Mayor is on the Hot Seat
Friday, Dec. 9th, the World-Herald had an article about Bellevue Mayor Jerry Ryan’s concern with global warming. The warming he should really be concerned about is in Bellevue. The taxpayers of Bellevue are hot and steamed about the increase in city taxes. Our city is in a financial mess, even after increasing the mill levy by five cents two years ago and ten cents last fiscal year. We still don’t have a new library or even a plan to pay for one. We unnecessarily gave away valuable land to the State for the Veterans Home. The Veterans Home could have be at a better location on Cornhusker near 47th St. Now IRS just got through fining the city $124,000 in penalties for improper procedures.
Eight years ago, when the City Council voted to replace the late S.P. Benson as City Administrator, Mr. Ryan and the City Attorney fought not to replace him. This was the beginning of our financial problems. Then, when Mr. Benson was killed in an car accident, instead of appointing a new qualified City Administrator, Mr. Ryan put Evelyn Wicks, the Finance Director and City Treasurer as City Administrator. The city isn’t run like a business when you have one person holding all three positions. There were no checks and balances, which developed into the mess we have now.
Currently, Bellevue has a contracted City Attorney. We budgeted $160,000 in attorney fees last fiscal year, but paid over $340,000 in legal fees. With a city of Bellevue’s size, we need a full-time city-employed City Attorney and we need one now. The city also doesn’t have a Finance Director. It might serve the city better if Mayor Ryan would concentrate on Bellevue’s financial situation and appointing qualified city officials.
Mr. Ryan may have wanted some press, but global warning is way down the list of our priorities in Bellevue.
This letter was submitted to the World Herald Public Pulse. It was published on Friday, Dec 30, but due to the length it was edited. The entire letter was printed in the Jan 11, 2006 Bellevue Leader. If you agree with my opinions, I encourage you to make copies and pass it on to your friends. It will also be on my website soon along with information on what’s going on in Bellevue.
Bellevue City Councilman 1997-2000
Mayoral Runner-up Candidate in last election