City officials say contract with lobbyist is paying off for CentervilleOct 06, 2022 11:23AM ● By Linda Petersen
The city of Centerville has renewed its contract with federal relations consulting firm, The Ferguson Group. It is a relationship that has been very beneficial to the city, Administrative Services Director Jacob Smith told the city council Sept. 13.
Centerville first began contracting with The Ferguson Group two years ago. Since that time, the firm has helped the city obtain a $75,000 Bureau of Reclamation water efficiency grant for water meter and radio installation. It has also helped the city acquire $1.5 million from congressionally directed spending, (more commonly known as earmarks), toward replacement of the Green Steel Tank, an aging city water storage tank. Another grant application is pending with the Bureau of Reclamation.
The city pays The Ferguson Group a fixed fee of $5,000 per month and covers reimbursable expenses such as travel up to $2,500 annually. Along with helping the city find and qualify for various federal grants, The Ferguson Group has helped the city engage more fully with Utah’s congressional delegation, TFG partner Mike Miller told the city council. It also works to help the city identify private foundation grants for some projects that do not qualify for federal funding, he said.
“I think it has been a success with The Ferguson Group,” City Councilmember George McEwan said. “When we originally entered into this engagement, we had some specifics. We said ‘we need to figure out how to get rid of the Green Steel Tank and replace it’ – they came through in spades on that one – and we gave them a whole shotgun list of other things that we said, ‘Hey you’re in the grant community. If you see anything that matches these, please let us know.’ So, from my perspective, when you look at cost output … based on where we stand right now … if the earmark holds, we’re good.”
In the work session prior to that meeting Miller told the council that there is more funding than ever before available for various projects.
“The pie is much, much larger than it once was,” he said. “There is an incredible amount of funding when you compare it to prior years. In some cases, 10, 15, 20 times as much money is available for certain programs. The city is well-positioned to do well” provided the criteria meets the city’s situation.
While in the past, federal agencies have followed a very rigid calendar with dispensing grants, with recent changes, currently the grant cycle not really tied to federal fiscal year, he added.
“We’re seeing grants coming out each month,” he said. λ