About Me

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I have served the City of Isanti as Mayor since 2007. We have accomplished great things together and I look forward to building on our success. United, we move forward to a better future. You may contact me at 763-442-8749 or e-mail me at george@georgewimmer.com. My website is www.georgewimmer.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

International Walk to School Week

International walk to school week is October 3rd to the 7th. This is a week to remind all of us that walking to school has many physical health benefits. This week also should remind us that there are a number of safety issues including traffic that need to be contended with. Many children who live less than a mile from school have to walk. This has been a point of concern for many parents. We can make this into a positive using walking buses and safe routes to schools. These are simple tools that we can offer our parents and children.

We have all been wondering how we can improve our children’s safe transportation to school. Many have to walk to school along busy roads and highways. There is no silver bullet to this problem but if we explore and implement several options we may help mitigate this issue. As Isanti grows our traffic will increase and the number of children having to walk to school will escalate. This causes safety concerns. One possible solution is walking buses.
A 'Walking Bus' lets a group, or 'bus', of children walk from home to school each morning quickly and safely under the guidance of trained adult supervisors. This takes the support of parents and dedicated volunteers.

Program Objectives

Increase daily physical activity for children and adults.
Increase safety for pedestrians in the neighborhood.
Reduce traffic in and around the neighborhood and school.
Decrease crime when more people are outside keeping an eye on their neighborhood.
Increase community cohesion by helping neighbors get to know one another.
Increase child safety

These are just a few of the goals we can reach with walking buses.

The walking bus is the perfect alternative to school age children walking alone along busy roads and highways. I am looking to form a group that is willing to explore this and other possible solutions to our children’s safety needs. This is one of many possible answers to our children’s’ transportation question. I have approached Isanti County Active Living by Design and School District 911 for their support in this project. Both are excited and interested in solving this problem. With the help and support of parents, volunteers and the school district we can improve the safety of our children.

If you would like more information please contact George Wimmer at 763-444-7158, george.wimmer@genesiswireless.us or Cindy Weiss at cwdistvolcoor@juno.com, 763-444-9310.

here is the web link...http://www.iwalktoschool.org/

Monday, September 26, 2005

Support

I want to thank everyone who has been showing me tremendous support since the City Council launched their "investigation" of my blog. The e-mails and phone calls continue to flow in. Again thank you to everyone.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Police Request

I have been critical of the $54,000 admin assistant request in the 2006 budget. This position squeezed out a request for a new police officer. If the money has to be spent then the police officer position should be hired. There has been no growth in the Police Department for the last few years. Our city continues to grow as do the policing concerns of our citizens. Isanti will see another boom in housing and its first true boom in commercial expansion in 2006. This will put tremendous stress on a police force that is already spread thin. We need to make a commitment to our Police Officers and citizens that we will do everything thing within reason to ensure a safe and friendly Isanti for the generations to come.

Park Tour

The Isanti Park and Recreation Board will be doing its annual park tour Tuesday September 27th at 5pm. If you have any questions about the park and trail system please let me know. We will be evaluating the safety, usability and viability of each park.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Political Censorship

I was surprised at tonight’s Isanti City Council meeting. Mr. Brian Iverson lodged a complaint against my blog, www.georgewimmer.blogspot.com. He stated that he was upset that I had been critical of him in my online writings. I agree I have been critical of Mr. Iverson representing the City of Isanti on the EDA. Mr. Iverson is Isanti’s self-proclaimed highest tax payer and developer. Having someone with so much economic clout on a city board is a per se conflict of interest. The fact Council Member Ralph Johnson has been doing contract work for Mr. Iverson adds even greater concern. For further details on this specific issue, please refer to my blog. Tonight the City Council on a vote of 3-2 with Mayor Apitz, Sue Larson and Ralph Johnson, voted to have the city attorney investigate my blog.

This is an incredible act of censorship. Just because someone does not like my opinion does not give the City Council the right to censor me. I would find it amusing, if it were not so sad, that the Council feels it necessary to spend City money to investigate my blog. I use the blog to keep the Citizens of Isanti informed of my decision making process. Of course, I will fight any such "investigation" by the City Council. It’s not clear what power, if any, the City has to censor my personal blog. This again smacks of the “old boys network” protecting one of its own. If the members of the council feel this will silence me they are sadly mistaken. I will not allow this abuse of power to stand unchallenged.

