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, August 28, 2008

Teacher and Staff Appreciation Day

The last 2 days have been filled welcoming back and thanking our wonderful teachers and staff. I had the honor of speaking at the official welcome back to District teachers and staff Wednesday morning at the High School in Cambridge.


Today at Community Pride Bank's welcome back lunch for Isanti teachers and staff I presented our 3 school principals with Mayoral Proclamations. I would like to thank Community Pride Bank for hosting an amazing thank you to our hard working teachers and staff.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Isanti Redbirds

The Isanti Redbirds, our great hometown team, continue their great run.

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4156&Itemid=1

Their website:

http://hometeamsonline.com/teams/?u=ISANTIREDBIRDS&t=c&s=baseball&p=home

We are all so proud of their hard work.

My Record

My Record

Economic Reform
  • I created the Finance Committee to work on our fiscal issues.
  • My budget for 2008 reduced spending for the first time in Isanti's modern history, allowing us to cut property taxes.
  • Proposed and passed a Long Term Financial Plan to guide Isanti's fiscal decisions.
  • Passed in 2007, the City Council will now know the full impact of their spending decisions in each budget year.
  • We passed development fees in 2007 that will for the first time make development pay for itself. No longer will residents of Isanti subsidize development through taxes and fees.
  • We passed a Tax Abatement and a Revolving Loan Fund to help spur more commercial growth.
  • Over 300 new jobs since my swearing in, a 29% increase in job growth.
  • Chamber of Commerce President and I meet with City businesses to thank them for their hard work and dedication to Isanti. We also listen to any concerns or questions. Our personal visits have retained businesses in Isanti and helped foster several business expansions.
  • In 2007 we had 15 new and relocated businesses in Isanti.
  • Employer Recognition Awards to propmote Isanti businesses.
  • The last 18 months has seen great commercial growth in Downtown Isanti with new businesses, relocations and the planned Isanti Retail Meats. This will be a meat and cheese market that will also provide everything from rotisserie chickens, all kinds of side dishes and catering. Isanti Custom Meats will continue to operate in their current location. Isanti Retail Meats planned for 30 West Main St.
  • Our hard work is paying off with the locating of the revolutionary/green technology company Ever Cat Fuels in Isanti. This company will provide high paying jobs, greater business travel, increase the tax base and help solve our nations energy crisis.

  • Responsible City Government
  • Proposed and passed the first codified rules and procedures for the City Council, Boards and Commissions.
  • My Development Impact List was put into full force. This tool provides the Planning Commission and Council an itemized list of the complete impact of each development. For the first time true cost can be assessed to a project.
  • We passed a new Comprehensive Plan that is no longer tied to a specific time frame but to the growth of our population. We have set the future land uses and borders of a fully developed City. This allows us to plan our future instead of reacting to others.
  • I created the Mayor's Great Yard Award to thank those that do an outstanding job creating and maintaining their yards. The top three each month receive a certificate and cash reward.
  • I have made protecting our distinct and historic Isanti neighborhoods a priority. We must be flexible enough in our planning and road improvements so as not to destroy our history and city character.
  • Improving City communications with our Citizens and Taxpayers is critical to our success. We have created a new City website as an economic development tool. Our City website also has all the information I intended for my Residential Handbook in the Resident section. The newly redesigned Isantian is in full color and through our innovation of selling ads we are able to lower the cost and increase the value to our Citizens and Taxpayers.
  • We have started the Board and Commission reforms by having the Council directly interviewing and selecting the members.

  • Citizen Safety
  • We have been working on a water treatment plant to eliminate the high levels of cancer causing radium. The planning and design are complete and the construction is scheduled to be finished in 2009. An added benefit will be the tremendous reduction of the iron and manganese in our water which causes the hardness and discoloration.
  • We have improved policing with the purchase of an integrated communication system so our officers are able to access information on the County and State levels.
  • We hired a Police Lt and Patrol Officer position.
  • We replaced a high maintenance squad car with a new one that is less costly to maintain and more fuel efficient.
  • Crime rates went down in 2007.
  • Our pedestrian bridge project crossing Hwy 65 has received Federal and State support. The intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 65 is the 8th worse in Minnesota as disclosed by MnDot. This pedestrian bridge will link the east and west side of Isanti's Hwy 65 commercial districts. This landmark will distinguish us from all other cities along this busy state highway.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Email Updates

If you want email updates for the blog email me at George@georgewimmer.com

You will be added to the confidential email update list.

