Window Closing for NY Scholarship Raffle

Window Closing for NY Scholarship Raffle

If financial planning teaches you anything, it’s that it is never too early to start saving up.

The next generation is bound to face steep higher education costs – just how high? Let’s break down the price projections for kids (currently age 5) who will enroll in college in 13 years. If college costs rise at 5% a year, the annual cost to attend a four-year public state college or university will be $44,136 (up from $23,406 over 13 years). The total cost for 4 years (s) will then be $190,230. That’s a hefty price tag. One new statewide program is offering 50 lucky kids a chance at free full-ride scholarships, but the eligibility rules will disqualify a lot of families from even entering the race.

Educate, Graduate Vaccine Incentive Scholarship is a five-week public outreach campaign, running through December 19, 2021, consisting of a series of statewide drawings to increase awareness of the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and provide incentives for young New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

The scholarship announcement program came as Hochul noted New York was receiving more than 700,000 pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with plans to soon obtain more doses for the entire 1.5 million New Yorkers in the age group. Hochul also announced that 65% of the more than 700 school districts statewide are planning to host vaccination clinics at or near school buildings for the 5-to-11 age group in the coming weeks. As of November 3, 2021, New York children ages 5 – 11 are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state launched a new website to help parents and families navigate their frequently asked questions surrounding the vaccine.

So, how does the raffle work?

Parents or legal guardians of any 5 to 11-year-old New Yorker who has received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, may enter their child for a chance to win a four-year, full-ride scholarship (including tuition, fees, room-and-board, and expenses) to any two-year or four-year New York State public college or university. All non-winners will be automatically included in subsequent weeks’ lotteries. No entrant may win more than one prize under this program and while it isn’t a requirement for children to have obtained the vaccination within New York State to be eligible, the state does have a validation process in place.

Entries must be received by December 19, 2021, 2021 at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT to be eligible for at least one drawing. The drawings will be conducted weekly, for five (5) weeks. The first drawing will take place in less than a week, on November 22, 2021. Ten winners will be announced weekly beginning Wednesday, November 24, 2021, for five consecutive weeks. A total of 50 prize winners will be selected. Interested applicants must complete entries at

At RBT, we understand vaccination decisions are extremely personal and that family members and educators in our communities are having important conversations in and outside of the classroom. Our goal is to provide our clients with relevant, timely information regarding financial savings opportunities, and strategic financial planning that impacts the education industry’s technical needs, so you can serve your respective communities to the best of your ability. We are constantly monitoring industry changes and governmental decisions that impact your institutions. Our team of professionals is dedicated to serving you and your colleagues. Questions? Contact us today here. Additionally, if you would like to submit topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at


The Latest on NY’s Education Spending

The Latest on NY’s Education Spending

While it’s easy to get wrapped up in daily expenses, it’s a good idea to check in on the Office of the State Comptroller’s monthly contract approval list to understand where funding is headed.

In September, the Office of the State Comptroller approved 1,515 contracts for state agencies and public authorities valued at $2.4 billion and approved nearly 5.4 million payments worth almost $15.4 billion. What is the NY Comptroller’s office approving in terms of education spending?

Included in September’s state payments:

  • $2.7 billion in general aid to 678 school districts
  • $360,000 in excess cost aid for school-aged special education students to six school districts

Within the State University Construction Fund, over $65 million was approved for various university renovations that are underway. Specifically:

  • $28.8 million with FAHS Construction Group Inc. to renovate the Bartle Library 3rd floor and penthouse at Binghamton University
  • $20.1 million with Manning Squires Hennig Co., Inc. to renovate Crosby Hall at University at Buffalo
  • $16.3 million with Upstate Companies 1, LLC to renovate Silverman Hall at Upstate Medical University

The State University of New York which spans 64 campuses across the state had a lot to gain with the latest OSC contract list.

