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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mayor's Great Yard Award

I am happy to announce the 2nd annual "Mayor's Great Yard Award". This award recognizes the hard work, dedication, and creativity of our residents in maintaining a beautiful City. Landmark Bank will continue to show its commitment, with over 100 years of community involvement, by financing the 1st place award. Isanti Hardware Hank will be funding 2nd place and Northland Landscaping funding 3rd place.

The awards are open to all Isanti City residents. Nominations will be accepted through Park and Recreation staff, Lisa Krause, who can be contacted at lkrause@ci.isanti.mn.us or by mail or drop off at Isanti City Hall, 110 First Ave N, PO Box 428, Isanti, MN 55040. You may nominate yourself or any property within Isanti city limits. The Park and Recreation board will judge all entries and make recommendations to the Mayor for award winners. Awards will be presented for June, July and August. You may not win consecutive awards. All Park and Recreation board members as well as city staff and their immediate family members are not eligible.

1st place winner receives $100 and Mayoral Proclamation
2nd place winner receives $50 and Mayoral Proclamation
3rd place winner receives $25 and Mayoral Proclamation

All nominations must be received by 4:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. The awards will be presented by the Mayor at the following Council meeting.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mattson Park Build

The Mattson Park build will start at 8am on Thursday May 29th. Anyone interested in helping let me know.

George@GeorgeWimmer.com

Thursday, May 22, 2008

City of Isanti Mayor's Employer Celebration

I have declared the Week of June 8th as Isanti Employers Week. We will be celebrating on June 11th with a BBQ picnic. All City Employers and their Employees have been invited so we may thank them. We also plan to highlight a few facts such as there are 1466 jobs in the City of Isanti and give awards for Employer anniversaries. Following is a copy of the invitation.
You and Your Employees
Are Cordially
Invited to the

First Annual City of Isanti Mayor’s Employer Celebration

This event is to celebrate the Isanti Employer! A gratis picnic lunch will be provided following a ceremony commemorating Isanti businesses with milestone Isanti anniversaries.

Location of Event: 30 West Main Street (across the street from the Creamery)
Date of Event: June 11, 2008 starting at 11:30am

Please RSVP by May 30, 2008 to Carla Vita at cvita@cityofisanti.us or 763.444.5512. RSVP is mandatory in order for us to have an accurate count for food.

We look forward to your attendance!

Council Update May 20th

A couple items from the past Council meeting I would like to discuss. The first item is the Water Treatment Plant. We have asked the Public Works Committee to revisit the construction engineering cost. It looks as though we will be able to have this work done for roughly $50,000 to $100,000 less than anticipated. The delay is only two weeks in the multiple year process. Seems to be a pretty good bargain. CM Johnson and Duff will be working on this and will report back to the Council at our next meeting June 3rd.

I serve on the Personnel and Finance Committee and we have been busy looking for ways to save cost and cut the budget in the face of unpaid property taxes. We have lowered our health care cost by $4,885.16 per month or $58,621 per year by changing providers. The level of service remains the same and I would like to thank both our Police and Public Works Unions for their consent.

The next item was a bit tougher. We cut a total of $291,984 from the 2008 budget in anticipation of lower property tax collection. This is a one time fix to fill a revenue hole. If our tax collection is higher than anticipated than we will back fill in some of these items. We have a very tight budget to begin with so the items cut will need to be addressed in the 2009 budget process. This means if we stay in the current economic situation then hard decisions will have to be made. There are three main areas in the budget: staffing, projects and fund reserves. all three will have to be addressed in the 2009 budget process that we are currently working on.

I will put together a budget that lives within our means without raising taxes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pat's Small Engines

I took a tour of Pat's Small Engines today.

http://www.psep2.biz/

http://www.psep.biz/

They have a couple of websites that highlight the services of this exceptional company. This is one of the many businesses that came to or relocated in Isanti in 2007. I was quite impressed by their operation and personnel. The businesses of Isanti, the entrepreneurs of our community are what really make us a strong Community for Generations. Check them out or any of our amazing businesses.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Isanti Rodeo/Jubilee Days Parade

The Isanti Rodeo/Jubilee Days parade will be Wednesday July 9th at 6:30. Line-up is at 5pm.


Anyone interested in walking with us please email me with your t-shirt size. George@GeorgeWimmer.com You will be given a George Wimmer Mayor t-shirt to wear. The more the merrier. It is a lot of fun and this year we will be up front. Go to http://www.georgewimmer.com/volunteer.html for other ways to help us win this fall. Any questions please let me know.

Blue Bird Park Tree Planting

Alexander and Abigail helping Dad Plant trees.


A large group of volunteers showed up to help us plant another group of trees in our award winning Blue Bird Park. I want to thank everyone that came out to help.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

City Letter of Concerns Re: County Comp Plan

Following is a memo from the City of Isanti to the County Planning Commission regarding our concerns with the County Comprehensive Plan. I thought it was important for the public to understand our concerns as the County Comprehensive Plan is nearing completion.