September 9th Primary

The September 9th primary will play a critical role in City politics. The primary will reduce the Council contenders from 5 to 4 and more dramatically the field of 5 Commissioner candidates to 2. Turnout will be the name of the game so I thought I would pass on a few stats:

Minnesota had a 78% turnout in the last presidential election year in 2004. This is a great rate which we will most likely beat this year. Primaries however are a bit more lackluster. When only a U.S. Senate race is in contention and no governors race on the primary ballot the turnout is just 17%.

In 2004 Commissioner Pagel received 1206 out of 1594 total votes cast in Isanti and 1487 out of 1904 in Bradford in an uncontested race.

The area has grown considerably in the past 4 years and the City of Isanti total vote share has increased. But if we simply extrapolate the 2004 numbers and take 17% of the total votes cast we end up with only 595 votes deciding the primary. Each voter will be asked to vote for 1 candidate in the Commissioner race in the primary and 2 in the Council race. Each candidate will have to work hard to get their voters to the polls. I hope this energizes the district into greater voter turnout as our Citizens takes a look at each candidate and what they have to offer.

Our participatory democracy only works if we participate by knowing the issues, candidate history, candidate positions and then go vote.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Letters of Credit

The City is drawing letters of credit for numerous Iverson developments to fix the many Minnesota Pollution Control issues along with unfinished projects. We have met with the banks involved and paraphrasing one bank official 'every dollar they have to spend is a dollar they lost on backing the developer'.

This is a situation none of the banks involved wanted to be in but they have all now complied with their agreements. The failing infrastructure will be fixed and projects like the paving of 3rd by the Soccer Fields can finally move forward.

I hope this will be the final page of a sad chapter in Isanti's history.

John Bettendorf

Last night at our Council meeting I read my letter of support of John Bettendorf's nomination for Young Retailer of the Year - which he won. John has brought great honor to the City of Isanti through his hard work and dedication to our community. Following is the text of the letter.

I have had the pleasure of knowing John Bettendorf over the past several years. John’s hard work and dedication to the City of Isanti has made our city stronger. His commitment to the business community as exemplified by his leadership in the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce and the Isanti City Partnership has shown how a young and innovative individual can lift the aspiration of us all. The Isanti City Partnership is a group of city and business leaders that promotes economic development in our community. John brings an energy and knowledge base to each meeting that has helped guide us to ever greater achievements. His leadership within the Chamber of Commerce makes him a natural to take the helm as President in April 2008.

A hardware store in a City of 5,000 is a critical asset. I am in awe of John’s dedication to making the Isanti Hardware Hank a cornerstone of our community. He has improved the service level and product base which has improved not only his reputation but that of our City. John’s dedication to Isanti has shown through with all the time, energy and materials he has donated to community causes. He gives freely of his MC and DJ services at community events, donated paint to our volunteer Community Center remodeling and is taking the lead on a project to improve our downtown even though his own business is not located there. In the few short years John has owned the Hardware Hank he has left and indelible mark upon Isanti and shown how an excellent corporate citizen should behave.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Campaign Update August 19th

Was out last night for a short bit and the reception was once again strong. Continuing to try to catch up with sign request. I want to thank everyone that has asked for a lawn sign. It helps a great deal to hear from supporters. I have been trying to use as much of my time working on the City budget, recruiting businesses and dealing with residential developer aftermath. It is a balancing act to spend as much time as possible on City business and still run an effective campaign.

I had a comment passed on to me about nuisance ordinance. The person had thought it was a close vote that passed last year. It was a 5-0 vote to pass the nuisance ordinance changes that went into affect.

