Monthly Archives: January 2016

2016
01/31

Category:
Revenue

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Roads, Revenue Top Wish List for Monongalia County in 2016

MORGANTOWN –

Perhaps 2016 will be a year of progress in West Virginia. That progress could come quickly with legislative session beginning Jan.13.

Commissioner Ed Hawkins best summarized the call from Monongalia County Commission ahead of thatupcoming legislative session. The countys governing bodybelieves the states leaders must work together in the upcoming legislative session to tackle major issueslike the projected multimilliondollar budget shortfall.

I expect them to focus on the problems and not to get burdened with little splintered things, said Hawkins.Work with unity, and look toward the roads and the economics of this state.

Monongalia County itself realized major budget issues in December:a significant dip in revenues from coal severance led to a hiring freeze and funding cuts for non-profits. It was a shock felt by many counties in the state.

With the coal industrys future in turmoil, Commissioner Eldon Callen believes its time to find a new method for generating revenue for counties.

Through no fault of the state of West Virginia, the loss of the coal severance revenue is devastating and can be further devastating not only to our county, but to all 55 counties, said Callen.They have got to work together and find a replacement for that where the counties could survive, otherwise I predict a number of counties going belly-up.

Added Commissioner Tom Bloom: Basically right now, there really isnt that flexibility and we only have two revenue sources, of which one is drying up. We need to come up with some other areas and avenues to try and promote each individual county.

And then theres the issue of the countys roads,somethingBloom attempted to combat with a so-calledsin taxproposed in July. While the roadsand many other issuesrequire immediate attention during legislative session, Bloom hopes officials can create long-term agreements,not short-terms fixes.

Right now, theyre just putting the finger in and filling the holes. We need to have solutions to the road problem, to PEIA, not just coming up with one-time fixes, said Bloom.Its a difficult situation where were $280 million in debt. We have to come up with ways of not only coming up with a solution but then preparing for the future.

2016
01/31

Category:
Secured Financing

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New life for the Americus?

When the NIZ arrived in 2011, its powerful tax incentives seemed to provide an answer to the Americus funding problems. But some ANIZDA members dont trust Abdouches plan, arguing that his cost estimates for renovations are unrealistic.

After months of sparring with Abdouche, ANIZDA last fall struck a compromise with him. Theyd pay half the $10,000 cost of having an independent consultant assess how much it would take to reopen the 1927 hotel with a three-diamond rating, based on the hotel rating system by AAA Travel.

Of the roughly 60 hotels in the Lehigh Valley, only the Sands Casino Hotel in Bethlehem has a four-diamond rating, though the Renaissance in Allentown is expected to reach that when it is rated later this month. The rest are rated at three diamonds or fewer, according to AAA Travel spokeswoman Theresa Poduguski. Seventy-six percent are rated at three diamonds, she said.

If the independent assessment came in close to Abdouches estimate, he could proceed with NIZ tax money, provided he secured financing and a qualified hotel operator. If the estimate came in closer to the $25 million to $30 million some ANIZDA members expected, hed have to provide a performance bond and secure financing to match the estimate.

Bakers 118-page report, received by ANIZDA on Wednesday, states that the hotel can reach the three-diamond rating for $15.7 million. The estimate includes renovations on every floor, with more than $1.7 million of it going for finishings such as bathroom fixtures and counters, and another $1.6 million for furniture.

The biggest line item, at $2.4 million, is for a contingency fund to handle cost overruns. The estimates total, minus that contingency, virtually matches the $13.2 million Abdouche had estimated in the plan he first delivered to ANIZDA in 2013.

2016
01/30

Category:
Secured Financing

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MPC Brings in Peter Ganz for Shipping

Until last year Ganz served as CFO of Hapag-Lloyd AG for six years. In that role he was deeply involved in the successful restructuring of Hapag-Lloyd, primed the company for operating on the capital market and thereby secured financing for additional growth.

2016
01/28

Category:
Revenue

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Lower legal bill boosts Citi profit but core revenue weak

n>Citigroup Inc (C.N) reported a massive jump in quarterly profit as a sharp drop in legal costs and gains from the disposal of unwanted assets masked weak revenue from its core business.

Shares of Citi, which was displaced by Wells Fargo Co (WFC.N) as the No.3 US bank by assets, fell as much as 7.2 percent to a near three-year low of $42.11 on Friday.

US banks struggled to grow their revenue last year, hurt by near-zero interest rates, a slump in oil prices and investor cautiousness due to worries about slowing growth in China.

Most banks have resorted to aggressive cost controls to boost profits and Citi was no different. The bank has also been exiting less profitable markets and businesses.

Adjusted revenue from its main Citicorp business declined 2 percent in the fourth quarter, but lower costs helped the unit increase profit.

It is almost impossible to specify what the true operating results were, Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski wrote in a note.

The banks legal and repositioning costs plunged to $724 million from $3.55 billion, a year earlier. Total expenses fell 22.8 percent to $11.13 billion.

