Walker: Public safety is at the forefront

    The process to determine the cause of the failure of the concrete panel at the O’Donnell parking structure is still underway. Engineers continue the non-destructive techniques to examine the structure and will generate a comprehensive report that will reveal the probable cause and provide direction on the best course of action.

    The building will remain closed to the public until we are certain of the structure’s safety.

    We all want answers when a tragedy occurs, but, at the moment of crisis, some have jumped to conclusions on the status of deferred maintenance. Our examination of previous inspection and maintenance records shows that the county did not defer any necessary maintenance, and ongoing maintenance projects are prioritized with public safety in mind.

    When the annex parking structure showed signs of deterioration, I took steps to have it removed before it could become a hazard.  Milwaukee County residents can be assured that we will immediately address important maintenance issues with a close eye to protecting those who use our buildings.

    I presented my first budget in the fall of 2002 for 2003, and that year through 2010 we spent and budgeted more than $780 million on infrastructure maintenance and improvements throughout Milwaukee County.

    Still, our debt went down nearly 30 percent by 2010 and our government workforce is down by 20 percent.

    I will continue to work to keep property taxes in check for our residents, and always with the public’s safety at the forefront.

    Scott Walker is the Milwaukee County Executive.

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