It's fair to say this idea has met resistance. For one thing, it's not as simple as I had hoped. Developing the neighborhood capacity and networks to pull this off probably can't be done in time for this skating season. For another, the savings aren't as great as I had hoped, given that the water costs and set up of the rinks would still have to be provided by the city.I really can't figure for the life of me why Madison might need ten ice rinks in the first place, or why the city couldn't just close a couple outright. But the thing is, Mayor, that the point is to save money. Whatever planet Madison lives on, it needs to live on a budget right now, because the city just doesn't have the money to keep going the way it has been. So if your plan to save money by cutting funding somewhat doesn't work, the next step would be to cut funding some more, or to close a few of the rinks outright. That's what making the hard choices means. That's your job.
So Monday night's Board of Estimates meeting will see a budget amendment to restore the funding, although it will also contain language asking the Parks Department to develop an "Adopt the Ice" program. I have little doubt that the amendment will pass, and I won't fight it.
What's important to me is not that every idea in my budget be embraced, but that we meet some basic goals, the most important of which is to keep the tax increase on the average house below 4%. As for the ice rinks idea, I always knew I'd be skating on thin ice.
And when you've been busy coming up with cockamamie schemes that are clearly out of touch with the wider business community, reinstating funding for projects that are mostly extravagance anyway isn't really the best way to prove your economic chops.