Costs cuts and a smaller legal bill also helped JPMorgan Chase Co (JPM.N) report a 10 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, and the largest US bank by assets forecast incremental increases in the amount set aside for losses on loans to the energy sector this year.

Citi set aside about $250 million to cover losses related to its energy portfolio and the bank said its 2016 provisioning would depend on where oil prices ultimately settle.

Wells Fargo, the biggest US residential mortgage lender and a major lender to the energy industry, reported a 0.8 percent fall in quarterly profit on Friday as it set aside more money to cover bad loans.

ASSETS SHRINK

Citis adjusted revenue rose 4.2 percent to $18.64 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, but the increase came from gains on sale of assets from its Citi Holdings portfolio, which shrank 43 percent.

We have undoubtedly become a simpler, smaller, safer and stronger institution. We have sharpened our focus on target clients, shedding over 20 consumer and institutional businesses in the process, Chief Executive Michael Corbat said in a statement.

On Citi sliding to No.4 ranking among US banks in terms of assets, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said the bank was focusing on being efficient, not on winning bragging rights over other banks.

Citicorp achieved an efficiency ratio of 57 percent for 2015, the higher end of Corbats target of 53-57 percent.

Investors, however, worry that slowing growth in emerging markets, where Citi has more assets than other US banks, may undermine its results.

Citis net profit rose to $3.34 billion, or $1.02 per share, in the quarter from $344 million, or 6 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the bank earned $1.06 per share, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.05, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Investment banking revenue rose 6 percent to $1.13 billion, while fixed income revenue rose 7 percent to $2.22 billion.

Citi shares have fallen about 12 percent so far this year, while the broader KBW bank index .BKX has declined about 10 percent.

(This story has been refiled to correct to insert first name and title of Chief Executive Michael Corbat in paragraph 12)

(Reporting by Sweta Singh and David Henry; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

2016
01/28

Category:
Secured Financing

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Renamed Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center broadens its scope

The Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center has changed its name to the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center to reflect its new focus on serving areas in the larger Colorado Springs area, including the Tri-Lakes area, Park County and Woodland Park and Cripple Creek in Teller County.

The center and its three-person staff, along with nearly 30 volunteers, offer classes and workshops and consult with startup and expanding small businesses to develop business plans, secure financing, improve marketing efforts and learn more about accounting and regulatory compliance. Much of the centers work has been focused on clients in Colorado Springs, and in recent years, helping small businesses recover from the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires as well as flooding that hit Manitou Springs and many other areas of El Paso County in the wake of the two fires.

As the centers disaster recovery efforts have wound down, we now have the ability to focus on areas of the region that we hadnt been able to serve as well, including reaching out to the two other counties – Teller and Park – that we serve in addition to El Paso County, said Aikta Marcoulier, the centers executive director. The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center can help businesses in the entire region, not just Colorado Springs. We hope the new name broadens our appeal to sponsors as well as highlights our resources for clients.

During the past three years, the center put on more than 200 workshops and seminars that attracted nearly 4,500 people and provided more than 5,000 hours of counseling to more than 1,300 businesses, more than half of which were trying to remain and expand in the Colorado Springs area, Marcoulier said. Those businesses created more than 300 jobs and continued to employ nearly 600 people, boosted their sales by $6.6 million and secured financing or other capital totaling $21.5 million, according to information the businesses provided to the center.

Besides expanding its geographic reach, the center also is adding workshops, seminars and consulting to both new and expanding businesses in web design and cybersecurity, on how to get contracts from the Colorado Department of Transportation and other state and federal government agencies and helping veterans start businesses, Marcoulier said. The center continues to offer disaster recovery services to businesses that suffered losses and workers that lost jobs due to the fires and floods, but is stressing preparedness for and sustainability after natural disasters, she said.

The center, located in the El Paso County Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, was started in 1987 and has an annual budget totaling $280,000 funded by the US Small Business Administration, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs College of Business and the city of Colorado Springs.

Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

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2016
01/27

Category:
Revenue

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Pa. casinos have record revenue, regulators say

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania’s casinos on Friday reported record revenue in 2015, after two down years as casinos sprout across the northeastern United States and competition for gambling dollars grows.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said the state’s 12 casinos brought in $3.17 billion in gross revenue last year, a 3 percent increase over 2014 and a hair — $15 million — above the 2012 record.

Most of the big gainers are in eastern Pennsylvania.

The casinos reporting increases included Lady Luck Casino in southwestern Pennsylvania with 11 percent in growth, Sands Casino in Bethlehem at 9 percent, Parx Casino in suburban Philadelphia at 7 percent and Valley Forge Casino, also in suburban Philadelphia, at 6 percent.

Pennsylvania’s report of revenue growth comes two days after New Jersey regulators reported that Atlantic City casinos collected 6.5 percent less last year than in 2014, and less than half of what Atlantic City’s casinos took in during their best year, 2006, when annual revenue was $5.2 billion.

