With increasing state mandates on local government and budget shortfalls, private contracts are given a more keen analysis to determine if they are really necessary.

The city of Glendale has decided to re-access its options in the use of Townsend Public Affairs Inc., a local, state and federal lobbying firm.

With new state legislation on the way concerning water and power, as well as changing the way utilities conduct business, the city of Glendale is taking a closer look at its $64,000 annual contract that expired August 31, 2009.

Councilman John Drayman, who voted in favor of examining the use of the lobby group stated,

“I believe it is essential, given the current economic climate effecting the relationships between Glendale and other legislative bodies on the State and Federal levels which provide financial support for our city, that we should carefully reevaluate the needs, concerns, advocacy priorities and policy directions we communicate to our legislative analyst’s, as well as the best possible fit for our city as it relates to the lobbying firms we hire.”

Christopher Townsend, President of Townsend Public Inc. stated, “The city of Glendale has been great to work with. They are investigating other options. The city is looking for the best financial value, and I don’t blame them.”

Glendale Water & Power wants to reassess the direction of the city.

Townsend claimed that recently this year, a lot of stimulus money has been directed toward water, exactly his firm’s expertise.

New legislative issues facing the utility include renewable energy mandates, higher chromium 6 standards and sustaining California’s water supply, Townsend said.

State legislation also on the horizon requires 33 percent of power provided by utilities to be from renewable sources.

Assistant to the City Manager, John Takhtalian, said, “Currently, the City is in the process of reevaluating its existing and evolving needs as well as identifying critical areas where our focus must be directed at the state legislature’s level.”

Takhtalian claimed the city is closely monitoring the developments related to the State’s budget and working with advocacy agencies like the League of California Cities to “protect local investments, and working with state legislators to propose legislation related to traffic safety.”

A critical area in which the city has begun to increase its presence and participation in is the field of public utility legislation, Takhtalian said.

Townsend claimed the firm only works with the city of Glendale on a state level, however would be willing to offer a discount to do both federal and state.

Drayman said a majority of the City Council has approved a second look at the process of hiring and rehiring legislative analysts, including Townsend.

“The final decision has not been made yet. We anticipate knowing by the end of the year,” Townsend said.

Louis Dettorre can be reached at ldettorre@publicceo.com