Specialty Filaments to close Burlington plant

first_imgSPECIALTY FILAMENTS, INC., ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF BURLINGTON, VERMONTMANUFACTURING FACILITYBURLINGTON, VT-The Board of Directors of Specialty Filaments, Inc. (“SFI”)announced Friday May 20 that SFI will close its Burlington, Vermont, manufacturingplant. SFI anticipates that manufacturing operations will end at theBurlington plant between July 30, 2005 and September 30, 2005. SFI willincrease manufacturing activity at its Middlebury, Vermont location,continue to offer its full product line and expects no interruption incustomer service.The Board’s decision represents a change in the scope and direction ofSFI’s manufacturing operations. This decision will better align SFI’sfixed-cost structure with its current and anticipated future sales levels.This decision will enable SFI to be a stronger marketplace competitor andwill preserve good manufacturing jobs for Vermonters.Because of the expected increase in manufacturing activity at theMiddlebury, Vermont facility, SFI expects to increase hiring at thatlocation. Although job losses will occur in Burlington, SFI anticipatesthe possibility of making jobs available to displaced workers at theMiddlebury location.SFI has collective bargaining agreements with the UNITE! HERE union atboth the Burlington and Middlebury plants. SFI and UNITE! HERE willbargain over the effects that SFI’s decision will have on the union’smembers employed at the Burlington plant.Reggie Hockenberry, an SFI spokesman, indicated that consolidation ofmanufacturing facilities in today’s global economy is a part of the newbusiness landscape. Foreign competition and customer just-in-timemanufacturing practices require manufacturers to streamline operations andmake more with less if they want to remain competitive.Specialty Filaments, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of filaments andmolded products serving the toothbrush, cosmetic, paint, industrialcleaning, household and food service industries.last_img read more

Stantec selected to lead Kentucky riverfront improvement effort

first_imgSame designers led Burlington’s waterfront renewal The same firm that helped lead the revitalization efforts along Lake Champlain in downtown Burlington, Vermont has been selected by the city of Henderson, Kentucky, for a similar effort. Stantec’s North Springfield, Vermont office (known as The Cavendish Partnership during the Burlington project) is part of a team hired to design improvements to the city’s Ohio River waterfront.  The city commission voted unanimously to hire Stantec to design an extension of the existing River Walk including riverbank stabilization efforts and continued work on a new tennis complex, as well as the archeological and environmental analyses and reviews needed to move forward with improvements. The project is led out of Stantec’s Louisville, Kentucky, office.“Just as we saw in Burlington, revitalizing a community’s waterfront dramatically affects the vitality and character of the area,” says Stephen Plunkard, a principal at Stantec in North Springfield. “We are thrilled to be able to bring that experience to Henderson and work with our talented colleagues in Kentucky.”Henderson’s riverfront effort began in 2002 when a new boat launch, parks, welcome center, and other attractions were added along the banks of the Ohio River. Stantec will be leading Phase III of the project, which is expected to extend the existing riverside pathway, improve site infrastructure, stabilize the riverbanks, and eventually add features such as public restrooms, a boat dock, dog park, community room, and farmers’ market building.Stantec has designed dozens of waterfront projects in Vermont and across the United States.Stantec provides professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics for infrastructure and facilities projects. We support public and private sector clients in a diverse range of markets, at every stage, from initial concept and financial feasibility to project completion and beyond. Our services are offered through over 10,000 employees operating out of more than 150 locations in North America. Stantec trades on the TSX and on the NYSE under the symbol STN.last_img read more

