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Reminder HBADE Office Holiday Observance

A quick reminder that our office will be closed in observance of Good Friday, on April 6, 2012.

We will reopen for business Monday, April 9, 2012.

Delaware State Legislative Update for the Week

Below is the legislative brief for this week.

Storm Water Regulations

The coalition letter that was drafted and signed by a number of business groups, including HBADE, was delivered to Secretary Collin O’Mara and Governor Markell on 3/14. Secretary O’Mara offered to have a small group of the industry experts, including us, sit at the table with Deputy Secretary Dave Small to discuss the specific issues and concerns that we have. He indicated that he would be willing to hold off on promulgating the rules for a few months to sit down with us and work to find common ground. He has asked that we be as specific as we possibly can with our issues. Dave Small is coordinating the meeting.

A small group met with Governor Markell, Deputy Secretary Small and Frank Piorko on 3/20. The governor was receptive to the concerns raised by our group.  There were a few specific questions raised that Deputy Secretary Small was going to look into internally. Otherwise, the rest of our specific concerns will be addressed in the upcoming meeting with DNREC. We are drafting a letter as follow up for the Governor.

Legislative Update:

Senate Bill # 167

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 10 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE LEGALITY OF ANY ORDINANCE, CODE, REGULATION OR MAP RELATING TO ZONING.

Primary Sponsor: Peterson

CoSponsors: Sens. Blevins, Ennis, Sokola & Simpson; Reps. Gilligan & Ramone

Introduced on : 03/15/2012

Synopsis:       If a municipality or county passes a land-use ordinance that violates state law, an aggrieved party has only 60 days to file a court challenge. After that, the ordinance cannot be challenged, nor can subsequent decisions based on that ordinance be challenged based on its invalidity. This Bill seeks to remove that bar, recognizing that the enactment of an ordinance that violates state law cannot be legitimized by the passage of time.

Update:  There are a number of groups that have expressed their opposition to this legislation. Sen. Peterson is working on an amendment to address the concerns raised. We are hoping to have the legislation by Friday (3/30) and will circulate.

House Bill # 166

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 30 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO REALTY TRANSFER TAX. (Homebuyers Incentive)

Primary Sponsor: Brady

Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Bennett & Sen. McDowell

CoSponsors: Reps. Kenton, Ramone, Scott; Sens. Bonini, Cloutier,

Connor Introduced on : 06/07/2011

Synopsis: This bill exempts the half of the State realty transfer tax for first-time home buyers. This bill also allows the Department of Finance to adopt rules and regulations for an affidavit to state the names and professional license number of the real estate brokers, salespersons, or other licensed professional receiving commission money. This will enhance the ability of the Department of Finance to collect income taxes due on the commission money, particularly from non-residents.

Update: We have been working with Todd Stonesifer, President of DAR and Charlotte Herbert, Executive Director to propose potentially amending their legislation to include our proposal. DAR is doing a study to help support the legislation.

House Bill # 227

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9, TITLE 22 AND TITLE 31 RELATING TO HOUSING. (Universal Design)

Primary Sponsor: Q. Johnson

Additional Sponsor(s): Rep. Longhurst & Sen. Bushweller

CoSponsors: Rep. Jaques

Introduced on : 06/30/2011

Synopsis: This bill requires that bids for all newly constructed dwelling units using public financial assistance shall indicate the extent of the universal design standards in the proposal. Public financial assistance includes a contract with a state agency, real estate donated by the State, State tax credits, grant assistance from State funds, State loan guarantees, federal funds administered by the State or its agency, and funding from location governments and their agencies. In selecting a bid, the extent of universal designs use may form a basis to award the contract based on the best value, rather than lowest bidder. The bill sets up a 40-point scale covering the key elements of universal design.

Current Status: Out of Committee On 01/25/2012

Update: HBADE sent a formal opposition letter to Quinn on 2/10. Per our request, Quinn met with a small group of HBADE members to discuss his proposed amendment. The amendment includes a clarification on tax credits and a technical change in the point system. We reiterated our concerns on the legislation and cited specific examples. We are researching similar models in other states in an effort to offer an alternative solution. Quinn is planning to release his amendment before break next week.