As the largest comprehensive system of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the United States, with a total enrollment of over 400,000 students, plus more than 2 million adult education students, a few University projects stood out. In particular, OSC is spending:

  • $18.4 million with Boilermatic Welding Industries Inc. for boiler maintenance and repair services at Stony Brook University
  • $5.6 million with Apogee Telecom Inc. for internet access service at the University at Albany
  • $5.5 million with D2L LTD for an online digital learning environment
  • $3.9 million with Sunquest Information Systems Inc. for maintenance and support services of Sunquest Laboratory Information Systems at Upstate Medical University
  • $3 million with Cerner Health Services Inc. for maintenance and support services of Eagle 2000 software at Downstate Health Sciences University
  • $2.3 million with Southeast Mechanical Corp. for condensate water piping replacement at SUNY New Paltz
  • $1.7 million with All-Con Contracting Corp. for Campus Center upgrades at SUNY Old Westbury

Additional spending is going towards the Student Conservation Association Inc. for conservation and educational recruitment services ($4 million), and to the NYS Federation of Growers’ & Processors’ Associations Inc. to provide early childhood education and social services under the Agri-Business Child Development Program ($1.7 million). Three of New York’s eight ABCD Centers are actually located within Hudson Valley to serve our Florida, Middletown, and New Paltz, community members.

When your team is planning future budgets and considering future projects, consider checking in on the OSC’s official website to determine what projects are receiving funding.

More information on the latest approved contracts and payments is available at but if you have immediate questions about strategic financial planning, our dedicated RBT professionals are here to help. Contact us today, here. Additionally, if you would like to submit feedback or topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at

Source: OSC, ABCD

New NY Law Cracks Down on Code Enforcement

New NY Law Cracks Down on Code Enforcement

Local governments that are lax on code enforcement are being put on high alert by New York lawmakers after a stricter building code violation law was approved earlier this month by Gov. Kathy Hochul. What prompted the change, when does it take effect, and what does your municipality need to know? Read on.

Higher fines are on the way for property owners who repeatedly violate building codes and have left them unaddressed. The law sponsored by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) and Senator Rachel May (D-Onondaga, Madison, Oneida) imposes a minimum fine of $25 a day after 180 days of a property being in violation. A minimum violation of a property not being addressed of $50 a day would be imposed after 360 days. The maximum violation remains $1,000 a day as levied by a court.

Currently, any citation issued to a property owner for a violation of the uniform code has a 30 day “cure” period for the property owner to correct the issue before being subject to any fines. After the cure period, the court may levy fines of up to $1,000 per day that the violation continues uncured, however, these fines can technically be as low as a single cent. Lawmakers who backed the bill said the new tougher fine structure is meant to push municipal governments to act faster on properties that are not up to code and have languished for months with token fines put in place.

“Across New York our municipalities are facing a crisis with the housing stock. Our communities are suffering under absentee landlords and fear that landlords will retaliate if they report code violations in their homes. This legislation has the teeth to hold repeat offenders accountable for their bad management practices by denying them access to more properties and implementing increasing fines for failure to fix existing issues in their current properties. Everyone deserves a safe and healthy place to call home,” said Senator May.

On August 5, 2019, the Committees on Investigations and Government Operations and Housing, Construction, and Community Development released a report on code enforcement in New York State and the findings were less than impressive. The investigation concluded the lack of prioritization of code enforcement in municipalities across the State is significantly contributing to the culture of poor compliance that ultimately endangers the lives of residents and first responders. The report found that all municipalities investigated failed to impose meaningful penalties to deter code violations and that owners view the fines imposed as the cost of doing business.

“It is well past time for the culture of ‘build now, ask for forgiveness later’ to end. Whether it’s in Rockland or across New York State, this attitude is putting the lives of residents and first responders at risk. Continually violating the building code is reckless and property owners must be held accountable. Ensuring there are repercussions to these unscrupulous property owners does just that,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski. 

The law takes effect March 3, 2022, so don’t delay to ensure your team is up to speed and has a plan in place to better serve your community. If you have questions regarding this new law or about creating a safety plan to ensure your team is doing everything in its power to monitor code enforcement swiftly and efficiently, we can help. Contact our dedicated Government group at RBT to schedule a consultation today. Additionally, if you would like to submit feedback or topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at

Sources: Kenneth Zebrowski, Spectrum

New Joint Employer Rules You Need to Know

New Joint Employer Rules You Need to Know

No one ever said being a contractor would be easy. Rewarding? Yes. A breeze? Far from it. Consider all of the parties involved in any given project: developers, investors, lenders, insurance carriers, architects, engineers, consultants, subcontractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. There is a lot that can go wrong, and there is a lot to worry about. Unfortunately, to add to your list of concerns, New York’s state legislature recently passed a bill that will make general contractors jointly responsible for wage theft violations committed by subcontractors. The good news? Being aware and being prepared can save you a major (and expensive) headache, down the road.

