Prieto wants voters to decide if fuel tax revenue should go…

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter BayonneHobokenJersey CityNewsNorth Bergen/GuttenbergSecaucusUnion CityWest HudsonWest New York Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) has introduced a bill that would allow New Jersey residents to decide, via a ballot question, if all of the revenue from the state fuel tax should go towards the Transportation Trust Fund. By John Heinis/Hudson County ViewPrieto, a longtime proponent of replenishing the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund – which is mainly used to repair and maintain roads and bridges – is proposing a ballot question for voters to allow them to decide if this is a viable solution.On July 1, 2016, the fund is expected to be completely depleted.“Unfortunately no agreement has been reached, but it’s important that voters be given the chance to dedicate all money raised by these taxes to transportation needs,” Prieto said in a statement.“Taxpayers must be confident every cent raised by these taxes goes to the right purpose – rebuilding and maintaining our roads and bridges. This is something we can all agree upon.”The proposed constitutional amendment (ACR-1) ensures all the revenue from the gas taxes goes to the Transportation Trust Fund and would not raise the current fuel taxes.New Jersey imposes a 10.5 cent per gallon tax on the sale of gasoline and a 13.5 cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel.The full amount of the gasoline tax is already dedicated to transportation, while 10.5 cents of the diesel tax also goes to the transportation fund.Prieto’s proposed amendment would include the 3 cents of the diesel tax that is not currently dedicated.If the taxes are increased in the future, the amendment dedicates the increased revenues that would result from the tax increase to the trust fund.Additionally, the proposal would also dedicate all of the revenue from the tax on gross receipts of the sale of petroleum products to the Transportation Trust Fund.“New Jersey drivers want to know every cent they pay in taxes at the pump is being used appropriately,” Prieto added. “This gives them that assurance, and strengthens any future effort to ensure we have enough transportation funding to keep our state strong.”Prieto said discussions to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund remain ongoing, but said the ballot question, on its own, is a necessity. Facebook Twitter Bayonne man pepper sprayed, arrested after punching cop in the face, authorities say By John Heinis – December 11, 2015 10:36 am 0 News Police: 45-year-old man arrested for attempting to have sex with 15-year-old girl in Secaucus TAGSfuel taxnj assemblytransportation trust fundvincent prieto SHARE Bayonne Crime Previous articleBill to curb tourism helicopters introduced by 4 Hudson Dems advancesNext articleDozens of county welfare workers storm freeholder meeting demanding changes John Heinis Prieto wants voters to decide if fuel tax revenue should go to transportation fund Ex-North Bergen DPW supervisor loses appeal to overturn corruption conviction last_img read more

