River Round Up from Around the Country
As we head into the Memorial Holiday most rivers are looking good for the season, although cool, damp weather depressed demand in many areas in early Spring.
Colorado is looking forward to decent water in most drainages after a sharp downturn due to drought in 2012. April snows and continued late snowfall have provided enough snowpack in many drainages, but the reports vary by watershed. A spike in temperatures for the upcoming weekend along the front range of the Rockies should kick start the season.
Some California rivers are looking good despite the general impression that the state is bone dry. Reservoir and water resources managers have cooperated with outfitters there to time flows to maintain river levels on the Tuolumne and on Cherry Creek. The Merced and Kern are looking at short seasons, however, due to low snowpack.
A cool start throughout the East continues into Memorial Day with record lows predicted in some areas over the weekend. Although the Spring has been warmer than normal in most of New England, snow was anticipated for the higher elevations of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine over Memorial Day weekend. The Midwest has seen its share of violent weather as everyone knows. The upper Midwest has been cool for much of the Spring with temperatures there running 6 to 8 degrees below normal.
Soggy weekends on 5 of the 6 weekends prior to Memorial Day have many Southeastern outfitters singing the blues. Fortunately, most still have time to recover and lots of water too.
The Ocoee River got a boost just before Memorial Day when the University of Tennessee (UT) released a study report that the river created 622 FTE's, $14.12 million in paychecks, and $43.8 million in economic impacts in a 60 mile radius area around the river. The study was conducted by economist Steve Morse, Ph.D. a Professor at UT's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The results are conservative since the economic impacts outside the 60 mile radius, which includes the Atlanta and Nashville metro areas where many originate their travel, are not included in the study. Two important findings of the study: 33% of rafting customers are under the age of 25. 52.75% are female. The study was based on interviews with 647 rafting customers during the 2012 season.
Is Your Company above the 50 Employee Threshold When Factoring in Part-time Employees?
If you have more than 50 FTE’s for 120 days per year, your company may be subject to the health insurance coverage requirements in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Common control of more than one company and combining the hours of part-time workers are factors that have to be considered when determining your employee census.
CBIZ is offering a free initial consultation of your employee census to help larger companies determine if they are subject to the health insurance mandates (or penalties), which kick-in in 2014 if your company exceeds 50 full-time employees (FTE) after you combine the hours of seasonal workers. While the initial review of your census is free, CBIZ will require a fee for further analyses to help you determine your compliance options if your company is over the 50-employee threshold.
The calculations are tricky, so you will probably need an expert or consultant to crunch the numbers unless you have an ace H.R. expert on staff. Failure to set-up an “initial measurement period” may subject your company to penalties if the IRS concludes you have over 50 FTE's. If you set your measurement periods correctly, hiring a large number of seasonal employees may not put you over the 50 FTE threshhold because of the 12-month look-back provision in the guidance for averaging seasonal or “shared-responsibility” employees' hours.
This bulletin does not constitute advice or tax guidance on the PPACA. You should consult with a qualified professional to determine your requirements under the PPACA.
Check out the professional presentations on health-care reform on the AOA website under Health Care Reform in Member Resources. They will help you determine your needs.
- Afforabable Care Act 101 - What the Health Care Act Means for Small Business
- Employer Shared Responsibility Payment
- Implementing the Affordable Health Care Act - Navigating the Changes
- Implementing the Affordable Health Care Act - Variable Hour Employees and Actuarial Modeling of Health Care Reform’s Financial Impact on Your Business
Forgot your password? Call the AOA office at 865-558-3595.
For an analysis of your employee census contact Cole Harris at CBIZ: 865-251-5149 (direct) or send an email to email@example.com
Does It Pay to Have Someone Submit Reviews of Your Company’s Services?
You may find your reviews flagged by Google’s spam detector if you use a reputation management company to submit reviews of your customers. Even something as innocent as entering the reviews from customer comment cards from a computer with the same IP address may get you flagged, according to Google. Hard to know if this applies to proxy servers, but one would think Google has figured that out too.
Read the advice Google offers on reviews and how to avoid getting flagged for spamming. Also, read Google’s "Review Content Policy" for more details. Google says it’s okay to remind your customers to submit reviews on their own time. Just don’t offer them any compensation to do so. Google suggests giving content guidance to reviewers to help them make reviews of your services relevant (and highly ranked).