I am hoping to hear soon when the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding their candidate forum. I look forward to see what format this will take.

The next few days after tonight's Council meeting will be dedicated to door knocking. Hope to see you out on the campaign trail.

I will be posting on the details of our Agenda for the Future over the next two months. We have a lot of great things to talk about as we set the course for our future together.

For those worried about future letters to the editor from our opponents, nothing to worry about. Each time our campaign is attacked the readership of the website and blog skyrocket. The more attention that we get even from a divisive letter to the editor helps get our positions out. The best example of this is when Mr. Iverson asked the Council in 2005 to "investigate" my blog. Readership went from only a dozen per week to hundreds. When CM Johnson wrote his letter to the editor at the end of the 2006 Mayoral campaign attacking me, readership again hit another new level and brought in more request for my email updates.

It is like manna from heaven each time they raise the profile of our Campaign. The newspapers reach thousands of readers per issue. Each time we are attacked residents Google my name to find out who this terrible "guy" is and then they reach the website and blog and start reading the history of the last few years. This then generates more supporters. I will defend myself when attacked but anything that continues to generate interest in the election is only good for our campaign.

Many candidates will have many letters written for and against them. In our little piece of the world we are looking at a Presidential, US Senate, US Representative, State Representative, County Commissioner, School Board, City Council and our Mayor's race. The local papers have these along with races in other districts to contend with. There will be much printed and at some point, if not already pasted, voters will be hit with so much clutter very little will be absorbed.

And for all of us candidates - I am reminded of a comment made by an Anoka Commissioner - paraphrasing he said an election tells you exactly how many people don't like you... it is a piece of humility I try to remember....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Council Audio

We now have the Council Audio on the City website. You may listen directly or download the audio. http://www.cityofisanti.us/govern_citycouncil_audio.php

I would love to see the whole City at a Council meeting but we generally only see those that have direct business attend a City Council meeting. I think it is especially important for the good Citizens of Isanti that may not believe what I write here to attend or listen to the audio. One more step in making City Hall more transparent to ones that pay for it.

The local papers try to cover all the main issues at a Council meeting but two problems with that, one you may not agree what is an important issue and two, each paper only has so much space for Council meeting stories.

Check it out, it is not a Hollywood production but it does bring local government one step closer to you.

Last Budget Work Session

Tuesday will be our last budget work session. The Council will then take up the budget at the first Council meeting in September. I will then detail the changes and cuts that will be needed to full fill the next two years of our fiscal goals.

The budget we are putting together for 2009 will need to be another series of spending cuts so the fund balances can be reserved for the 2010 budget. The dramatically reduced property tax collections especially from foreclosed developer property has caused significant harm to Isanti. The trap we have to not fall into is raising taxes on those that are actually paying their taxes to make up for the ones that are not.

We have an opportunity to continue the great work we did last year to keep Isanti on a sound fiscal foot.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Alternative Transportation Day



Alexander And Abigail helping out






Riders at the Isanti Rest Stop







Wagon train moving through Isanti
Best of both worlds




Today in Isanti ended up being alternative transportation day. We had Rum River Classic and the wagon train fund raiser. The wagon train helps raise funds to send handicapped children to camp.

Great morning in Isanti, two events that help raise money for our greater community.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Governor's Deer Hunting Opener

Governor's deer hunting opener will be in Isanti this fall. The incredible Spectacular Events will be hosting a key event in the process. The area Chambers of commerce and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.


http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4101&Itemid=1

August 19th Council Agenda

Here is the link to the Council Agenda for August 19th.

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Trudi/08-19-08-CC%20agn.pdf

We will be honoring John Bettendorf for his recent accomplishment, discussing the 3rd Ave improvement by the soccer fields and pulling about half a dozen letters of credit to finish and or correct numerous Iverson infrastructure issues.

