Sparks City Council Meeting 5/23/2016 2:00:00 PM

    Monday, May 23, 2016 2:00 PM
    Council Chambers, Legislative Building, 745 Fourth Street, Sparks, NV

General Business: 9.2

Title: Discussion and possible approval of contract AC-5245 with Carrara Nevada, LLC for state lobbying services in the amount of $64,500, not to exceed $72,500.
Petitioner/Presenter: Steve Driscoll/Adam Mayberry
Recommendation: approval of contract
Financial Impact: $72,500
Total Costs: $72,500.00
Fund: General Fund    Account: 603242
Program: State - Legislative (050312)
Amount: $72,500.00    Budget Status: Over Budget (See Budget Correction Plan)
Budget Correction Plan:
Contract amount has been budgeted for FY 2017.
Business Impact (Per NRS 237):
A Business Impact Statement is not required because this is not a rule.
Agenda Item Brief:

In the past, the City of Sparks has utilized contract counsel to support and assist the city’s legislative affairs function during the Nevada Legislative Session. As recent as the 2015 legislative session, the City retained and successfully utilized a legislative lobbyist (Carrara Nevada) to assist the city in its legislative presence from July 2014 through June 2015.  The City also has held a small retainer with Carrara Nevada during the 2015-16 interim period.


The Carrara Group, LLC, dba Carrara Nevada, LLC has over 50 years of experience in governmental affairs in Nevada representing corporate, association, and government clients. Carrara Nevada has been retained as the City’s contract legislative strategist since 2007. During the 2015 session, Carrara provided a key role in lobbying and advising the city on state legislative matters, supporting relationship building with key legislators and state leaders, and providing strategic guidance on issue management.


Under the provisions of the proposed professional service agreement, staff wishes to once again retain Carrara Nevada under an agreement similarly adopted in 2014 for the 2015 session.

Under this contract, Carrara will engage in the day-to-day operations of state legislative activities while still providing strategic guidance to the City. The proposed approach by Carrara is developed toward addressing the needs of the residents of Sparks during the interim and legislative session, while being mindful of the downsizing and budgetary restraints being felt but the City. Carrara has a proven record of working hand in hand with the City to strategically position the City legislatively to address the needs of the citizens of Sparks.

The City’s Legislative Affairs Team consisting of Mayor Martini, Councilwoman Ratti, Manager Driscoll, and Community Relations Manager Adam Mayberry have reviewed and support the proposed agreement with Carrara Nevada. The central roles of Carrara Nevada: Legislative Lobbyist and Strategist - Carrara will continue to serve as a strategic advisor and lobbyist to the City during the 2015 Nevada Legislative Session. During the interim session, Carrara will advise the City’s government affairs team on matters concerning interim committees working on local government issues for the upcoming session. Carrara will also attend interim committee hearings with a direct impact on the City. Additionally, they will meet with key legislators to discuss City issues, and will set-up and attend meetings between City officials and state leaders. Carrara will continue to operate in a manner that set the course during the 2015 session, which includes supporting efforts of the Nevada League of Cities & Municipalities.

Carrara will primarily engage on issues that solely impacts the City’s bottom-line and the citizenry of Sparks. An example of this would be Senate Bill 509 from the 2013 session which addressed the expiring hotel room tax in Sparks. Carrara played a leading role in its passage. Carrara identified the issue, assessed its impact to Sparks and the Nugget, and then worked with the RSCVA and others, including extensive negotiations with the bill sponsor on the legality of the issue along political ramifications. Carrara had to scramble to find a bill sponsor, educate and work with legislators on the issue, work with the Governor to ensure he would not veto the bill, work with committee chairs to get the bill scheduled, and lobby individual members who had concerns with the bill. Passage of the bill assured the City will continue to receive nearly half-a-million dollars in revenue for Victorian Square.

Carrara will continue the assumption that once the City opts to disengage on a bill, the only way re-engagement can occur is if a specific amendment to a bill creates a city specific problem. Otherwise, the first assumption would apply.

Communication - Communication plays a key role in the overall success or failure of the City’s efforts with legislators. While Carrara's proposal suggests that communication with legislators should occur between the City Council and members of the Legislature, Carrara also envisions the need for staff to keep state legislators informed on important initiatives. Thus, while in Carson City, Carrara Nevada staff will play a key role in keeping legislators informed on important City initiatives. However, outside of the session, and particularly during the interim, City staff through the Community Relations Manager will keep the lines of communication open with legislators, especially, the members of the Sparks delegation, with the guidance and assistance of Carrara Nevada. Carrara will provide weekly reports during the session which will be sent electronically to the Mayor and City Council. Carrara will meet with the City’s government affairs team on a regularly (weekly) basis, and brief the Council when requested on specific matters.

Proposed Contract Cost: Carrara proposes a monthly retainer fee schedule consisting of $2,750 from July 2014 through December 2014. Once the session is underway beginning in January 2015 through June 2015, the cost will increase to $8,000 monthly. The total contract cost is $64,500 from July 2014 through June 2015, representing an increase of $3,000 from the last contract with Carrara (July 2013 – June 2015). In addition, Carrara Nevada is proposing an optional clause that applies to lobbying services during the legislative session. This contractual provision would need to be agreed upon by both parties and involves proactively pushing legislation which is not immediately identified in the lead up to the legislative session. An example from the 2013 session would be SB 509, the room tax issue. This issue came to light after the session had begun and required additional resources and time on Carrara’s behalf.  The “trigger” provision was in the 2014-15 contract and there was not need to use it.  Should both parties concur, then the in-session rate (February to May) would increase by an additional $2,000 per month, beginning at the month that the optional clause was executed. In order for the additional fee to kick in, both the City Manager in consultation with the Legislative Affairs Team, and Carrara Nevada would need to concur that the trigger threshold has been met.


The Council could decide not to approve the contract.

Recommended Motion:

I move to approve contract AC-5245 with Carrara Nevada, LLC for state legislative and lobbying services in the amount of $64,500, not to exceed $72,500.

Attached Files:
     Carrara Contract-Legislative Services_2017.pdf
Previous Item
Next Item
Return To Meeting