Opinion: Straw man deficits

first_imgby Tom Pelham. Media coverage of the state budget has fallen prey to covering a contrived budget rather than the real budget. The contrived budget is one where legislative and administration budget staffs add up, as a planning exercise, an array of budgetary ‘pressures’ believed relevant and compare the sum to expected revenues. Last December, for example, the Governor’s Budget Office and the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office tallied general fund budgetary ‘pressures’ of $1.334 billion and expected revenues of $1.184 billion for fiscal 2012 and found an ‘estimated budget gap’ of $150 million. You can find this analysis here:  http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/appropriations/FY12%20Consensus%20Budget%…(link is external)    Yet, the real budget passed by the Legislature for fiscal 2011 was much lower at $1,088.4 billion. Thus, to move from the actual fiscal year 2011 budget of $1,088.4 billion to a 2012 ‘pressures’ budget of $1.334 billion would require a pie-in-the-sky year over year increase of 22.6% or $246 million. Such growth is only conceivable in the wild eyes of the most ardent ‘tax and spender’.  No reasonable Vermonter expects the state general fund budget to grow by 22.6%. Yet the media has chosen to report legislative progress on the budget relative to this hypothetical budget gap.  By the start of the last legislative session, additional ‘pressures’ swelled the ‘budget gap’ to $176 million.   The resulting headlines and articles such as the Burlington Free Press’s  May 8th ‘Filling the Budget Gap’ and  Vt. Digger’s more recent ‘How Lawmakers Performed the $176 million Budget Miracle’ mislead the public. By basing coverage on the contrived budget and its inflated ‘$176 million budget gap’, reporters frame the budget dialogue in the context of ‘slashed agency budgets’ and employ alarmist quotes to bolster the storyline such as ‘more people will end up on the street or in jail’.  Political leaders as well revel in the boast of closing ‘a $176 million gap without raising broad-based taxes’.  The contrived budget used by the media serves well the hyperbolic interests of advocates and their sympathetic political leaders, but less those of taxpayers’ and others truly interest in the realities of the state budget. The real budget, the one that counts , the one far removed from a contrived 22% or more growth rate but  actually passed into  law, tells a more realistic and valuable story.  Here it is from the Joint Fiscal Office.Source and for more detail: http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/appropriations/fy_2012/FY08_-_FY12_Total_…(link is external) Rather than slashed budgets, the actual budget data (see table below) shows the Total State Budget rising at the healthy annual rates of 5.84% from 2008 (the start of the current recession) through 2011 and 3.39% from 2008 through 2012, given the budget just passed by the Legislature. The budget for 2012 is reduced by $175.6 million from the 2011 level due to the loss of federal stimulus (ARRA) funds. However, where these funds had been assigned to supporting on-going state spending, alternative revenues were found such that the Total State Funds component of the budget was reduced by only $14.9 million. Even with this reduction, which amounts to a mere .74%, the State Funds component of the budget has grown by 1.8% annually since the start of the recession.   Relative to services for the ‘most vulnerable’, the Agency of Human Services budget was not ‘slashed’ for 2012, but actually increased by $46.35 million inclusive of a $94.5 increase in general funds which more than fully off-set  lost ARRA funds. Check here at Section B.345 for details. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/appropriations/fy_2012/FY09_-_FY12_Gov__T…(link is external) Overall, the Human Services budget during this recession has grown from $1.742 billion to $1.977 billion, equaling an increase of $235 million and an annual growth rate of 4.3% since fiscal 2008. Anne Galloway, editor of vtdigger.org, (STORY) observes in her recent article, ‘For one thing, the budget gap stubbornly keeps popping up, no matter how hard state officials try to quash it. Next year’s projected gap is $70 million.’ The reason the budget gap keeps popping up is clear; the contrived budget process has masked the real budget problems and the legislature has yet to squarely address these real problems despite their boasts of ‘closing the $176 million budget gap’. Recessions are defined by contractions or so-called negative growth of the private economy. These contractions, well beyond the control of the legislature, shrink state revenues. The legislature can only react. One path is to constrain state spending as practiced by Governor’s Snelling and Dean, and wait for economic recovery to restore revenues to a level that matches spending.  Snelling and Dean softened the blow of this transition with temporary tax increases. The other is to continue to grow spending and force revenues to keep pace with spending through permanent higher taxes. So far, Vermont’s legislature has chosen to grow state spending, as demonstrated by the JFO data above, but has avoided major tax increases through fiscal 2011 due to the availability of federal ARRA funding, their equivalent of Snelling’s temporary taxes. For fiscal 2012, legislators continued to avoid major tax increases, but replaced ARRA funds by raiding $23 million from the Education Fund, $4 million from the Transportation Fund, utilizing over $48.7 million in one-time ‘carry forward’ funds from fiscal 2011 (most a result of left over federal ARRA funds), and assuming taxes on cigarette sales will rise by $3 million and the federal government will forgive a $4.1 million interest payment on unemployment insurance funds borrowed last year. Also included are $24.2 million in increased taxes including those on health care providers and health insurance claims, though simultaneously legislators lament the spiraling cost of health care.  However, for fiscal 2013, there may be no more rabbits in the hat. The legislature will no longer be able to delay the choice between permanently raising broad based taxes or bending the state spending curve to be in line with revenues from the current tax structure. Our budget problems are not so severe that citizens and businesses need to dig deeper to pay higher taxes. The state has yet to seriously constrain spending and has already raised taxes in 2009, over Governor Douglas’s veto, and again during the current legislative session as noted above. One tax increase enacted in 2009 just became effective this past January, the elimination of the 40% capital gains exclusion for those over 70 years of age. Alternatively, opportunities for reforms in state government exist such that the any budget gap can be reasonably closed without additional taxes.    However, for this discussion to transparently move forward, the media as communicators to the public at large need to return to more traditional and common sense approaches of reporting budgets. This means a cut is a reduction relative to last year’s actual level and an increase an addition to last year’s level.  The pending budget should be viewed relative to the prior budget that actually exists and has been approved by the legislature and not the fuzzy math budget associated with hypothetical pressures unfiltered by the legislative process. It’s simply not informed nor grounded reporting to use a hypothetical analysis of budget pressures developed by four or five state bureaucrats (of which I’ve been one) that amount to a 22% year over year increase as the baseline for budget coverage. Tom Pelham served as Finance Commissioner for Governor Dean and Tax Commissioner for Governor Douglas.last_img read more

