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OPINION

Letter: Does Independence need so many lobbyists?

Staff Writer
The Examiner

Ira Anders, former state representative, Independence

To the editor:

The Independence City Council will soon be deciding about hiring lobbyists for the city and possiblyIndependence Power and Light. I believe the city needs to hire a lobbying firm but there is no reason one qualified firm could not handle the interests of both the city and the city-owned Independence Power and Light. (Lobbyists are full time persons in our State Capitol who are hired to keep track of pending legislation and the positive or negative effects on their clients.)

Prior to 2016, the council hired a single lobbying firm for $60,000. Since then they decided to hire two lobbying firms at $120,000 each. That’s $240,000, just shy of a quarter of a million dollars! One firm is to represent the interests of the city and the other to represent the interests of Independence Power and Light.

Because the city owns IPL, the City Council controls the operation of Independence Power and Light, not the state legislature. If you as a ratepayer become dissatisfied with the operation of IPL, you would go to the City Council for a policy change, not the state legislature.

In a recent council discussion, Council Member DeLuccie proposed limiting the hiring to only one firm. That motion failed.

Remember now, the money to pay for a city lobbyist comes from the tax dollars the city collects from you and me. The money for the Independence Power and Light lobbyist also comes from us when we pay our electric bills. Also keep in mind, the city council recently had to borrow $25 million from the IPL in order to meet the city’s financial obligations.

Our tax dollars are in short supply. As taxpayers we need to feel confident they are being used wisely.