BY HANNAH LESTER
Tuesday night the Auburn City Council debated — and ultimately approved — a decision to contract with a state governmental affairs representation service.
Don’t speak legal jargon? Essentially, an affairs representation service, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, tracks legislation, advocates for the city, can write legislation, provide legal advice on bills and more for the city of Auburn.
“One of our biggest problems is we don’t have a presence in Montgomery year-round,” said City Manager Megan Crouch.
The contract with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP will be month-to-month for $7,500.
The cost was a brief point of contention. Ward 2 Council Member Kelley Griswold specified that Crouch has some authority without council approval — up to $15,000 for services. She said that she did utilize this in 2021 with this company.
“A return on investment [from the month-to-month contract] comes from the legislative things that they do, and the bills that they help us modify or understand better or do the things that are needed to be done for the city of Auburn,” Crouch said.
Ward 7 Council Member Max Coblentz said that Auburn can look at this after a year and see what the return on investment is compared to cost.
Ward 6 Council Member Bob Parsons suggested the council set a review time for the services.
The contract can be canceled, however, should the council, in the future, decide to stop the services. Crouch advocated for the contract, rather than on an as-needed basis because she said the city needs to commit and not “jump in and out of the game” for the company.
Other cities and municipalities within the state have affairs representation — in fact, nine of the ten top cities in Alabama have had some type of representation in the past, Crouch said.
Coblentz said that there are benefits to creating relationships with the service; he compared it to a repairman who comes to help a customer on Christmas Eve because he knows them personally.
Crouch said that while the area has great political representatives, what Auburn doesn’t ask of its representatives is to lobby other representatives specifically for Auburn. Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP will.
Despite some citizen push-back at the start of the meeting, the council approved this unanimously. However, after the meeting, a resident expressed thanks that the council provided so much information on the process Monday night.
– The council approved a special retail – more than 30 days – license for Proof of the Pudding by MGR Inc. doing business as Proof of the Pudding Football Performance Center at Auburn University.
– The council approved changing the city council meeting date on March 7 to March 14 and July 4 to July 11, 2023.
– The council approved a professional services agreement with Carmichael Engineering LLC, for the Lake Wilmore Community Center Project for over $46,000.
– The council approved a three-year contract to upgrade the city’s existing Spectrum Enterprise fiber internet service with Spectrum Enterprise from 500 Mbps to 1 Gbps for over $1,700 a month.
– The council approved a contract with TRP Parts of Auburn, LLC to purchase an engine replacement for a chassis for over $21,800.
– The council approved an easement for Edgar Hughston Builder Inc. to accept public rights-of-way, sanitary sewer and various drainage and utility easements for property west of Lee-Scott Academy at the end of Academy Drive for the Landing at Academy Drive, Phase 1 Project.
– The council executed a quit claim deed for property at 407 Phillips Ave. for Jose Goes Vasconcelos and Denis Pergola Vasconcelos.
– The council amended the city code, chapters 1, 12, 13 and 22 for the regulation of police jurisdiction.
– The council approved a contract with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the FY2022 Community Project Funding Grant Agreement for $3 million to the Consolidated Appropriations Act for the Auburn Center for Developing industries expansion.
– The council approved a contract with Floyd Service Company Inc for traffic signal installations on Alabama Highway 14 at Webster Road/Alabama Highway 14 for Will Buechner Parkway Project for $599,900.