Where do we draw the line? Will they next try to censor campaign material? Will they try to strike comments made in open council? At what point does this Council stop on the slippery slope? I understand that change may be difficult for some. But I was elected to protect the Citizens of Isanti - not to be a rubber stamp for developers. Freedom of Speech, especially Political Speech, is our most important right. I thank all those who continue to show me great support in my fight to reform City government. I would also like to thank my fellow Council Members for drawing greater attention to my blog, www.georgewimmer.blogspot.com.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Park Dedication

Rum River Meadows Park will be dedicated Saturday September 24th. This will be a potluck event. I hope everyone can make it. I am proud to have a park serving this area. If you have any questions please contact me.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Isanti Fall Music Fest

The Isanti Fall Music Fest was a great success. We had some fear of a rain but again this year we were lucky. Our vendors all had good sales. Linwood Pizza had to completely restock. I am happy to be a part of this great Isanti celebration. I hope everyone had a good family fun time.

This fits into my drive to make our Main Street a viable financial asset to the city. This celebration brings new people to our Main Street. We have a number of great businesses located along Main Street. I am continuing to push to renovate the buildings and to bring new businesses to this section of town. We need to make this a focus of city and EDA planning.

I would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make this a reality. I am also looking for feedback on how this can be made into a better event. Again thank you to everyone who came out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Planning Commission

We are in the process of reviewing driveway widths. There have been several request to have wider driveways.

The topic of new homes in wetlands and along the Rum River was discussed. There are special regulations a property owner must follow if they own a home in these areas. We will be working on having special notices to these perspective property owners. This would fit into the Home Owners List I have talked about.

There is an opening on the Planning Commission. This is a critical position to the future of Isanti. I would encourage anyone who would like to fill this position to apply. If you have any questions please let me know.

We have a new Chairperson, Sean Stevens. I think he will do a great job keeping order and following process.

Isanti Fall Music Fest

We would like to welcome everyone to attend the Third Annual Isanti Fall Music Fest on Saturday, September 17th. The festival is located on Isanti Main Street. Festivities will be kicked off with a classic car show, kid’s games and karaoke contest at 2pm. The Lamont Cranston Band will be playing from 7pm until 10pm. There will be a wide assortment of food, service and craft vendors. The Isanti Lions will be again hosting a beer tent. We hope to see everyone at this free family event. If you have any questions please contact George Wimmer at 763-444-7158.

Good Star Rising

I was happy to see the well written and accurate article in the Star today. It helps all of us when the facts are laid out for everyone to see. The two newspapers that cover Isanti City Council meetings serve a great public good ( when accurate), by communicating to the citizens at large.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

City Administrator Update

We got him. Last night the City Council voted 5-0 to offer a contract to Don Lorsung. Don has signed the contract. I look forward to having Don start November 14th. He will be introduced at the Isanti Fall Music Festival September 17th at 6:30. Don is a dedicated professional who will bring tremendous talent and organizational skills to Isanti.

If you have any questions on detail please call me at 444-7158 or e-mail me at george.wimmer@genesiswireless.us.

Friday, September 09, 2005

City Administrator Update

The Isanti City Council will hold a meeting Monday at 5pm. This will start in open session then close to discuss the tentative contract with Don Lorsung. This meeting will then be again opened to the public and press. At this point a vote would occur to accept or reject the contract.

This has been a long and time consuming endeavor. I am however excited to have Don start working for the city. He has tremendous credentials and will be a great improvement for the City of Isanti.

I made my opinion know to Don that I would prefer he live within the City of Isanti. He had stated if he does work for Isanti he also prefers to live in or very close by to the city. The city can not make any employee live within the city borders. Don was however sensitive to this issue. Another level of understanding that will serve him well in our Great City.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

City Tax Update

The new levy numbers came in from the county. The City's tax base has increased by $300,000. This means that the prelim budget of an increase of 3.3% will be at the very least a 7.81% property tax decrease. This is great news for Isanti Ctiy property tax payers. Isanti's total budget will still increase by 28%. This is an incredible high number. If we can reduce remove the $54,000 for the Admin Asst we will still have a 25% increase in the total budget.

