Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, may I please have my shovel back? Your Feb. 16 press conference noted that "we" (the County) are doing the heavy lifting while "you" posed in front of 20 clean shovels criticizing Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.
The 20 shovels represented 19 county supervisors and one county executive. "You" touted a balanced budget and proclaimed that "you" have kept county budgets to a reasonable 2-percent increase over the years.
I will need my shovel for some heavy lifting: The county now has over $300 million in deferred park maintenance and millions more in deferred road maintenance costs accumulated during your tenure. The county board recognizes that our transit system is in a major crisis, and we have consistently overridden your vetoes of dedicated funding. In fact, "we" at the county board had to override about two-thirds of your vetoes for this year’s budget. Compare this to former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson’s zero overrides.
Due in part to your recent public comments on the issue, I truly fear that Milwaukee County will not get a fair share of stimulus money. I will need this shovel to repair our crumbling county roads and buildings.
I have begged you to fix College Avenue in my district, a project that has been on the capital repair budget for the terms of three prior Eighth District supervisors. It is now in jeopardy again as the new postal facility has been delayed. The mayor of one of my district cities described this road as a "third-world road" because of its condition.
The county budget has shown reasonable increases only because of the actions of the county board of supervisors, so I’m not really sure if your shovel has gotten any use.
I wish that our news media would do more than cover groundbreaking ceremonies like the one at Bucyrus, which is a great company in my district. I know it is not as sexy to show footage of crumbling roads and park pavilions, but it is this reality that brings me to my plea: May I please have my shovel back? I’m going to need it badly as we work on the 2010 County budget!
Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik represents the county’s Eighth District.