In the interest of public accountability, I am pleased to present the "budgets" submitted by the Madison Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Area Improvement Corporation at last night's Madison City Commission meeting. These documents come as the Chamber requests $69,000 in taxpayer support and the LAIC requests $140,000 in taxpayer support.
First the Chamber's "budget":
Then the LAIC's poorly written letter and "budget":
I quotesify both "budgets" because of glaring omissions, such as salaries and, particularly in the LAIC's case, details on how the organization will spend the public money it receives. Chapel's letter recycles text and bullet points he's been circulating with little change since 2009. And it offers no quantification of the impact of any of the projects for which the LAIC claims credit.
Now consider: if I walked into a Madison City Commission meeting with promises and a spreadsheet as vague as Dwaine Chapel's, with a marketing spreadsheet and then two catch-all lines for expenses, could I expect to win a $140,000 handout for my private economic development efforts? Would you be upset if the City Commission gave me that handout and didn't set any conditions or benchmarks for my private use of your public money? I would hope so.
But wait a minute: it appears the LAIC request just went up! The LAIC is requesting another $100,000, on top of $140,000 it gets from the zombie third-penny sales tax, toward the failed Forward Madison economic development initiative. Funny: I thought 2011 was the last year of that five-year plan. The City of Madison contributed $100,000 a year for five years, starting with the 2007 budget. Let's see... 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011... that's five years. 2012 would make the sixth $100,000 contribution. Did I miss a year? Did Forward Madison just turn into Afghanistan? Or did Dwaine just forget to delete the line from last year's letter?