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Wladis defends its time spent lobbying for St. Lawrence County

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CANTON — Representatives of Wladis Law Firm, Syracuse, presented a detailed accounting of their time to St. Lawrence County legislators Monday to demonstrate how they have been earning their $60,000 annual compensation to lobby on the county’s behalf.

Some lawmakers said last week they felt they were not receiving enough detail about the firm’s activities.

Wladis representatives talked about legislation that could allow the registration of utility task vehicles that the county wants to boost recreation on its multiuse trail, the language in the state-tribal compact that requires the county to receive approval from the state’s Empire State Development Corp. on its plans for the money, and the meaning of fair market value in the proposal for the city of Ogdensburg to acquire 45 acres of surplus St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center land.

Wladis also is planning a session with a state Department of State representative on how the county could be eligible for the state’s tax rebate for property owners in municipalities that share services.

Republicans, who generally have not favored the county hiring a lobbyist, complained last week that a full report of Wladis’s activities was lacking.

“We obviously heard there were questions,” said Leann I. West, a government relations representative with the firm.

Wladis provides the county with monthly reports that will be distributed so all legislators receive them, County Administrator Karen M. St. Hilaire said.

Legislator Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, thanked the Wladis representatives for their presentation.

“You’ve named names,” he said. “You’ve given us more detail and I appreciate that.”

Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, said he did not doubt Wladis was doing the work.

“It’s just I think we have a duplication of what our legislators are doing,” he said.

The firm augments the work of the county’s state representatives to push legislation on the state level that the county considers important, said Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Helena.

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