The Covid churn: Inside resi brokerages’ recruiting games

first_img Email Address* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now Clockwise from top left: Scott Durkin, president and COO of Douglas Elliman; Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens; Adam Mahfouda, founder and CEO of Oxford Property Group; Rory Golod, Tri-State president of Compass; Pam Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group; David Walker, CEO of TriplemintIt’s a long-held tenet of the business that agents switch firms when times are bad — and few years in recent memory have been worse than 2020. “When the market is super strong… agents don’t really move,” said Scott Durkin, president and chief operating officer of Douglas Elliman. “That’s a natural evolution of the business.” Now, a volatile market has sent brokers running, some from the business altogether. Nearly 4,000 agents terminated their licenses between January and December, a 9 percent drop from 63,835, according to Corofy, a data firm which tracks agent movement. Manhattan lost 2,372 agents, while Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island lost a combined 1,562.ADVERTISEMENT“The number of agents today is the most important metric,” said Eddy Boccara, Corofy’s founder. “I really consider the agents to be the consumer of the brokerage.” The drop in headcount is understandable: Many agents saw their income virtually dry up overnight when the pandemic hit. And though the national housing market is roaring, New York City is struggling with an oversupply of high-end condominiums, banks tightening lending standards and buyers’ preferences for more space and private outdoor areas. All told, Manhattan sales fell 46 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2020; in Brooklyn and Queens, deal volume fell 43 and 40.5 percent, respectively. “It’s a time of enormous dislocation,” said Frederick Peters, CEO of Warburg Realty. “For a great many real estate agents, I think it’s really created a lot of fear.” The climate hasn’t stopped brokerages, many of which had to make cuts in the early days of the pandemic, from recruiting. Brokerages always want to grow market share by adding more “consumers,” as Boccara put it, but the landscape has become more challenging with more competition, slower sales and fewer agents. Though firms may not have the financial resources to offer big signing bonuses, many have placed an increased focus on rolling out tools to boost productivity, both for existing agents and to lure in new ones.Read moreCompass went on hiring spree as BHS, Halstead made cutsThe big brokerage squeezeSelling the city: TRD’s 2019 brokerage rankings Message*center_img Full Name* The Corcoran Group launched a new customer relationship management system in lockdown and an entirely virtual training center for agents in March. As of early December, the firm had run more than 900 classes on business development, digital marketing and wellness, among others. It is also working on getting a program ready to pay agents their commissions as soon as deals close. Brown Harris Stevens began rolling out two lending products in December that will front staging costs for sellers and offer bridge loans up to $25 million to buyers at the behest of agents. “We’re doing it solely because agents have said it’s important,” said Matt Leone, BHS’ head of business development. “I think everything we do is a recruiting and retention tool. … I call it doing your job.”Meanwhile, Compass is gearing up for its initial public offering, which could mean windfall for the agents who took advantage of its stock options. Earlier this month, Robert Reffkin, the firm’s founder and CEO, encouraged that line of thinking in a recent internal memo to agents. “We will be able to invest more in building towards the Compass Northstar: Anything an agent needs, Compass provides,” Reffkin wrote.Coming and goingEven at the best of times, many brokerages view recruiting as a numbers game, where the highest agent headcount reaps the largest gross revenues for the company. But when business is bad, the need for more agents is even more acute.“The industry knows that, really, one out of 10 agents is going to make it and really be profitable for the company,” Corofy’s Boccara said. The game is harder now than ever before: There are fewer agents across the board, and those left know they’re in demand. “The agents themselves are starting to realize that they’re a commodity in hot demand,” Boccara said. “Everybody wants to talk to them.” Compass is the recruiting game’s biggest player. The brokerage hired 249 agents away from its rivals between May and November — more than any of its competitors, according to an analysis by Corofy. “Compass really owns a really, really important market share of hiring,” said Boccara, referring to the strategy of recruiting agents to gain market share. Rory Golod, Tri-State president of Compass, pushed back, however, saying that firms allowing growth to be driven by headcount was leading the industry “astray.” “Great organizations are built by being thoughtful and selective,” he said. “We have never thought about our company in terms of the number of agents. … We don’t set targets based on the number of agents.”The firm was far from alone when it came to bringing on new talent from competitors. Corcoran made 120 new hires, followed by eXp, which drew 92 agents. Douglas Elliman snapped up 58 agents from its rivals, while Oxford Property Group picked up 53.“We are very aggressive,” said Pam Liebman, CEO and president of Corcoran. “We did not stop.” She did note, however, that the firm had limited recruitment to agents who’d been in touch with the firm before and previously expressed interest out of a desire to be “sensitive” during the pandemic. Overall, Compass netted 97 agents between May and November — meaning that the firm gained more agents than it lost. eXp Realty, RE/MAX Edge, Nest Seekers International and Triplemint reported similar gains. Still, Compass churned, or lost, an average of 39 agents per month. Among the city’s other biggest brokerages, Elliman and Corcoran saw an average monthly churn of 54 and 53 agents between May and November, while BHS churn was 9.5.