Last night at Wayzata’s City Council Meeting, Wayzata Citizen Greg Rye spoke very passionately about overcoming the City’s budget shortfall so as to make Wayzata safe. The Council indicated that Greg should meet with City Manager Al Orsen in the very near future to come up with a plan.
Here is a transcript of his speech.
Thank you very much, Greg Rye, 315 Margaret Circle. It’s hard for me to talk about this tonight, because one, I’m sad. Part of me is really, really angry, but when I close here I have an idea I hope you guys will consider.
If any one of our City Staff members were here tonight that are on the list, I would be defending names, people: Sunny Clark. Bill Matthews, who relocated from a southern Minnesota town to be a police officer in Wayzata, sitting here with his family. Jan from Motor Vehicle who has been with us for over three decades. I don’t know if anybody has been invited to that party yet. She left last week.
We talk about letting lifeguards go at the beach, when last year the City sat here and talked about a security issue regarding a ramp that was being built because we thought it might not be safe for our kids. From a personal perspective the list to me tonight is irrelevant. This community is what it is because we are safe, we are well served, we are involved, and we are safe. To me it’s the one thing that matters. If we can save one thing, I want to be safe in this town. Last weekend someone was shot and killed in Maple Grove. In Hopkins. Read the morning paper, the City of Minneapolis and St. Paul are telling us they want to drive crime to the suburbs. We are talking about a Police Department with 10 or 11 people? We don’t have enough.
That being said, the missing link here tonight, this isn’t about Al Orsen making a recommendation, and I have immense respect for Al, and for all of you. But the piece missing tonight is the community. This isn’t your budget, this is our budget. Where are we? I guarantee you that the majority of this town tonight does not know what is on that list. I only found out about it yesterday, and I cried when I saw it. So what I am offering this community tonight, is not only myself, but I am inviting this entire town to come together right now. Not tonight, I’m hoping if anything tonight you will hold off on making a decision until we can have a conversation about what we want.
I’m telling you right now that if someone came to me with a petition asking me to give another $100 a year for the next 15 years, you got it. I’ll give you more than that. But I think the community needs to be engaged and asked what they are willing to do on behalf of the people on the list. Or maybe make a new list. How about being a little bit creative. This isn’t the only way to get to $300,000. Let’s get to the end of the year and then let’s go to our citizens and say we are going to have to raise taxes. And when we raise taxes, guess what, that list goes away. So please at least consider engaging the missing link.
And I would also encourage, get the department heads together in one room. Not to play off each other but to talk about ideas that we haven’t even thought of. I will give you any amount of my time and expertise and help you rally people, I will help you find business people, I will help you find financial experts, I will do anything in my power to make this go away.
I’m not up here blowing smoke, I will do anything. I come from a school district that in the 1980’s, we were $15 million statutory operating debt. Now we are the only school district in the State of Minnesota with a Triple A bond rating. We didn’t do it with the School Board Members and the Superintendent, we brought the community in and asked what you are willing to live without. Right now there’s a few of us here in this room, and most of us found out by accident what is on the list. When the community finds out they will engage. Give us a week, give us two weeks. We will find a way to make that list go away. And if I’m wrong, then vote on the list.
But what have we got to lose, other than people., not positions. Sunny Clark, Jan from Motor Vehicle, Bill who’s in the audience tonight. I don’t even know the names of some of the gardeners. For crying out loud, Wayzata can do better than this. I’m sorry for being emotional tonight, it’s hard for me to talk because I have so much love and respect for all of you.
I’m asking, I’m actually begging for all of you to call a temporary time out. You spent an hour talking about $11,000 for a project in a neighborhood that has been going on for 3 or 4 months. We are talking about eliminating people that have been here for 33, 35 years. And we are going to give them one meeting? That’s not the Wayzata way. That’s not who we are as a town. Please think about that, and thank you for your time.
If you are interested in participating in the discussion to raise and or save $100,000, please contact Greg at 952-476-8392 or via email at gregrye [at] aol.com.