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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

City Planner Resigns

Isanti's City Planner, Ms. Barker, has resigned effective May 12th. The position will be posted immediately. I will put a link to the job description on my blog as soon as it is posted on the City Website. We will be moving quickly to replace this critical position. If you have any input into the selection process or have any questions, please let me know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sign Ordinance

New Sign Ordinance is now on the City Website. I want to thank those businesses that helped work on this issue. I hope this process will be a road map to future solutions.


http:/www.ci.isanti.mn.us/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={E2DC2493-5EA8-4C4C-AD15-8DCC0A18D172}

Friday, April 21, 2006

Meth-- Townhall Meeting

There will be a Meth Townhall Meeting Monday May 22nd, 7pm to 9pm. This meeting is free. The meeting will be held at the Richard G. Hardy Performing Arts Center at Cambridge-Isanti High School. Please call the Community Education Office at 763-689-6189 to register. Walk-ins are also welcome.

I will be there. Meth and other drug use is a scourge to all of us, especially in Isanti County. I urge you to attend.

Post Card Mailings

I have been receiving tremendous response from my post card mailing. I will respond to each of you individually but wanted to let you know it may be a few days to answer all the e-mails. I also ensure you that I will be working on the issues raised. This once again proves the value of open communications. Thank you for all the kind responses to my 2006 agenda.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Email List

If you would like to be on my News and Notes update list please e-mail me and let me know.

The list is confidential.

george.wimmer@genesiswireless.us

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

2006 Agenda

Open communication is the corner stone of Democracy. Citizens need to be able to easily access the governmental process. I am trying to change the dynamic of Isanti City Government. I believe that we must have a free flow of two way communication.

The city we know is quickly changing. Land is being acquired in a manner that will double or triple the population of Isanti. Our city needs to make the right decisions today to properly plan for this rapid growth and our future.

Our city's infrastructure will quickly be overburdened in the next five years, if we do not take thoughtful, measured, and responsible action today. While preparing for the future, it is essential to still retain and maintain the safety and small-town feel that makes our city great. I have already examined the possible challenges Isanti faces. The list includes:

Road Construction and Maintenance Costs
Traffic Impact
Water Capacity
Sewer Capacity
Police Protection
Fire Protection
City Staff Time
Park and Trail Maintenance Cost

We need a clear picture of the impact of Isanti's growth. Whether you plan to live in Isanti the rest of your life, or just a few years, we must plan now to control how growth will affect our property values, taxes and City fees. Isanti will grow tremendously over the next five years. With that in mind, I have laid out an aggressive agenda for 2006. This plan centers around three guiding principles:

Citizen Safety

Traffic Mitigation
Improved Policing
Mosquito Control

Economic Reform

Tax and Fee Reductions
Growing Isanti's Business Districts

Responsible City Government

Development Impact List
City Ordnance Reform
Residential Handbook
New Comprehensive Plan
Safe Guarding Distinct Isanti Neighborhoods
Board and Commission Reform

It is time to make a choice for the future of Isanti. To learn more about my 2005 Record and 2006 Agenda, please go to www.georgewimmer.com. I welcome your support in working together to preserve Isanti's traditions while planning our future.

April 18th City Council Meeting Update

The City Council discussed several items this evening. Five items I want to discuss include the approval of McDonalds, Sign Ordinance, Exotic Animal Ordinance, Sewer rates and Landmark Bank approval. The Planning Commission items that were on the agenda all passed. I have stated my opinion on some of these at:

www.georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2006/04/planning-commission-update.html

The Council approved the plans for a McDonalds at the corner of 5 and 65. There is still a possible traffic problem with direct access on County 5. The development of a McDonalds will spur further growth between 5 and Main Street. A representative from McDonalds stated they hoped the construction would be completed by the end of this year.

The Sign Ordinance was approved tonight. The two big changes is the 30 day restriction on signage has been expanded and real estate and development signs will now be limited. The goal is to no longer have dozens of signs at intersections.