Rum River Classic

August 16, 2008 - Rum River Bicycle Classic

The fantastic Rum River Classic is on tap for Saturday August 16th. The following link gives all the details. I will be operating the Isanti rest stop with Carla Vita and the Isanti Ambassadors. Should be another great weather for all the riders.

http://www.mntrails.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=1292&TM=50472

Council Audio

We now have the Council Audio on the City website. You may listen directly or download the audio.

http://www.cityofisanti.us/govern_citycouncil_audio.php

Ms. Larson's Nonsense

I have read the letter to the editor and Ms. Larson's nonsense response. I was disappointed that the County News did not seem to follow their own policy. I was not mentioned in the original letter to the editor but Ms. Larson brought me up in a derisive tone and I was not afforded the same opportunity she was given to respond. If I respond now Ms Larson will be given another chance at free space to have the last word.

Thankfully her response was filled with a mindless mush of inaccuracy. The Campaigning Couple of Johnson and Larson are but echoes of a bygone era. As echoes fade with time so does the influence of these 2.

I found some of her statements quite revealing. Her first "fact" about conflict of interest was amusing because of her campaign companion. I had challenged Mr. Johnson in years past about his conflict of interest of voting for Mr. Iverson's development projects when he had been working for Mr. Iverson. Ms. Larson did not support my challenge at that time. I hope she will in the future.

Ms. Larson's next statement about how the property taxes are eventually paid is at best incomplete and worst naive. The taxes do eventually get paid but not by the original developer. They are paid by whomever picks up the mess that has been left. The City also has to deal with what could be years of non-paid taxes leading to fewer services or if Ms. Larson had her way higher taxes on the rest of us who actually pay taxes, unlike her developer friend.

I was surprised that Ms. Larson brought up developer fees since she was one of the main reason residential development fees had been so low for so long. These fees are mandated by the state. Ms. Larson's statement makes it appear as if the developer is like Santa Claus handing out gifts from the goodness of his heart on Christmas morning.

The "fact" that developer fees were so low for so long only enriched the developers at the cost of the City. It took an independent audit - which cost us as well - of our fees to finally prove the point I had been making for years that residential development fees were far to low. Some of the lowest in the entire region.

So why should a resident of Isanti care - because we end up paying for it. A classic example is our water treatment plant. The "fact" that developer fees were so low for so long has led to inadequate fund balances for infrastructure improvements needed due to the rapid residential growth. So instead of the developer paying for the needed infrastructure, you and I have to pay high water rates to fund the water treatment plant.

This is only one example of how wrong Ms. Larson is. Another quick example is the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours spent by City staff on our tax payers dime to deal with all the failings of the rapid residential growth we experienced in Isanti.

I was also surprised that Ms. Larson seems to look at the Mayor's position as nothing more than a traffic cop at council meetings. Perhaps this is all she intends to do - but why does she want the position so bad if she thinks so little of it? She is right that a Mayor needs a good Council to get an agenda approved and acted on. Thankfully CMs Duff and Kolb were there to give us the 3-2 margin of victory for our first ever spending and tax cuts in recent Isanti history. Larson and Johnson tried hard to block it but to no avail. When I proposed Long Term Financial Planning, Development fees that cover the cost of development, Development Impact List and spending/tax cuts before becoming Mayor they were rejected by the previous Mayor, Johnson and Larson. Who we elect matters, especially in the Mayor's position.

Council Member Larson’s own 2006 Council re-election campaign material stated and I quote “We need to be realistic and understand that in order for our city to continue to be increasingly viable and economically sound that taxes will need to increase”. She has not been so transparent in this campaign but her voting record speaks volumes.

Just one more quick note, we should not forget the hundreds that were hurt tremendously last year by a slew of liens placed on individual family homes because Mr. Iverson did not pay his contractors for much of the work he was obligated to do per his agreements with the City. The City has been dragged into this as well since the contractor is now demanding the City pay Mr. Iverson's unpaid bills. More staff and City Attorney's time wasted....guess who is paying for that.

