Mayor Paul Soglin has always worked hard to make Madison one of the most aesthetically pleasing cities in the country. He helped bring about the State Street Mall and the concourse around the Capitol Square. And he was part of a team that supported the construction of Monona Terrace.

But while Mayor Soglin has made the city’s beautification a top priority over the last few decades, he’s unfortunately had no problem standing by and watching the city’s dirt and grime accumulate in the lakes.

I should know. I served as a Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District commissioner for three years -- a group Mayor Soglin controls with five of nine appointments. And while I served on the district, I watched firsthand the mayor’s office and his appointees skimp on funding for lake cleanup efforts.

Back in 2016 I pushed hard to include $395,000 more for lake cleanup efforts in the annual budget. Instead of agreeing to this additional funding for the lakes, however, the district -- at the urging of the mayor’s office -- voted to spend the money on creating a communications position at the district and on some nonessential computer system upgrades.

A mayor’s priorities matter. And I’m ready for a new mayor who will start prioritizing our lakes.

Brian Potts, Madison, former Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District commissioner

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