New Bloomsburg Water Plant Dedicated

Last Thursday, SUEZ dedicated its new advanced water treatment plant in Bloomsburg. The $32 million Irondale Water Treatment Plant utilizes modern technology to deliver high quality water. The location is out of the 100-year flood plain, in order to remain in service during high water events.

The membrane ultrafiltration is pictured beside high service pumps inside the new plant.  A SUEZ sister company based in the US designed the “SmartRack” technology on which the membranes are housed.  The new plant represents the first use of the new technology in North America.

The membranes filter the water after a process called superpulsation, which enhances sediment removal from the raw water.   Eric Gernath, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ North America, noted that the new plant has been built at an elevation that will help avoid potential floodwaters that had previously interfered with operations at the now decommissioned, original treatment plant. Following the flooding in 2011, the Chamber encouraged SUEZ (then United Water) to take steps to avoid lengthy service interruptions and supported the investment in a new facility.

Employers Face New January 31st W-2 Filing Deadline

A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, accelerates the W-2 filing deadline for employers to January 31.   The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes the new requirement for employers. The January 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit copies of these forms.  In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file.  Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and the extension is not automatic.  A Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as possible and by January 31.

Deck the Halls at the Holiday Open House

new.colorlogo.wtaglineBe a part of the Partnership’s biggest event of the year and one of the area’s premiere holiday celebrations. The Holiday Open House will be held on Thursday, December 8th at The Pine Barn Inn. The evening will be filled with great networking opportunities and feature assorted foods and a full selection of beverages.

The event annually draws over 400 business and community leaders, so a Holiday Open House sponsorship is a sure way to make your business stand out in the community.

To become a sponsor, call Donna at 570-284-4455 or email dsharrow@cmpartnership.org. The deadline to sign up as a sponsor this year is November 10th. Thank you to this year’s Exclusive Event Sponsor – Service 1st Federal Credit Union.

Pension Reform Stalls in House

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

An opportunity for a substantive pension reform measure to reach Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk puttered out last Wednesday night, as House legislative leaders determined that there were not enough votes in that chamber to pass legislation that had earlier been reported from a conference committee. Prior to the House’s announcement that the pension reform bill had stalled, the legislation was approved by a conference committee made up of House appointees Reps. Mike Tobash, Warren Kampf and Dan Frankel; and Sens. Jake Corman, Joe Scarnati and John Blake.

The report, which cleared the committee by a 4-2 vote, would have instituted the option of new hybrid defined benefit, defined contribution plans, or a straight defined contribution plan, for new state and public school employees. After it became clear that the measure would not be taken up by the House for a final vote, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, R-Indiana, admitted that the chamber was three votes shy of getting the 102 votes needed to approve it, with no support from any Democrats. And while Wolf spokesman Jeff Sheridan told reporters that the governor “remains committed” to achieving pension reform, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, seemed hard-pressed to believe it. “”This governor provided zero [Democratic votes] – to me that’s unprecedented, if he truly wanted it,” Corman said.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, the House referred the conference report on S.B. 1071 back to the conference committee, setting up a potential scenario in which the legislation could again be considered during the few post-election session days that are scheduled in November.

Candidates Provide Positions on Business Topics

Candidates for State Representative for the 107th and 109th districts have provided responses to business-related questions in advance of the November 8th General Election. The questions were developed by the Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Chamber and Columbia-Montour Visitors Bureau and sent to all of the registered candidates. Their responses are provided unedited except being aggregated and formatted for consistency of presentation.

Responses from the candidates for the 107th District are available here.

Responses from the candidates for the 109th District are available here.