Roscoe Streyle — Minot City Council Q&A
A former Minot legislator with a background in finance and budgeting, Roscoe Streyle wants to bring his experience to the Minot City Council. He is one of five candidates seeking to fill three positions on the council in the June 9 election.
Streyle says he will work for the betterment of Minot and offers his thoughts on the direction of city government in answers to questions from the Minot Daily News that follow.
Does the city need more office space, and if so, what do you feel is the best option to create more space?
I’m not convinced we need more space, but maybe; however now is not the time. I don’t support using 100% local funds to buy a building, period.
What is your position on the council’s decision to terminate City Manager Tom Barry? What should the city do differently in developing a city manager contract and establishing a positive work environment in the future?
I 100% support the decision to part ways with the former City Manager. The next City Manager must be someone local to the area. We’ve experimented enough with people from out of the area. It’s now time to look at existing staff or local talent for the next City Manager. The City Attorney must fully review the contracts and fully brief City Council before ANY contract is signed in the future. Transparency, accountability, and open communications channels are key to any organization and especially if they’re taxpayer funded. The trust between City Leadership, City Employees, City Council and Citizens of Minot has been broken. It must, can and will be repaired.
What would be your goals for the National Disaster Resilience Program as the city works to designate and spend funds by September 2022?
If there are no uses for the money, give it back. Spending money just to spend money makes no sense. We do not need any more government subsidized “affordable” housing. The private sector is plenty capable of providing adequate supply. The government must stay out of competition with private property owners, period. Flood buyouts, river recreational opportunities, Minot State University downtown spaces, or full funding of new City Hall building would be all I support for uses of funds. John Zakian, the self-anointed HUD expert, must also be replaced immediately. He’s been a major problem for the City of Minot and the National Disaster Resilience Program, a program that’s been poorly run.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the city’s revenues by an amount estimated at more than $6 million, which would be partially offset by a council decision to delay construction of a fire station and City Hall retaining wall. How do you feel the City of Minot should respond to that potential shortfall and what do you see as areas of cost savings that could be either immediate or long term?
I support the decision to delay the fire station construction and other one-time projects. The fire station could be looked at again in a few years. I have a unique opportunity to work with my former legislative colleagues with whom I served with for eight years during the next legislative session. I would also engage, advocate and appeal directly to the Governor and Lt. Governor, both of which are strong supporters of Minot. Rightsizing City Government discussion must be had. The revenue reduction is likely going to be more severe in the coming months. Early retirement packages should be explored. Reduced services, hiring freeze, working remotely, outsourcing to private sector, etc. must be also be looked into as cost cutting measures. A thorough top to bottom review of the budget is also needed. I was vice chairman of the N.D. House of Representations EE Section of Appropriations for six years, dealing with over 60% of the state’s overall budget. I would use this experience to help shape the next City of Minot budget.
What is one initiative or project you would like to see the city pursue in the next four years?
We must, as a city and community, streamline and consolidate the business development, economic development organizations, personnel and marketing efforts. We currently have Minot Area Chamber, Minot Area Development Corporation, Convention and Visitors Bureau and a city-paid employee for Economic Development and Marketing efforts. These entities must ALL be consolidated. We must have ONE VISION for Minot, ONE MESSAGE for Minot and ONE GOAL for Minot and we MUST produce Real Results for our City and community. Much like what was done with Minot Parks and Minot Recs, this must be done with economic development, marketing, etc., areas. Minot MUST be more business friendly; we have no choice. We must evolve and get more competitive to thrive. We must also accelerate technology adoption throughout city government.
What are your top three priorities when it comes to city spending?
1. Infrastructure-Roads, Water, Flood Protection.
2. Government Transparency, Accountability and Efficiency.
3. No Property Tax Increases.
Please describe your background and the perspectives you would bring to the city council.
I’ve served in many capacities over my life and feel all the experiences combined gives me a unique and fresh perspective on how government can and should function. I own several businesses, help manage a local community bank that specializes in ag and small business lending, been involved in Information Technology for two decades, and up until late 2018 served in the N.D. Legislature for eight years.
During my time in the Legislature I was vice chairman of the Education and Environment Section House Appropriations. In my section we wrote the budgets for Water Commission, Department of Public Instruction, Park and Rec, Commerce Department, Public Service Commission, N.D. University System, and many others, which made up 60% of North Dakota’s total budget.
I have the experience to understand big budgets and make the difficult decisions that will be necessary for the City of Minot over the next four years. Minot must battle aggressively on all fronts to make Our Home the best place to live, work, play and raise our families. I would appreciate the opportunity to once again serve my fellow citizens and our great community.