The Exotic Animal Ordinance was passed tonight. The ordinance focuses on dangerous animals that can create a safety issue for Isanti.

I had asked that the new sewer rates be discussed. I want to make sure that we are tracking the revenues that are being collected. The City is collecting more money than was expected. I am hoping that we can reduce this rate soon. We need starting differentiating between commercial and residential rate structures. Commercial properties are charged the same way that residential properties are charged. I have asked that sewer rates be put on a future work session agenda.

Landmark Bank was approved to start operating out of a bank trailer off of highway 65 until their bank is completed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Planning Commission Opening

Planning Commission has an open seat. Any interested in helping to guide the future development of Isanti should apply at City Hall. If you have any questions please let me know.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Update on attempt to change Agricultral Zoning

The Isanti County Planning Commission unanimously voted against amending the Agricultural Zoning to allow a Motor Sports facility. I applaud their decision.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

McDonalds Update

I forgot to add that the McDonalds' restaurant was approved by the Planning Commission. This will be at the next City Council meeting Tuesday the 18th. The location is at the intersection of 5 and 65.

There may be an issue with County 5 access. I will keep you updated as this progresses.

Planning Commission Update

The Sign Ordinance and Exotic Animal Ordinance received no public comments at the Public Hearing. These will now move forward to the full City Council. A Petition was received asking the Planning commission to look at parking restriction of commercial vehicles in residential areas of Isanti.

The only contentious issue at the meeting was the Final Plat for Fairway Greens Phase two. This is the property just north and east of the cemetery on County 5 and east of 65. The tough issue is the four apartment buildings. These apartments will be adjacent to the cemetery. I voted in favor of this because there will also be a commercial development to the west and abutting County Highway 5.

I believe with the apartment building is the best use of this land. Very few people would want to own a home that is adjacent to a cemetery, a large commercial district and a major County Highway.

We are at our limit I think of apartment buildings. We need to keep a balance of all housing options and not be to heavily slanted to rental properties. I was also concerned about the added traffic on highway 5. This one of my most difficult decisions on the Planning Commission. I know some will not be happy with this vote but I felt it was the best option under these unique circumstances.

The last item was the request from the Isanti County Planning Commission to give our opinion on the proposed change in agricultural zoning to allow for a motor sport track. My direct quote was it is a terrible-terrible-terrible idea. The Planning commission voted to recommend not allowing this type of use in an agricultural area.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Planning Commission Meeting 4/11/06

The Planning Commission will be reviewing the following Items. First there will be 14 Public Hearings. Yes that is right 14. Most deal with plats in several phases. A request for a McDonald's is one of the Public Hearings. The McDonald's would be constructed near the current BP Gas Station at the intersection of 5 and 65. The Sign Ordinance and the Exotic Animal Ordinance will also receive a Public Hearing. I hope anyone who has concerns for either of these will attend.

We will also be discussing the Parking of larger vehicles on driveways and parking pads. This pertains to many commercial vehicles and RVs. These vehicles are currently prohibited from parking in residential driveways and parking pads. I believe we need to discuss if this is appropriate.

The Planning Commission has been asked to gives its opinion on the proposed change to the County's Agricultural Zoning to allow race tracks. This will become an important topic as Agricultural Zoning comes under attack. I do not think encouraging this type of use is appropriate. The added stress on transportation infrastructure and crime prevention does not get offset by any positives, if any, a race track would bring. Please look at www.ccflu.org for more information. This is the website for Concern Citizens for Land Use.

If you have any questions please do not be afraid to ask.

Library Board

There is an opening on the Library Board. I would like to hear from anyone who may be interested in serving on this board. This is a County appointment.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Response to Commissioner Duff's Letter to the Paper

I found Commissioner Duff’s letter to the paper on storm water ponds quite interesting. Mr. Duff wants homeowners to own the land that makes up these ponds. Currently the City owns this land. He states three reasons for this change of policy:

1. Residents can claim greater ownership of land
2. Residents are more likely to collectively protect the integrity of privately held land
3. City liability on these properties may be reduced.

