Hotel budgeting – Hotel Michel Angelo Mon, 07 Jun 2021 02:03:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hotel budgeting – Hotel Michel Angelo 32 32 UAE Leisure Travel Prospects Brighten Thanks to Vaccination Campaign, Says Mashreq Bank Sun, 06 Jun 2021 10:52:30 +0000

The rapid Covid-19 vaccination campaign and the UAE’s initiatives to revive the tourism sector have brightened the outlook for leisure travel, according to Mashreq Bank.

The recovery in business travel is expected to lag behind that of leisure travel in the short to medium term, the lender said in a report titled The way forward for tourism and hospitality in the United Arab Emirates.

“While hotel occupancy rates in the United Arab Emirates will gradually recover thanks to the increase in domestic tourism and the return of international travelers, business travel will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the future. predictable, ”said Zain Qureshi, managing director and global head of real estate finance and advisory services at Mashreq Bank.

The results are in line with the recovery forecasts for the various travel segments.

The return of leisure travelers is driving the recovery of air traffic in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, although a full rebound is still three years away and depends on the recovery of the business travel and long travel segments. – couriers, according to a Fitch Ratings June 2 report.

Economic operators are expected to benefit the most, while network airlines with increased exposure to long-haul travel will have a harder time recovering, he said.

Mashreq Bank has urged the UAE tourism industry to take a phased and coordinated approach to regain the trust of travelers as they remain wary.

“For hospitality and tourism businesses to successfully bring back their customers, achieving and maintaining operational agility in this evolving situation will be essential,” the report said.

In response to the unpredictable situation, food and beverage outlets can effectively manage inventory and avoid food waste by limiting purchases while businesses and malls can reduce the number of employees and / or hire on a contractual basis. Hotels have been urged to close areas such as meeting rooms that are not currently in use.

“It’s about keeping your staff and operations as light as possible until things stabilize,” Qureshi said.

He called on the industry to be flexible in how it allocates costs to ensure greater financial security. Hospitality and tourism businesses have fixed costs – such as rent, salaries, and maintenance – and long-term contracts.

Budgeting in a way that gives them more flexibility and with shorter contracts of up to three months at most will give them the opportunity to rebalance things,” Qureshi said.

Restoring consumer confidence will be crucial for the return of tourists and hotel guests. This requires companies to apply and demonstrate strict safety and hygiene measures at their premises, according to the report.

“Essentially, it’s about improving sentiment and making customers feel safe, not only in principle but also visibly,” Qureshi said.

“It’s important to market safe practices from the start, but the company really needs to show the customer that they are doing what they preach. “

This can range from putting in place partitions in dining rooms to closing rooms after they have been disinfected.

Mr. Qureshi also recommended the increased use of mobile contact tracing apps for residents and tourists, citing the example of South Korea where a QR code-based entry log system has been applied to “high risk businesses” such as sports centers, night clubs, buffet restaurants and large private schools.

“It would dramatically improve sentiment for travelers while providing people with ‘red alerts’ about infectious centers,” he said.

As Dubai announced free vaccinations for all Expo 2020 attendees and their staff when the exhibition kicks off in October, Qureshi recommended extending this option to long-term visit visa holders with permit from three to six months.

“As one of the first mega-events to take place since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020 could serve as a case study for the way forward,” he said.

“Covid-19 and its variants may stick around for the foreseeable future and the UAE really has a chance to set the benchmark with this global event. “

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Maryland Comptroller Revises Tax Guidelines on Sales and Use of Digital Products Fri, 04 Jun 2021 06:52:04 +0000

On June 3, 2021, the Maryland Comptroller of Treasury released a revised version of Tax tip # 29, which clarifies the controller’s interpretation of its sales and use tax on “digital products”, including software. Paying particular attention to the changes recently entered into force by SB 787, the revised version explains the Controller’s interpretation and application of sales and use tax for:

  1. Expanded exemption for certain software offerings – including a long list of potentially non-taxable custom, configured or modified software and eleven explanatory examples;
  2. Services provided by electronic means, including personal, professional or insurance services;
  3. Advertising agency services and creation of tangible personal property and digital products; and
  4. Continuing education courses, seminars or conferences – including those given by non-profit organizations – and courses and conferences given by schools.

2020 HB 932 – Chapter 38 of the Acts of the General Assembly of 2021

Effective March 14, 2021, the adoption by the General Assembly of Maryland of HB 932 – on the veto of Governor Lawrence Hogan, Jr. – extended the sales and use tax to digital products and digital codes. “Digital Product” means “a product obtained electronically by the purchaser or delivered by means other than tangible storage media through the use of technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical capabilities. , electromagnetic or the like ”.

