To the Editor:

I spent July Fourth weekend with family friends who live in Madison. The James Madison Inn distributes copies of your newspaper and I was horrified by the July 4 article “City council writes off more than $185,000 in utilities.”  I understand the reasoning behind writing off the Morgan County Rec Department’s unpaid utility bill of $61,905, but it is disgraceful that the city council chooses to ignore the debts of private sector (and for-profit) businesses such as the Madison Woods Mobile Home Park, the Red Roof Inn and Howard Johnson.  These are for-profit businesses who are responsible for paying for the utilities and services that they use to generate profit for themselves.  The fact that Madison Finance Officer Karen Guinn accepts the situation as “pretty good” is a disservice to the honest taxpayers of Madison.  If this was my city, I would demand that the for-profit offenders listed on your front page pay their bills or be fined daily until they resolve their balances.  Writing off these balances is sheer laziness and simply irresponsible.  Shame on the Finance Officer and City Manager for accepting defeat without truly putting up much of a battle.

Marie Manning

Alexandria, Va.

Via e-mail