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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mcgyan/Ever Cat Fuels Bio-diesel News

I have been informed that the Mcgyan Bio-diesel process is scheduled to be on Good Morning America Tuesday April 29th. No idea what time and in television anything can happen. This weekend channel 5 did a report on it. http://kstp.com/article/stories/S425806.shtml

The Mcgyan Bio-diesel process is what Ever Cat Fuels will be using at our Isanti Facility. Augsburg undergraduate Brian Krohn and Drs McNeff, Gyberg and Yan all contributed to this incredible process.

I am so proud Isanti has played its small part in the process. This is an excellent way to continue to market our progressive Community for Generations.

Link to more stories and links:

http://georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2008/03/mcgyan-news-conference-update.html

http://www.startribune.com/business/16404276.html

http://www.mcgyan.com/

http://www.evercatfuels.com/

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Carla/Ever%20Cat%20Fuels%2001.08%20Presentation.pdf copy of Mcgyan and Ever Cat Fuels presentation, my favorite slides are 28 and 29 which show the facility and talk about working with Isanti.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Re-election Announcement

We have made great progress in the City of Isanti since January 2007 and I am working hard to continue our success.

But, we must be honest and state the facts. Isanti faces perhaps the toughest two to three years in our history. We did not create the mortgage crisis, high gas prices, looming economic recession, failed developers leaving devastation in their wake and lower City revenues due to unpaid property taxes and utility fees.

We’ve turned a corner as a City, but it can slip away just as fast. I made a promise to do the best with my abilities to lead our City out of the mistakes of the past and into a brighter future. In a short period of time, we have succeeded better than any of us could have hoped. However, there is a lot of work to be done and our job will only be tougher.

The reforms put in place, tremendous commercial growth, along with the changes yet to come all hinge on continuing the plan we developed in January 2007. Signature projects such as Ever Cat Fuels and the newly announced Isanti Retail Meats in our Downtown business district along with fifteen plus new businesses and relocations are highlights of 2007. Other highlights in '07 include budget discipline, property tax cut, first real cut in City spending in modern history, fully funded new water treatment plant, new police lieutenant and patrol officer, dramatic decrease in crime, Long Term Financial Plan, developer fees that actual pay the cost of development, Council rules and procedures, nuisance ordinance reform and so on…

I promise to work each and everyday to make our goals a reality. To learn more about my record and agenda go to www.georgewimmer.com.

I humbly ask for your support this fall for another 2 years as the Mayor of Isanti.

School District Open Seat

The School District 911 is seeking applicants for the upcoming open seat. Here is a link to the County News story with details on how to apply.

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3189&Itemid=59

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day Celebration

Come and Enjoy an Earth Day Celebration

Cambridge Community College Food Court and Spirit River Nature Area

Saturday, April 26th, 2008, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Fun for kids and adults!
Admission: FREE
Program

10:15 – 10:45 Bird Walk with Bill Carlson and Brad Wold
10:15 – 10:45 Crow Walk For Kids with Rob Lininger
11:00-12:00 “Poison in Our Water?” by hydrologist Paul Wotzka
12:00 – 1:00 Live Music!
Ongoing Throughout The Day
¨ Booths on gardening, global warming,energy efficiency, and more
¨ Free vegetable and tree seedlings to first comers
¨ Activities for Kids
¨ Local greenhouses
¨ Environmental groups
¨ Free tours of the Russell Johnson Herbarium
¨ Door prizes
Sponsors
Isanti County Environmental Coalition, Active Living by Design, and
Anoka Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Campus
Questions?
Contact 763-689-5250
linblom825@hotmail.com
I will be there representing the City of Isanti.

David Meece Press Release

Alan & Louise Duff are pleased to announce that they are bringing Christian Music Hall of Famer, David Meece to Cambridge HS with a goal of raising $15,000.00+ for the Fish House. Isanti County, like much of America, faces a significant drug problem.

In Isanti County, we are fortunate to have an organization that is effectively taking addicts off the streets and helping them on to the road of recovery. This organization is called The Fish House, a ministry based in Cambridge that is committed to "Setting the Captives Free." Under Pastor Howard McCray's leadership, this organization has been a blessing to our regional area.

The David Meece concert will be at Cambridge-Isanti High School Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 26th at 7:00 PM and tickets can be purchased for $20 and $15 by calling (612) 747-5459. http://www.davidmeece.com/





Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Website

My website GeorgeWimmer.com has been redesigned. I hope the information is more accessible and the site itself will be easier to use. Any questions or comments please let me know. george@georgewimmer.com

School District Chair Resigns

The Cambridge/Isanti School District Chair has resigned effective after May 15th. The School Board will select a new Chair and will then interview applicants for the open seat. I hope qualified candidates from Isanti will apply.

There are 7 seats on the School Board and not one is occupied by a City of Isanti resident. Isanti hosts Isanti Primary School, Isanti Intermediate School, School For All Seasons, Isanti Middle School and the Minnesota Center. It is time for our City to have its voice heard in the School Boardroom.

Cambridge Star article

http://northstarmedia.net/star/STARHome/B49618EE-5334-4D9A-A9E5-C5A165C02FB9.html

Middle School Dance

A dedicated group of volunteers lead by Carla Duncan have taken it upon themselves to hold two dances in May to give our middle school children something fun and entertaining to do. I would like to thank Carla and the volunteers for taking up the challenge and providing the leadership for this wonderful community event. I believe in this idea so much I have volunteered to chaperon.

Middle School "Lock-In" Dances at the Isanti Arena
All area 6th, 7th, and 8th graders welcome!

Thursday: May 1, 2008 -- 5-8 pm.
Thursday: May 29, 2008 -- 5-8 pm.

Cost is $5.00
For more information, email Carla at IsantiDances@yahoo.com.

Exciting Summer of Business

At the April 22nd EDA meeting, I will be outlining my marketing plan for this summer of exciting business developments in Isanti. The new Tax Abatement Policy was our key initiative in April. The Revolving Loan Fund with take center stage for May and in June I will be declaring an Isanti Employers Week to highlight the 1200 plus jobs in our great City.

We will recognize the hard work and dedication of our employers and are planning to hold an event at City Hall and the adjoining 30 west Main property. This is the intended location of our new Isanti Retail Meats. This will be a meat and cheese market that will provide everything from rotisserie chickens, a variety of side dishes and catering.

This business will draw customers from miles around and will be a corner stone for the growing Downtown Business District.




This is a drawing of the proposed Isanti Retail Meats. The name custom will be replaced for the retail business. The Current Isanti Custom Meats will continue in operation at the current location but is planning a new facade.

Response to Ms. Mix Letter to the Star

Ms. Mix has been in an exchange of letters to the editor in the Cambridge Star on tax and spending issues. In her last letter she questions the Isanti pedestrian bridge and our stewardship of tax payer resources. Why she brought Isanti or our proposed bridge into a war of words with someone else, I do not know. I do believe it is important to answer such unfortunate statements. Here is the letter I wrote to the Star, but has of yet not been published.

*
*
*
*

I was sad to see Ms. Mix drag the pedestrian bridge over highway 65 into her arguments of wasteful spending. I would have hoped that if Ms. Mix has concerns about the pedestrian bridge she would take the time to meet with me. If this had been done she would know that the funding for this bridge does not compete with money for the building of roads. Even if all the federal and state formulas and laws were changed so all dollars flowed to road construction you might be able to eek out a mile or two of road for the total cost of the pedestrian bridge construction. Funding for the bridge will be 80% federal, 10% state and 10% local. The local match would come from our park and recreation dedication fund. This is a fund drawn from developer fees and by state law can not be used for anything other than new park and trail land or equipment and structures.

The pedestrian bridge is needed for the safety of everyone crossing and using the highway 65 and 5 intersection. This intersection was listed as the 8th worst by MnDot in the entire state for 2006. The bridge will provide a safe route over this dangerous area and will link the two sides of Isanti. The linkage is important because the majority of future growth and Isanti’s population will occur east of highway 65 in the next two decades. The 65 corridor through Isanti will be developed with commercial property adding even more traffic to this area. The more pedestrians using the bridge and not darting onto highway 65 traffic increases safety for everyone

The City of Isanti is planning for the future and securing right of way and funding when it is the most cost effective. We are also working with our local land owners and businesses to incorporate the bridge into the commercial growth. The bridge will be linking the east and west commercial properties. By planning this project now we will save money in the future. Often government is criticized for waiting to long and only reacting when a catastrophe occurs; now we are criticized for planning for the future and doing so when cost are at the lowest to the taxpayers. We can not wait until someone is killed crossing the highway to begin our discussions on safety.

I was also concerned by Ms. Mix’s implication that Isanti is not a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. Isanti has cut spending for the first time in our City’s modern history; we cut property taxes in a year that saw our share of the state’s local government aid slashed by 21%. We hired a new police officer in this very same year. We are doing much more with much less and will continue to do so as long as I am in office.

The benefits go beyond safety and helping commercial growth. The bridge will make greater physical activity possible. This bridge will be the only safe crossing over highway 65 in the entire region. When discussions of the bridge began, an affected property owner came in support of the bridge. His own family had been stricken with the loss of a family member trying to cross a highway like 65 and the child died. I have two children of my own; I know their lives and the lives of each Isanti resident are priceless.

The bridge will be linked by city trail and sidewalk and ultimately to trail linking Isanti and Cambridge and our three schools. Isanti and Isanti County are partners with Active Living by Design. A group of dedicated individuals that are trying to help build more active communities which will make us all healthier. They support the bridge, our school district, our Chamber of Commerce, our county, our state senator and representative support the bridge and numerous others. This is not a bridge to nowhere it is a bridge to a safe future.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rental Ordinance Open House Update

The open house was a great success. We had 100% approval of the Rental Ordinance. I would like to thank all that came tonight. CM Larson was the only other member of the Council that attended.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

County Comprehensive Plan Comments

The City Council commented on the County Comprehensive Plan tonight. This plan will be going to public hearing in a few short weeks.

I made three main comments. First I was concerned that the transportation plan was passed last year. The transportation plan was passed without knowing the land use and changes in density or commercial/ industrial changes. In short the transportation plan was past roughly a year before knowing what traffic would generated or where it would be generated.

The second main concern is the potential doubling of population density in the townships. Will there be a moratorium to give time to have new ordinances and planning in place before the changes take affect? Is there a plan to increase the services to these areas including police protection? Will this increased population lead to higher county taxes that we as City residents pay but do not receive the same benefit?

The commercial/industrial changes concern me because there appears to be a 180 from trying to concentrate economic growth in the municipalities as was the focus of past County Comprehensive plans. The Cities have made the costly investment in infrastructure and staff. Will this be undercut by allowing more diverse commercial/industrial growth in townships? Will there be appropriate infrastructure and environmental controls in place. Again will there be a moratorium and proper planning and police protection.

When growth happens in one of the municipalities we pay for the extra police or public works cost through City taxes. When it happens in the townships it is covered by county taxes. We pay both taxes in the City and will therefore be subsidizing any increased County cost. This is why it is of special concern that our comments be heard. I hope the balance will be struck between Township and City but I do not believe this current Comprehensive Plan achieves that balance.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A few facts about an Aquatic Center

There were several reported statements in the Star that I think need to be examined. One statement was that this will be decided by the people and not by elected officials. Well lets see.....the Council did not have a petition nor was there a single citizen that requested an aquatic community center by coming before the Council. It was two Council members that started this ball rolling. When money is spent for surveys or studies it will be the Council taking those actions. The final funding will be by referendum but thousands to tens of thousands of dollars will be spent long before that.

The next item that really worried me was the idea that the City of Isanti would place a sales tax on our growing business community to fund this project. I have been working as hard as possible to bring in new businesses and to help our current businesses expand. This will grow our tax base and yet I will now face questions from these prospects once the word is out that Isanti might look at a sales tax.

We just finished a difficult round of Union negotiations and will be facing tough budgets for the next few years. This project by the supporters own words is years and perhaps decades away. Why is this being pushed now? Why when we face so much economic uncertainty and we are asking to do more with less; is this what we are spending time on.

Yes this is a wonderful concept and I would love to take my kids just down the road to play but it is not realistic for this type of facility in a community of our size. Facts are stubborn things I know but we can not simply wish them away.

I do not want this to become a fight on the Council but someone has to explain the true cost to our City. A cost that on the low end is a 30% tax increase to over 50% increase on the high end. Does anyone think this is realistic? Does anyone think a sales tax would be good for our City and if one were even possible that it would end with one project?

I am once again frustrated that we are spending resources on this when agreed upon Council priorities and other assignments are not being fulfilled. I am simply at a loss to explain it.

*
*
*
*
OK I just read the County News story and it added another statement I never heard before. This was somehow the Isanti EDA that started the ball rolling on an aquatics center. I have been on the Isanti EdA the last 16 months and this was never brought up as an item to start pursuing. We did discuss the benefit of a library.
We have had several great businesses start on Main Street in the last 6-12 months and we will have another great one, Isanti Retail Meats which is a spin off of Isanti Custom Meats. This will be a retail business selling meat, cheeses and all sorts of great things like salads and rotisserie chickens. They will also have a catering arm. This project started last year when former Chamber President Jaysen Guthmueller and I were visiting with the Owner of Isanti Custom Meats. This project was then worked on by city staff and myself. We have now gotten to a point that it will be a reality. Nearly a year but that is how long it takes and how long you have to work on many of these projects, especially in a downtown. They plan to be open by the start of October.
I mention this because it was the hard grinding work that the ICP, City Staff and I have done over the last year to develop downtown. It was of course first and foremost the individual business owners that take that first great leap and their hard work. We are full filling the direction of the Council and City as a whole....please do not mix an aquatic center with this...please do not mix property tax hikes and sales taxes that will kill business with this....
The tax abatement and RLF that I and have pushed for that the ICP helped build and Staff and I made work and passed through Council will help make the Meat Market a reality.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Rental Ordinance Open House

The City of Isanti will host an open house concerning a possible Rental Ordinance. The Rental Ordinance is meant to regulate residential rental properties within the city. City staff will have copies of the draft ordinance and maintenance agreement available.

Staff will be available to take public comment and discussion during the open house.The Open House will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, in the city of Isanti Council Chambers. For more questions, please check the city’s website at http://www.cityofisanti.us/ or contact Carla Vita at 763-444-5512 or cvita@cityofisanti.us.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Fling Video

The Isanti County News has a short video on their site of the Spring Fling including Guitar Hero contest betwen Outgoing President Jaysen and me.

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3096&Itemid=32

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

WATER MAIN FLUSHING



STARTS APRIL 21st
City of Isanti Announcement

NOTICE: The flushing of the water mains may not follow the exact schedule as provided – the City will update daily any schedule changes.

The City will begin flushing its water mains on April 21st. The following schedule is being provided for your convenience as to when the flushing of water mains will occur in your neighborhood. If you live in or near an area that is being flushed, your water may have some discoloration for a short period of time. You should avoid doing laundry at this time or running your water, as this can bring discolored water directly into your home’s pipes. Run your tap after the flushing and it should clear up.

A map is attached that provides area locations. (at www.cityofisanti.us)

AREA 1 – Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday - April 21st, 22nd, & 23rd
- Community Pride Bank
- Landmark Community Bank
- Lake State Federal Credit Union
- Isanti Intermediate School
- Sun Prairie Subdivision
- Fairway Greens Subdivisions
- Dual Boulevard – east and west
- Dual Industrial Park
- Centennial Industrial Park
- Dahlin Avenue
- Norman’s Acres Subdivision
- Credit Union Drive
- East Broadway Street
- Railroad Avenue
- Palomino Acres Subdivision
- Palomino Ridge Subdivision
- Demings Subdivision


AREA 2 – Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday – April 23rd, 24th, & 25th
- Isanti Primary School
- Isanti Fire & Police Department
- Unity Industrial Park
- Unity Avenue
- Whisper Ridge Subdivisions
- Villages on the Rum Subdivisions



AREA 3 - Thursday & Friday – April 24th & 25th
- Isanti Middle School
- Catholic Church
- Original Townsite Subdivision
- Creekside Townhomes
- North & South Brookview Lane
- The following Subdivisons:
o Dahlquist’s
o Johnson’s
o Carlson’s Westview
o Mattson’s Additions
o Hillock Court
o Brookview Court
o Rosewood on Main
o Isanti Hills Subdivisions between Marion and Birch Streets

AREA 4 – Monday & Tuesday - April 28th & 29th
- Isanti Hills Subdivsions between Birch and Dogwood Streets
- Rum River Meadows Subdivisions
- Isanti Meadows Subdivision
- Isanti Trails
- South Park
- Deer Haven Subdivision


AREA 5 – Tuesday & Wednesday – April 29th & 30th
- Rum River Meadows Subdivisions
For any changes or updates to this schedule please go to http://www.cityofisanti.us/

Rental Ordinance Open House

The City of Isanti will host an open house concerning a possible Rental Ordinance. The Rental Ordinance is meant to regulate residential rental properties within the city. City staff will have copies of the draft ordinance and maintenance agreement available. Staff will be available to take public comment and discussion during the open house.

The Open House will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, in the city of Isanti Council Chambers. For more questions, please check the city’s website at http://www.cityofisanti.us/ or contact Carla Vita at 763-444-5512 or cvita@cityofisanti.us.

Monday, April 07, 2008

CM Duff running for 3rd District Commisioner Seat

Council Member Duff has just announced his candidacy for the 3rd District Commissioner seat. You will find his announcement at the Isanti County News site. That makes three known candidates.

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3067&Itemid=1

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Chamber Spring Fling

It was close but I managed a win over Jaysen
*
*
The Chamber Spring Fling was a great success. I look forward to working with John Bettendorf as the new Chamber President. He owns and operates the Isanti Hardware Hank.

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Spring 2008 Isantian Article

I would like to welcome you to your new Isantian. The City of Isanti has been striving to improve communication with our Citizens and Taxpayers. In this effort we first reformed our City website, http://www.cityofisanti.us/, last fall. The new website not only provides a wealth of information to residents and visitors but has been a boon for economic development. Improved communication at all levels of government is critically important to our success as a City. I wanted to make sure our City quarterly news letter would be a part of this communication renaissance.

The Isantian has always provided good information to our Citizens and Taxpayers but has cost the City too much staff time and equipment wear and tear. City staff would compile, edit and copy the issues using the City Hall’s copy machine. The black and white Isantian would then be mailed out. I wanted to reshape the Isantian into an eye catching news letter since it does not matter how good the information is inside if no one takes the time to open it. The Isantian is now professional published in brilliant color to attract more readers. Now another main goal of mine is to be fiscally disciplined. We were able to accomplish the improved Isantian and save valuable staff time and money by selling advertisements. This allows us to showcase an excellent marriage of lower cost to our Taxpayers and yet provide a superior service.

I have received many questions about our exciting revolutionary technology driven Ever Cat Fuels bio-diesel project. To learn more please go to http://www.cityofisanti.us/ under press releases to view the Ever Cat Fuels Power Point presentation. With state media, the state legislature and Congress now jumping on board I thought it would be a good time to cover a few items. This project was a great nexus of Landmark Bank, Ever Cat Fuels and the City of Isanti. Kevin Johnson of Landmark Bank brought the project to our attention in March of 2007 and is the foundation of Ever Cat Fuel’s interest in our great City. City Staff, Landmark’s staff and I spent hundreds of hours working on making it a reality with numerous trips to the testing and small scale production facility, working with state wide agencies, funding institutions, answering local concerns and guiding the project through City committees and the Council.

Not only will we gain excellent paying jobs but Isanti will be put on the green technology map and will bring in thousands of visitors to the demonstration plant as the technology is replicated throughout the country and beyond. Seeing the technology in production I can confidently say there is no adverse smell or noise and there is no water usage in the process. My space is limited here so I hope if you have any questions you will contact me at george@georgewimmer.com or call me 763-444-7158.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April 1st 2008 Council Update

I wanted to discuss a few items from tonight’s Council agenda. Yes a Council meeting on April Fools day is ripe for more jokes than we could ever have time to tell.

The first item I want to discuss is the abatement policy we passed tonight. This an economic development tool I have wanted and the City has needed for quite some time. The situation Isanti faces with the cost of the development of the east side of 65 and roughly $6,500,000 in debt the City incurred needs to be paid through development. This is especially true of commercial development. I did not agree with the way the city built this infrastructure and believed then as I do now that the developer should have paid the way. We are however in the situation and as I have been quoting about this…sometimes you make the right decision and sometimes you make the decision right. My job as Mayor is to make the City’s past decisions right. This can only be done by developing our commercial property or raising taxes on individual home owners drastically …and regular readers of this blog know I will never do that.

I have written and spoken about Tax Abatement often and believe it will be an integral part of attracting a hotel/motel project to Isanti. I had asked last year that the Isanti City Partnership, which is a group, composed of Chamber of Commerce and EDA members, to make a Tax Abatement policy a priority. Several members of the ICP worked out a draft proposal that was then refined by city staff and me. We then brought this before the EDA with our changes and additions and received approval. Tonight the Council voted unanimously to support this policy. A quick example of how it will work is that a hotel project is built with a tax assessment of $60,000. The former empty lot paid $1,000. A hotel that scores high in the tax abatement policy would be eligible for an abatement of 50% of taxes or $30,000 in this example. This is a refund so the taxes have to be paid first, the empty lot that was paying $1,000 in now generating a net total of $30,000 in this example. The policy is for 5 years and steps down 10% per year so 2nd year 40%, 3rd year 30%, 4th year 20%, 5th year 10% and by the 6th year the total taxable amount is paid with no refund. It is not a silver bullet but does help considerably for those businesses that will be paying a significant amount in taxes. The tax abatement grading matrix our Community Development Director (CDD) and I developed from the original concept takes into account the follow criteria:

· Amount of jobs and wages paid
· Type of business
· Environmental and City services needed
· Tax base creation
· EDA priority businesses
· Location

The CDD and I ran this policy through many example situations to refine the process. We worked very hard on this policy and I would like to thank all those that participated along the way. This by the way is also a boon for the County and the school district which is facing tough economic times. The more business tax base we can develop the better it is for everyone.


This will be the first of two important economic tools the Council will be reviewing. The other economic development tool is the Revolving Loan Fund. I had asked the ICP, EDA and then the Council to support a RLF to help current and new businesses with low interest loans. Staff and I are currently reviewing the draft proposal from the ICP and will have this item ready for the EDA meeting at the end of April and then before the Council in May. I will keep you informed as we progress.

The City of Isanti has created a process to monitor homes going into foreclosure or are already in foreclosure. This is a difficult situation for everyone involved. Isanti has at this time 68 homes in foreclosure. Our interest is to maintain property values and protect our citizens from the adverse affects of this blight on our City, state and country. The mortgage crisis has not ended and unfortunately we will be facing more of these situations in the months to come. We believed it was incumbent upon us as City official to protect the interest of the City as a whole. This will mean making sure that homes that are empty are tracked so they do not become targets of vandals or target as party houses. This means in some instances that water or other services are cut off to avoid damage to an empty home. We are also looking at contracting the extra yard maintenance to keep City cost down as we are maintaining these properties. We will be charging for this service but will not get paid until the home sells at some future date. By contracting this service we save money and will be able to respond quicker to yards that become overgrown. The contracting option will be before the Council in the next month. We have just begun this process and will learn as we go but we are dedicated to keeping the City as a whole moving forward.

The last item I want to touch on is the City Administrator contract. We renewed our City Administrator’s contract with 3% pay increase which is exactly the same as our Public Works employees, non-union employees and the proposal before our Police Union. We are lucky to have an excellent City Administrator working for our City but we as a Council also have to live with the means of the City budget.