Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Rochester Chamber joins coalition to permanently cap property tax at 2 percent

The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. has joined a statewide coalition to advocate for making the 2 percent property tax cap permanent.

On Tuesday, several organizations including the Chamber, the Business Council of New York State, the Business Council of Westchester and the Long Island Association launched a statewide partnership that will be chaired by its respective presidents to hold the line on property taxes and “keep New York State economically competitive and affordable.”

The group will be expanded with additional business organizations and chambers of commerce throughout the state, officials said.

“Rochester Chamber fully supports a permanent property tax cap in New York State. Since his first year in office, Gov. Cuomo has had success in saving property owners billions of dollars through the tax cap,” Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy said in a statement. “Families in the Rochester and Finger Lakes region still need relief from some of the highest property taxes per capita in the nation.”

In 2011, New York enacted a cap that limited the growth of school and local property taxes to 2 percent, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The cap was renewed in 2015 and expires next year, but is legally tied to New York City rent-control laws, which end in June this year. Coalition members said action on the cap must be taken now.

“The real property tax cap is one of Governor Cuomo’s signature achievements, and was adopted in 2011 with broad, bipartisan support. Since then, it has saved New York’s homeowners and business owners billions of dollars in reduced property tax burdens,” said the Business Council President and CEO Heather Briccetti. “The heavy impact of local real property taxes in New York is well documented. The Business Council, and many of our allied organizations, were early and ardent supporters. The cap, along with limited spending growth at the state level, has produced a new era of governmental fiscal prudence in New York State.”

Officials noted that municipalities, including school districts, which are the biggest driver of property taxes, have “by and large responded to the cap with prudent budgeting, more efficiency and restrained spending.” In essence, the coalition said, “towns, villages and schools have learned to do more with less.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

Rochester Chamber receives national accreditation

rochester-chamberGreater Rochester Chamber of Commerce has earned 5-Star Accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Rochester’s Chamber is one of 205 chambers nationwide to carry the accreditation and one of 112 with the 5-Star Accreditation.

“Accreditation validates a chamber as having programs that benefit their local economy and for positively influencing action in their community,” said Raymond Towle, vice president, Federation Relations and Institute for Organization Management, a professional development program of the U.S. Chamber. “We applaud these organizations for advancing the principles of free enterprise.”

Accreditation is the only national program that recognizes chambers for the effective organizational procedures and community involvement. In order to receive accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in their operations and programs, including areas of governance, government affairs and technology.

The review can take six to nine months to complete.

“I could not be more thrilled that Rochester Chamber received the highest level of accreditation that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers. I’m especially pleased that we accomplished this achievement on our first time ever applying for accreditation,” said Bob Duffy, Rochester Chamber president and CEO. “The accreditation process is similar to an audit of an entire organization and we passed with flying colors.”

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

“The 5-Star designation reinforces the strength of Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce from its 130 year history to its talented staff and board of directors of today,” Duffy said.

[email protected]/(585) 653-4021

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

SunCommon NY is No. 1 on Chamber’s Top 100 list

Renewable energy, waste services and cardiac safety enterprises edged out 97 other businesses for the top spots in the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Top 100 this year.

SunCommon NY, a distributor of renewable energy generation, including solar and wind projects, took the No. 1 spot on the 31st annual list of the area’s fastest-growing privately held businesses.

SunCommon founder and CEO Kevin Schulte attributed his company’s growth to both the future of solar energy and SunCommon’s culture.

“We started as a value-led business in 2002 and became a certified benefit corporation in 2015,” Schulte said in a statement. “We grow because of our values and commitment to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. Promoting ourselves as a member of the values led business community has presented us growth opportunities in sales, hiring and our connection to the community.”

Waste Harmonics LLC, a waste services broker, took the second spot on this year’s Top 100, while cardiac safety and respiratory services laboratory iCardiac Technologies Inc. rounded out the top three.

“I don’t believe you can achieve the growth we have without a strategic plan and a focus on customer retention,” Waste Harmonics President and CEO Michael Hess said. “They feed off each other. Customer retention has always been a core strength of ours, which is our foundation for customer references and referrals for new business.”

The Top 100 is a Rochester Chamber and KPMG LLP program that ranks businesses based on both dollar and percentage growth.

“The Rochester Chamber Top 100 list serves as a wonderful example of the Rochester and Finger Lakes region’s positive economic evolution,” Rochester Chamber President and CEO Bob Duffy said. “The leading number of companies on the list came from the service, manufacturing, technology and construction industries. We congratulate all of the Rochester Chamber Top 100 businesses and wish them continued success and growth.”

To be eligible for the Top 100, businesses must be independent, privately held, headquartered in the nine-county Finger Lakes region and have a revenue of at least $1 million in each of the three most recent fiscal years.

“iCardiac’s rapid growth is attributable to our ability to blend deep scientific insight with unparalleled customer support,” said iCardiac President and CEO Alex Zapesochny. “We have always recognized that offering great science and technology is important, but it’s not enough. A company must also excel in the human factors, such as proactive communication and dedication to our customers’ goals.”

The annual Top 100 celebration will include an awards dinner and pre-dinner reception Nov. 2 at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

A full list of this year’s Top 100 can be viewed on the Rochester Chamber’s website.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].

Chamber young leaders group debuts at Wegmans Organic Farm

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce held its inaugural Chamber Leadership Initiative: Mentoring for Business young leaders event with a trip to the Wegmans Organic Farm in Canandaigua.

CLIMB is a 10-month experiential program designed to connect young professionals with business leaders across multiple sectors of the Finger Lakes economy. Some 31 participants representing 28 Rochester-area companies are part of the group’s first cohort.

Rochester’s young professionals toured the farm, participated in a “gentle yoga” session, as well as heard a presentation on Wegmans’ corporate mission and leadership.

“It was certainly an eye-opening experience,” said Canandaigua National Bank new media coordinator Ashley DiDia. “I think an underlying theme that we are going to see in the CLIMB program is a sense of community and the building of long-term relationships. That’s really how our whole community is going to continue to grow. It’s a strategic advantage that we have right here as young professionals to help grow and sustain this community.”

CLIMB gives participants an inside look at local success stories directly from top executives and their teams through nine signature events. Community and political leaders also will weigh in on crucial issues facing the Finger Lakes region.

September’s event will focus on the Finger Lakes Forward industries of optics, photonics and imaging, as well as Finger Lakes wine with visits to GS Plastic Optics and Three Brothers Winery.

At the conclusion of CLIMB’s first cohort next May, participants will be invited to serve a one-year term on the chamber’s Future Leaders Advisory Council.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email [email protected].