New lobbyists bring in no state money

New lobbyists bring in no state money


For the first time in six years, Madison County did not receive a state appropriation for road projects and supervisors are asking its new lobbying firm for answers. 

After a presentation by Central District Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons on road projects Monday (See story, A1), District 2 Supervisor Trey Baxter brought up the lack of appropriations this year. 

“I received some calls and was concerned that this year we didn’t get any money,” Baxter said. 

In 2019, the county received $8 million from the state. In 2020 and 2021, the county received $5 million. In 2022, the county received $2.5 million, and in 2023, the county received $12 million. 

“This year we got zero,” he said. “We switched out our lobbyists and we changed the scope of the work.”

Baxter asked County Administrator Greg Higginbotham to invite the lobbyists to the next meeting to answer questions. 

“Explain how this track record is no longer coming to fruition,” he said. 

Baxter later said that there was a bill floating around at the end of the session that would have given approximately $16 million to the county for road projects, but the county was removed. 

In January, the county retained Capitol Resources LLC as their government relations consultants and lobbyists at a cost of $8,000 per month, with an extra $400 per month for travel and business expenses. 

In December 2023, Baxter and then-District 1 Supervisor Sheila Jones attempted to renew their lobbying contract with Clearwater Group LLC, the firm that had been representing Madison County for nearly a decade. 

Board President Gerald Steen offered a substitute motion and then voted with District 4 Supervisor Karl Banks and District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin to table the action until January. 

Clearwater Group for years initially billed the county $5,000 per month, plus up to $5,000 a year in expenses. In 2022, their monthly rate increased to $8,000 per month. 

The county also pays the Butler-Snow firm $15,000 per month for federal lobbying services. 

“I think it’s always good for them to come up,” Steen said. “There’s always answers we can learn and to move forward.”

Higginbotham said he would make plans to have them available to speak with supervisors at the next board meeting. 

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions