Annual Block Party This Weekend in Bloomsburg

The annual spring event known as “Block Party” is scheduled for this weekend in Bloomsburg. The Town/Gown Relations committee is implementing two new initiatives to increase security this year by discouraging visitors. The new initiatives include:
• Parking Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will temporarily close the Lightstreet Road Parking Lot and the ATM Parking Lot to all vehicles and temporarily restrict access to the First Street (Green) Parking Lot to permit-holders only from 12:00 p.m. Friday, April 21, 2017, through 12:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2017.
• Residence Hall Visitation Restrictions – Bloomsburg University will temporarily restrict overnight guests in the residence halls to one visitor per student for the evenings of Friday, April 21, Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, 2017. A professional security company firm will assist in managing guest registrations and enhance front door security.
The Town/Gown Relations Committee is reminding participants that neither the Town of Bloomsburg nor Bloomsburg University endorse the Block Party Event, and a large police contingency of both uniformed and plain clothes officers will be present.

Report Shows $12 Billion Needed to Start So-Called Property Tax Relief Bill

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

The state’s Independent Fiscal Office unveiled a new report this week showing the amount of additional state dollars that would be necessary to implement and sustain a so-called property tax reform bill. The analysis concluded that nearly $12 billion would be needed up front, which is $2 billion less than the previous estimate; but also showed that this amount would need to grow by hundreds of millions more than previously estimated – between $800 million to $900 million each year. As it did in the earlier report, the IFO again assumed an estimated $530 million from gaming revenue will be dedicated to the property tax relief effort.

The PA Chamber remains opposed to this tax shift measure that relies on fluctuating revenue streams (sales and personal income taxes) to replace the steady, reliable funding that property taxes have provided for generations. The property tax legislation that a small but vocal group of advocates are promoting would have an especially negative impact on renters, small businesses and young families who would see a new sales tax placed on many everyday essentials like diapers and daycare.
The Joint Governmental Affairs Committee of the Columbia Montour Chamber and the Visitors Bureau will be evaluating the legislation once it is introduced.

Barletta Recognizes Area Technology

Congressman Lou Barletta recognized business investments in technology during a visit to the Bloomsburg area on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Barletta toured the new SUEZ water treatment facility on Irondale Road before visiting with businesses at the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center.

The new, $32 million water treatment plant includes pressurized membrane filtration and ultraviolet light technology to provide high water quality. The facility took two years to build and is located above the floodplain on higher ground across from the old plant. A new intake includes submersible pumps to provide continuous operation during times of future flooding. The company also recently placed a new, 1.8 million gallon water storage reservoir into service that replaces an old reservoir. Congressman Barletta recognized the company’s investments and efforts to protect the system against cyber attacks.

The Chamber advocated for and supported the new facility to improve reliability. Chamber President Fred Gaffney also recognized SUEZ for their investments. “Thanks to the time and resources SUEZ has spent working on these improvements, our water supply is something the rest of us don’t have to think much about,” he said.

At the Tech Center, Barletta and representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration met with another Chamber member, OPTiMO Information Technology. OPTiMO specializes in application development, system integration and digital design. Their client base includes the private and public sectors.

The Joint Governmental Affairs Committee will be hosting the annual breakfast with Congressman Barletta this summer for an update on activities in Washington.

Did You Know? – OnDemand Energy Solutions

The Chamber is deeply committed to supporting and promoting its member organizations. This includes making sure each member utilizes or is at least aware of the full value and benefits of its membership. Beginning this week, this periodic section of E-Biz will be dedicated to reviewing a specific benefit of Chamber membership, as a means of reminding our members of ways the Chamber can help you increase revenue or decrease costs.

OnDemand Energy Solutions

As a business owner or decision maker, you probably often get contacted by people trying to sell you cheaper electricity. However, most people – business owners and consumers alike – don’t have the time to truly look at their options and figure out which ones are questionable and which ones could actually save you some real money.

That is a problem you shouldn’t have. As a Chamber member, you exclusively have access to OnDemand Energy Solutions, part of the ChamberChoice portfolio. OnDemand is the largest energy consultant and broker in Pennsylvania that annually serves over 6,500 active businesses, which include small businesses up through large industrials, and over 23,000 residential customers. More than 40 Columbia Montour Chamber members have cumulatively saved millions of dollars in electricity costs since this program was implemented.

OnDemand can provide a free, no-obligation quote so you can see how much money you can potentially save. They are also able to evaluate any existing energy contract. The process is quick and easy – all you need to do is sign an authorization form allowing OnDemand to access your energy information and act on your behalf to get supply pricing from various competitors. Because we know your time is short, members of the Chamber staff are also willing to help facilitate this process if necessary. For more information, please contact Matt Beltz at 570-784-2522 or email.

Quickbooks Phishing Con Targets Small Businesses

From the Better Business Bureau  

Beware of a new email phishing scam trying to fool small businesses. The message looks like an email alert from accounting software QuickBooks, but it’s not. It’s really a clever phishing con designed to fool small businesses into giving up private information.  

How the Scam Works: You receive an email with the subject line “QuickBooks Support: Change Request.” The message is “confirming” that you changed your business name with Intuit, QuickBook’s manufacturer. However, you never made such a request. It must be a mistake, but fortunately the email contains a link to cancel.  

Pause before you click! Scammers know that you didn’t make this request, and the link to cancel is simply bait. It downloads malware to your device, which scammers use to capture passwords or hunt for sensitive information on your machine. This can open you up to identity theft. Click here for tips on how to spot and report a phishing scam or register for the next Learn at Lunch for more in depth information on how to protect your organization’s data.