Chamber President Fred Gaffney Garners Award, Continues PACP Board Appointment

Chamber President Fred Gaffney

Columbia Montour Chamber president Fred Gaffney was recently reappointed to another term on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Chamber Professionals (PACP) at its recent annual conference held in late October in Clarion, Pa. Gaffney was also one of eight Chamber professional from across the state to receive a PACP Service Award, as he was honored for 15 years of service as a Chamber professional. 

Board members serve in the volunteer leadership role for a specified term, developing and leading the annual Plan of Action to assist in the enhancement of quality education in professional and organizational development to its members.  Key events for PACP include the annual Chamber Professionals & Leadership Conference, Chamber Day in Harrisburg, and ongoing professional development webinars and programs.

Each year PACP recognizes chamber professionals who have served any five-year increment in chamber management. To qualify, candidates must have been in full-time chamber or chamber-sponsored affiliate management for at least five years, must now be serving in chamber management in Pennsylvania, and must have been a PACP member for at least three consecutive years. PACP’s Service Awards are meant to promote and recognize outstanding chamber service not only to the individual’s community but also to their professional association.

PACP is the professional association of Pennsylvania local chambers of commerce executives and professionals whose mission is to enhance the quality and relevance of chamber management in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

IRS Publishes 2018 Benefit Plan Adjustments

From ChamberChoice

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — when the IRS announces limits and adjustments on employee benefit plans. On Oct. 19, the IRS released its 2018 Cost-Of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) for tax-related employee benefits in Revenue Procedure 2017-58 and in IRS Notice 2017-64. Some limits have increased while others remained the same.

What Employers Need to Know

• Health Flexible Spending Accounts Increased. The annual employee salary contribution limit to health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will increase to $2,650 for 2018 (a $50 increase from 2017). An employer may decide to have a different limitation on employee health FSA contributions, it just cannot be more than the IRS limit. The limit applies on an employee-by-employee basis. Any non-elective employer contributions generally do not count toward the employee’s dollar limit.

• The monthly limit under IRC Section 132 for fringe benefits is $260 for the combined monthly limit for transit pass and vanpooling expenses. The monthly limit for parking expenses is also $260 per month.

• Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) is an HRA that is available only to small employers that are not subject to the employer shared responsibility penalties under health care reform. As of January 1, 2018, the limitation for QSEHRA payments and reimbursements is $5,050 for an individual and $10,250 for family. This is a $50 increase for individual reimbursements and a $250 increase for family reimbursements.

• The penalty for failure to file correct information returns (which include W-2s, W-3s, 1095 and 1094-C’s will increase to $270 per failure. This increased penalty will be applicable for returns required to be filed in 2019.

The table above demonstrates the 2018 limits for many of the common benefits offered by employers. This is not a comprehensive list.

Employers should begin to review their payroll and plan administration systems for the 2018 adjustments. When preparing open enrollment materials, an employer should incorporate these limits in any communications.

Finally, the employer should determine to distribute updated Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD) or provide a Summary of Material Modifications (SMM) for any required amendments.

Welcome GAF

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, GAF, to help us fulfill our mission.

GAF, as it is commonly referred to, is an acronym for General Aniline & Film, was founded in 1886, and is North America’s largest roofing materials manufacturer. Currently headquartered in Parsippany, N.J., GAF recently opened a new manufacturing facility in New Columbia, Pa., just off Interstate 80 at 2093 Old Route 15, which already has or will create more than 40 new jobs in the area. It currently has open positions at its new facility. GAF produces materials for both commercial and residential roofing systems, and the New Columbia plant is the latest of a more than $2 billion investment that GAF has contributed in the roofing industry over the last 10 years. GAF has been the recipient of numerous awards in recent years as it has grown to nearly $3 billion in annual sales. For more information, visit its website.

Member Spotlight: DRIVE

“The Chamber is a vital partner in economic development. Business should have a voice in local and state government and the Chamber provides that service. DRIVE and the Chamber work collaboratively to help current businesses prosper and provide a climate for new business development.”

– Jennifer Wakeman, Executive Director, DRIVE

DRIVE stands for Driving Real Innovation for a Vibrant Economy, and was formed in 2015 by a task force from Columbia and Montour Counties. DRIVE is organized as a council of governments to take a regional approach to economic development.

DRIVE works with both established businesses in the region looking to grow their operations, and also performs a full range of services focused on business attraction – bringing new companies to the area. It does everything including but not limited to project management, site selection, assistance with zoning/planning and permitting, workforce development, networking and transportation & logistics. DRIVE is a one-stop shop for businesses in Columbia and Montour County or those looking to bring their business into the area.