Vermonters pay relatively low car repair costs

first_img11.Utah$373.50 1.Arizona$421.49 25.Kansas$350.86 New Mexico$406.81  (14% higher than U.S. avg.)$240.59  (13% higher than U.S. avg.)$166.22  (16% higher than U.S. avg.) 16.Connecticut$366.79 California$394.49  (11% higher than U.S. avg.)$227.39  (7% higher than U.S. avg.)$172.30  (20% higher than U.S. avg.) 48.Wisconsin$298.76 CarMD ranking of states/districts with the lowest car repair costs in 2010: StateAverage Cost  (Parts & Labor)Average  Parts CostAverage  Labor Cost D.C. $265.29  (25% lower than U.S. avg.)$163.09  (23% lower than U.S. avg.)$102.20  (29% lower than U.S. avg.) Missouri $297.27  (17% lower than U.S. avg.)$160.76  (24% lower than U.S. avg.)$136.51  (5% lower than U.S. avg.) 24.Kentucky$350.86 37.South Carolina$336.97 Colorado$397.83  (12% higher than U.S. avg.)$244.91  (15% higher than U.S. avg.)$152.92  (6% higher than U.S. avg.) 43.New Hampshire$318.14 12.New York$370.98 32.Delaware$343.62 14.Idaho$368.17 36.Vermont$337.88 4.California$394.49 22.Florida$352.98 6.Washington$386.62 7.Hawaii$385.54 RankingStateAverage Car Repair Costs (Parts & Labor) 23.Iowa$352.98 17.Oregon$364.79 Other key findings:Six of the 10 states with the lowest car repair costs are from the Midwest, including Nebraska,Wisconsin, Ohio, Missouri, Indiana and Minnesota.The states with lower repair costs had more gas cap-related problems. A loose gas cap, which is one of the most common causes for check engine problems, accounted for nearly 12% of repairs in D.C. and 11% in Ohio. Loose, damaged or missing gas caps are an inexpensive fix but cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate annually.More than 12% of the repairs in D.C. were made at zero cost in terms of parts and labor charges, likely because of a higher number of vehicles that are new or under manufacturer’s warranty.Several states with lower repair costs had a substantial number of repairs that did not require any parts at all, including Missouri (26%) and Wisconsin (21%). Some of these repairs were made under warranty at no charge, while others were “check engine” light issues that could be fixed with a simple adjustment such as “tighten gas cap,” “adjust idle,” “remove aftermarket alarm” and “clean throttle body.”Drivers in Alaska paid the most ($268.22) for oxygen sensor replacement, which was the no. 1 most common repair in the country in 2010. O2 sensors monitor the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and tell a car’s computer how much fuel to inject for proper operation. If a faulty O2 sensor is not repaired, the car’s fuel economy will dramatically drop. The average cost to replace an O2 sensor is $238.71, including parts and labor, but can lead to as much as a 40% reduction in gas mileage.The CarMD State-by-State ranking of average repair costs was derived from analysis of roughly 80,000 repairs made from Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2010 by CarMD’s network of Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians.  The Census Regions and Divisions of the U.S. map was used for regional data calculations.  The repairs are all related to a vehicle’s “check engine” system, which is designed to alert drivers to large and small problems that affect emissions output and drivability. This technology is standard on all vehicles manufactured since 1996 and covers an estimated 80% of systems on cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans ‘ foreign and domestic. The CarMD database and average cost of repair findings does not include repairs of problems that are not associated with a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic computer such as tires, brakes and mechanical parts such as belts and hoses.About CarMDThe mission of Fountain Valley, Calif.-based CarMD.com Corporation is to empower consumers and the vehicle market by providing the tools and information needed to make better-educated decisions about their vehicles’ health and maintenance. An ISO 9001:2008-certified company, CarMD’s premiere product is the CarMD® Vehicle Health Systemâ ¢. The company has also built the largest, most up-to-date database of diagnostic trouble codes; expert fixes and repair costs, which it uses to compile the annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Indexâ ¢. For more information about common car repair problems and costs, visit, visithttp://corp.carmd.com(link is external). For information about the company, its products and other consumer tips, visitwww.CarMD.com(link is external).