Lewis County appeals to group of lobbyists to gain influence with state lawmakers | Lewis County

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LOWVILLE – In an effort to be more effective in garnering state-level support for legislation that benefits the interests of the county, the Lewis County Council of Lawmakers will hire a group of professional lobbyists. Promoting the rules relating to all-terrain vehicles will be at the heart of the group’s concerns.

Park Strategies LLC, of ​​Albany, will receive $ 5,000 per month, for a total of $ 60,000 for the year, to “represent, advocate and provide local government perspectives” to decision-makers in the state, granting a particular attention to legislation favorable to motorized leisure activities and to problems of economic development.

“They will do whatever comes up that we want to defend… but the main reason we’re interested is because of the ATVs,” County Director Ryan M. Piche said. “Sometimes there are issues that are more specific to us and as a small county it would be nice to have a group that … could give us a little more attention.”

The group will not replace the County Association’s or the Health Care Association’s commitment to the county-owned health system and the specialist lobbying assistance and advice provided by these organizations, but the company should help the county gain ground with state influence on other matters.

Over the years, various board members have traveled to Albany to try to gain greater support for ATV / UTV focused legislation, and a number of resolutions advocating on issues of interest to county taxpayers were sent to Albany. The efforts have done little to change minds or help the county achieve its goals.

“For years we have been told that some of the reforms that we think would make a difference are not supported in Albany, but from our perspective up to Lowville, Albany is sort of impenetrable, so what? Does that really mean? ”said Mr. Piché.“ I think these guys are really going to help us identify where the obstacles are and… at least we’ll have a better understanding of the process and why some of our ideas aren’t. more widely accepted. “

The lobbyist group could also help refine the county’s strategy to achieve its goals, including identifying where there is more room for negotiations and when an apparent stalemate is exactly what it appears to be.

Mr Piche said Park Strategies can also answer questions regarding grant applications, broadband initiatives, state budget impacts on the rural county – anything the council wants the county’s position to be on. highlighted and recognized at the state level, or where the county has questions about the state’s position.

The company, which was established in 1999 by former US Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, RN.Y., submitted a “Detailed Cost Proposal and Scope of Services and Deliverables” regarding the engagement of the state legislature, the Budget Division and the governor’s office, among other agencies to advance county goals, according to a resolution passed by county lawmakers at the council meeting on Tuesday night.

Supportive ATV / UTV legislation “is an important issue that we often fight on our own,” Piche said.

“It’s not a statewide problem – it’s definitely a niche problem – but we think with the Adirondack Park Agency and the amount of land controlled by the (Department of State of environmental conservation), if our vision goes further we need the State, ”said Mr. Piche.

This is not the first time the county has used the services of a group of lobbyists, Piche said, and many other counties in the state are doing the same.

Following the successful Joint Economic Impact Study of the snowmobile industry in a number of counties in the north of the country, there have been discussions on joining forces – and finances – with many other counties focused on motorized recreational tourism to hire the group of lobbyists. But it never got very far, Mr Piche said, although Lewis County is ultimately hoping for “regional membership”.

“Our thinking process is, ‘Let’s try it for a year and see where our results are,’ Mr. Piche said. “It’s definitely not a long term commitment at this point. It’s really kind of an exploration to see if we can make any progress, and if we do, it might be worth continuing. “

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