February 10, 2012
Dear NJGCA Members:
Here's what you'll find in this edition of the NJGCA Road Warrior, and thank you for reading:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
•If you sleep with dogs, you will wake up with fleas; Community Right to Know
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
•State crackdown on unemployment fraud helps save considerable funds
•NJ obtains waiver for No Child Left Behind; Christie to implement new standards
•Lt. Gov says NJ is taking action to improve business climate
•NJGCA in the News: Risalvato talks Safety Inspections, highway fatalities
TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE
•Interested in taking a class? Contact us today!
•Regency Property Appraisers: Serving all your appraisal needs in NJ, NY, and beyond!
MEET THE FOLKS AT LIBERTY GAS
•Looking for a new brand for your station? Take a look at the opportunity below!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
•TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills!
A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM BELLOMO FUELS
•Serving New Jersey since 1910 -- Over 100 years of supplying gasoline retailers like YOU!
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
•Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!
THE MEMBER TOOL BOX
•On the NJGCA Homepage
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!
If you sleep with dogs, you will wake up with fleas
Reminder on Community Right To Know
Recently we have informed you about important changes to the state’s Community Right To Know (CRTK) survey. The survey is due on March 1st, and if you want to avoid fines, you must make it a priority to complete it on time.
Unlike past surveys, however, this survey must be completed online. In our most recent On The Road publication, we outlined essential information on this change.
To complete the survey, look to the last page on your compliance calendar for the required instructions.
For new users, follow these steps to complete the CRTK survey:
1) You must request access and set up account
2) Go to http://www.njdeponline.com and select “new user”
3) Create this new myNewJersey Account and link NJDEP online to it
4) Remember to write down your user ID, password, and security section
ADDITIONAL STEP: As a precaution, email this information to yourself and save the message in your email account for future reference.
To Use your NJDEP online:
1) Enter your contact information. Click on Add contact number, and add at least one contact number and click “continue”
2) The next screen is the “request your certification PIN” (You do not need the PIN to complete the Community Right to Know Survey.
3) You should now be ready to complete and submit your Community Right to Know Survey for 2012.
For any additional help, contact our friend Ed Bakos at NJDEP for assistance at 609-292-0958
If you sleep with dogs, you will wake up with fleas. This was part of a message that I sent along today to a group of Exxon lessee dealers I regularly communicate with. These 236 Exxon lessees are in the process of purchasing their stations thanks to the Right of First Refusal (RFR) law we got passed in 2009. You will recall that, under RFR, if a supplier sells a location currently occupied by a lessee, the tenant lessee must first be offered the opportunity to purchase the station.
Thankfully, today there are literally hundreds of current franchisees who will soon be able to purchase their stations and control their own destinies. That’s because a dealer who owns his location is in a much more powerful bargaining position to negotiate supplier contracts. Rather than have pricing dictated to him and face possible mistreatment, a station owner has the ability to shop around for the best supplier contracts and have distributors compete for their business.
In New Jersey, there are literally 100 different distributors doing business around the state, selling multiple brands of gasoline, private brands, and unbranded product. However, just as in any other business, distributors aren’t all created alike. I have been extremely cautious about what distributors to recommend to members. That’s because not all distributors are reputable and not all of them negotiate in good faith. There are only 9 distributors out of 100 that I have permitted to join NJGCA, and receive a recommendation from me. Only 3 of the 9 sell Exxon branded products.
Over the last few years, anyone who has even paid passing attention to my weekly messages (or heard me in person) knows that there is one particular distributor that I have continued to rail against: Lehigh Gas Corp. While there certainly are a number of nefarious and disreputable outfits out there, Lehigh remains the worst, and I have strongly encouraged all soon-to-be independent retailers to avoid signing supplier contracts with them.
Of course, it doesn’t take much prodding for me to continue to nurture my anger and disdain against Lehigh. I regularly have retail dealers call me about the less-than-honorable dealings that they have with this supplier. Even if I was to try to give them the benefit of the doubt or simply dismiss any allegations as merely minor incidents, I couldn’t do so with the overwhelming amount of evidence and first-hand reports I get from many retailers who have had negative experiences with Lehigh.
