At a critical time in the Oregon Legislature, money Clatsop County gave to Clatsop Economic Development Resources will be used to try to land some federal stimulus money.
Port of Astoria Executive Director Jack Crider asked the county at Wednesday night's Board of Commissioners' meeting to allow CEDR to lobby Salem with money left over from a grant to try to land federal agency ships in Astoria. Members agreed.
"It's pretty critical right now: The appropriations requests are going in," Crider said.
He said the county would only be responsible for a percentage of the fees for a consultant. Already on board are the Port and the cities of Astoria and Warrenton. The monthly contract for Ball Janik of Portland is "not to exceed" $5,500 a month, Crider said.
"Obviously, the more partners that contribute to that, the less burden on one," Crider pleaded.
The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to allow CEDR to use $1,500 a month for lobbying efforts - Commissioner Ann Samuelson couldn't attend Wednesday night's meeting and participated by telephone.
The county had awarded the $35,000 grant from video lottery funds to CEDR in the hopes the group could entice the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific fleet to Astoria.
CEDR used $21,000 of that money before it realized the effort would be too expensive and Astoria wasn't likely to be selected. CEDR asked the Board two weeks ago for permission to use the remaining $14,000 to hire Ball Janik to lobby Salem for economic development. The Board tabled a decision at that time because of concerns there would be a reduction in lottery funds coming from the state.
At Wednesday night's meeting, Interim County Manager Andy Anderson said the Legislature wants to raid 40 percent of the lottery funds going to counties.
"I would counsel you to wait until you have a better picture of what the fund's going to be," he warned the commissioners.