|28 minute video excerpt of this evening’s discussion of the MMSD’s food service budget (the food service budget is evidently supposed to break even, but the operating budget has apparently been subsidizing it by several hundred thousand dollars annually).|
This sort of excellent citizen oversite is essential to any publicly financed organization, particularly one that plans to spend $332M in taxpayer funds next year and hopes to pass referenda in the near future.
Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin made a similar case today when he discussed our fair city’s water problems:
It’s funny how progressives forget their history and the reason for doing things. The idea is to have a citizen board, not a board with public employees. That is part of the checks and balances. In fact the progressive left in Madison went though considerable time over the years gradually removing city staff from committees so they would not dominate and squelch the citizens who are more likely to be ‘whistleblowers.’
In the water example, a citizen spent years chasing this issue, finally getting the attention of the traditional media and the politicians.
A number of board members have been asking many questions (the video clip will give you a nice overview of who is asking the questions and what the responses are). You can check the action out here (Each “Tab” is a question to the Administration, with their response”). For example, we learn in tab 11 2 Page PDF that the district spent a net (after 200K in gate receipts and 450K in student fees) $1,433,603 on athletics in 2005/2006 and plans to spend a net $1,803,286 in 2006/2007, a 25% increase. The overall budget will grow by more than 3%.
This is quite a change from past years, and provides some hope for the future.