Tax advice n ° 29 – Original

Following the enactment of Law HB 932, the Controller issued Tax Tip # 29, Digital Product Sales and Digital Code. The Monitor has indicated many things that it will be subject to sales tax as digital products, including:

  1. Electronic books;
  2. Movies, music videos, news and entertainment programs, live events, sporting events, tutorials, etc. downloaded or streamed;
  3. Access or use of video or online games; and
  4. Pre-recorded or live music, performances, audiobooks or other written material and speeches.

However, relying on a brief reference in the Tax Note, the Monitor interpreted sales tax on digital products to apply to sales of canned or commercial off-the-shelf software if obtained electronically by the buyer, as well as sales of software as a service.

2021 SB 787 – Chapter 669 of the Acts of the 2021 General Assembly

Pursuant to Article II, Section 17 (c) of the Constitution of Maryland, SB 787 came into force on May 30, 2021 without the signature of Governor Hogan. The legislation amends the Maryland Sales and Use Tax on digital products “to reflect the intent of the General Assembly” by addressing the unintended effects of the expansion of the HB 932 sales tax. SB 787 applies retroactively to March 14, 2021 – the effective date of HB 932. In particular, SB 787 has made the following changes:

  1. Exclude from tax certain pre-recorded and live courses, seminars, discussions or similar events;
  2. Excluding the taxation of professional services obtained electronically or provided by means of technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic or similar capabilities;
  3. Systematically address the taxation of digital codes;
  4. Revise the definition of “retail” to clarify the taxation of digital codes and digital products; and
  5. Extend the exemption for the sale or use of custom computer software to “configured” or “modified” software, regardless of the method transferred or accessed. Specifically, SB 787 amends Md. Code Ann., Tax-Gen. § 11-219 (b), which now exempts Software or Software as a Service (SaaS) as follows:
    1. Sales and use tax does not apply to a sale of custom computer software, regardless of the method transferred or accessed, or to a service related to custom computer software that:
      1. would otherwise be taxable by virtue of this title;
      2. must be used by a specific person;
      3. (i) is created for that person; or (ii) contains standard or proprietary routines requiring significant creative input to customize, configure or modify the procedures and programs necessary to perform the functions required for the software to function as intended; and
      4. do not constitute a mass produced program, procedure or documentation sold to:
        1. the general public; or
        2. persons exercising a trade, profession or industry, except in the cases provided for in point (3) of this paragraph.

Tax Tip No.29 – Revised

On June 3, 2021, the Monitor released a revised version of Tax Tip # 29. The revised version incorporates the changes from SB 787 and also provides many explanatory examples. In particular:

  1. Gift cards and gift certificates. Gift cards and gift certificates with monetary value are not taxable digital codes when redeemable for an item other than a digital product. The Controller describes three examples of when gift cards and gift certificates are taxable.
  2. Services performed electronically. According to SB 787 and COMAR (A), Maryland excludes from tax as digital products certain personal, professional or insurance services that involve the sale of a digital code or a digital product as only element of no consequence for which no separate charge is invoiced. The supervisor interprets these non-taxable services as those rendered, for example, by doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants and insurance agents. The examples show that the following are not taxable: (1) unlisted PDF files of estate planning documents provided with legal services; (2) reports generated as a result of a job seeker’s reference check; (3) posting job offers online; and (4) a telehealth appointment.
  3. Advertising agencies. Advertising agency contracts can relate to both non-taxable services and the production of tangible personal property or a digital product. The Controller lists five non-taxable advertising services: (1) preparation and placement of media advertisements; (2) public relations; (3) organize press conferences; (4) conduct market research; and (5) development of creative concepts. However, advertising agencies sell digital products when the transaction involves the production and delivery of specific goods, including digital photographs, illustrations, illustrations, graphics and videos.
  4. Education. The Controller has published numerous examples of cases where continuing education courses, seminars or conferences delivered electronically – including those by non-profit organizations – or online courses and conferences delivered by schools are submitted. to sales tax.
  5. Entertainment. Digital downloads and streaming of pre-recorded films, video clips, news and entertainment programs, live events including live concerts, sporting events and tutorials are subject to restrictions. sales and use taxes as digital products.
  6. Data and documents and electronic communications. The Controller applies sales and use tax on digital products to: (1) the sale of customer lists, mailing lists, medical records and similar products and (2) access fees or d subscription to a chat room, discussion room, blog, or any other place allowing users to communicate electronically in real time.
  7. Software. Generally, software is subject to Maryland sales and use tax. However, some software is not taxable as long as it requires “significant creative input to customize, configure or modify the procedures and programs necessary to perform the functions required for the software or SaaS to function as intended. subject to sale. and use the tax. Business tax advice # 29 (June 3, 2021) at n. 41, citing Md. Code Ann., Tax-Gen. § 11-219 (b). In addition to numerous examples, the Monitor has published a long list of potentially non-taxable “custom, configured or modified” software, including:
    1. Ledger systems;
    2. Budgeting and forecasting systems;
    3. Supplier management and payment systems;
    4. Tax engine, procurement and compliance systems;
    5. Human resource management systems;
    6. Data management systems;
    7. Software and systems for hosting, archiving and retrieving data;
    8. IT infrastructure and application management systems;
    9. Reservation systems, including hotel reservation systems and event management systems;
    10. Collaboration, videoconferencing, electronic mail and messaging systems; and
    11. Etc.
  8. Sales of digital codes and products before the effective date. As a general rule, sales and use tax does not apply to sales or subscriptions entered into before March 14, 2021. The examples state that: (1) for subscriptions that renew monthly, no sales tax and use will not be due until the first charge occurring after March 14, 2021, and (2) no sales and use tax is due for contracts entered into before March 14, 2021, even when delivery and Payment for these digital products does not take place until after March 14, 2021.

