Lobbyists will help Warrenton seek infrastructure money

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 1/7/22

The city of Warrenton is hiring a Jefferson City lobbying firm to help acquire infrastructure money controlled by the state government.

The Warrenton Board of Aldermen in December approved a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Lobbyists will help Warrenton seek infrastructure money

Posted

The city of Warrenton is hiring a Jefferson City lobbying firm to help acquire infrastructure money controlled by the state government.

The Warrenton Board of Aldermen in December approved a contract with Gamble & Schlemeier, a company that bills itself as “the largest governmental affairs firm in Jefferson City,” and markets its extensive experience lobbying legislators and state executives. Warrenton is hiring the firm to convince state lawmakers and leaders in the executive branch to direct state monies toward local infrastructure improvements, according to the contract.

For this service, Warrenton has agreed to pay $40,000 — half now, and half over the next 12 months. The city will also pay $15,000 for each infrastructure project that the lobbyist firm acquires funding for, according to the contract.

Although Gamble & Schlemeier will be working on Warrenton’s behalf, the firm may also have clients from other city governments that are competing for the same funding, the contract states.

Warrenton is hiring the lobbyist firm to go after major federal infrastructure funding that is being put into the hands of state governments, said City Administrator Brandie Walters. During a December board of aldermen meeting, Walters explained that aldermen are interested in getting funding assistance for a number of street and utility improvements.

“We narrowed it down to a few projects, like streets and stormwater at Morgan, Pinckney, Water Street, Coleman; the pool park-Warrior (Avenue) extension; a new water tower on the south side of town; (and) wastewater treatment expansion, if we can get the funds for that rather than going out for a non-tax voter approval (for a bond).” Walters said. “We found this is probably our best route, to get a lobbyist on our behalf.”

Aldermen at the meeting were in agreement with the proposal, saying they would prefer to hire an outside expert firm to pursue state infrastructure money, rather than having city staff consume much of their work time on that effort.

“It’s a way for us to not have a full-time employee to specialize in this,” said Ward 1 Alderman Larry Corder. “It sounds like a lot of money, but when you start putting a full-time employee to this, I think in the long run we’d be far better off contracting this out.”

“This is not uncommon for a lot of cities to do,” said Mayor Eric Schleuter, explaining that city staff did their homework to identify a firm in Jefferson City that is seasoned in representing the needs of local governments.

And this isn’t the first time Warrenton has hired a lobbying firm, added City Attorney Christopher Graville. In 2017, the city contracted lobbying firm Barklage Company to oppose legislative proposals to turn Interstate 70 into a toll road.

Aldermen approved the contract with Gamble & Schlemeier 4-0, with Aldermen Jack Crump and Steven Cullom absent.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here


X