County keeps lobbyist at $90K a year
Park Strategies gives Orleans ‘a louder voice’ with state and federal governments
ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has renewed a contract with a lobbyist at $90,000 a year.
Park Strategies will be paid $5,000 a month ($60,000 a year) for its assistance with state government affairs and $2,500 a month ($30,000 a year) for its lobbying efforts with the federal government on behalf of the county.
The County Legislature renewed the contract during its May 27 meeting.
Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson said Park Strategies has been effective in helping the county secure state and federal aid, and also sets up important meetings with county officials and representatives from the state and federal governments.
“We may be a little county but they have given us a louder voice,” Johnson said Park Strategies.
She said the firm will be advocating on behalf of the county for the state and federal governments to maintain reimbursements and other funding during an economic downtown when the county budget will be stressed.
A top priority for Park will be assisting the county with obtaining state or federal assistance to expand broadband internet in the county, especially in rural areas. The lack of high-speed internet puts businesses, students and residents at a disadvantage.
Businesses often can’t file reports or download information without high-speed internet. Students also often can’t do research or their homework with broadband.
“We are going to see this through,” Johnson said about broadband.
This will be the sixth year the county has contracted with Park Strategies. County officials believe the relationship has benefitted residents. Park helped make the county’s case for canal bridges to be repaired. The state is spending about $10.7 million on seven bridges.
The state also has repaved portions of the Lake Ontario State Parkway, committed to dredging harbors on Lake Ontario and also allocated funds to protect lakeshore properties from flooding.
The state has also approved more than $15 million in REDI projects in Orleans County, to protect and strengthen infrastructure and public assets.
Johnson said Park Strategies sends a weekly report, reviewing state and federal legislation that could have an impact on the county.
“We don’t view this as an extra,” Johnson said about retaining Park. “We view this as necessary for state aid and grants. They are worth their weight in gold.”