New York Senate Bill S2766C was signed into law this September by Governor Hochul and will become effective January 4, 2022. Before this law, a general contractor would not be responsible for its subcontractor’s wage practices or liability to their employees unless it was found to be a “joint” employer, which, under applicable case law, is a difficult burden to meet. Now, contractors face strict liability for claims associated with the subcontractor’s payroll practices, and it applies to all levels of subcontractors. The limitation period for claims against the general contractor will be three years, while the general limitation for wage claims is six years, which means an individual or representative could file a lawsuit against the general contractor as well as the employer-subcontractor.

This new wage law also adds a section to the New York General Business Law which authorizes construction contractors to withhold payments owed to subcontractors who fail to pay their construction workers or who fail to comply with the law or requests by contractors for payroll information and records required by the law (i.e., certified payroll records and other records regarding names of employees, payments of wages and benefits and dates of work). This provision will allow general contractors to impose significant contract, audit, payment, and indemnity provisions on subcontractors in an attempt to manage and limit their liability for subcontractor wage claims.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its own final rule on the standard for determining joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which you need to be cognizant of, too. To read the full fact sheet and gain a better understanding of your employment circumstances, click here.

Also on a national scale, the U.S. Department of Labor recently rescinded the joint employer rule which was significantly narrowed during the Trump Administration – all the more reason for New York construction companies to be on high alert and identify whether or not they are considered joint employers. The DOL announced on September 20 that its rescission of the prior administration’s joint employer rule would take effect on October 5. Now that the DOL has decided to rescind the four-part test that determined whether a business is equally liable for obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it will go back to the original pre-2020 rules.

The importance of the “joint employer” doctrine impacts:

  • independent contractor relationships
  • regulation of the contractor’s access to the property and hours of work
  • control of manner and methods of performance of contractors
  • monitoring of quality and quantity of work performed
  • “costs plus” pricing arrangements
  • use of temporary staffing or referral companies
  • franchise relationships
  • insurance companies that require employers to take certain actions with their employees to comply with policy requirements for safety, security, and health
  • banks or other lenders whose financing terms may require certain performance measurements

Ultimately to run a successful business and to mitigate liability, you need to have certainty in the way you structure your business relationships. The key to the updated DOL rule for contractors is that they reserve the right to control— directly or indirectly — one or more of these factors to be considered a joint employer, not necessarily exercise the control. The bottom line? Work with HR personnel or employment counsel to closely monitor whether or not you have joint-employer relationships by examining the multifactor test to minimize overall liability under the fair labor standards act as well as the national labor relations act. In terms of what you can anticipate from the new DOL in the near future, you can look back to a January 2016 interpretation – “Joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act and Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act” – for an idea of what the future may hold.

How to Fix the Healthcare Trust Problem

How to Fix the Healthcare Trust Problem

With December just one calendar page turn away, it’s a good time to consider ways your organization excelled this year, as well as areas your team fell short of. Reflecting on the past year, healthcare workers across the state were tested beyond limits and proved that this industry is more resilient than any of us could have imagined. Just like at RBT, the people you hire to be a part of your team are truly the lifeblood of your organization – they are what make your operation remarkable. But while the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be waning, other threats are lurking. With escalating cyberattacks on hospitals and health systems and the continued spread of health misinformation online, the healthcare industry is headed for an exit from the “trusted category” next year, according to a recent Forrester report. Why is distrust eroding the healthcare industry and what can your team do to protect your brand as we enter 2022?

