The Wisconsin Joint Legislative Audit Committee held a public hearing and executive session on Thursday, March 30th to discuss a possible audit of Wisconsin State Fair Park. Following the hearing and executive session, the proposed audit was recommended for passage. Based on the passage, it's likely that the Legislative Audit Bureau will conduct an audit of WSFP in the coming months.
While the exact scope of the proposed audit has yet to be determined, it will likely examine all aspects of the management of State Fair Park. This includes the performance/operation of the Milwaukee Mile.
Suggested goals for the audit include:
- analyze trends in revenues and expenditures;
- examine trends in event offerings and reported attendance, including at the Wisconsin State Fair, the Wisconsin Exposition Center, and the Milwaukee Mile racetrack;
- assess management of State Fair Park operations;
- evaluate State Fair Park’s contractual relationships with vendors, including those that provide food, beverages, rides, and amusements; and
- compare State Fair Park operations with other states in order to identify best practices and opportunities for improvements.
Following a 2008 audit of WSFP, lawmakers suggested that it might be time to shut down the world’s oldest continually operating racetrack and redevelop it. At the time, the Milwaukee Mile still hosted NASCAR, IndyCar and several other races throughout the summer.
While history tends to repeat itself, a current audit could yield completely different results. Lawmakers could implore WSFP management to find a way to bring national series racing back to the Milwaukee Mile. On the opposite end of the spectrum, they could introduce legislation that could negatively impact the future of the track.
The audit will likely take several months to complete. State law requires that the audit process and results remain confidential until the official publication of the final audit report. While the audit process does not include a component for public input, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee may conduct public hearings to discuss specific issues identified during the audit.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee consists of members of the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate. Feedback regarding the Milwaukee Mile can be directed to these committee members at any time. A listing of these members can be found below: