About Me

My Photo
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, January 31, 2008

Things to do in Isanti

I thought I would post some of the information about current and upcoming activities in the City of Isanti.

Rum River BMX has done a great job the last few years. This year they have landed a national 3 day event that will bring thousands to Isanti. To learn more about this great group... http://www.rumriverbmx.com/index.html

The Isanti Red Birds provide great entertainment. Our City baseball team games are free to the public and fun to watch. Check them out this summer... http://hometeamsonline.com/teams/?u=ISANTIREDBIRDS&t=c&s=baseball&p=home

The David C. Johnson Ice Arena plays host to many events from the Circus, home show, numerous hockey games including the Cambridge Isanti Youth Hockey Association. Isanti's outdoor hockey rink also host the youth hockey group. This is a regional draw facility that is totally funded by the Arena itself. Great example of a community asset... http://isantiarena.org/index.html

The next great community asset is the Cambridge/Isanti soccer complex, yes I wish the names were reversed, which host tens of thousands of players and parents each year. All the way from 4 year olds to high school are on these fields nearly every night starting in spring and running through to the fall. For more information http://www.cambridgeisantisoccer.net/

The Isanti Rodeo in conjunction with the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce Jubilee Days draws thousands and thousands to Isanti. The Isanti Rodeo Association has raised over $900,000 for fire and rescues activities. A corner stone of our Great City's identity is the Rodeo and all its corresponding activities. I look forward to seeing everyone again at the Rodeo and Jubilee Days events. To learn more about the Rodeo go to http://www.isantifiredistrict.org/isanti_rodeo_assc_

To learn more about our Great Chamber and their numerous business and community events go to: http://www.isantichamber.com/

The Community Involvement Team host wonderful City functions such as the Snow Flake Skate, Old Tyme Dance, Bike Rodeo, Sockhop & BBQ, Take a Kid Fishing Day and so many more too numerous to mention them all. Check the Isanti City website calendar page for more information: http://www.cityofisanti.us/calendar.php?

There are many more that I have not listed but I wanted to make the point we have so much to offer in our Great City. Many of these, thankfully, help encourage activity so Isanti can live up to its designation as a Governors Fit City.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Safe Place

Isanti's "A Safe Place" program is a wonderful example of community members taking the lead to help when and where we can. The program which is administered by the Isanti Police Department provides safe places, homes and businesses, that if children are afraid for their safety are able to seek help. Then the parents or police are called if there is trouble or the child is scared.

The host of A Safe Place must pass a back ground check and a training session. The homes and businesses participating will have a yellow laminated sign in there window stating they are "A Safe Place".

I am participating in this program as I believe it is incredibly important for our children to have a safe place in times of need. I would encourage you to contact the Isanti Police Department ---763-444-4761--- and check into this program and if able, to help out.

Goal Setting Session

One is never to speak or write when they are angry. Well I am breaking that rule. I am incredibly frustrated by portions of the discussion from today’s goal setting session.

The positive was that the five major goals from 2007 are coming along quite well. All the work we are doing on business development and creating a great environment for economic growth is moving along wonderfully.

My frustration is that the Council seems to have moved back to the idea that the City must keep everyone entertained at tax payer expense from the time they wake until the time they sleep. Comments were made that the City does not do anything for kids and there is nothing to do here.....hmmm so the numerous parks and trails, basketball courts, tennis courts, BMX track, soccer fields, outdoor and indoor hockey rinks, pleasure ice rink, baseball fields, river landing and Skateboard Park apparently are figments of our collective imaginations. Then the bowling alley and gymnastic center must not exist either.

So what does this really mean? Well apparently they want an enhanced community center with a pool and room for other fun activities. This sounds great to me too except for the price tag and the ongoing cost of operating such a facility. Last year I was part of a group that talked to representatives of the YMCA and got a rough figure in the $7,000,000 range for a small stripped down facility. The membership they would need for the facility was larger than the total population of our city.

So OK let’s do our own.....well with a pool again makes this a multi-million dollar project with ongoing funding from the city. This type of project in a time when all cities are dealing with the fallout of the housing crisis, lower tax revenue, less state aid and higher health care and employee cost is the definition of frivolity.

I have been working hand in hand with our business community to bring in more commercial growth to increase our tax base but some want to spend it before we get it.

I would love to have as many great options for our Citizens as the next person. I am however not willing to raise taxes the 20% to 50% or double city debt to fund these projects. Such tax hikes and added debt will cripple our business growth and wipe out our great gains from 2007.

The liquor store still has been moving forward by a 3-2 vote, this will strip out $250,000 in cash reserves, which should be used to ride out the economic storm we are experiencing, and bring less money per year to the general fund. If a City funded library, community center and pool are added to this list in the next year or two Isanti will simply crumble under the weight of the millions of dollars of debt.