MEMO

To: Tim Anderson, Zoning Administrator
County of Isanti Planning Commission

From: City of Isanti Planning Commission
City of Isanti City Council

CC: Mayor Wimmer, Members of the City Council, Members of the Planning Commission, City Administrator Lorsung, Assistant City Administrator Bauer, Community Development Director Vita

Thru: Lisa M. Krause, City Planner, AICP

Date: April 16, 2008

Subject: Isanti County Comprehensive Plan


The City of Isanti has received notification that the Isanti County Planning Commission will begin review of the Draft Isanti County Comprehensive Plan in a public hearing to be held on May 8th, 2008. The City of Isanti Planning Commission and City Council have met to review and discuss the proposed plan. By consensus, the Planning Commission and the City Council have the following comments on the proposed Isanti County Comprehensive Plan:

1. In review of the proposed plan, the charts and graphs; which are the basis for the plan utilize data and/or statistics that were collected in 2000-2002. Isanti County has seen considerable growth and development since this information had been collected. The data provided within the plan no longer provides an accurate representation of the County. The County should consider and obtain more up-to-date data from other sources, which will accurately reflect the changes that have taken place within the County.

2. The plan is lacking a Vision Statement. The Vision Statement defines who are we as a County and concisely conveys the direction in which we want to go in the future. Such a statement defines the purpose and values that the County holds dear or aims to achieve. This statement will also further clarify what we as a County represent; the beliefs that are held by the County about how growth and development will be accomplished in the years to come. The Vision Statement is a powerful communication tool, which inspires a common “vision” of the future for residents and business owners located in or looking to come to Isanti County.

3. The preservation of the County’s natural amenities was deemed as one of the most important goals to the residents of the County. However, the plan lacks any detail on how this will be accomplished. The plan should include a component that focuses on the natural resources and amenities that are located throughout the County and provide measures for the conservation of these resources.

4. The plan focuses on Isanti County’s transition from agricultural to rural. One should keep in mind that Isanti County is considered an exurban area of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. As the metropolitan area continues to grow, the dynamics and context of Isanti County will continue to grow and change as well. The plan should reflect upon these types of changes and provide measures for how the County will adapt to those changes in the years to come.

5. The process in which the plan was developed is rather disjointed. The Land Use portion of the plan has been drafted after the adoption of the Transportation Plan. The Land Use plan has proposed increased residential densities as well as the expansion of commercial and industrial properties within rural service centers and throughout the County as a whole. Planning for differing types of land uses cannot occur in a box. Transportation and land use are intertwined, one has to question whether the transportation plan that was previously adopted, will be able to support the land uses and the density ranges that have been proposed within the land use portion.

6. The County has taken a very different stance on commercial and industrial development within the proposed plan, than it has in the past. In the previous plan, the County felt the need to capitalize on the existing urban infrastructure systems that were provided near the cities. However, in the proposed draft, the County is looking to permit a wider range of commercial and industrial development within rural service areas within the townships as well as within pockets surrounding “major” intersections. This type of development raises a few questions, to include: (a) Will infrastructure issues arise and is the County financial prepared to remedy those situations? And, (b) Will the County enact ordinances ensuring that economic development within these areas can be adequately supported by County services?

7. Upon adoption of the Comprehensive Plan, will the County enact a moratorium on development, to ensure that the necessary ordinances have been adopted that reflect the goals and objects outlined within the Plan. The County has spent a great deal of time preparing this plan, one would think that the County would want to have the necessary rules and regulations in place that will guide development in the direction that has been defined within the plan.

8. As previously mentioned, the plan calls for increased residential densities and additional locations for commercial/industrial development. With increased residential, commercial, and industrial development; there will be a higher demand for County services; to include, infrastructure, police and fire protection, etc. When growth and development occur within the County, everyone pays.

City residents and businesses pay taxes to both the City and the County. Those living within the County, pay taxes only to the County. The residents of the City of Isanti will want to know what the County is willing to give to support the type of growth being proposed. The County needs to ensure that those individuals living within City limits are not unduly burdened and required to pay for the additional growth and development of the overall County. The County must be able to ensure that it is able to pay, its own way, for the additional growth and development that has been proposed.

9. Overall, many of the concerns expressed by both the City of Isanti Planning Commission and City Council, center around the concept of Smart Growth. This has been a major topic of conversation at many of the Citizen Advisory Committee Meetings. Smart Growth is based upon a number of clearly defined principles and objectives; many of which focus on the preservation and enhancement of natural resources and the continued conservation of land; the equal distribution of the costs and benefits associated with growth and development; the provision of housing, employment, and transportation options that are provided in a fiscally responsible manner; the greater share of regional growth focused around urbanized areas or those areas were infrastructure has already been constructed to support additional growth and development; and the value of long-term, regional sustainability that results from the collaboration of adjacent governmental units in the planning process. The City of Isanti is concerned that some of the land use proposals presented by the Citizen Advisory Committee, not only go against these principles, but may have a negative effect upon the cities and the region as development is encouraged throughout more rural areas.

