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Ahoskie hires lobbyist

AHOSKIE – There’s an old saying that to make money, you first have to spend money.

Apparently, the Ahoskie Town Council agrees to that statement.

During their regular monthly meeting here Tuesday morning, Council members were unanimous in backing a proposal from Town Manager Tony Hammond for Ahoskie to hire the services of a lobbying firm.

A one-year contract between the town and Marlowe & Company of Washington, D.C. was approved. In return for the $2,250 monthly retainer fee, the town will have a voice in the nation’s capital, one constantly searching for federal grant funds.

Hammond, who has had prior dealings with Marlowe & Company, said the firm has a 21-year record of accomplishments and is extremely creditable.

&uot;Ahoskie is at the doorstep of some extremely large and financially challenging projects,&uot; Hammond noted. &uot;Federal grants will help us through these projects, but we do not have the time nor the manpower to lobby for ourselves. You have to know the right buttons to push as well as the right time to push those buttons. That’s what a lobbying firm such as Marlowe & Company can do for the town.&uot;

The town does have three major projects in the wings – asbestos removal from old Ahoskie High School site in order for CADA to move forward with a senior citizens apartment complex; a long-awaited expansion to the town’s wastewater treatment plant and a new police/fire station.

&uot;We’ll work with you and your congressional delegation in order to identify potential sources of money and the measures you need to take to secure those funds,&uot; said Howard Marlowe, president of the company.

The company serves over 30 units of county and municipal government from coast-to-coast. They not only work closely with congressional representatives, but also have working experience with the Executive Branch, including the White House, the Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Prior to taking the vote, Councilman O.S. &uot;Buck&uot; Suiter wanted to know if a company representative was available &uot;24-7&uot; and if the company provided regular reports of their activities. The answer was yes to both.

Suiter made the motion to hire the firm, seconded by Malcolm Copeland.