News from the BENEFITS CONNECTION

 


Another Great Renewal Don’t Throw Away Your Money Delta Dental’s SmileWay SM Importance of Employee Waiver Forms  New Bank Options for HSA Accounts Do You Know? Please Share

March – April 2012
 The Benefits Connection is the largest association  plan in Delaware. Since 1980, the Benefits Connection has served the small and mid size businesses by providing:

  • Group Healthcare
  • Group Dental
  • Group Vision
  • Group Term Life
  • Group Short Term Disability
  • Group Long Term Disability
  • Voluntary Products with AFLAC
  • Workers Compensation
  • Wellness Program

Your Human Resource Director:Beth Fisher

  • 302-294-2059
  • fisherb@ncccc.com

 The Benefits Connection offers a Wellness program
that includes an individual Health Risk Assessment
and a website library that will provide information
regarding conditions, concerns, nutrition and so on.
More about the Benefits Connection’s Wellness Program…

 

  • Another Great Renewal

Medical Sign We are pleased and proud to announce that the strength of pooling has once again helped us negotiate a favorable renewal for our members. As you know from your renewal packets we have a renewal that is well below trend, added a new HSA plan and continue to offer Medical, Dental, Vision, Life, Disability, Workers Compensation and Aflac through the Benefits Connection.  Overall our medical plans have a 5% increase. Some will see more of an increase due to our plans using age band rating. Our Dental companies have renewal increases from zero to 9%.  For our renewal, we have outlined each company within the Benefits Connection with their individual renewal information for our members. A link to this outline is below. You will also find information on all the plans offered by the Benefits Connection on our website at http://www.ChamberBenefitsConnection.com. We are also available for employee presentations.  Any questions can be directed to:

  • Beth Fisher 302-294-2059
  • Beth’s Email fisherb@ncccc.com
  • Allen Insurance Group 302-654-8823
  • Allen’s Email allen@alleninsurance.com
  • For anyone who missed our renewal webinar there is a recorded webinar on our website that you can attend at your convenience. Go to the Newsletters & Webinar tab at  www.ChamberBenefitsConnection.com2012 Renewal Information Summary…..

     

    • Don’t Throw Away Your Money

    Cash Register Especially those of you who are enrolled in an HSA Plan
    (Health Savings Account) and have a deductible before the insurance companies pays expenses you should:
      Use Medical Aid Units whenever possible. Emergency rooms are costly and should be used for critical care. Medical Aid Units are faster and much less costly for the sports injury, cut finger or minor illness.  Prescription medications are expensive and contribute to 25% of your healthcare premium. Ask your doctor for a generic drug whenever it is available.  For any maintenance drug use the mail in program. You will get a 90 day supply for the cost of 60.
    Get Your Mail In RX Form…..

    • Delta Dental’s SmileWay SM >

    Delta Dental Logo Delta Dental’s SmileWay SM Wellness Program celebrates National Nutrition Month.
    In our fast-paced world, we can easily lose sight of what we’re eating and opt for convenience. We may not take the time to eat regular meals and find ourselves snacking on the go instead. How can we be sure to keep what we’re eating healthy? Learn more about what foods are good for you and good for your oral health by visiting Delta Dental’s SmileWay Wellness site.

    Read articles about nutrition and oral health and take quizzes


    • Importance of Employee Waiver Forms

    Signing Document It is that time of year again – employees are adding and dropping coverage, changing plans, adding dependents – sometimes the changes can be tough to keep track. How are you, as the employer, protecting yourself? Are you positive each change has been properly documented? What about those employees that don’t want or did not accept coverage?  We strongly encourage and recommend employees confirm their choices, signed and in writing. At least once a year, and as events occur throughout the year, employers should have employees “sign off” regarding their benefits selections especially if they decide to waive benefits for any reason. It is important to have employees sign an employee benefit waiver form for all benefit choices and especially for medical benefits.  As an employer you do not want to be caught in a situation where an employee comes back to you and says “I wanted coverage”. What better time than now, open enrollment, to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. The following links are the standard waiver forms for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware and AmeriHealth of Delaware.
    Waiver & Enrollment Forms…..