The consequences of Ms. Larson's votes and policies have caused devastation far and wide. Lets not fall for it again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Council Poll Results

First, this is in no way a scientific poll and their were multiple votes but it was fun to watch the results come in. Here are the votes:


Ross Lorinser ------90-----36%
Jim Kennedy -------79-----31%
Jeff Kolb -----------66-----26%
Steve Rask ---------13-----5%
John Booth---------4-------2%

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poll Change

Two more days left for Council Poll. I will then place a poll for County Commissioner.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Campaign Update

My second day on the campaign trail was tremendous. The response has been overwhelming and I will continue to go neighborhood to neighborhood. I would have preferred to start door knocking several weeks ago but family obligation prevented that. It has actually really worked out well as I hear about the traveling circus of Johnson and Larson trying team up on me in their couples door knocking.

Ms. Larson's Record

http://georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2008/07/cm-larson-is-running-for-mayor.html

My Record

http://www.georgewimmer.com/record.html

I found it interesting that Johnson has a large sign on Highway 65 on Iverson foreclosed property - this just days after Larson and Johnson voted to continue to protect Iverson and his bank from the City pulling their letter of credit so we can repair the failing infrastructure Iverson is responsible for.

To volunteer

http://www.georgewimmer.com/volunteer.html

To be added to the confidential email update list email me at george@georgewimmer.com

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wake-up Call

As the residents of Isanti can see by the couple signs, there is still support for the combo platter of Larson and Johnson. They will work very hard and we have many new residents that do not know of their past decisions or actions. I need everyone helping and working if we are to overcome their tactics.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Door Knocking

Tonight was my first night door knocking and it was great. The response and support was tremendous. I will be making my way through each neighborhood and making my case for the coming November election. We have gone through all of our new signs and are having to recycle our signs from the past election. We will if necessary purchase more signs as needed. It is a great show of support to see our signs populating the City, this will only grow as we start actively campaigning.

Mayor's Great Yard Award for July


Yes we will work on holding up the awards next time.....
*
*
Landmark funded 1st prize for $100
Isanti Hardware Hank funded 2nd place for $50
Northland Landscaping funded 3rd place for $25
Thank you to all the sponsors for helping us celebrate wonderful yards in Isanti.

Water Treatment Plant Ground Breaking


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Isanti County Incomes

I thought it would be good to show where Isanti County is with average incomes. Minnesota incomes grew an average 5.6% and Isanti County grew at 3.1%. To put in another way 83% of all Minnesota Counties had faster average personal income growth. It looks worse when you adjust for inflation. The State is at 1.3% and Isanti County is at .01% "real" income growth when adjusted for inflation.

We are well into the budgeting process and as we have to deal with higher gas, insurance, employee and other, cost we need to realize our Taxpayers have no more money to give. We can not tax our way out of this - simply put we must continue to cut cost as we did last year.

Facts are stubborn things.

August 6th Council Meeting Update

I wanted to follow-up on 3 items from last nights meeting.

The first item was the nuisance abatement of 459 3rd Ave NW. This is a property that has piles of garbage auto parts and numerous cars strewn all over the place. We have been working with the property owner since last October and had 9 visits/ letters to try to get this resolved. The property owner was quite adamant about his position but we could not allow such violations to continue. The Council voted to remove all the violations and then bill the owner. If the owner does not pay this charge then it will be assessed to his property taxes.

The next main item was regarding the many unfinished Iverson projects and his multiple Minnesota Pollution Control Agency violations. The City is in the process of pulling the numerous letters of credit - these are guarantees from banks that if a developer does not complete their municipal improvements the City can demand the bank provide the funding - to complete or correct projects that Mr. Iverson has failed to complete as part of his development agreements. These include roads, trails, holding ponds and so on.

The City has to complete these projects which include the business frontage road east of 65 so further economic development may occur, repairing the trail along 5 that is falling apart and numerous other Minnesota Pollution Control Agency items. We had a bit of debate as the bank holding the funds does not want to release the money. The bank wanted another 30 days for Mr. Iverson to complete the projects but as we discussed at the Council meeting last night there have been numerous broken promises to complete projects in the past.