The Eversheds Sutherland SALT team will continue to monitor Maryland sales and use taxes on digital products and any further revisions of Tax Tip # 29.

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Embark on your summer road trip with RVshare | Sponsored Fri, 07 May 2021 17:55:07 +0000

Embark on your summer road trip with RVshare

Define your summer plans

While the pandemic may have locked us in our doors over the past year or so, now is the time to pull out your to-do list and leave the house! This summer, embark on the adventure of a lifetime with RVshare. Gather your friends and family, select the right RV for you and hit the road in a safe and exciting way.

The road trip is the best way to get off the beaten track. No matter where you end up, you will surely have a place to sleep and eat that night. Don’t let strict travel itineraries get in the way of your adventure. Coast along the Blue Ridge Parkway, meander through California poppy meadows, and soak up the fresh Yosemite air at your leisure.

The perfect RV

Once you have your perfect trip in mind, it’s time to figure out the logistics. Fortunately, RVshare makes this very easy! RVshare is the largest peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and with over 100,000 listings spanning all states, you’ll find the vehicle you need. Browse your ideal options for taking an RV on a roadtrip across the country or just an overnight camping trip. Whether you want to bring your pets, indulge in luxury, or find an affordable vacation, use RVshare’s filters to easily narrow down the listings to what best suits your needs.

When the time is right for you to embark on your adventure, RVshare not only makes pickup quick and easy, but it also offers delivery options so you can have your RV come to your home.

Additionally, if you want to spend more time at your destination or want to travel further afield without having to worry about budgeting time for the return trip, RVshare is unique among its peers in offering one-way rental options. So feel free to make the most of your vacation with your RV and let RVshare worry about getting it back to where it needs to go.

Travel the roads

Once you’ve found the perfect vehicle, enjoy stress-free driving. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, RVshare’s roadside assistance program will take care of any bumps in the road for you. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and take in the incredible scenery of Route 66.

On your road trip, enjoy every second of the ride without feeling rushed by impending travel bookings. Start your day whenever you want, whether it’s waking up in the sun or resting in style for the next day’s adventure. Hit the road and discover corners of America where a flight might never get you. On your trip, be sure to make friends with the locals and see their favorite spots. As the sun sets, forget to worry about finding a hotel. Enjoy the comfort of your own bed.

Why RVshare?

Put down your laptop, turn off Zoom and take a break. RVshare offers the possibility of an easy and safe way to relax, explore and gain the experience of a lifetime. From the start of planning your trip to returning your RV to its owner, RVshare will accompany you throughout the journey. Go wherever you want and discover the places of your dreams.

Once you’ve found the perfect RV, RVshare provides a safe and secure payment platform with instant booking options. Plus, while 93% of RVshare owners get five stars from travelers, with RVshare’s worry-free guarantee, if your RV rental has been misrepresented or you can’t contact the owner right before your travel, RVshare Support will work with you to ensure your plans are not affected.

See where RVshare can take you and book your trip today!

Crimson’s news and opinion teams – including writers, editors, photographers and designers – were not involved in the production of this article.

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Prepare to pay even more while driving in the Hudson Valley Tue, 27 Apr 2021 12:54:45 +0000

Drivers in the Hudson Valley are once again being told they have to pay more at area tolls.

The New York State Bridge Authority has confirmed that new toll rates will come into effect on Saturday, May 1 on its five crossings of the Hudson River.

For all the news the Hudson Valley shares, be sure to follow Hudson Valley Post on Facebook, download the Hudson Valley Post mobile app and sign up for the Hudson Valley Post newsletter.

“In order to properly maintain its bridges in a safe and cost effective manner, the New York State Bridge Authority must increase tolls at its five Hudson River crossings,” said the New York State Bridge Authority.