I am however still strongly against adding an admin assistant at $54,000. This is a position that is not needed. Just because we have the money does not mean we need to spend it. This is the tax payers money not City Hall. If this further reduction is made we could have a 9% property tax decrease. This gives the City a great cushion in the event that sewer and water fees do not cover the almost $5,000,000 bonding issue for the east 65 road and utility construction. The construction cost for the new City Hall also continue to rise. The tax rate information is great but we need to understand there are looming cost on the horizon.

The next looming cost is the water and sewer rates. These will have to be increased due to the previous council's reduction last year. This was a case of poor financial planning. These rates were reduced to help one business owner. The business owner was not helped and the cities sewer and water funds lost over $60,000 and counting.

The City of Isanti needs to create 3 and 5 year budget outlines with service levels. This gives us a clear idea of what will be needed at each stage of our growth. Without this type of short and long term planning the City will continue to bob back and forth with no clear direction.

I am very excited that in my first year on the Council I am able to help reduce property taxes. We need to continue to keep city government as lean as possible.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

City Administrator Update

The personnel committee updated the City council tonight on the contract negotiation with Don Lorsung for the City Administrator position. We will be sending the contract to Mr. Lorsung Wednesday for his review. We have reached a tentative agreement. This will need to go to the full council after Mr. Lorsung has agreed. The council will meet in special session early next week to discuss this contract and vote. This gives each Council Member input into this process. I am unable to discuss specifics until a contract is reached. As soon as we reach an agreement I will inform you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Preliminary Budget

The preliminary budget was discussed tonight. Council Member Kennedy and I again fought to have a zero tax increase. The current budget proposal has a 3.3% levy increase. This is however only part of the story. The total budget would increase by 28%. I am asking city government to live on a 25% total increase. This 25% is in the increase in Local Government Aid and the new tax dollars from the city growth. I do not want current city residents to pay for the city growth. I will continue to fight to have the rapid residential growth pay for itself. The sticking point is the $54,000 Administrative Assistant position. Mayor Apitz, Council Member Larson and Johnson voted for this position. I feel this is not needed and an outrage to the Isanti City Tax Payer. We increased three staff positions last year and will be adding another 2-3 for 2006. The city is growing but we need to make sure we run a trim and lean administration as we move forward.

The other financial issue haunting the city was the reduction in sewer and water rates in 2004. This has lead to a running deficit in these funds. I had wanted this as part of the total budget discussion tonight. These rates will have to be increased as well. This means there could be a 3.3% property tax increase as well as sewer and water rate increases. This becomes a financial burden for families working on a small if any pay increase. Isanti needs to be attractive in its property tax rates. We continue to inch our way to high property tax rates. I will continue to fight these increased taxes.

For further information please read the following article. http://www.isanticountynews.com/2005/September/7levy.html

Ad Hoc

The City Council will be debating the proposed 2006 budget. I will not vote for a budget that has the possibility of raising one penny in new property taxes. The rapid residential growth must pay for itself or be slowed down. This is just the beginning of increased cost to Isanti. The traffic problems and increased infrastructure cost will be a burden for years to come. If we are not fiscally responsible today these cost will continue to escalate.

I will also be discussing the apparent need to reevaluate the sewer and water rates. The Council last year lowered rates in a vain attempt to help one business owner. This has led to a roughly $ 60,000 deficit in this years receipts. The business that was to be helped was actually not helped. This can not be allowed to continue.

This is another example of poor financial leadership and planning. I have been made aware of significant cost over runs in the City Hall project. These seemed to have occurred due the decision not to have proper plan review. These process short cuts often cost time and money in the long run.

This leads me to my final point. Isanti is in need of a professional City Administrator. We have completed our preliminary negotiation are now writing up a contract for Don Lorsung and the full Council to vote on. These issues would have been prevented by a high quality City Administrator. This lack of leadership must and will come to an end.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Don Lorsung agrees to negotiate

Don Lorsung has agreed to start negotiating a contract with the City of Isanti. Mayor Apitz and I will begin negotiating a contract immediately. Don brings tremendous experience from the cities of Baxter, MN and Charles City, Iowa. He has worked in a rapid growth environment and a mature city setting. I stressed the need for communication with staff, council and the community at large. The City of Isanti will be a much better run city if we can come to terms with Don. Don was the unanimous choice of the Isanti City council. Each council Member ranked him number one on our list of interviewed candidates. I hope to have negotiations completed by early next week. I would hope an announcement could be made at the next City Council Meeting September 6th. I will keep you posted.