Village News Reporter
The Fallbrook Public Utility District has a contract with Howells Government Relations to provide federal advocacy support services, and a July 24 FPUD board action renewed that contract.
The 5-0 vote authorized the extension of the contract for an additional year. FPUD will pay Howells Government Relations, which is based in Maryland and has an office in Murrieta, $90,000 for the 2023-24 term.
The original contract was approved at the June 2022 FPUD board meeting. “This is a request just to extend that contract,” said FPUD general manager Jack Bebee.
Although the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project included federal funding, FPUD had not regularly sought federal money for district water or wastewater projects. In 2022, FPUD staff identified potential opportunities for funding under current federal programs including expansion of FPUD’s recycled water system and construction of the planned indirect potable reuse project which would be separate from the Conjunctive Use Project but would enhance the additional supply provided by storing water in that basin.
Jaqueline Howells of Howells Government Relations has been providing federal advocacy services to the Valley Center Municipal Water District, which indicated that Howells Government Relations understands the needs of rural and agricultural agencies in northern San Diego County. FPUD staff requested a proposal from Howells Government Relations which was approved by the board in June 2022.
The tasks Howells Government Relations performs under the contract include developing and executing a comprehensive and coordinated strategy involving government relations at the federal and regional levels, monitoring and tracking federal legislation and regulations with potential economic and operations impacts on FPUD, communicating FPUD’s positions on legislative and regulatory issues to federal representatives, monitoring and tracking opportunities for potential present and future funding for FPUD projects, and communicating with FPUD staff and board members.
During the first year of the contract, Howells Government Relations helped FPUD obtain federal funding for downtown pipeline replacement, assisted with the development and outreach for a federal grant for an emergency generator at the groundwater treatment plant, and supported implementation of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to support local growers.
“They were able to get us money,” Bebee said. “This request is to continue that.”