2005-01-07 / Columnists

Chamber Chat

By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

Joanie Omeste
Joanie Omeste The Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways would like to wish you and yours a very Happy and Healthy New Year and all the best for a peaceful and prosperous 2005.

I’d like to inform minority-owned and women-owned businesses including locally based enterprises, related in any way to the construction industry, of a Mentoring Program through the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA). The SCA was established in 1998 to build new public schools and manage the design, construction and renovation of capital projects in New York City’s more than 1,200 public school buildings, half of which were constructed prior to 1949. The mission of the SCA Mentor Program is to increase, facilitate and encourage the participation of minority, women-owned and locally-based enterprises by providing a flexible framework for eligible firms to develop and grow within the construction industry. The Mentor Program provides not only construction dollars, but also technical assistance and training; general business, organizational and personnel skills development; marketing and business development; fast track payment systems; and job experience opportunities. In order to participate, firms must be certified as a minority-owned, women-owned, or locally-based enterprises. Contractors would be eligible to be enrolled in the mentoring program for up to four years, and requirements include being involved in a construction-related trade, having less than $2.16 million average in gross receipts for three years, bonding less than $1 million.

Pre-qualification is through the SCA, which takes into consideration experience, quality and timeliness of past performance, safety record, compliance with equal employment requirements and compliance with wage, hour and other labor standards. Some of the advantages in participating in the SCA’s Mentoring Program are having the opportunity to bid among small firms for smaller work projects while in the program; offering of surety bonding and small business loan programs; receiving training to bid on future larger SCA projects and surety bonding and apprenticeship program requirements are waived.

For further information regarding pre-qualification and certification, contact Patricia Chirumbolo, Director of Contractor Qualifications at (718) 472-8879. The School Construction Authority can be reached at the following numbers: The Mentor Program Unit (718) 472-8017; Business Development Unit, for applications for certification as a minority-owned, woman-owned or locally-based enterprise, (718) 472-8325. SCA’s website is www. nycsca.org or e-mail them at SCAinfo@ nycsca.org. If you would prefer, call me at the Chamber office and I’ll mail you information about the program.

The Beach 116 Street Tree Lighting was held December 10, with special thanks going out to Noni Signoretti and Liz Hanna of Brown’s Hardware for the magnificent tree and beautiful lights and Steve Good of The Beach Club for the goodies, the tents and everything else! St. Francis de Sales Choir for their wonderful caroling and enticing everyone to sing along; thanks to Jim Cafaro and Tony LaCotta of the Parks Department for preparing the site; Councilman Joe Addabbo for his invaluable guidance, and the staff at New York Christmas for rewiring the tree at the last minute in the rain. And, of course, Santa Clause for making a special guest appearance and for a great show of courage by riding on the back of Kenny Good’s pick-up truck! Over 100 people were in attendance, and a good time was had by all.

The Chamber would like to express its appreciation to all the businesses of the Rockaway Peninsula that participated in the holiday lighting program. It is through their generosity and commitment to the spirit of the season and the neighborhood that we were able to have holiday lights this year, and the Chamber is deeply grateful.

“Twofers” is the slang phrase used for Broadway show discount vouchers, it comes from... two for the price of one. We now have “twofers” at the Chamber office, so if you would like a discount voucher to shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Stomp, Wonderful Town, Golda’s Balcony, Rent and even the New York Philharmonic, please give me a call and I’ll send them to you. Vouchers like these change monthly, all of the above will last through January, at which time will be replaced with new shows and dates.

Tax Free Week is from January 31 through February 6. Purchases of clothing, footwear and related items costing less than $110 are exempt from New York’s sales tax. Business owners can obtain flyers explaining the guidelines by contacting the Chamber office. The form can also be downloaded from www.nyc.gov/finance or www.nystax. gov or by calling 1-800-CALL-TAX.

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