(Compass disputed Corofy’s results, stating that its churn was just under 2.5 agents per month because the firm only counts “principal agents” not their team members internally.) At BHS, the firm has upped its marketing budgets and is pouring resources into a new CRM system that recently launched, according to CEO Bess Freedman.“We’re just going to be a little bit more flexible than usual taking into account the pandemic,” she said referring to costs agents incur.  “We’re sensitive to the agents that have had a really tough time this year.” Merger maniaFor the last few years, consolidation has swept the brokerage industry, and the recent volatility hasn’t changed that pattern. Last year, Compass acquired Stribling & Associates, and in January of this year Bond New York snapped up rental brokerage Caliber Associates, while Citi Habitats merged into Corcoran. BHS and Halstead’s merger in June was the largest of 2020. The two firms, sister companies under Terra Holdings, now have a combined roughly 2,500 agents. However, the process did result in the departure of 38 “underperforming agents,” according to Freedman and Richard Grossman, president of Halstead.Freedman said the pandemic was the “catalyst” for the deal. She said Terra had discussed merging the firms for years, but the idea became an “ideal” option as the city locked down last spring. “If we didn’t have the pandemic, I don’t know that we would have done it at such a quick speed,” she said. “Maybe we would have at some point.”Oxford Property Group absorbed Kian Realty and Spire Group, which meant adding about 280 agents to the firm over the course of the year. The firm’s founder and CEO Adam Mahfouda said that Oxford’s growth insulated the firm from the pain of a market where transaction volume has sunk. “As a company we’re not feeling the toll,” he said. “But a lot of our agents are feeling that.”   In a similar vein, Elegran acquired Anchor Associates earlier this fall, bringing on 20 new people. Celebrity broker Ryan Serhant took an even more extreme approach, launching a new firm altogether in September. He began hiring immediately, despite the fact that a lot of his existing business will continue to be handled by his team at Nest Seekers. “I’m not building this for today. I’m building this for 2030, and 2040, and beyond,” Serhant said in an October interview. “The age old way of getting a desk and you have to drive all your own business and it’s the brokerage’s brand first and your brand second … it will not last, it cannot last.”Serhant’s firm and Triplemint both scooped up agents and staff who had been let go when many firms were forced to make deep cuts earlier in the year. Triplemint CEO David Walker called cutting support staff and agent services “the wrong strategy” back in June, just as agents were allowed to show homes for the first time in three months. “This is the time to invest in your agents because the market is going to rebound,” he said at the time. Fast-forward six months, Triplemint said its headcount has increased by about 20 percent since last December. Walker said he stands by the firm’s “targeted and specific” strategy.“Value to buyers and sellers stands out even more in a challenging market,” he said in December. “It’s the extreme opposite of when the market is roaring, and you can hire your friend who’s done two deals and has their license on the side.”Breaking outFor agents themselves, a different calculus comes into play when deciding whether to stay or go.The pandemic has led some agents, concerned about health and safety, to retire, according to Barbara Fox at Fox Residential. “I think a few of them just don’t want to deal with everything,” she said, noting that there is a real fear among agents showing homes and meeting with clients despite there being no vaccine. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t afraid,” Fox said. “I’ve never been so looking forward to getting a shot.” Meanwhile, others decided this was the time to leave the sheltered wing of major teams. Two agents who had been on the Serhant Team for seven years, Ivy Kramp and Jenna Amicucci-DeChristopher, decided to move to Compass in late June where they founded a four-person team, which includes another Serhant Team alum Vanessa Beretta. The brokers, who say they closed $222 million in total sales between 2018 and 2019, said they parted with Serhant on good terms and the decision didn’t have anything to do with his new firm. “We wish him the best of luck,” said Amicucci-DeChristopher. “Just for us we wanted to go in a little bit of a different direction.” Kramp said the in-house resources at Compass for new development was a big factor in their move.On the other end of the spectrum, Kayla Lee, who handled sales at new development buildings for Modern Spaces for the past five years before jumping to Serhant’s new firm, said the decision was born out of a lull between projects and wanting a new challenge. “I thought this would take me to a new level,” she said.The Peters Breese team at Elliman splintered off from the Eklund-Gomes Team in May, noting that making a move as the market was frozen afforded them additional time to reorganize and communicate with clients. “We have the time to do it now,” as Breese put it. Aaron Seawood, a Brooklyn-based broker and a founding member of Compass’ sports and entertainment division, agreed. He moved to Triplemint in June for the opportunity to “have a seat at the table” as the firm expanded into Brooklyn.“When you’re able to be still, you’re really able to be self aware,” Seawood said in June about deciding to make the jump amid so much volatility. “You have a little more time to think about what’s important to you.Contact Erin Hudsonlast_img read more

Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman & More Go Back in Time in X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer

first_img Waiting For Godot View Comments Patrick Stewart Ian McKellen Related Shows Star Files Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are currently starring on Broadway as the responsible Vladimir and absent-minded Estragon, respectively, in Waiting For Godot (they’re also playing Hirst and Spooner in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land, which is playing in rep with Godot), but they are perhaps more well-known as Professor X and Magneto in the X-Men film franchise. In the brand new trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, Stewart and McKellen go head-to-head with Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine) and a slew of other powerful mutants from the Marvel universe. The film doesn’t hit theaters until May 23, 2014, but you can see the Broadway vets use their almighty acting powers for good in the action-packed and star-studded trailer below! Show Closed This production ended its run on March 30, 2014 Hugh Jackmanlast_img read more

Survival of the fittest

first_imgI am a newly qualified solicitor. A whole three months has passed since that magic epiphany when I was suddenly expected to know what I was doing, and what is the best course of action for each client that instructed me. It is a big pressure, but, I am still alive (just). I want to just push that aside for one moment and assume I do know what is best for the purposes of exploration. One of the most distinctive and essential tenets of being a solicitor is that ‘you must act in the best interests of your client…’. We are partisan; we are somehow to be a more eloquent, respectable and restrained version of our clients, released at court like some sort of ‘animal familiar’ to go out and achieve our client’s ultimate ends. Or are we? When I was at university, one of my more eccentric tutors told me that aside from the decidedly dry and voluminous rule book, there are two central rules in private practice: ‘bill, bill, bill’ and ‘cover your backside’. I have realised this to be true in the last three months, but how does this fit in with one’s principal duty under the Code of Conduct? Often, I think, the instinctive desire to protect and ‘look after number one’ takes over. I will give you an example. I saw a vulnerable client recently who is in financial difficulty and turned up at the office out of the blue with a warrant of execution seeking advice on it. This is a client who I know pretty well. The client owes the firm a sum of money in unpaid bills. I am not a civil litigation lawyer, but the document they were asking me to advise on seemed to be saying ‘pay X or we will come and take your personal possessions’. They didn’t have the money immediately to hand and they didn’t know what to do. In the end, I had to say that I could not advise them and turn them away: first, because I am not qualified in that area of practice, but also because if they couldn’t pay the bills they already owe, no doubt the firm would not want to take this on. Also, if I was able to advise them and were free to say ‘if I were you, I would…..’ the solution may be contrary to the interests of my own firm (a creditor). For me, that was very difficult. Despite what people think of solicitors I, like a lot of my colleagues, went into the job to help people and here I am putting my own interests first. Helping was always the knee-jerk reaction but gradually, the more you do the job the more adept at covering your backside you become, I believe. It is part and parcel of career development and you will not survive without it. I watch senior practitioners and sometimes I find it so hard to pick out the bits of their advice that are there for their own benefit and the bits that are there for the client. Some of the clients I work with are not particularly bright or sophisticated and I see letters advising them of risks which they will never fully comprehend. This has everything to do with protecting oneself and nothing to do with achieving the client’s aims. Lawyers get a bad press from the general public, but how else can you survive in practice? It’s a bit like the story about the increasing number of people driving four by fours, and others buying them because they know that if they get into an accident with a four by four they won’t last long unless they too are driving one. If I were to practise completely altruistically and never think of my own or my firm’s interests then I would soon get the boot for not billing enough. I would also be exposed to claims left, right and centre, because I failed to shove a sentence in an advice letter the client would never read, saying something along the lines of ‘I know that your instructions are X, but just to warn that this could mean Y’. I realise that some risks are germane to what the client is proposing and if they were not pointed out then I would have failed the client. But there is a fine line to be trodden. If a client wants to take a particular course of action, if you advise them of every single minute negative consequence that may arise, you will confuse them and they will never be satisfied with whatever they do. If you steer them in one direction you are taking a risk that it is the wrong one; but if you don’t, what benefit are you to them? As always, it is a question of who comes first; you or them. I think it a very ironic interplay of circumstances that we are paid to take our client’s side and are professionally obliged to put them first – yet, because of our own profession suing other lawyers so successfully, and because by nature lawyers are high-achieving ‘type A’ personalities who have an inherent fear of failure, we have built up a professional culture of defensive practice which acts as a ‘survival of the fittest’ filtering system. Name withheld on requestlast_img read more

Murray achieves the decisive game in the ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Jazz’ series…

first_imgIn the first round of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) playoffs, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Utah Jazz with a score of 119: 107, leveling up 3-3 in the series. Content will continue after the ad Advertising Jamal Murray scored 50 points, scored six assists and won five rebounds in the Nuggets. With 22 points and nine rebounds, Nikola Jokičs voted for him and 18 points for Jerami Grant. In the Jazz team, Donovan Michel stood out with 44 points, who also had five assists and six rebounds, Mike Conley scored 21 points, while Rudy Gober scored 11 points and won 11 rebounds.The match was more successfully started by the Jazz team, which took the lead in the first quarter with 28:18, but then the Nuggets played back and took the lead with Tory Craig’s penalty shots in the opening of the second quarter (40:39). A moment later, the Denver team had a 10-point lead (61:51).When the second half resumed, the Jazz approached 76:77, but could not regain the lead. Nuggets leader Marray took several shots in the last quarter and kept his team’s chances in the second round.last_img read more

Stolen copper cable stalls trains

first_imgBy ANEEKA SIMONIS A BURGLARY blunder in Beaconsfield saw trains halted in the morning peak on Monday 25 April. Police…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Brett Wilkinson to take up coaching role in Hong Kong

first_imgFormer Connacht prop BRETT WILKINSON has left his role with Buccaneers Rugby Football Club to take up an International coaching opportunity with the Hong Kong national squad currently competing in the Asian Championship. Wilkinson, who has been head coach at Buccaneers for the past two seasons, takes up his new appointment next month. The South African played with Connacht 183 times and won 6 Ireland A caps. A renowned front row forward, he enjoyed terrific success in his maiden senior club coaching appointment at Buccs, guiding them to the All-Ireland League play-offs in his first season in charge as well as winning the Connacht Senior League title. The Pirates did even better last term, completing a Connacht Senior Cup and League double as well as romping to the Division 1B title and with it promotion to the top flight of club rugby in Ireland. Wilkinson was an extremely popular and efficient coach with the Athlone club where he encouraged his youthful squad to play enterprising and expansive rugby whilst espousing discipline and workrate. Brett is assisting the midlanders in their search for a suitable replacement as Buccaneers prepare for Division 1A. Applicants for this position should email their CV to [email protected] WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Emaillast_img read more