Still, Pennsylvania’s revenue growth is in line with the region and the nation, as states keep licensing more casinos.

Joe Weinert, executive vice president of Spectrum Gaming Group in Linwood, NJ, said casinos in the mid-Atlantic region reported revenue growth of just above 1 percent in the 12 months through October and casinos nationally reported 2 percent growth during the same period.

“In many respects, states are saying that the solution to saturation is to add casinos,” Weinert said.

A license awarded in 2014 to the Live! Hotel amp; Casino project in Philadelphia’s stadium district is being challenged in court and a prospective racetrack project in western Pennsylvania is trying to win the state’s 14th license.

The Philadelphia license is owned by a joint venture of two Eastern seaboard casino operators, the Cordish Cos. of Baltimore and Greenwood Gaming amp; Entertainment Inc., which operates Parx Casino in Bensalem.

2016
01/27

Category:
Revenue

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Revenue makes viewing, printing reseller permits easy | Department of Revenue

Can’t wait to get your reseller permit? Now you don’t have to. The Washington State Department of Revenue (Revenue) has made it easy for businesses to view or print their reseller permit, which allows approved retailers and wholesalers to purchase items for resale without paying sales tax.

Businesses can now print their reseller permit directly from their online “My Account” via the Revenue website. Before adding this feature, a business needing its reseller permit had to contact Revenue and ask for a reprint to be mailed.

Now that businesses have easy access to view and print their reseller permits, Revenue has discontinued sending copies of permits by mail.

Businesses with reseller permits that automatically renew should log on to “My Account” and print their new permit.

“This change is good news for our customers and staff, who both said online access to reseller permits would be a time-saver,” Revenue Director Vikki Smith said. “We’ve made it easy for businesses to access and print their reseller permits at their convenience, so they don’t have to wait for a permit to be delivered by mail.”

It’s easy to check if a business has a current reseller permit by using Revenue’s business lookup tool at dor.wa.gov/brd. A mobile version of the tool is available from a link at the bottom of that page.

Learn about reseller permits issued by Revenue: (http://dor.wa.gov/content/findtaxesandrates/retailsalestax/resellerpermit/).

 

2016
01/26

Category:
Credit Cards

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Milford Man Took Truck, Used Stolen Credit Cards: Police

Wednesday, Araujo allegedly broke into a vehicle on Pond Street, stealing several credit cards, $175 in cash, and personal belongings from the vehicle. He then broke into a second vehicle at the end of the street, using the keys inside the work truck to drive away, according to Milford police.

2016
01/26

Category:
Revenue

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Local transit blogger questions bridge toll revenue

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) As TransLink sets aside $5 million for improvements to the tolling system on the Golden Ears Bridge, a local transit blogger is questioning whether or not the tolls are bringing in enough money.

The transit authority will be finishing an assessment of the technology assets at the six year old span this year. It includes an inspection of the video cameras, equipment that detects vehicle sizes, computer servers, and equipment used in electronic toll collection. TransLink says the equipment typically has a service life of five years. Most of the technology will have been in use for close to sevel by the time it is replaced.

Critics like the NDP have questioned the move, but transit blogger Nathan Pachal isnt surprised. His site, The South Fraser Blog, focuses on transportation, urban planning, and the environment. He says most IT systems need an upgrade every few years as technology improves.

Hes giving TransLink credit for integrating two different systems so theres standard billing for drivers who take the new Port Mann or the Golden Ears. He believes the new Massey Tunnel project will also use the new TReO system. But he is questioning how TransLink accounts for the forecasted revenue from tolls.

Whether its the Port Mann, or the Golden Ears, or now the Massey Tunnel replacement, is that consultant reports are generally very optimistic about the revenue they could generate. TransLink was expecting that they would be getting what I think was somewhere around $50 million this year, but if you look at what the original consultant report was, they should be getting something closer to $70 million a year in revenue. If you look at TransLinks case, theyre subsidizing the Golden Ears Bridge off the backs of transit users and if you look at the Port Mann, which was supposed to be paid for by tolls, its again being subsidized by taxpayers throughout the province.

It costs $3.10 for TREO users to cross the Golden Ears or $4.35 for drivers without TReO.

TransLink says the bridge’s surveillance system generated an $43.5 million in tolls in 2015.

2016
01/25

Category:
Secured Financing

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SSE, Coillte secure financing for Galway Wind Park

LONDON Jan 7 (Reuters) – British energy supplier SSE
, in partnership with Irish firm Coillte, has secured
financing to complete construction of Galway Wind Park, the
companies said on Thursday.

The companies raised 176 million euros to finish Irelands
largest wind farm, which is set to generate 169 megawatts of
power.

The project finance was agreed with mandated lead arranger
banks BBVA, Cooperatieve Rabobank UA and NORD/LB.

The wind farm is due to begin operation in the third quarter
of 2017.

(Reporting by Sarah McFarlane; editing by Jason Neely)