The City of Isanti Planning Commission and City Council would like to thank the Isanti County Planning Commission for considering their comments and concerns regarding the proposed Isanti County Comprehensive Plan. If the Commission has questions or concerns surrounding any of the comments provided within this memo, please contact Isanti City Hall at (763) 444-5512.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Website and Email Hosting Change

My website and email hosting are being moved to another service provider. My email address george@georgewimmer.com and website www.georgewimmer.com will remain the same. I ask for your patience if there are any issues during this process. We hope everything will be transferred successfully by the end of the weekend. If you have sent me an email that has gone unanswered in the last 24 hours please resend this Monday. Again I apologize for any issues.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

May 6th Council Meeting

Tonight was a momentous evening for the City of Isanti.

I informed the Council that I am declaring the week of June 8th Isanti Employer Week. I will be rolling this out more as we get closer. I believe it is important to pay tribute to our employers as well as educate our community that we have over 1400 people employed in the City of Isanti. Some may look around and see a quite town; I look around and see a bustling energetic City bursting with exciting opportunities.

I was happy to announce that the Economic Development Association of Minnesota has awarded its coveted Business Recruitment prize to the City of Isanti. This year’s competition was fierce as 2-3 times the normal amount of submissions were received. We used the Ever Cat Fuels project as our example of Isanti’s new business recruitment process. We have worked very hard in the last 16 months to make Isanti stand out among other communities. This award is an independent acknowledgement that we are on the right track.

I was honored tonight to show Isanti Police Officer Rod Barrows our appreciation for his bravery and skill in the line of duty. On November 17th 2007 Officer Barrows confronted a felony suspect who was holding a handgun and had just threatened a citizen’s life. Officer Barrows was able to arrest the individual without further incident. We often hear about the negative outcomes of such incidents but rarely hear anything when our police officers excel. The Minnesota Chief’s Association awarded Officer Barrows the Medal of Honor for his outstanding work.

The Council finalized the plans to handle nuisance and foreclosed properties in the City. We had an in depth discussion. I wanted the City to outsource the mowing of yards because it cost us less. The example of cost given by staff was the outsourcing would cost the City $30 per lawn and if done by part time City workers it would be $55 or as much as $78 if done by full time employees. This seemed to be a clear financial decision. Some made the argument that if we outsourced it then we would have to pay immediately. I once again pointed out that we pay our City staff to do the work therefore there is no difference in time paying the bill if we handle in house or outsource the work. The City will get reimbursed either way when the property taxes are paid as the unpaid cost will be assessed to the tax rolls. There was a “guarantee” that public works will be much quicker this year than they were last year in taking care of these properties. I hope that will be the case. I was out voted 4-1 on this matter so there will be no outsourcing of this service. It is unfortunate since the cost will be much higher. We must maintain the property values of the entire City and not allow the cancer of nuisance properties to devastate neighborhoods. Once an area or city starts the downward slide it is extremely difficult and costly to rehabilitate.

The Council passed the rental ordinance on a 5-0 vote. We have worked on this ordinance for the last year. We have taken a great deal of time to fully consider this ordinance. I believe it will help ensure a strong community for generations to come. I want to thank all those that have worked on this project.

We passed the Revolving Loan Fund. This is yet another financial tool that will help us attract more new businesses and help existing businesses to expand. Our future success lies in diversifying the tax base with more commercial properties.

I wanted to end this posting with an item I actually updated the Council on at the beginning of the meeting. We are projecting a revenue deficit of $280,000. This represents about 8% of our total budget. I serve on the Finance Committee and it will be our job in the next week to start putting together a list of actions to balance our budget. These actions will be presented to the Council at our May 20th meeting. The majority of this deficit is due to unpaid property taxes. 4 of our top ten tax payers have not paid their taxes. 3 of these are land developers. The total owed by these top 4 is about $260,000. If they all had paid their 2007 taxes we would not have this issue.

The chickens have come home to roost after the housing bubble burst. Many communities are going through the exact same issues we are. Rapid Residential Development is never a good thing. We must work our way through this and make sure we never face these issues again. We will be looking at several different areas to help balance our budget. These include current City staffing levels, major City projects and fund balances. It is important we act now because the fiscal issue will only be tougher as we face 2009.

No matter how dark this may appear our future is bright. The businesses we have been attracting and continue to attract will be hitting the tax rolls in the years to come. As we rely less on residential taxes to fund City operations the better it is for everyone. We need to work our Long Term Financial Plan that we started in 2007 and keep building our commercial tax base.

Friday, May 02, 2008

No Name Calling Contest

Grand Prize Winner

All 4 Winners


I was happy to fund and present the grand prize for the No Name Calling contest at the Isanti Middle School, Minnesota Center. This is a project that Ms. Sparrow and school staff have been working on for some time. Jill Reller of Reller Signs and Debbie Bray of Embroidery & Ink donated the sign and clothing items with the grand prize winner's design. Community Pride Bank and the Rotary Club donated the money for the 1st through 3rd prizes.

I challenged the students to live the message. It is up to each of them to take the message to heart and make it a reality.