plan approvals, performing project reviews and ensuring that all state regulations are being met during construction. The work is not only time consuming, but costly.

The ANIZDA, which has no employees, has decided on a method in which Allentown would be used a vendor. In other words, city employees and officials will guide and manage the projects under the development authority control, and get paid from the budget.

In fact, half of the ANIZDA's yearly budget, $750,000 is allocated for this purpose. $300,000 will pay for work performed in 2013, the remaining $450,000 is designated for work this year.

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