DRIVE was created to take a regional approach to economic development. Businesses can choose to locate or expand here and the entire region benefits. Pooling resources allows for more to be done by working together and provides efficiency in having a single point of contact for companies looking to grow or establish operations in this area.

The DRIVE staff is doing its best to meet and learn about all the different businesses and industries in the region. If you or someone from your business or organization wants us to talk about the opportunities that may exist for your business, please contact DRIVE . It wants to hear from you about the good, the bad and the ugly so it can better assist your business here in Columbia and Montour Counties. DRIVE can be reached at 570-284-4296, via email, or visit its website

Member spotlights are chosen via a random drawing from members that submit their business cards at a Business After Hours event. The next Business After Hours is scheduled for Nov. 15 at Berwick Floral, 201 West 2nd St., Berwick. 

 

Member News – November 8, 2017

Member News

  • Lambda Pi Eta, the communication studies national honor society at Bloomsburg University, will host its 2017 Speakers Forum tonight, Nov. 8, beginning at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall 218 on campus. The speakers forum is titled “Influence of Technology,” and will feature seven speakers speaking about the influence of technology on their lives and careers. This event is free and open to the public.

 

  • Michael Cymbala, assistant engineer and resident project representative at Peters Consultants, Inc, recently became a certified ASSE International Backflow Protection Assembly Tester (CBPAT) following a week of intense training and testing.

    Michael Cymbala of Peters Consultants, Inc.

    A CBPAT meets all requirements established by the American Backflow Prevention Association Certification Committee and maintains a current certificate within three years of the issuance date. A Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester is needed by administrative authorities throughout North America to assure that installed backflow prevention assemblies continue to protect the drinking water. The American Backflow Prevention Association (ABPA) Certification Committee (previously know as the Training Committee or the Training and Education Committee) completed the task of establishing criteria for what a Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester needs to know. Once a person has been trained, an examination protocol had to be developed to verify the applicant’s knowledge against need to know criteria.

 

  • Along with the Bloomsburg University Regional STEM Education Center, the Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber will co-sponsor the Future Careers Expo tomorrow evening, Nov. 9, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Kehr Union Ballroom on the BU campus. The annual event allows attendees to explore career in science, technology, engineering and math and it open to all students in grades 7-12, as well as their parents. Participants can receive a BU application fee waiver just for attends, and there will also be door prizes for those that sign up. For more information and to register, visit here

 

  • Co., a social and professional networking group that is run by the United Way of Columbia and Montour County, will hold a mixer tomorrow evening, Nov. 9, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Cherokee Tap Room, located at 217 Elysburg Rd., Danville. It will also host a dodgeball tournament on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 2-4 p.m. at the Bloomsburg Area YMCA. Co. was founded to give area residents the opportunity to take advantage of all the great things this area has to offer. This group is for everyone, which means any age, ability, or area of residence. It holds multiple events each month. For more information about Co., including future events, visit its Facebook page

 

  • State Rep. Dave Millard will help dedicated State Route 93 as Stuart Tank Memorial Highway, with a ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at the Atomic Academy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu lot, located at 1901 Orange St., Berwick. 

 

  • The East Central PA Regional Task Force will present a workshop for cybersecurity on resources and best practices for repelling cyber attacks. This workshop will be held on Monday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., at the DirectLink Technology Center, 2561 Bernville Rd., Reading. There is no cost to participate. For more information or to register, check out the flyer

 

  • The Weis Center For the Performing Arts at Bucknell University will host a panel discussion about the future of hip hop and live performances from the artists/panelists, on Monday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Weis Center Atrium Lobby. This is a free event and tickets are not required. The event will include a panel discussion with four emerging hip hop artists who are carving out careers for themselves: Amos Lachman, J Pope, and two Bucknell University students, Mansa K and Amarachi Ekekwe.  The discussion will be followed by short, 20-minute sets by each of the participating artists.

 

  • State Rep. Dave Millard will host his third annual Veterans Expo on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. – noon at Central Columbia High School, located at 4777 Old Berwick Rd., Bloomsburg. Exhibitors with veteran-related information will be available. 

 

  • The Bloomsburg Municipal Airport, which is operated by the Bloomsburg Municipal Authority, will hold a Fly-In/Drive-In/Walk-In Breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 8 a.m. – noon at its location at 301 Airport Rd., Bloomsburg. The event is free and open to the public, however donations are suggested. It will feature both pumpkin and plain pancakes, eggs, sausage, ham and more.