Forrester examined the state of healthcare in the U.S. and how threats like misinformation and increasing cyberattacks will affect public trust for its Predictions 2022: Healthcare report. Misinformation has permeated social media and even platforms built for clinicians, and the true industry cost just might be immeasurable. The spread of false health information, shortcomings in data integrity, and the politicization of science will unseat healthcare from its standing as a trusted industry according to Forrester’s 2022 projections. Continued erosion of trust in healthcare institutions will force more clinics to close and threaten population health as patients avoid treatment for their conditions.

As far as cybersecurity is concerned, the report indicates that healthcare is the most attacked industry and has the highest average cost of a data breach as well as the slowest incident response time. Cybersecurity investment initiatives are expected to hit $125 billion between 2021-25 in response to the increasing number of threat actors and weak digital systems.

What can your team do today, to stay protected? The financial risk and the health of your patients are at stake if you don’t have full control over the information being shared with the public. Righting the ship in 2022 will require an all-hands-on-deck approach, including coordination between those working in public health research and practice, public policy, and cybersecurity. Ensuring you have a reliable communications department is key to getting your patients access to accurate, reliable information about your organization. Think about your social media strategy. When was the last time you updated the way you connect with clients? On the cybersecurity front, make sure you reassess your 2021 defense plan and determine whether or not your team is doing enough to protect your data. Ensure that everyone on your staff is up to speed on the plan. Simple team-wide reminders, like creating complex, unique passwords with frequent updates, encrypting patient data and medical files to avoid data leaks in ransomware, and using a VPN for a safe internet connection can help to avoid outside risks. Like misinformation, cybersecurity awareness and education will help your team recognize problems before they evolve into crises. As always, we are rooting for your success. Our trusted team of healthcare specializing RBT professionals are here for you, to navigate the diverse and complex world of healthcare. If you would like to submit feedback or topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to

Source: Forrester

Follow these Tracking Tips to Cut Costs Today

Follow these Tracking Tips to Cut Costs Today

If you’re like most manufacturers, you don’t track order processing. Yet focusing on this performance metric can identify operational inefficiencies that are cost-cutting opportunities. Another major advantage? Continued monitoring lets you keep those costs in check and predict future outlays. If you haven’t already, your company needs to develop a blueprint that delineates the tasks to be measured.

Tracking begins with a specialized enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or online workflow management program that can capture the workflow transactions involved in order processing. This is done in much the same way as you’d measure non-linear workflow in the production setting. As orders move from one person or terminal to another, they are automatically time-stamped and the number of times an order “changes hands” is recorded. Consider using a system that manages data about customer buying behaviors along with tracking order processing to create customer profiles and order histories. This will enable you to develop sales strategies based on demand and forecast opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell.

While computer programs are essential for gathering data, analyzing complex processes, and providing routine monitoring, don’t overlook the human element. Make order-processing improvements a priority, and charge a team of stakeholders with streamlining the process. The visibility that tracking brings to order processing reveals costly patterns that provide a basis for planning and scheduling. Furthermore, in discussions of order processing, tracking offers objective data that puts everyone on the same page. An analysis of the workflow metrics is handled by a business intelligence program that gives a non-IT person, such as a COO, the ability to “slice and dice” the data into a meaningful report. As the system gathers data over time, you’ll have a performance and cost record that can be used to analyze and fix inefficiencies. This ongoing analysis becomes an important tool for continuous improvement and forecasting.

You can learn a great deal about your operation when you know the steps involved in entering a new order. How many departments and individuals handle the order? How many pieces of paper change hands? What happens when an order changes? This lets you determine where bottlenecks exist and what transactions need to be changed, eliminated, or added.

Customer order management means different things to different people. It may be limited to account processing and the activities involved in the entry, maintenance, and fulfillment of orders. Some of the tasks include pricing, managing customer credit, checking parts availability, inquiring about order status, invoicing, and processing accounts receivable. In other words, customer order management includes every process from order to payment receipt. Our Manufacturing Services Group works with businesses in diverse industries from building materials, to food processing, specialty sporting goods, commercial lighting, health, beauty, pharmaceuticals, and more. Whatever the size of your venture, we can help you meet your goals, now and in the future. Contact our RBT team of professionals for more details about how a cost segregation study could improve your situation. Additionally, if you would like to submit feedback or topic ideas for future articles our team produces, please feel free to contact us at

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