As of Saturday May 1, it will cost E-ZPass drivers $ 1.45 to cross the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, Mid-Hudson Bridge, Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, Bear Mountain Bridge and Rip Van Winkle Bridge, an increase of 10 cents. Drivers who pay cash will continue to pay $ 1.75.

“Additional toll revenues used to maintain Authority bridges will remain in the Mid-Hudson region, funding work on the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff, Rip Van Winkle and Walkway bridges. Over the Hudson, ”New York State Bridge Authority Addition.

You would be right if you think that a toll increase did not go into effect last year. On May 1, 2020, E-ZPass users saw an increase of 10 cents from $ 1.25 to $ 1.35. Cash drivers saw an increase of 25 cents from $ 1.50 to $ 1.75.

The increase in tolls last year marked the first increase since 2012, officials said.

The New York State Bridge Authority reports that tolls will continue to increase each year until 2023. Under the current plan, by 2023, it will cost non-E-ZPass drivers $ 2.15 to cross a bridge in the Mid-Hudson Valley and $ 1.65 for passenger vehicles with E-ZPass.

Keep reading:

WATCH: Here are 25 ways to start saving money today

These tips for saving money, whether it’s finding discounts or just changing your daily habits, can be helpful whether you have a specific savings goal, want to put some money away for. retirement or just want to pinch some pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to find out more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

Discover the must-see routes in every state

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Strong bond ratings translate into lower interest payments Fri, 23 Apr 2021 02:25:47 +0000

S&P Global rated all of the City of Round Rock’s upcoming property tax-backed debt issues with the highest AAA long-term rating possible, citing the city’s “very strong” management and “solid” budget performance in conjunction with the “very strong” of central Texas “Economy.

S&P Global has upgraded the rating of Round Rock Transportation and Economic Development Corporation (RRTEDC) tax-backed debt issuance to AA- from A +, resulting in significant interest savings. The RRTEDC is a seven-member board of directors that promotes the economic development of the city through transportation projects and other projects authorized by state law. Half a cent of the city’s sales tax goes directly to the Type B corporation to fund economic development projects in the city.

On April 22, Round Rock City Council approved a series of debt securities issues for transportation, economic development and fleet purchases.

“These rating increases are really helping our taxpayers,” said Mayor Craig Morgan. “It’s like the interest rate on your credit card and your credit score. A better credit rating allows you to get a lower interest rate. “

For example, upgrading the sales tax-backed debt rating will save the city more than $ 200,000 in interest payments, said Garry Kimball of Specialized Public Finance, financial advisor to the city.

According to S&P Global’s analysis, the ratings of the property tax-backed issues reflect its opinion on Round Rock:

  • Very strong economy, with access to a large and diversified metropolitan statistical area (MSA)
  • Very solid management, with strong financial policies and practices
  • Strong budgetary performance, with operating results that S&P Global expects, which could weaken in the near term compared to fiscal 2020, which ended with an operating surplus in the general fund and a slight operating surplus at the total level of government funds in fiscal year 2020
  • Very high budgetary flexibility
  • Very high liquidity

In its credit overview, S&P Global cited Round Rock’s access to Austin, several colleges and high-tech industries, as well as a large and educated workforce that remains attractive to businesses and individuals. , which translates into continued economic growth.

“The local economy has remained resilient throughout the pandemic,” the report says. “Sales tax revenues increased in 2020 despite the losses of various establishments during mandatory business closures.”

Highlights of Round Rock’s “very strong economy” include a projected effective purchasing income per capita of 121 percent of the national level; City market growth of 6.3% over the past year to reach $ 15.6 billion in 2021; and a weighted average unemployment rate of 2.8% for metropolitan counties in 2019.

The report continues: “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the local economy has not experienced any significant contraction. In fact, the growth has continued and includes Kalahari Resorts, an African themed resort with a convention center, hotel, spa, several dining and entertainment options, and a water park. The resort, located on 352 acres, opened on time late last year despite the pandemic and hotel reservations continue to climb, especially as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. lifted. … There are also five hotels under construction in the city, including an Embassy Suites hotel and a conference center. Other upcoming developments include two new manufacturing facilities later this year and an expansion from Amazon to Round Rock with a new delivery station. In addition, a camouflage manufacturer for the defense industry will be relocating to the city from Maryland and supplying the new Army Futures Command in Austin.

S & P’s analysis also cited “very strong management of the City”, with “strong financial policies and practices”. One of the strengths of S&P’s assessment of the City’s financial policies and practices is its analysis of historical trends and the regular budget versus actual budget updates provided to City Council.

“Management uses conservative revenue and expenditure assumptions based not only on trend analysis, but also on economic modeling of internal and external contributions from external expert consultants,” the report says. “The city monitors and reports on its fiscal performance, including actual year-to-date results against budget, and the investment portfolio on a quarterly basis to city council.”