    • New Bank Options for HSA Accounts

     We have added two new banks for your Health Saving Account’s funding account. Bancorp is still available along with Artisans Bank and M&T Bank.  Health Savings Accounts (Fund accounts)

  • Artisans Bank
  • http://www.artisansbank.com/healthsavings.cfm
  • M & T Bank
  • http://www.mtb.com/hsa
  • Bancorp Bank (Amerihealth participants)
  • http://www.yourbancorphsa.com
  • Bancorp Bank (BCBS participants)
  • http://www.myadvantagehsa.com
    • Do You Know?

    Question Mark Healthcare Reform is moving forward and you may find this link helpful to see how various situations will be affected by Healthcare Reform.
    Healthcare Reform by Kaiser Family Foundation…..

    • Please Share

    Reminder his newsletter can be shared with others and should be shared with all members of the Benefits Connection. Thank you for ‘passing the word’.

    http://www.alleninsurance.com 800-486-1244

    IRS Makes It Easier to Qualify for Expired 45L Tax Credit

    Reprinted from NAHB Washington Update

    The IRS has updated its list of software that is applicable to the New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit (45L), the only federal incentive available for efficiency in new home construction. The 45L credit provides a $2,000 tax credit to builders and developers for the construction and sale of homes that achieve a 50% improvement in energy efficiency over the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code. The credit expired at the end of 2011 and has not yet been renewed for 2012.

    The new IRS 45L software programs offer builders additional flexibility in qualifying for the tax credit and is something that NAHB has long been pushing for.

    The 45L tax credit and the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C), which provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products, both expired on Jan. 1.

    Both 45L and 25C are traditionally renewed by Congress at the end of each year as part of a package of expiring tax credits. Commonly referred to as “tax extenders,” this package has become more difficult to pass due to the government’s fiscal belt-tightening.

    NAHB continues to seek an extension for both the 45L and 25C tax credits, but any congressional action is unlikely to occur until after the 2012 elections.

    For more information email J.P. Delmore at NAHB or call him at 800-368-5242 x8412.

    Delaware Duck & Trout Stamp Competition

    Something different to do this weekend:

    NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL                                                                             

    For more information, contact Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

    Competition for 2013 Duck, Trout stamps to be held March 31

     GREENWOOD (March 27, 2012) – Wildlife art enthusiasts, stamp and print collectors, waterfowl hunters, anglers, birdwatchers and wetland conservationists will gather beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 31 at the Delaware Ducks Unlimited Greenwings Event at Owens Station near Greenwood for the judging of Delaware’s annual Duck Stamp and Trout Stamp contests.

    Sponsored by the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with Delaware Ducks Unlimited, the annual competitions draw entries by renowned and emerging artists from across the country.

    Delaware’s 2013 waterfowl stamp will mark the 33rd anniversary of the contest, which began in 1980 to raise funds for waterfowl conservation, including acquiring and improving the wetland habitats that are vital for the survival of migratory waterfowl. To date, more than $2.5 million has been raised. The artwork chosen for the 2013 stamp must include one or more Delaware native species as the dominant feature, and may include any other objects including manufactured objects.

    For the trout stamp contest, artists from across the nation submit paintings of rainbow, brown or brook trout for the competition to choose the illustration for the 2013 Delaware Trout Stamp, which must be displayed by all trout anglers. Some 6,500 trout anglers and stamp collectors support this program annually, generating approximately $25,000 in annual revenues to stock trout in six northern New Castle County streams, Tidbury Pond in Kent County and Newton Pond in Sussex County.

    A panel of judges consisting of an artist, a waterfowl collector, an art teacher/professor, a biologist and the chair of Delaware Ducks Unlimited will select Best of Show winners for the 2013 Delaware Duck Stamp. A panel of biologists, collectors, anglers and a Trout Unlimited member will select the 2013 Delaware Trout Stamp. Judges will base their decisions on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

    For more information on the Delaware Duck Stamp or Trout Stamp programs, please contact the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-739-9911, or visit www.fw.delaware.gov.

    Delaware Home Shows A Success!

    Delaware Home Show. DIG It

     There was plenty to “Dig” at the 20th annual Spring Delaware Home Shows, March 3& 4th at the Chase Center on the Riverfront and March 24&25 Dover Downs Rollins Center. For both show openings, a line waited at the door to receive the free tree for the first 500 attendees. Mike McGrath appeared at both shows- host of the nationally syndicated radio talk show, You Bet your Garden. Each of his topics left standing room only in the seminar areas.

