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Jacksonville City Council looking at funding a lobbyist for Jacksonville

11:35 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some Jacksonville City Council members say money talks.

"You have to spend money to get results," said Councilman Matt Schellenberg.

He's in favor of a new proposal by the City Council to allocate $160,000 to hire a lobbyist to represent the city in Tallahassee.

"We're not getting as much money back as we send over there, because we need to let them know who we are and what our needs are here in Jacksonville," he said.

Cities like Miami and Tampa pay lobbyists more than a million dollars a year to represent their interests in Tallahassee.

Jacksonville already pays one employee more than $100,000 a year as a state liaison at the capital.

But this money would go to an outside firm lobbying on the city's behalf.

Mayor Alvin Brown is still taking a look at the idea.

"The concept is to have more visibility. In these tough economic times, you have to weigh everything, have a game plan. It's something that I think is important," said Brown.

While he hasn't seen the specifics, he thinks having a lobbyist in place could do some good.

"We pay a lot of taxes, and I want to make sure there are no unfunded mandates coming to our city," he said.

The proposal has gotten push back from some City Council members.

With all the recent layoffs at city hall, $160,000 could be used to pay four city employees $40,000 a year.

But those in favor of hiring a lobbyist say the money they get back would make the investment worth it.

"Money well spent, I believe," he said.

First Coast News

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