Regarding the “strong budgetary performance of the City,” the report notes that “the City had excess operating results in the general fund of 8.9% of expenses, and a slight excess of results in all funds. government by 0.9% in fiscal 2020.… Despite limited disruption to the local economy resulting from COVID-19 to date, officials have taken a very conservative approach to the city’s budget assumptions for 2021. The budget passed has been balanced, with a $ 5 million reduction in general fund spending, and the city plans to end the year on budget, although it will likely transfer some of the excess reserves for one-time capital projects or to reduce debt.

The report continues, “We expect the strong growth in Round Rock’s tax base and increased sales tax collection to enable the city to generate sufficient revenue to continue to fund its growing budget.” . Given strong revenue growth and prudent fiscal practices, we expect Round Rock to continue to perform better than expected, confirming our view that the city’s fiscal performance is strong.

For sales tax-backed issues, S&P Global said the rating upgrade “reflects steady growth in sales taxes which we believe will continue to provide strong coverage.”

The main considerations include:

  • The strength of the local economy and its continued expansion, accompanied by positive annual growth in tax collections
  • A solid assessment of the sales tax revenue stream which she says is generally subject to moderate to low levels of historical volatility
  • General solvency which, according to her, does not limit the solvency of the structure of the promised tax revenues

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Director of Hotel Operations – Hotel News ME Sun, 18 Apr 2021 07:48:13 +0000


Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, The First Group is a dynamic and integrated global real estate developer with a rapidly growing portfolio of high-end hotels, residential properties, F&B brands and real estate asset management services. Since our launch in 2005, we have carved out a very successful niche for ourselves offering unparalleled real estate investment opportunities in high growth markets to clients in more than 70 countries around the world.

Job description:

The COO will act as a strategic business leader delivering the best revenue, profitability, operational efficiency, exceptional customer experience, employee engagement and development, and asset management of all hotels. The leader must be effective in building relationships between multiple groups of internal and external stakeholders to identify and implement areas for continued brand and category growth at the top and GOP levels. Proven experience in revenue management, budgeting, profit and loss reporting and forecasting is required. Together with the TFG management team, the Director is responsible for exceeding Ownerships’ financial expectations and all key performance indicators.

Role and Responsibilities:

  • Focus on customer satisfaction, best-in-class revenue and GOP performance.
  • Collaborates to create improved management processes and methods to drive better performance. Participate in hotel forecasting, budgeting process and annual budget implementation.
  • Critically analyze all metrics; including, but not limited to, financial reporting, client satisfaction, STR performance, financial audits, associate opinion polls and staff turnover.
  • Conduct property tours throughout the year and review all aspects of the operation including, but not limited to, revenue to net operating income, customer experience, performance of the service and compliance with brand standards.
  • Partner in the development of quality audits and initiate corrective action plans across the brand portfolio in order to generate customer satisfaction and preference.
  • Possess the ability to interact at all levels of the organization including general managers, senior management, property and corporate support departments.
  • Develop a strong and productive partnership and open communications with ownership and key stakeholders to best align strategies, execution and results.
  • Will work closely with the F&B Director of Operations & Marketing, to ensure that the two business units are aligned and in harmony.
  • Work closely with the human resources department, as well as with each hotel manager and department head, to determine their specific staffing and training needs.
  • Work with the HMC sales and marketing team to ensure they meet the targets and goals defined by the short and long term strategies of the company and each property.
  • Make sure each property meets detailed operating guidelines set out in brand standards, SOPs, and P&P. While ensuring that best practices are always adopted.
  • Make sure the property meets all legal requirements and complies with local codes and established regulations.
  • Demonstrate a growth mindset with the ability to identify and maintain a talent pipeline.
  • Promote a culture of agility by effectively leading and communicating strategic change initiatives and organizational impacts.

Desired skills and expertise:

  • 4-year bachelor’s degree in business administration, hotel and restaurant management, or related major; 4 years of experience in customer service, front desk, housekeeping, sales and marketing, management operations or related professional field.

  • More than 10 years of operational experience with a large hotel group and / or a hotel management company.
  • UAE hospitality experience is preferable.

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Make noise during an election in a quiet town: go vote Sun, 18 Apr 2021 04:00:23 +0000

Just 179 days after the last election, we have another one.

Due to the pandemic, last year’s municipal elections were postponed from May to November.

Depending on how you look at it, incumbents who won as expected either have an unusually long first term or a shorter second term.

They certainly benefited from the turnout in a presidential election.

On May 1, the residents of Abilene will vote for seats 1 and 2 on the city council.