Four Arrested in Local Break Ins

first_imgThe Sylva Police Department has arrested four people in the last week, as part of an ongoing investigation into recent break-ins of businesses, vehicles and a home.Police arrested Joseph Willard Mathis, 22, of 33 Saturn Lane of Sylva. He is charged with breaking and entering; larceny from a building; possession of stolen property/goods and safecracking. He was jailed on a $30,000.00 secure bond.Cory Case, 28, of 15 Pearlwood Drive of Sylva, was charged with two counts of possession of stolen goods/property. He was jailed on a $3,000.00 secure bond.Eric Whitney, 47, of 15 Eden Lane of Sylva, was charged with possession of schedule II drug; possession of drug paraphernalia; resisting public officer and fugitive from another state (Oklahoma). Whitney was also charged with break or enter a motor vehicle; attempted break/enter motor vehicle, felony larceny of a motor vehicle; two counts of larceny; two counts of injury to personal property and possession of stolen goods/property. He was jailed on three secured bonds, totaling $61,500.00 secured.Max Hoyle, 25, of 15 Eden Lane of Sylva, was charged with possession of methamphetamine(F), possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession stolen goods/property. He was jailed on a $5,000.00 secure bond.The investigations into these various break-ins is ongoing. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Sylva Police Department at 586-2916.last_img read more

Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Announced for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

first_imgShare This!It was announced a few months ago that the fireworks spectacular for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party would be getting a revamp, however today, a few more details were announced that make us very excited about this year’s event.The new show will be called “Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular” will feature state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks and will feature Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack will serve as the host of this all-new Magic Kingdom nighttime extravaganza and he has come to tell a not-so-scary story about how anything can happen on Halloween night. During Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular, Jack’s ghost dog, Zero will then fly off carrying everyone along on a trick-or-treating adventure.This is where the previously announced portion of the show begins to take place, where Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house. Their journey takes them from one room of the house to another, encountering dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts and a whole series of Disney villains.But that’s not all that’s new for this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! New this year, when you follow the treat trail into the Monster World at Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor you will also be able to interact in all-new ways with the cast of monsters, as they learn about the Human World holiday of Halloween.In addition, this year, live pirates will return to the Pirates of the Caribbean where they will be engaged in a whole new adventure in search of treasure. Also, Space Mountain will go completely dark again with a new hard-rockin’ soundtrack, and at the Mad Tea Party will once again offer special lighting and music to give the attraction experience an extra energy after dark.Finally, during the “Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam,” Nancy Clancy from the hit Disney Junior series Fancy Nancy will join other Disney Junior pals like Vampirina and Doc McStuffins.Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off on  August 16 and will run until November 1.last_img read more

Micromax Funbook ready to provide education content

first_imgAvailable at Rs 6,499, Micromax Funbook is the slimmest budget ICS tablet available in market. The tablet is designed and manufactured in India, and does not sport a Made in China logo at the rear. The company has tied up with some leading names in the education sector to provide educational content on the Funbook.The funbook has a grey plastic back with a matte finish and the screen has a black glossy border making it a fingerprint and dust magnet.The front of the device houses the 7-inch display that boasts of a resolution of 480×800. The front also has the 0.3MP camera and three physical buttons at back, home and menu. Running ICS, the tablet doesn’t really need physical buttons as these functions can be accessed directly through the ICS UI.The tablet runs on Android 4.0 and has a front VGA camera with 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB. The 350-gm tablet is powered by ARM Cortex A8 1.2GHz processor with a Mali 400 GPU and comes with 512MB RAM. The specs are enough to let the Funbook perform routine tasks. However, the display isn’t all that bright and illegible in sunlight.Gadget and Gizmos reviews the Micromax tablet and says the physical keys on the Funbook are easy to use in Landscape mode, but the same become a pain when used in the portrait mode. You have no option but to stick to the onscreen key in the latter.The build of the device may not be the best when compared with other products available in the market but it is impressive nonetheless. It also comes with a mini USB to full USB adaptor enabling the device to connect to a 3G dongle to connect to the Internet.advertisementlast_img read more