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State auditor releases cities' lobbying expenses

State Auditor Rebecca Otto released the 2010 Local Government Lobbying Services report Thursday, July 14, highlighting cities' expenditures toward lobbying efforts.

The city of Woodbury did not contribute any money toward specific lobbying or legislative initiatives, according to city officials.

"We haven't used city funds to lobby for a specific issue in quite some time," said Matt Stemwedel, assistant to the city administrator.

However, Woodbury paid a total of $48,790 to three organizations that do lobby on behalf of cities as well as provide other supportive services.

According to the auditor's report, the city pays annual dues to the Association of Metropolitan Municipalities, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Municipal Legislative Commission.

Of the total dues, $18,198 went toward lobbying efforts done by the organizations for various issues.

"There isn't anything we've specifically asked any of these three groups to lobby for solely on Woodbury's behalf," Stemwedel said.

The auditor's report is intended to inform the public and policymakers of the amount spent by local governments on lobbying services.

"Traditionally, lobbying expenses have been higher during the legislative budget session and lower during the shorter bonding session," Otto said in a news release. "The year 2010 was a bonding session, and we saw a decrease of 7.1 percent in lobbying expenditures compared to 2009."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.