The developer or the bank has till August 11th to complete before the City pulls this particular letter of credit to complete the issues for Villages on the Rum 3rd Addition. Unfortunately it was a 3-2 vote to pull the letter of credit. CM Duff, Kolb and I voted to pull the letter of credit to repair the crumbling infrastructure and CM Johnson and Larson voted to give Mr. Iverson and his bank more time.

The last item is the Council has approved putting our meeting audio on the City website for all to hear. This is a great step forward in adding to the transparency of our City government. I will inform you when the meeting audio is up and running.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Stolen and Damaged Signs

Its sad that signs are already being stolen. Please report anyone you see stealing or damaging anyone's signs. It is illegal and can not be allowed to stand. Trying to silence political speech is so desperate. A lawn sign may not seem like a big deal but it is the property owner expressing their support and the candidate's financial investment in getting out their message.

Some of this is random kids being kids but unfortunately it has been my experience that it is also politically motivated. We have 3 more months of campaigning ---

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

August 6th 2008 Agenda

AGENDA
CITY OF ISANTI
CITY COUNCIL MEETING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2008 – 7:00 p.m.
CITY HALL


A. Call to Order
B. Pledge of Allegiance
C. Roll Call
D. Adopt Agenda

E. Proclamations/Commendations/Certificate Awards
1. Mayor’s Presentation of Great Yard Awards for the Month of July

F. Approve City Council Minutes
July 15, 2008 – Regular and Closed Meeting
July 29, 2008 – Special Budget Meeting

G. Citizens Input

H. Announcements
1. Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
2. Rum River Classic Saturday, August 16, 2008
3. Special City Council Budget Meeting Tuesday, August 19, 2008 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
4. City Council Meeting Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
5. Park & Recreation Board Meeting Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 5:00 p.m.
6. EDA Meeting Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.

I. Council Committee Reports


J. Public Hearings

1. Nuisance Abatement – 459 3rd Avenue NW
a. Resolution Approving Nuisance Abatement
(CSO Officer Steve Wacha)


K. Business Items

1. Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce Isanti Fall Fest
(Jan Peterson)

Community Development Director Carla Vita

2. Resolution Authorizing the Purchase and Placement of Signs for Bluebird Park



Police Chief Ron Sager

3. Resolution Authorizing Traffic Control Device Procurement and Installation
4. Resolution Approving Joint Powers Agreement and Authorize Police Officers to Work the Republican National Convention


Finance Director Rita Pierce

5. Reimbursement Resolutions:
a. 2008 Street & Utility Improvement Project
b. Water Treatment Facility Project

City Administrator Don Lorsung

6. Resolution Relating to Aluna Proposal for Web Audio
7. Villages on the Rum 3rd Addition
a. Extending Call Date of Letter of Credit
b. 3rd Avenue Improvement

More Ground Breakings

We will have our Ground Breaking for the Water Treatment Plant Wednesday at 5pm. This as we have discussed numerous times is a great benefit for Isanti.

We will have the Ground Breaking for Isanti Retail Meats in downtown in the next week as well. We have so many important projects that continue to steam ahead along with Ever Cat Fuels. We are quickly moving Isanti forward into a brighter future. Each of these projects are a tremendous success and will make our community safer and economically stronger.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Owls coming to Town

Pictures courtesy of ESP1000/Russ Eastburn Photographer

The ground breaking for the Civic Arena expansion was a lot of fun tonight. Representatives from the Minnesota Owls, http://www.minnesotaowls.com/, were well represented along with members of the Arena Board, EnComm - building contractor-, our Ambassodors and Council Member Kolb. The Isanti Civic Arena will be the home ice for the Minnesota Owls, a Minnesota Junior Hockey Team. The Owls will be a great asset to to our Community and I am proud to welcome them to Isanti.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sign Placement

We have placed about 35% of the current requested signs and will be working to get the rest placed Friday. I appreciate all the request for signs and look forward to more coming in. I want to thank all those that have requested signs and those that have helped work to get sign locations. This helps beyond measure as we continue to move our issues forward.