Judge Temporarily Halts PennDOT Bridge Tolling Plan

On Wednesday, May 18th, a Commonwealth Court Judge issued a preliminary injunction on PennDOT’s plan to implement tolling on nine interstate bridges, including the Nescopeck Creek bridges in lower Luzerne County. The order prevents PennDOT from executing any other agreements or contracts, conducting hearings or meetings, or moving forward with design or construction of tolling structures identified in the Major Bridge P3 Initiative. A lawsuit challenging PennDOT’s process and authority was filed in March by Cumberland County and seven municipalities.

Click here for more from the Associated Press. 

PennDOT can appeal the decision to the State Supreme Court. The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce will be participating in a rally in Harrisburg on June 8th with other members of the No P3 Bridge Tolling Coalition from across the state to urge PennDOT to abandon this plan altogether.

Columbia County Farm Bureau of Pennsylvania Joins The Chamber

The newest member of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce is the Columbia County Farm Bureau. Located in Nescopeck on 612 Hetlerville Road, the Farm Bureau is an organization representing farm families engaged in all types of agriculture – from farms of every size and commodity to craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries to farm-to-table restaurants and agritourism experiences.

It’s mission statement includes growing communities, many voices, united vision. Farm Bureau members are leading together from the grassroots up. The direction of the organization and its stances on issues are shaped by the men and women of the Pennsylvania agriculture.

“People united around food, environment, and community.” Reads the mission statement from the Columbia County Farm Bureau. You can find out more information on its website at www.pfb.com/columbia.

The Columbia County Farm Bureau joins over 420 members of The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce to receive benefits and support the Chamber’s efforts to enhance the region.  

Sponsors Listed for 2022 Chamber Golf Tournament

The Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce would officially like to thank all of our sponsors for making this year’s Chamber Golf Tournament possible. The 2022 Chamber Golf Tournament will be held at Rolling Pines on Thursday, May 26th. In one of our longest-tenured events, golfers take this opportunity to spend time with clients and business peers in the golfing atmosphere and then enjoy a dinner that will be provided by Craft Catering. Business matters and better business makes a better community. This year’s Chamber Golf Tournament features 28 foursomes and two big prizes:

  1. 58” Hisense TV, donated by Walmart
  2. Pit Boss Table Top Griddle, donated by Cole’s

Without further ado, let’s introduce all of our sponsors for this year’s golf outing.

Event Sponsor: Williams
Dinner Sponsor: First Keystone Community Bank
Lunch Sponsor: Heritage Financial Services – LPL Brokerage
Beverage Sponsor: Wagner’s Trophies & Engraveables

Hole Sponsor: 3B Consultant Services, Inc.
Hole Sponsor: Bird Printing Co.
Hole Sponsor: Bodnar Sales and Service
Hole Sponsor:
Chevrolet of Bloomsburg
Hole Sponsor:
Commercial Stainless
Hole Sponsor:
Community Giving Foundation: Berwick
Hole Sponsor:
Community Giving Foundation: Bloomsburg
Hole Sponsor: Community Giving Foundation: Danville
Hole Sponsor: First Columbia Bank & Trust
Hole Sponsor: Fulton Bank
Hole Sponsor: Jim and Vera’s Hoagies
Hole Sponsor:
Marc Nespoli, eXp Realty
Hole Sponsor: McKonly & Asbury
Hole Sponsor: Peters Consultants
Hole Sponsor: Pine Barn Inn
Hole Sponsor: Press Enterprise, Inc.
Hole Sponsor: Service Electric Cablevision, Inc.
Hole Sponsor: Service 1st Federal Credit Union
Hole Sponsor: SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour, and Sullivan Counties
Hole Sponsor: Steph’s Subs
Hole Sponsor: T-Ross Brothers Construction
Hole Sponsor: Trivium Packaging
Hole Sponsor: Walker’s Jewelers
Hole Sponsor: Zimmer Insurance Agency

Member News – May 18, 2022

SEDA-COG’s Housing Development Corporation Receives Historic Award

SEDA-COG’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC) was awarded the Housing Pioneer Award during the Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) Commonwealth Housing Forum – the first ever organization to receive the award.

The goal has always been the same for SEDA-COG’s HDC: provide and maintain quality, safe, and affordable housing options for our region’s elderly population. This award is a reflection of the leadership and dedication shown by the HDC for over 20 years.

High Street Manor in Selinsgrove was the first project completed by SEDA-COG’s HDC in 1998. Since then, the HDC has completed nine additional housing facilities in Dalmatia, Danville, Flemington, Lewistown, Montoursville, and Williamsport. The HDC coordinates projects to buy land, secures financing, and oversees construction of rental housing for the area’s elderly population, especially those on fixed incomes. They also manage the rental complexes. Once completed, the apartments allow senior citizens to safely downsize while maintaining their independence.

“We do everything we can to help them, from troubleshooting cell phones to setting up remote classes on health and wellbeing. At the end of the day, we are doing everything we can to help the 62 and older populations live their best life at an affordable price,” says Leslie Osgood, Chief of Rental Operations.