Would you like some more proof. It was recently announced that Lehigh Gas was selling 26 sites, including 16 located in New Jersey. CSP later reported that these locations were being sold so that Lehigh could “redeploy capital”. That is a fancy way of saying that “they desperately need the cash”. They don’t want the word on the street to be about their financial difficulties and how strapped for cash they are, so they instead claim that they want to “redeploy capital”.
Here is the sad part. After reviewing the list of NJ locations, I recognize some that I believe are locations where the dealers turned in their keys. They may still be empty or they may be operated by Lehigh, and I recognize some as being very recent. But the fact is that these are locations that were once operated by dealers who were supplied by Exxon and were then sold to Lehigh. Eventually the dealers had to flee in order not to be skinned alive financially. Sadly, I can drive you directly to present Lehigh dealers that will soon have to do the same.
Lehigh unfortunately has dishonest brethren distributors that do the same. New Jersey Energy which is known as Chestnut or CPD in New York and Connecticut are no different. The New York association that represents dealers has warned me of similar circumstances.
So, what’s this got to do with lying down with dogs? Plenty, actually. There are plenty of dealers who own their property and also have disputes with bad distributors. It simply comes down to dealing with less than honorable people who do not honor contracts and leave you in a position to chase them in court. Are you supposed to check up on your supplier to be certain that every delivery was sold to you at the agreed price in your contract? NO you are not. It is a shame that this is routine for dealers that do business with less than honorable distributors. No matter if a retailer sells a major branded fuel or sells gasoline under a private name – lying down with a dog (aka a less than honorable distributor) will give YOU fleas!
Thankfully, even as the last few years have brought me into close proximately with outfits like CPD and Lehigh, they have also granted me personal insight into the handful of trustworthy and honest distributors looking to build lasting, productive relationships with station owners. As I mentioned, there are only 9 distributors that I have permitted to join NJGCA, and it is only these distributors that I recommend to members in need of a supplier contract. They are vetted, they have a track record of good business relationships, and most of all they are honorable.
The bottom line here is that you do business with these disreputable outfits at your own peril! Part of my job is to protect your interests, but at times I must also protect you from yourself! That is why I have been so adamant that you sign a contract with a distributor that I know will not make sweet promises now, and then eat you alive later!
I’m giving you adequate warning: If you are considering a supplier contract, call me FIRST so I can discuss with you those distributors that with look to work with you rather than look to pull one over on you!
Lastly this week, if you’ve visited the NJGCA website over the last few days, you may have noticed something odd. The website is currently under construction and visitors were likely greeted by a message explaining that the site is being remodeled.
What wasn’t explained in that greeting is that we recently accelerated our plans to revamp the NJGCA homepage. We have been working behind the scenes the last few months to launch a new site, with added capability and information. It is our hope to turn the NJGCA homepage into a more useful tool for our members. We’re currently in the final stages of the remodeling, but will let you know once the reconstructed website is up for you to visit. Stay tuned!
In this week’s Policy Patrol, on The Radar Screen this week, we’re highlighting two very similar bills which would be disastrous if they were enacted, especially for convenience store owners. The first is Senate bill 675, the “Plastic and Paper Bag Reduction Act.” You may remember, we mentioned this bill a few months ago when it was introduced in the last session of the Legislature. Because it was not passed last year, it was promptly reintroduced by its sponsor Senator Brian Stack (D-Hudson). This bill would require every store which gives its customers plastic or paper carryout bags to charge a ten cent fee for every single bag, starting next year. It would also require the operator of the store to make reusable bags available for purchase. Then, every at the end of every tax quarter, the operator of the store must submit a report which documents every single plastic and paper bag given out, and send in all of those dimes just so that some bureaucrat in the DEP can make a chart showing the usage of the bags going down over time. And it doesn’t end there! Beginning in 2015, every bag the operator of the store gives out must be compostable and you would be prohibited from providing any non-compostable or non-recyclable bags to your customer. Additionally, every plastic and paper bag manufacturer would have to develop “education materials” which talk about how terrible their own products are. Then they have to give those materials out to every store they sell the bags to, and those stores would be required to post them! As if small businesses weren’t under enough stress and suffocated by enough regulations, someone in Trenton wants to force them to track every single disposable bag they give to their customer.