Outgoing board member Shane Price confronts Stephen Hunt as Place 2, open with Jack Rentz’s imminent exit after a tenure, is a battle between Lynn Beard and Garrett Hubbard

There probably won’t be a lot of voter turnout, especially since Saturday is an extremely busy day in Abilene. And it will be busy in between.

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Novato expects $ 17million infusion to cover budget deficits Sat, 17 Apr 2021 18:50:32 +0000

Novato’s dismal financial outlook has brightened with an estimated $ 17.5 million infusion that would not only cover the city’s deficits but could add new services as well.

The funds are expected to come from a combination of real estate sales and deals, past savings and an estimated $ 10.4 million from the latest federal coronavirus stimulus program, the American Rescue Plan, according to the city ​​staff.

City council voted 4-1, with Mayor Pat Eklund dissenting, at its April 13 meeting to allocate those dollars to a variety of uses, including the repayment of the $ 4.6 million in budget deficits forecast for the next two years; create an online building permit system; replenish the city’s reserves; and repay pension and benefit obligations.

The city’s finance director stressed that federal relief funds, while large, are a one-time windfall that would not cover ongoing costs or staff layoffs approved last year. However, she told the council that the money should “strengthen our financial base so that we are ready for the next emergency, economic downturn or any other event that will negatively impact the city’s finances.”

It is still not clear exactly how much Novato would receive from the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout and whether anything will likely be reduced if more agencies qualify for the relief, Cunningham said. The city will also be limited in how it can spend these federal dollars, such as not being able to use them to pay off pension or benefit commitments and having to spend all the money by the end of the year. calendar 2024.

Half of the federal payment could come in June and the other half is expected to arrive 12 months later, Cunningham said.

In view of this uncertainty, Eklund urged the council to put on hold any decision with these funds until this summer, when the city’s financial situation is clarified. One of the main concerns she raised was the city’s projected budget deficit.

The city is expected to end the year with a deficit of $ 2.5 million and end the 2021-2022 fiscal year with a deficit of $ 2.1 million. The deficit is the result of rising costs and reduced revenue streams resulting from the pandemic and the city’s pre-existing financial woes. Using those one-time dollars to pay off some of the drivers of that deficit, such as the bond debt incurred to pay off the city’s pension liabilities, would help the city in the long run, she said.

“What we’re doing is shutting down to deal with the deficit,” Eklund said at the meeting.

The April 13 council decision provided a roadmap for how the city intends to spend the $ 17.5 million, but staff and council members said there was room for flexibility.

“I’m comfortable with that as a starting point,” said Councilor Amy Peele.

The council plans to use these funds in several ways, including:

  • cover the city’s projected deficit of $ 4.6 million for the next two years
  • covering an estimated loss of revenue of $ 4 million due to the pandemic in the last half of fiscal year 2019-2020
  • use $ 250,000 to create an online building permit system
  • use of $ 350,000 for computer security upgrades, finance tracking software and hardware upgrades
  • the addition of $ 500,000 to the city’s pension trust fund
  • budgeting of $ 550,000 to cover building maintenance backlogs
  • replenish the city’s nearly depleted insurance reserve $ 1.2 million
  • pay $ 502,000 in unpaid employee benefits liability
  • reserve $ 3 million for emergency projects
  • using $ 125,000 for future redistribution

In addition to the US bailout dollars, the city received $ 5.6 million from the sale of the Hamilton Commissary’s 5-acre parcel to City Ventures LLC, which closed the escrow in March. The company intends to build 75 townhouses.

The city received an additional $ 1 million this year from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging under a prior agreement on the future development of the institute’s campus. A recent audit of the city’s finances for 2018-19 also found it had $ 889,500 in additional savings.

Pro Tem Mayor Eric Lucan said he would also be open to Eklund’s suggestion not to allocate the dollars until later. Lucan also advocated for using some of the money to leverage more state and federal grants that could be used for projects benefiting the city.

“We know there will probably be a lot of money for improved transportation,” Lucan said at the meeting.

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Florida DEO says jobs are coming back Fri, 16 Apr 2021 19:28:00 +0000

ORLANDO, Florida – As Florida state executives paint a bright picture of the job market, they also warn that there is a long way to go.

What would you like to know

  • WD says jobs are coming back to the state
  • The agency says the unemployment rate remains at 4.7%
  • It comes as DeSantis government opposes increased unemployment benefits

Gov. Ron DeSantis is using additional job rotation to further reject efforts – by Republican and Democratic members of the Florida legislature – to increase state unemployment benefits.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunities reported on Friday that the state gained 32,900 private sector jobs in March 2021, totaling 777,600 private sector jobs from April 2020 to March 2021.

Adrienne Johnston, chief economist for Florida WD, said the numbers include both new jobs created and people recalled to work.

Florida DEO reported that the state’s latest unemployment rate remains stable at 4.7%, down from 14.3% in April 2020 when Florida was at the height of the pandemic.

