Progress on Overture
July 22, 2010 9:39 AM
Earlier this week a Common Council committee took its first look at the process to resolve the issues at Overture. They asked for more information and a regular reporting schedule, and that's all good.
This is a big decision. Taking ownership of this large and important building in the heart of Madison comes with significant responsibility and some costs. So, the council wants more information on how the building will be staffed, the business plan going forward, and it wants what is essentially the same kind of building inspection you'd get if you were buying a new home (we really should know when we'll need a new roof). These are all reasonable requests that can and should be honored.
The next stop for the comfort resolution is the city's finance committee, the Board of Estimates, next Monday, and then we should get full council approval at its meeting on August 3. Then we'll have direction for the many weeks of study and discussion that will lead, I hope, to an ultimate and detailed resolution late this year.
Good and hard questions have and will be asked. Nobody should take anyone or anything for granted. But I believe that this is the best and perhaps the only opportunity to get a great asset free and clear of debt and to avoid the potential $6 million or so of taxpayer liability if the debt isn't cleared.
If we all work together in good faith and ask tough questions, but are willing to accept the reasonable levels of uncertainty that exist in any complicated decision such as this, we'll come out with the best decision for the whole community.