I am on the Planning Commission with Mr. Duff and he has not had this issue on the agenda for discussion. I hope he would avail himself of the full Planning Commission to discuss this issue. I like new ideas. There seems to be four significant issues with this proposal however:

1. Residents may be able to claim greater ownership of land, they will however have no uses of this land as it is designated as a holding pond. This may give a false feeling of ownership.

2. The resident is to maintain their section of the holding pond. This is an unfunded mandate. Holding ponds gather water from a larger area than just the immediate neighborhood. The cost of its maintenance should not be on those that simple abut the pond.

3. If the land is owned by the resident they will be taxed on the land. These will set-up the owner of the land paying a significantly higher tax bill with no benefit.

4. I am hard pressed to see how the City would lose liability for a structure it is mandating be built. Resident ownership may lead to having liability in case of a lawsuit.

I hope Mr. Duff will in the future bring such ideas to the Planning Commission so we can have this conversation in a constructive manner. I also hope Mr. Duff will support the Ordinance reforms I have laid out in the past. The Planning Commission has reformed the Driveway Ordinance and is currently working on the Exotic Wildlife and Sign Ordinance.

George Wimmer
Isanti City Council Member

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Traffic Light Approved

The County Commissioners unanimously approved the Traffic Light on 5 and 23 this morning. We now will officially have our traffic light. I would like to thank the commissioners for following through on this project.

As always I will keep you posted.

Council Update April 4th

The City Council approved a cross walk at the intersection of South Passage and highway 23. This will provide a safer crossing for the many walkers, runners and bikers. I also hope this will have an impact on slowing the speeds of drivers coming into Isanti.

A Public Hearing was set for the Lexington Textile request to postpone their requirements of their city Subsidy agreement. I have asked staff to provide the following information at the public hearing:

  1. The amount of total subsidy provided
  2. Amount of penalty owed to Isanti if Lexington does meets its requirements
  3. If allow Lexington to alter their agreement what precedent is set
  4. Is there a standard that must be met in order to allow an alteration of the agreement
The Council approved the total amount for the past due School Resource Officer payments from the School District. The District did not state they would pay this amount only that they wanted the total amount owed. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Walking Tour

I will be starting my third annual walking tour of Isanti the week of April 10th. I hope to talk to as many people as possible. If you have a specific time you would like me to stop by please e-mail me at george.wimmer@genesiswireless.us.

If you have any specific questions please e-mail me prior to our visit and I will research any needed items. I look forward to meeting each and every Isanti Citizen.

Monday, April 03, 2006

City Council April 4th

The April 4th City council agenda is fairly light.

The Council is being asked to accept $65,324 as payment for the balanced owed to Isanti from District 911. The School District has not made payment since a partial payment in the 2003-2004 school year. The School District has not said they would actually pay this amount but have asked for a bill stating the total balance owed. The District and the City split the cost of this Officer.

The School District has also stated they may no longer being budgeting for a School Resource Officer starting this fall. I hope this is not true. Having an Officer working directly with the schools is an asset for all of us.

Lexington Textile is asking the City to postpone their obligation to add one new job. This is part of the business subsidy agreement. The EDA, which is supposed to represent the best interest on f the City, has recommended that the City waive this requirement for 2006. This agreement has been changed once before. Letting companies that receive City subsidies out of their agreements is akin to allowing residents slide on their property taxes. The City would not accept this from residents so I see no reason to accept this from businesses.

These business agreements have very minimal requirements in the first place. Adding one or two employees in a 3-5 year window should not be too much to ask for when receiving subsidies from the City. This is only an issue for those companies that ask for money from the City to operate their business. We must make sure they live up to their commitment.