The other, similar bill is S-812, the “Reduce Plastic and Paper Bag Usage Act” from Senator Bob Smith (D-Middlesex). This bill would require every operator to charge a 15¢ fee for every carryout bag. Starting the next year, you would be required to restrict the amount of bags given out by 25%. And the bags you do have must be compostable or recyclable. The year after that, you have to cut bag volume by 50%, and then 75% the year after. This means that you and your employees would need to keep track of every single bag you give to your customer, and then start rationing how many can be given out. Can you imagine the look on your customer’s face if you had to tell them, I’m sorry but I’ve already given out all the carryout bags the government allows me to this month; you’ll have to either purchase some reusable bags for several dollars apiece or just carry everything out in your arms. Have a nice day comrade!
We and our allies will continue to monitor these bills, and rest assured we will fight tooth and nail against these terrible bills, and will keep you informed of any developments.
The Policy Patrol also brings you the latest whiff from The Manure Pile: This week’s bill that we’re tossing onto The Pile in Senate Resolution 34. Is it a resolution condemning the sky high property and income taxes in this state? Of course not! This bill ‘urges’ Rutgers University to change the words of the school’s song, “On the Banks of the Old Raritan” because one verse in the song reads “My father sent me to old Rutgers, and resolv’d that I should be a man...”, and the sponsor, Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), feels the use of the words ‘father’ and ‘man’ are not “gender neutral”. Not only is this a misplaced priority, but do we really need our representatives focused on changing a single verse from a song that has been used for 139 consecutive years just for the sake of political correctness? Or should the legislature focus on how best to lower property taxes?
Thanks for listening - See you next week!
NEWS AROUND THE STATE
State crackdown on unemployment fraud helps save considerable funds
Thanks to a fraud crackdown, the NJ Department of Labor has saved tens of millions of dollars in unemployment expenses. Officials state that they catch an average of 2,000 people a week who have returned to work but continue to collect unemployment benefits. The measure is expected to save more than $100 million in its first year. Since 2009, the state has borrowed money from the federal government to help meet its unemployment obligations. However, thanks in part to this new program, the state is able to cut it’s repayments to the federal government. Click above to read the full article.
NJ obtains waiver for No Child Left Behind; Christie to implement new standards
President Obama recently granted New Jersey and nine other states a waiver from the standards mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Though NCLB was initially praised for helping to raise student performance in poor urban and rural school districts, it has since been criticized for its inflexibility, with critics calling for reforms to the program. In exchange for promising higher test scores and more innovation, the waiver will permit Governor Christie to implement his own standards, which are extensive. Click above to read more on the waiver and Christie’s revised education standards.
Lt. Gov says NJ is taking action to improve business climate
New Jersey’s Lt. Governor, Kim Guadagno, said that the state is cutting burdensome rules and regulations in order to make the Garden State more attractive to businesses. Guadagno was tasked by the Governor in 2010 to create the Red Tape Review Commission to identify unneeded laws that are currently in statute. The report makes a number of recommendations, including shifting more government functions online and consolidating oversight of specific licensing functions to one department.
NJGCA in the News: Risalvato talks Safety Inspections, highway fatalities
Executive Director Sal Risalvato recently spoke with NJ101.5 FM News reporter Joe Cutter regarding new statistics illustrating the rise in roadway fatalities. Sal questions if the increase in deaths is partially attributable with the State’s elimination of Safety Inspections in August 2010. You can hear a clip of the interview, as well as read the full article, at the link above.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES IN OUR “NEWS AROUND THE STATE” ARCHIVE
-ALL CLASSES WILL BE HELD AT NJGCA HEADQUARTERS-
66 Morris Avenue - Springfield, NJ 07081 (Union County)
PLEASE NOTE: FUTURE DATES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 973-376-0066 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!
MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE
TMP Energy Solutions
Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills
We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it’s difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an “accurate” analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available.
This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum KW demand is acquired. By pooling the member’s usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.
Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.
Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.
If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require12 months of your most recent utility bills.
There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #’s, meter #’s service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.
The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.
If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Phil Apruzzi at the NJGCA.
Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.
We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs. Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund.
Contact Phil Apruzzi at 973-376-0066 or email Phil at email@example.com. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest.
POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!
Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.
To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:
However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.
For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.
We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!
In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!
If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies.
PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
66 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC
I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.
We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call.
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