Kyle City Council considers hiring lobbyist to obtain federal grant money

As Kyle crafts the fiscal year 2019 budget, officials are looking into putting a lobbyist on the payroll to help the city take advantage of federal grant money available for cities.

When Mayor Travis Mitchell first proposed $50,000 from the budget to go toward hiring a lobbyist earlier this month, fellow council members said they wished he had asked for more input from the rest of the dais. Since then, and after “robust discussions,” they seem to have come around, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he first had the idea to seek out a lobbyist about six months ago.

Neighboring jurisdictions had received federal grant money thanks to hiring lobbyists and he wanted Kyle to have a slice.

“As a city, we’d been missing out on a lot,” Michell said.

He has begun meeting with firms, and found one that made sense in particular. When he proposed using $50,000 from the budget, it was with that particular firm in mind.

However, that is what rubbed other members of council the wrong way, Mitchell said.

“We got sidetracked because I had a firm I knew I was interested in bringing forward to let council interview, while council wanted to do the (request for qualification) process, which is fine with me,” Mitchell said. “I understand (their concern). I should have been clearer with the process I was trying to outline. I should have thought about it (more).”

The next step in retaining a lobbyist team for the city is to approve an agenda item for a request for qualification, or RFQ. Lobbyists would put in applications for council to review, giving them more latitude.

Daphne Tenorio, District 6, said she would not vote for the lobbyist, saying $50,000 is too much money. The rest of the council members have until the end of the budget cycle to approve the money for a lobbyist.

“They’d be on a short leash,” Mitchell said of any potential lobbyist. “We expect results, we expect them to deliver results to the people of Kyle that are quantifiable.”

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