(Attached is a complete ranking of U.S. states in order of most to least expensive car repair costs in 2010)Average “Check Engine” Light Car Repair Costs ‘ 2010  (Source: CarMD.com Corp.) 39.Arkansas$334.35 35.Virginia$337.88 50.Missouri$297.27 15.Massachusetts$367.07 31.Maine$344.68 29.Texas$347.25 13.Alabama$368.85 In 2010, drivers in Arizona paid the most in the nation for car repairs at an average cost of $421.49, according to CarMD.com Corporation, which analyzed roughly 80,000 repairs made on vehicles with “check engine” light problems in 2010. Vermont ranked 33rd.Arizona’s no. 1 ranking is 18% more than the U.S. average for overall costs and 23% more for parts. Drivers in theDistrict of Columbia, which is one of the wealthiest areas in the country (according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau), paid the least at $265.29 per transaction. CarMD also found that drivers in New Jersey pay closest to the national average for car repair costs at $357.32, just a dollar more than the U.S. average. According to the first annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Indexâ ¢, the average cost of U.S. “check engine”-related auto repairs in 2010 was $356.04, including $212.44 in parts and $143.61 in labor costs.”Through comprehensive data collected via CarMD’s nationwide network of Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians, we are able to provide national and state-by-state transparency into vehicle repair costs,” said Art Jacobsen, vice president, CarMD.com Corporation. “We are releasing this data to empower consumers and technicians with a better understanding of common repairs and costs, and to call attention to the fact that, regardless of region, drivers who follow a regularly scheduled maintenance program and address small problems early tend to have reduced fuel bills and repair costs.  That said, if you live in a state with harsh weather conditions such as Arizona’s heat or North Dakota’s cold, it’s imperative to take care of your car to avoid catastrophic vehicle failures.”Several interesting highlights emerge when comparing costs and ranking repairs for each state. WhileArizona’s no. 1 ranking can be attributed to warm, dry weather, which wreaks havoc on the longevity of a car’s parts, it is surprising to see Arizona’s average parts costs at 23% higher, and California’s labor costs 20% higher than the U.S. average. Western states round out the top five most expensive spots, with only three non-western states listed in the top 10, including North Dakota at no. 8, Rhode Island at no. 9 andSouth Dakota at no. 10. Drivers in the western U.S. paid about 13% more than drivers in the Midwest, 11% more than drivers in the Southeast and 5% more than those in the Northeast for repairs. Labor costs in the West tend to be higher due to dry air, build up and dust, such as clogged mass airflow sensor, which occurs more frequently and increases costs. Milder temperatures in Western states also allows for more year-round driving, which leads to added wear and tear.The following is the ranking of the top 5 states with the highest car repair costs in 2010, according to CarMD:center_img 21.New Jersey$357.32 Ohio $298.49  (16% lower than U.S. avg.)$175.24  (18% lower than U.S. avg.)$123.26  (14% lower than U.S. avg.) 38.Oklahoma$335.49 10.South Dakota$374.61 26.North Carolina$349.34 Wisconsin $298.76  (16% lower than U.S. avg.)$170.88  (20% lower than U.S. avg.)$127.88  (11% lower than U.S. avg.) 41.Montana$325.56 StateAverage Cost  (Parts & Labor)Average  Parts CostAverage  Labor Cost 28.Louisiana$347.46 42.Minnesota$318.54 20.Maryland$358.45 18.Pennsylvania$362.90 19.Illinois$361.56 Nevada$393.96  (11% higher than U.S. avg.)$227.08  (7% higher than U.S. avg.)$166.89  (16% higher than U.S. avg.) 40.Wyoming$330.88 2.New Mexico$406.81 3.Colorado$397.83 47.Nebraska$301.79 5.Nevada$393.96 44.Indiana$317.33 Arizona$421.49  (18% higher than U.S. avg.)$260.29  (23% higher than U.S. avg.)$161.20  (12% higher than U.S. avg.) 27.Michigan$348.03 9.Rhode Island$384.24 8.North Dakota$384.67 34.Georgia$338.31 45.Tennessee$316.64 Nebraska $301.79  (15% lower than U.S. avg.)$179.00  (16% lower than U.S. avg.)$122.79  (14% lower than U.S. avg.) 46.Mississippi$315.43 49.Ohio$298.49 33.Alaska$339.06 30.West Virginia$345.00 51.District of Columbia$265.29 FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —last_img read more