“We are seeing continued job growth over the month,” Johnston said on Friday. “When you look back to where we were at the same time last year, where we have been gaining jobs for 11 months, we haven’t quite come back to where we were before the pandemic, where we were at. lowest levels of unemployment we’ve ever seen, highest level of employment we’ve ever seen, we’re just not quite there and that’s largely due to the fact that the he leisure and hospitality industry is not quite back where we were.

Tourism is a mainstay of the economy of central Florida where the Orlando area unemployment rate is 5.4%. Osceola County continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state.

“What I take away, and what we see in the data, we continue to see job growth, so companies are adding jobs statewide, in all industries and it’s not coming back because we had a huge drop early last year, it will take time for that to increase and return to pre-pandemic levels, ”Johnston said.

As thousands of people remain without work, optimism emerges.

Central Florida businesses and restaurants are posting jobs, with some difficulty reporting staffing.

Some job seekers have expressed health and salary concerns for their slow return to the job market.

Others, however, are eager to get back to normal.

“I can tell you that in a month or two, Disney is going to have to start hiring externally, on the streets to fill these roles, because every week there is a need for more people to come back,” said Eric Clinton. .

Clinton is president of Unite Here 362, which represents 9,000 workers in the area, including members of the Disney cast (Disney term for employees) working in attractions, custody, vacation planning, and in the plaza. automobile.

Unite Here 362 and 737 are members of the Service Trades Council Union – a group of six collective unions representing more than 42,000 members of the Disney cast.

Clinton said of the 42,000 cast members, more than 32,000 have returned to work.

Those waiting to return, Clinton said, are mostly part-time employees or those who work at properties waiting to reopen.

“The parks are open and they are busy,” Clinton said. “The difference is, while the parks are busy… there are entire complexes, large campuses with thousands of hotel rooms that are not open. Connected to each of these hotels and room campuses are catering operations, entertainment offerings, gift shops, and housekeepers that weren’t brought back to work, so until the Hotel occupancy rate is increasing, this is really the next thing that we will see. , people who get rooms in these rooms and do so for multiple nights. “

Representatives for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld have all ignored questions repeated in recent weeks from Spectrum News regarding staffing.

Improving job prospects come as many still struggle to find adequate work and struggle with the state’s broken unemployment system.

Neither WD executive Dane Eagle nor DeSantis pointed out at a press conference in Lakeland on Friday about the lingering problems plaguing the system. Many Floridians say they have been banned from their accounts and find mistaken blocks on their claims.

Some have not received benefits for months.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunities said it is aware of the issues and continues to work as quickly as possible to resolve the issues.

Fight to reform unemployment

In March, at the start of the 2021 legislative session, WD Executive Director Dane Eagle told Spectrum News his agency was understaffed, overworked and in need of legislative assistance to get the fixes right. realize.

“You have thousands of Floridians who have struggled to get into the system, into the CONNECT system,” said Chris Sprowles (right), the Speaker of the House in Florida. “We have a bill and a budgeting process, we worked with WD Director Eagle to make sure the CONNECT system redesign has enough bandwidth if you want to make sure we end up in again. this situation, if there are a large number of Floridians trying to continue, we have a system that supports that.

There is bipartisan pull to provide funding to address technical pitfalls in the system. There is also bipartite – but not majority – support for granting marginal increases in unemployment benefits.

Florida currently has some of the lowest unemployment benefits in the country: $ 275 per week, capped at 12 weeks.

As Democrats have gathered to ask for $ 500 a week for a new 26-week cap, a more modest proposal is gaining some support.

State Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) is proposing an increase from $ 100 to $ 375 per week for a new 14-week cap. Brodeur’s bill, SB 1906, passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday and is now heading for a vote outside the plenary hall, where it recently won the support of Senate Majority Leader Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne).

DeSantis Friday, however, balked at growing benefits.

Additionally, the Florida House of Representatives did not propose any accompanying bills to Brodeur’s Senate bill. Given the lack of support from DeSantis and the GOP-controlled House, Brodeur’s legislation faces a steep climb to become law.

DeSantis said he did not support the granting of additional benefits given the improving labor market in the state. State benefits are paid by the Florida Unemployment Trust Fund. Companies pay unemployment insurance taxes to fuel the fund, which is nearly depleted after the pandemic.

In an effort to replenish the fund, and Republicans say it avoids the burden of raising business taxes, lawmakers recently passed a long-standing Democratic proposal to expand online sales tax collection. .

Instead of using the funds for Democrat-focused programs and priorities, Republicans endorsed the move after the rejection, but instead to funnel the money to temporarily fund the unemployment trust fund.