    Give aways were a huge draw this year- the Wilmington show offered attendees a chance to win tons of useful items for spring-including lawn clean ups from Kerns Brothers and Lawnscapes, a full property landscape design from Creative Elements, a the grand prize, an 8×8 mini-barn from Capital Buildings and sheds. Other give aways included a $500 gift certificate towards a Tables on the Move table, and $500 landscape lighting credit from Nitelites.

    Dover touted 3 yards of mulch from Layaou Landscaping, a leaf blower from Newark Motors, firepit from Primere Hardscapes, a granite vanity from Ancient Art Stone, and the Grand Prize- a Zero turn Dixon mower, compliments of Armigers Auto equipment.

    Unsuspecting attendees were delighted during announcements when they were picked from the crowd to win a basket of pansies (compliments of Binkleys Horticulture, Wilmington and Lowes, Dover). In order to win solar and massage door prizes- attendees had to pick out the Wilmington Drama League costume characters. Of course, the Delaware Spring Home Shows would not be official without the appearance of Ms. Spring herself. Parents were able to take the show floor while kids were entertained by the free magic show, face painting, and balloon animals at Wilmington as well as Lowes Kids clinics at Dover.

    The success was due in part to the combined 46k admissions handed out at local Lowes, Willeys Farms, and the Delaware Center for Horticulture. As well as the several other admissions tickets handed out by vendors and YOU, our members. As with every HBA/DE event- it would not have been possible had it not been for our Volunteers: John Kildea, Tony Basara, Scott Wilcox, Dottie and Jim Fawcett, Fred Fortunato, Steve Bomberger, Steve Fortunato, Michelle Reavis, Don Yoos, Matt Egan, John Johnson, Kevin Whittaker, Richard Forsten, John Gormley, Dan Martelli, Bob Thornton, Jeff Haggerty, Mary Fields, John Ford, Debbie Finocchiaro, Mark Gandy, Mark Fitzgerald, Rick Banning and son Jaten, Amanda Kaye, Bill Anderson, Jeff Robertson, Jason Harman, Shari Hendley, Mike Riemann, Liz Paul, Lisa Marino, and Leah Marino, Scott Bradley, Joanne Smagala, and Brian Richards.

    NGBS and International Green Construction Code

    (This announcement arrived late last night.  Further proof of the well-regarded reputation of the National Green Building Program which has been endorsed by HBADE, and many builders in Delaware already build green under the Standard. Green certification from the NGBS is required to obtain a Green for Green homebuyer rebate!)

    The International Code Council (ICC) will be releasing the first edition of its International Green Construction Code (IGCC) today. Of special significance to builders is the fact that all residential construction is covered in the IGCC, but scoped in different ways according to the height of the building. Specifically, for the typical one- and two-family home constructed to the International Residential Code (IRC), R-3 residential buildings constructed to the International Building Code (IBC), and multifamily R-2 buildings and R-4 buildings constructed to the IBC that are four or less stories in height (including any accessory structures and the site or lot upon which these buildings are located), the IGCC will not apply unless the adopting jurisdiction specifically states it will regulate these buildings through the IGCC.  If a jurisdiction does decide to regulate green construction for low-rise residential buildings, these buildings will be required to comply with the provisions and practices of the ICC 700 (the National Green Building Standard), not the requirements of the IGCC.

    All R-2 and R-4 residential buildings that are five or more stories in height, as well as residential portions of mixed-use buildings, are covered under the IGCC. However, these buildings can be constructed using either the IGCC or ICC 700.  If the builder chooses to use ICC 700, that project is considered “deemed-to-comply” with the requirements of the IGCC but will need to meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements of the ICC 700 Silver Level or equivalent. As with low-rise residential buildings, if ICC 700 is chosen, any accessory structures and the site or lot upon which these buildings are located will be covered under ICC 700.

    Requirements contained in the IGCC are for the most part mandatory, with little room to use alternative methods for compliance. In contrast, the National Green Building Standard is a point-based system that has four levels for green construction, and provides a variety of different green practices from which the builder can choose to reach the specified level.