PHFA’s biennial Housing Forum provides professional development opportunities for people working in the housing field. Attendees participate in a variety of focused educational sessions and hear from nationally recognized speakers. The 2022 program of events included 21 educational sessions, two keynote presentations, an Abraham Lincoln presenter who spoke on the topic of leadership, a tour of PHFA’s Passive House and LEED Platinum office addition, and a popular networking event. The conference ran May 11-12 and drew more than 450 attendees. This year, PHFA celebrated 25 years of producing its housing forums.

In addition to SEDA-COG, two others were also bestowed the Pioneer Award:

  • Jane Downing, senior program officer, economic and community development, The Pittsburgh Foundation, Pittsburgh
  • Ira Goldstein, president of policy solutions, Reinvestment Fund, Philadelphia.

“Our Housing Pioneer Awards are not bestowed often, which makes them a special and distinct honor,” said PHFA’s Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “The two people and one organization being honored today have distinguished themselves over decades as champions for affordable housing. This recognition is intended to honor and thank them, and hopefully inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

Osgood reflected on the historic nature of receiving this award as an organization.

“This work would not be possible if not for the tireless dedication of Ben Gair and Vanessa Hartman, Rental Housing Managers, our on-site building managers, and our maintenance staff. Typically, this award goes to an individual in our field. I am so proud that the PHFA is recognizing the village that it takes to provide seniors a safe and reliable place to live.”

Kim Wheeler, Executive Director of SEDA-COG, said, “The SEDA-COG HDC has been an invaluable resource to our area’s seniors since day one. We are beyond honored to be the first organization receiving this recognition from our peers, and we look forward to continuing to provide affordable housing options for the seniors in our region for many years to come.”

SEDA-COG is a community and economic development agency in Lewisburg and is one of seven Local Development Districts in Pennsylvania. SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in the 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.

United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties to Hold May’s Community Conversation: How to Talk to Your Children about Differences and Diversity

Every third Wednesday at 7:00 PM, United Way holds monthly Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion conversations geared towards the needs of our community. Our hope is these workshops would be interactive conversations, and we invite you to participate. 

Guest speakers Tasha Snowden and Lisa Herrald-Doerschler will host this month’s Community Conversation. They will discuss how to talk with young children about differences and diversity. This event is appropriate for parents, caregivers, and community members who are interested in learning developmentally appropriate ways to address these subjects with toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students. Children’s literature, plus additional tools and resources will also be shared

This presentation will take place via Zoom and there is a capacity limit of 100 attendees. Registration in advance is required.

Click here to register

Are You Thinking About Buying a Business? Here are Five Key Questions You Should Ask

From McKonly and Asbury, the five questions you should ask are:

  1. Is this going to be an asset purchase or stock deal?

A buyer should know what the seller is expecting so there are no misconceptions or miscommunications. In a stock deal, you are buying all the stock of a company which includes all of its assets and liabilities. The company continues to operate but with new ownership. In an asset deal, the purchaser is buying “selected assets” and is not necessarily assuming the liabilities of the selling Company. An asset sale is typically preferred by the purchaser because there are often tax benefits related to the amortization of new intangible assets (goodwill and others) resulting from the purchase.

  1. Are the add-backs of expenses made by the consultant reasonable?

Expenses incurred by a business that are discretionary or non-recurring in nature can be “added back” to arrive at the expected cash flow that the business can transfer to a new owner. I also asked, “Are there more discretionary expenses than what was shown by the consultant?” I noticed a few categories where expenses fluctuated and suggested reviewing the underlying reasons for the fluctuation and that they may need to investigate or seek further clarification. “Due Diligence” is the process of investigation and verification of a potential acquisition to confirm all relevant facts and financial information. In an acquisition, the performance of due diligence is critical for the purchaser.

  1. Did the owners perform any services for the company that would need to be replaced by a salaried employee?

The tax returns showed “guaranteed payments” that were made to the owners. These payments were included in the consultants add-backs, indicating that they would not be required going forward. If the owners performed any services that would need to be incurred or paid for in the future, then the fair value of those services should not be added back to net income but instead included as an ongoing expense of the business.

  1. What do you expect revenue to be going forward? The pandemic has caused significant decline in revenue and the baseline revenue expectation may have changed.

Upon closer examination, the financial information showed a revenue stream that was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, revenue dropped 57% from the previous year as the business was partially shut down. In 2021, revenue grew 54% from the 2020 revenue total but was still only 66% of 2019 revenue. Cash flow is the lifeblood of any company. The decline in revenue, if deemed permanent, could change the cash flow, the outlook for the company, and its value.

  1. What are the terms of the loan to finance the purchase?

Once you have done your due diligence and arrived at what you think a business is worth, the process isn’t done. If you can’t pay for the business, or more importantly, if the terms of the financing are such that cash flow of the business is not sufficient to handle the debt service, you don’t have a workable deal! You could try to negotiate a new price, or just walk away. Knowing the terms of the financing available (length, interest rate, and amount financed) will allow you to model the businesses cash flow and debt service to ensure it works according to your projections.

The questions that were highlighted were focused on arriving at the estimated cash flow that would be available to the owner. Remember Cash is King! Cash flow is a primary factor that determines the value of the business. The due diligence process is a critical step in the purchase of a business and involves finding answers to questions like those highlighted above. The decision to purchase a business is not one that should be entered into lightly. A great deal of work and investigation needs to be done before a final decision can be reached