BRADENTON, Fla. - Jefferson County, Ala., commissioners tomorrow will be asked to approve a $950,000 contract to hire Washington-based Book Hill Partners LLC.

When commissioners voted to place the contract on their agenda last week, they said the lobbying firm would help the county try to obtain a federal backstop, or guarantee, for restructuring its troubled $3.2 billion of sewer system debt, and to help it obtain infrastructure funding from the economic stimulus package pending in Congress.

"We must vigorously apply ourselves to seeking funding not only to help us resolve this crisis in terms of a guarantee, but also with infrastructure to move the county forward," commission president Bettye Fine Collins said in the Birmingham News on Friday.

On its Web site, Book Hill Partners lists state and local government relations, financial services, and infrastructure as part of its public policy expertise. The firm did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Congressional lobbying records show Book Hill representatives are registered to work on behalf of at least a dozen firms in the House, Senate, or both.

At least two members of the firm are registered lobbyists covering various congressional offices, but mostly the Office of Management and Budget, federal documents show.

Companies represented by Book Hill include the National Association of Investors Corp., also known as BetterInvesting, a nonprofit that represents interests of investment clubs in Washington; Brijot Imaging Systems Inc., a company that provides advanced security equipment in Washington; and Cleveland BioLabs, a biotech firm in Buffalo, NY,

Book Hill is also registered to lobby for Green Hills Software, an advanced security software company in Santa Barbara, Calif.; Homeland Security Capital Corp., a security technology systems company in Washington; Integrity Global Security, an advanced technology communications and operating systems company in Santa Barbara, Calif.; and MIL Corp., a financial services company in Washington

Other companies are the National Structured Settlements Trade Association, which works with injured victims, attorneys, and the insurance industry in Washington; Polimatrix, a radiation detection company in Arlington, Va.; Regal Decision Systems, a simulation technology firm in Linthicum, Md.; Safety and Ecology Corp., an environmental and engineering firm in Knoxville, Tenn.; and VaxGen, a biotechnology firm in South San Francisco.

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