    DNREC Wetlands Restoration Workshop April 12th

    NEWS FROM THE DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL

    Contact:  Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

    Wetland Restoration Techniques Workshop set for April 12

    at the St. Jones Reserve

     DOVER (March 23, 2012) – “On the ground” wetland construction techniques will be the primary focus of a Wetland Restoration Techniques Workshop set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday, April 12, 2012  at the St. Jones Reserve, 818 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover. Wetland managers, scientists, contractors and consultants are encouraged to attend the workshop, certified by the American Planning Association to provide credit hours for their members.

    The workshop offers participants the opportunity to learn innovative wetland construction techniques and best management practices. Tom Barthelmeh of DNREC’s Drainage and Stormwater Section and Al Rizzo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will highlight successful techniques and present lessons learned from their own experiences developing and implementing wetland and channel restoration projects. Topics of discussion will include effectively working with landowners, wetland planning and project agreements.

    In a unique opportunity for hands-on experience, participants will form teams to design and construct a model “wetland-in-a-box” that fulfills the requirements of a restoration scenario. Workshop leaders will coach teams through design and construction, assess their work and lead a discussion on the implications that each wetland model may have in a real world situation.

    The workshop was developed by DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Training Program, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The cost to attend the workshop is $15, with lunch and refreshments to be provided.

    Registration is required by Friday, April 6 by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/dewetlandworkshop2012

    For more information or questions about the workshop, contact Kelly Valencik, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, at kelly.valencik@state.de.us or at (302) 739-3436 or go to http://de.gov/dectp

    Seeking Mentors for a New Mentor-Program at HBADE

    In the past, new members to the Home Builders Association of Delaware were not always been able to network and make new contacts, and thus receive the most value for their membership investment.

    Crafted by our Associates Council Chair Jim McCulley and endorsed by the Membership Committee, we are assembling a mentor program whereby current members show the newbies “the ropes”, so to speak.  It can involve phone contact, accompanying the new member to HBADE functions, explaining the available committee roles and opportunities – all which will help the new member become acclimated.  It helps the mentor become more active and thus potentially increase their business.  Not to mention numerous awards and recognition ideas being assembled.

    We are seeking current members as potential candidates to serve as mentors.  All the details are not yet finalized but if you are interested, please email Jim McCulley at mcculley4@gmail.com.

    Delaware Builder Meets with Fed Chairman and HUD Secretary to Keep Housing a Top National Priority

    Kudos to builder member Kevin Kelly, having spoken to FED and HUD officials advocating housing – locally and nationally.

    Reprinted from NAHB

    March 21, 2012 – Long-time local builder and developer Kevin Kelly, president of Leon N. Weiner and Associates, met recently with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to discuss problems affecting the home building industry and policies that will help the housing market recover.

     
    “A strong housing industry not only means more jobs for the local, state and national economies, but more money in our communities,” said Kelly. “Home building increases the property tax base, which generates revenue that supports local schools and communities. My message to HUD Secretary Donovan and Fed Chairman Bernanke is that there can be no long-term economic growth here in Delaware and across the nation until the housing market rebounds.”

     
    In his meeting with Donovan last week in Washington, Kelly and other apartment industry leaders followed up on previous discussions regarding changes to the Federal Housing Administration’s multifamily mortgage insurance programs adopted in Sept. 2010. The updated rules resulted in excessively long processing times for loan applications for HUD programs that are used by for-profit developers for new construction and substantial rehabilitation of market rate and affordable rental housing.

     
    Kelly, who is also the second vice chairman of the board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), pointed out that on average, constructing 100 multifamily rental units generates 116 full-time jobs, $8.7 million in wage and business income and $3.4 million in taxes and revenue for state, local and federal governments.

    “To create jobs and keep the fledgling economic expansion moving forward, HUD and other policymakers need to take steps that will keep housing affordable and ensure that responsible, creditworthy borrowers can obtain home loans. They also must ensure that builders have access to construction loans so that they can build new homes and apartments in Wilmington and other areas of the country where improving job opportunities are renewing demand for new housing.”

    Last month in Orlando, Fla., Kelly was able to impart the same message when he and other leaders of NAHB met with Fed Chairman Bernanke prior to his address to the NAHB Board of Directors. Bernanke told the board members that the state of the housing market has been a key impediment to the economic recovery.

    “Chairman Bernanke understands that the fate of the housing industry and the economy go hand-in-hand,” said Kelly. “It was heartening to hear that he agreed that Washington insiders must develop and implement policies that will get housing back on its feet.”

    back to HBADE Website

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