I want a library and we are often compared to what the cities in Chisago County did. This is not a fair comparison since the Chisago County government footed the major cost of these great projects. Not the case in Isanti. The City tax payers carrying the full cost of a regional facility is a hard argument to make.

Something happens to some people after they get into office that makes them think the money we spend is plucked from a dollar tree in the back yard. I know I sound like a broken record when I constantly state we need to concentrate on building our commercial tax base to keep taxes low and allow us to provide greater services to our Citizens. We sometimes do not do well with delayed gratification but we must remain fiscally disciplined.

I would love to be able to say to my children or grandchildren one day that I was Mayor when xyz was built and have a lasting testament to my service….but my personal pride can not overrule good government. No one may remember me but if I leave a strong City tax base, a strong business community, low property taxes, a livable City, efficient City government, a safe City, and the tax base that allows future generations to build the amenities we all want I will have fulfilled the trust that over 70% of voters of Isanti have placed in me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

2008 Arctic Plunge

The Arctic Plunge is coming up soon. March 1st at Captians on Long Lake. I am placing a link here and to the left if you are interested in jumping. This makes my third year jumping and second year sponsoring. The Plunge captures our community spirit of giving. I am enclosing a few words from the Plunge Website:

"Each year the committee determines the event beneficiary. This year's beneficiary is the Isanti County Safety and Rescue.Please join us for a fun filled family day on March 1st! The event start at 10:00AM with Vintage Snowmobile Races sponsored by the Long Lake Improvement Association. The old fashioned Ice Cutting demonstration begins at 1:00 PM. Brought to you by the Englund Family. Finally, the much anticipated ARCTIC PLUNGE begins at 2:00PM. This year we will have two sets of bleachers for your convenience. Tell your friends and come early to get a good seat!"

Go to http://www.arcticplunge.com/ for more information and to look at the Zodiac last year's fund raiser bought for Isanti County and Rescue.

Everyone needs to help make this event a success....plunge and help raise money for Isanti Safety and Rescue...the money you raise may one day help save your life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ever Cat Fuels Plant

Ever Cat Fuels Ground Breaking
*
*
*
Here is Ever Cat Fuels rendition of there upcoming Isanti Bio Diesel Facility. A picture is absolutely worth a thousand words.
Click to enlarge


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr

As we are about to officially celebrate Martin Luther King Jr's birthday Monday, even though it was a few days ago, I thought placing his words here would help us all remember why we celebrate. Why his words are important for everyone at every time in every place.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Monday, January 14, 2008

City Website

I would like input into Isanti's new website... CityofIsanti.us

As an FYI the City's budget is on this page...

http://cityofisanti.us/govern_city_departments_finance.php

Residential Building Permits

I thought I would share the year end building permit information. I have included the year, number of permits and the permit fees paid to the City. The fees are based on value of work and/or the fee schedule during that particular year. We all understand the drop off in residential building but I thought it would be good to share the true fall off in City revenues at its height of $608,279.00 in 2005 to this years number of $132,878.00. The City's total budget is $3,495,443.


1999---59---$119,764.02

2000--69---$142,229.98

2001--177---$340,530.64

2002--108--$221,831.02

2003--106--$139,863.47

2004--271--$248,766.73

2005--251---$608,279.00

2006--125--$285,603.08

2007--37--$132,878.08

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Council Goal Setting

Council goal setting is slated for January 28th. We have had great success with our 2007 goals, three of which were about economic development, Long Term Financial Plan and the water treatment plant.

I am going to continue driving economic growth with my 2008 business goals:
  • Hotel Isanti
  • Main Street Business Growth
  • Highway 5 Commercial Identity
  • Further reduction in taxes
  • Completed Economic Tool Box
  • Decision on Rail Industrial Park
  • Close relationship with County EDA
  • Fund to help expansion of existing businesses
  • Aggressive pursuit of new businesses
I presented these goals to the Isanti Area Chamber several months ago. Each of these is important for further commercial and industrial growth. Some will be harder than others to accomplish but we must remain dedicated to business growth.
Isanti's livability is incredible important to all of us that call our city home. Livability is one of those words that means something different to each and everyone of us. To some it is keeping Isanti a clean looking city, to others it is keeping taxes low or improved policing. It is all these things and many more. I will be presenting my list of goals at the Goal Setting session that will include economic, residential, livability, governmental and few more that do not quite fit any category. These along with all the other Council Member's goals will get sifted down to 3-5 2008 Goals we can all agree on.
I would like to hear from you. What would you like the Isanti Council to work on in 2008. I believe this can be a great process for community involvement.
Post here or email me at george@georgewimmer.com with your suggestions.
My 2008 State of the City Address will be posted in a few weeks. A possible audio version may be uploaded as well.