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Danbury City Council agrees to spend $25k for lobbyist in Hartford

The Danbury City Council has approved allocating $25,000 for lobbying services in Hartford.  The Council took up the item during their meeting Tuesday night, but several residents spoke out against it.  The Board of Education has already appropriated $25,000 for the services.


The Council voted 18-3 in favor of the contract.


This idea came out of a meeting with the Board of Education where they explained their difficulties in receiving adequate funds even though the student population grew by 2-percent this year.


New Britain, the eight largest City in the state, has a lobbyist.  They get $75 million in the Education Cost Sharing formula.  Danbury, which has a bigger school district, gets $30 million in ECS funding.  Mayor Mark Boughton says some of the strategies they're using are working so Danbury should make moves to change the dynamic. 

Bridgeport has three lobbyists.


Some Council members said the state is not likely to increase funding when cuts are being made elsewhere due to projected budget deficits.  But Boughton says sometimes it's about cost avoidance and possibly not getting a cut the City thinks it might have to take.


One of the main arguments against the spending was that Danbury has elected effective lawmakers to lobby on the City's behalf.


Boughton says this is not to say that current legislators from Danbury aren't doing their job, it's just that they're busy and have a huge agenda.  He compared having a lobbyist to having a quarterback so the City, the Board of Education and the lawmakers are all working on the same page.


Councilman Warren Levy says standing still doing nothing will get the City nothing.  At the end of the contract, if the City doesn't receive back the $25,000 investment they don't have to renew the agreement.

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