The Oswego Village Board has approved an amended intergovernmental agreement to hire a federal lobbyist to assist the village, Kendall County, the village of Montgomery and the city of Yorkville in securing funding for a new regional water source and for a proposed Metra commuter rail service extension into the county.
The amended agreement was included as part of the consent agenda approved by the board in a unanimous ballot during a meeting Tuesday evening, Feb. 16.
The board approved an initial agreement with the county, Montgomery and Yorkville during a meeting Dec. 15. During the same meeting, the board also passed a resolution authorizing the village and the other governmental agencies to hire Elevate Government Affairs of Washington, D.C. to provide the lobbying services.
But in subsequently approving the agreement, the Kendall County Board made some minor modifications to the pact. As a result, village staff is now recommending the village board rescind its Dec. 15 approval of the agreement and adopt the revised agreement with the county board’s modifications.
One of the county board’s modifications clarifies that if any party terminates agreement and the other parties want to continue, that the costs would be equally divided among the remain parties. Another modification requires that the county would be the venue in the case of any legal proceedings arising out of the agreement.
The revised agreement does not change the amount the county and the three municipalities will pay to Elevate Government Affairs for their lobbying services. The firm will be paid a $12,500 monthly retainer, with the county and three municipalities each paying $3,125 as their cost for the service.
The Montgomery Village Board voted unanimously to approve the agreement Jan. 11.
In a memo to the Oswego Village Board, Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo noted that village staff members and elected officials interviewed representatives from three firms before agreeing to recommend the hiring of Elevate Government Affairs.
Also in the memo, Di Santo explained that in 2018 the village joined with Montgomery and Yorkville in hiring a lobbying firm to represent the municipalities at the state level. The cost of the hire was split equally among the three municipalities.
“This relationship has proven very effective and cost efficient,” Di Santo wrote, adding that the contract had been successful in securing $100 million in state Metra funding and other capital grants.
“The goal is to utilize the expertise of a federal lobbying firm to help secure funding and financing for two mega projects - our water source initiative and our Metra commuter rail extension project,” Di Santo continued. “Similar to when we hired a state lobbyist, we are at a critical turning point in the country where a major capital infrastructure package is being talked about for 2021. Now is the time to move forward on this initiative.”
“Elevate is a relatively new bipartisan firm comprised of four principal partners that have worked together for many years prior to starting their own firm,” Di Santo wrote. “The interview panel found that Elevate’s combination in subject matter experience and expertise, combined with a sound strategy for funding our two projects made them the best firms for our organizations.”
Di Santo also told the board that federal legislators have already reached out to the village in response to the two issues the lobbying firm has been hired to handle.
“The bigger the issue is, the more interested they are to help us solve it,” Di Santo told the board at the Dec. 15 meeting. “If this was an issue just in Oswego, to have the power of the federal government, it’s a bigger undertaking. But when you say you’re going to help 300,000 people...it’s more of a national issue.”