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Colin McEnroe (opinion): How Governor Lamont jumped the shark on vaccines Fri, 16 Apr 2021 12:09:26 +0000

Dr. Ned Lamont this week had a mayoral moment of friendship.

Drawing on his years of medical training and clinical practice, Dr Lamont said …

What is that?

You say Lamont is not a doctor?

And that he has no medical training? Zero? No clinical experience? Nada? Does he know the bupkis about all of this?

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My mistake. I was just presuming that, because Lamont had presumed to be sermonizing and even berating the Centers for Disease Control about the Johnson & Johnson immunization break, he had special knowledge. Apparently not.

Is there any way we can get his transcript from Phillips Exeter and see how he did in high school biology? Put Dan Haar on this story.

Meanwhile: Bad Ned!

All government officials have a friendship mayor who lives inside of them. They can’t help him.

The mayor of Amity was named Larry Vaughn, and he appears in the science documentary “Jaws. He was actually a really good mayor, moved the city to GAAP budgeting, synchronized the four traffic lights, improved jitney dock-to-hotel service. I could go on.

But Vaughn will forever be known as the guy who said it was safe to go in the water when in fact there was a huge shark on the carnivorous diet marauding near the shore.

Former President Trump has defended Larry Vaughn for most of his handling of the pandemic. The virus was not a big deal and would give up the ghost in seconds or minutes or days or weeks.

Lamont and many other sane governors have gone the other way, and so much the better for them. I still think Lamont is getting high marks for his handling of this crisis, and the Connecticut vaccination program has been the vaccine equivalent of a beautiful white sand summer beach.

But then the CDC pulled the brakes on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. And Larry Vaughn crawled into Ned’s skin.

Lamont and other governors were on a conference call at the White House on Tuesday, the day the CDC and the FDA jointly announced their recommendation to suspend administration of the vaccine, due to very rare incidences of a blood called thrombosis of the cerebral venous sinus (CVST), after doses of the vaccine.

The Connecticut Mirror reported Lamont’s reaction to this news. “I would have handled things differently,” Lamont replied dryly. “And I let them know that.

First of all, no one cares how the Connecticut governor would have handled it. It’s not his job to deal with it. He doesn’t know enough to make a smart decision, and if he thinks otherwise, the good press has gone to his head.

The break must have happened because, frankly, no one knows what’s going on here or the extent of the problem. The number you keep hearing, six out of 6.8 million vaccinations, is probably small and misleading.

Probably low for two reasons. First, symptoms appear six to 13 days after vaccination. There is therefore a large cohort of recently vaccinated people who do not yet know if they will have clots (still very rare). This shouldn’t drastically change the number, but it could easily drop from six to 12. Second, there may be another group of patients who had the symptoms but didn’t know they were significant. The CDC may well hear from doctors who have treated patients for clots, but saw no reason to report them.

Why misleading? Because the symptoms only appeared in women between the ages of 18 and 49. So six out of 6.8 million people may not be the right way to think. Perhaps you want to count only vaccinated women in this age cohort, in which case it is a much smaller pool. A woman of these ages who gets vaccinated is at much higher risk than one in a million women. Probably still low risk compared to a lot, but one in a million is misleading.

Now the other part. No one can say for sure that they understand why the clots and this vaccine might go together. Medical research is in high gear right now and is investigating possible explanations. The other vaccine with a possible high incidence of blood clots is the AstraZeneca model, which is the other adenovirus ‘vector’ platform. It could be a coincidence. For that matter, all the fear of the clot can be a lot of sound and fury meaning nothing.

And meanwhile – here is Lamont’s great fear – public confidence in both of these vaccines has plummeted. A recent YouGov poll showed a 13-15 point deviation from confidence in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It could have happened anyway, in light of the news about the clots. You can’t really pin it on the break, although, yes, the break will likely make the number worse.

The YouGov poll, however, showed continued confidence in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which use mRNA platforms.

Here is the other point that is overlooked. We vaccinate 3.3 million people per day. So, so far, Johnson & Johnson’s 6.8 million doses is just over two days of our national total. Meanwhile, a manufacturing error that had nothing to do with clots had temporarily stopped Johnson & Johnson in its tracks.

They weren’t that big, and they were out of the game no matter what. Meanwhile, the other two companies are doing well.

If you want people to trust public health initiatives, this break is exactly what you are doing. You tell people that you are not taking any risks. Even if the risk is minimal, you will stop until you really understand what is going on. You don’t go past the warning signs. If you do and there is a real problem, you will never regain the lost confidence.

Yes, the sun is shining, the needles are sharp, the beaches are clean, and the benefits are huge. But, if you don’t mind, let’s send three guys on a boat, just to be on the safe side.

Colin McEnroe’s column is published every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Thursday and you can hear its radio show every day of the week on WNPR 90.5. Email him at Subscribe to its newsletter on

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