City commissioners in Dothan approved a two-year continuation of a contract with a lobbying firm at their most recent meeting on August 15.

According to the resolution passed by a 5-2 vote by the Dothan City Commission, Dothan taxpayers will pay Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP $9,000 per month plus expenses through June 30, 2024. The firm was previously under a one-year contract. 

Kevin Cowper, Dothan City manager, said at the August 15 commission meeting that “we utilize the firm to help us gain access to Senators, Representatives, and to help us gain access to funding sources to make those connections.”

“With the federal funding that is available currently and with the scope of large-scale projects that we’re proposing locally, we need to be able to access some of these federal dollars in order to make those plans come to fruition,” Cowper said. “We have worked with the Bradley firm over the last year and we’re recommending another two years. We think it’s going to take a little time for them to know us and everything that we’re trying to get accomplished and to kind of connect dots so we can gain access to some of the federal dollars that are out there.”

Cowper said he personally “has conference calls with the Bradley Arant team monthly as does the Mayor so we’re constantly in contact with them so that we’re monitoring what they’re doing and they’re doing the work that we want them to be doing to access potential funding opportunities for the different projects we’re working on.” 

“That includes transportation, infrastructure, potential funding for the city center project ... any federal dollars ultimately that are out there,” Cowper added.

Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba said results weren’t “easily measurable” but he supported giving the lobbying firm another two years to represent Dothan at the federal level.

“They have every project that we have conceived and the road infrastructure already in their hands over the next 20 to 30 years,” Saliba stated. “We’ve tasked them with all of the strategic planning that we have come up with over the last couple of years. They’re armed with all of the information that we’re trying to accomplish as a city already and so that’s why we felt like continuing to move on with that would be wise at this particular time.”

Aristotle Kirkland, one of the city commissioners who voted against the contract, noted the city had already paid the lobbying firm approximately $108,000 for the previous year's contract.

“Two years now and already twelve months of no fruits of the labor,” Kirkland said.

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