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.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Foreclosure Help

Following is the text from a flyer provided by the Round Table group I participate in. This group is dedicated to helping with the many home ownership issues our community, region and state are facing.

Your home is probably your most valued investment. With today’s economic and mortgage concerns, it’s no wonder many Minnesotans are beginning to ask questions about how the changing economy could impact their ability to keep their home.

As you think about your home and your mortgage:
If the real estate market doesn’t improve in the next six months to a year, will your current mortgage and home still be a good fit for you?
Do you have a non-traditional loan or potentially changing payments?
Are you concerned that you won’t be able to make the payment with the rate adjusts?
Are changes in the real estate market forcing you to reconsider how long you will keep your home?

At the end of the month, do you find yourself struggling to keep up?
Has a job change, illness, unexpected bill or a life-changing event (for example a divorce or new child) changed your economic situation?
Are your mortgage payments becoming hard to balance with rising costs for gas, food and other needs?
Have you ever asked, “Which bill should I pay first?”

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, we invite you to join a telephone seminar sponsored by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center:
_Are you feeling stuck in your mortgage?
Your home is probably your most valued investment. With today’s economic and mortgage concerns, it’s no wonder many Minnesotans are beginning to ask questions about how the changing economy could impact their ability to keep their home.

Wednesday October 15, 2008
7:00 – 8:00pm
Call Toll Free: (888) 886 - 6603

Call the seminar anytime from 7:00 to 8:00 on October 15th to listen to the radio-format conversation. You’ll be able to visit with experts from the comfort and confidentiality of your own home.
Don’t wait until you’ve missed a payment – join the conversation today to look out for your home, your family and your future.
For more information, visit www.hocmn.org

Friday, September 26, 2008

Flag Contest

Following is the City of Isanti Flag Contest that I have created with Park and Recreation Board help. Community Pride Bank has answered the call and is supplying the $250 prize money. This should be a fun contest and I look forward to reviewing all the entries. 

Upon construction of the new City Hall, four flag poles were placed
near the entrance to the facility. The fourth flag pole was provided in
anticipation of the creation of a city flag. The Park and Recreation
Board has requested that all City residents be given the opportunity to
submit a flag design on the City’s behalf. The winning design will be
used as the concept plan for the City flag. (Please note: The winning
proposal may be altered at the City’s discretion.)

The rules for the City Flag Design Contest are as follows:

• The City logo, as shown within the bottom right-hand corner must be
utilized as part of the design. The tag line, “A Community for Generations”
must also be incorporated.

• All designs shall be displayed on 11” x 17” sized paper.

• The design should include features or images that represent the
spirit and character of the City of Isanti.

• The designer’s name and contact information must be provided on
the back side of the design submission.

Each individual is limited to one submission. The deadline for submission
is Wednesday, October 22nd at 4:30 p.m. The design proposals
can be dropped off at Isanti City Hall located at 110 First Avenue
NW or mailed to PO Box 428, Isanti, MN 55040.

The Parks and Recreation Board will review the submissions and
make a recommendation to the City Council. The winning design will be
used as the concept plan for the final design. The winning designer will
receive a monetary prize of $250 donated by Community Pride Bank
and will be presented with such prize and a formal proclamation before
the City Council.

If there are questions regarding the contest or the criteria for the
design submission, please contact Lisa Krause, City Planner at (763)
444-5512 or via e-mail at lkrause@cityofisanti.us

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes more sign issues

Hillock Ct Wimmer signs were knocked down and knocked down for the last few days then finally today several thrown out in the street.

This has been a pattern followed throughout the City over several neighborhoods. It is sad to think this is how kids fill their time late at night or sad to think it is politically motivated. 

Someone even tried to light one of my signs on fire. This is of course incredibly stupid and dangerous. The person responsible is not only destroying Wimmer for Mayor property but putting families at risk.

We have 40 days left and this nonsense, I am sure, will intensify as the election gets closer. If this damage is being done by kids then Isanti needs to strictly enforce our curfew ordinance since many of these actions are taking place well past midnight.  

If it is political opposition then try making the argument against all the progress we have made. Or better yet try making an argument as to why my opponent should be elected and become Mayor. I frankly would like to hear one as I have yet to hear why my opponent wants to become Mayor. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Success

I wanted to highlight another success on our reform agenda. For years the City Council has leased City property for farming with no competitive bid process. I moved last year to change this but unfortunately staff did not get the bidding process prepared in time for 2008. I personally dogged the issue this year and the bid package was prepared. The results are even better than I could have hoped for.

The previous payment was $2898 or $35 per acre. The high bid for 2009 was $7,310.50 or $89 per acre. This is a success and helps add revenue to the City in a time it is desperately needed. We need to change the mentality of doing business as usual. This is the real benefit beyond the dollars gained.

We can add this to our long record of achievements in just 20 months in office. To learn more goto:

We are making great progress moving Isanti forward into a better tomorrow. In 41 days we will be asked to keep progress going or vote to return to the dark days of the past. The days when City debt grew per person from $400 to $2,5000 - when City taxes grew by 87% - when developer friends were subsidized at the expense of taxpayers - when in the face of rising crime a $56k administrative assistant was chosen over a police officer - when a 70 year old couple could be robbed through the use of eminent domain of their lifelong nest egg - when the public trust is shattered by my opponent by the use of a City credit card for personal use and the filing of a mileage reimbursement for a trip that was never driven.

This is the record of my opponent. The 10 years my opponent has served on the City Council has been marred by these poor decisions as well as voting to keep an ineffectual city administrator and City engineering firm that was not full filling the needs of our community.

Thankfully we have been able to move our City forward. We were able to hire a great City Administrator and City Engineer. We have been able to correct a number of the past failings in the last 20 months but much more needs to be done.

We have an opportunity to continue to improve the Council and City Government. Our track record speaks for itself. What part of my record does Ms. Larson not like:

  • 14% Tax Cut
  • First time in modern history cut in city spending
  • Ending their years of exploding budgets
  • Making residential development finally pay for itself
  • Long Term Financial Plan
  • Stronger ethics and conflict of interest policy
  • My vote to replace our former City Engineer
  • My repeated votes to protect Distinct Isanti Neighborhoods
  • My fight against their use of Eminent Domain to hurt a 74 year old couple by taking their property rights and using them to help their friend Brian Iverson.
  • Challenging Mr. Johnson for a conflict of interest when he was voting on Brian Iverson issues even though he had been working for Iverson.
  • Catching Ms. Larson filing a bogus expense report to be paid for a trip she never drove.
  • My votes to block wasteful spending
  • My votes blocking the needless spending of $2,000,000 to replace the existing liquor store, adding debt and having the harmful affect of raising taxes to fund this construction because the liquor store fund would have been completely drained except for operational funds.
  • My vote to add police protection and the 17% cut in crime
  • My vote to protect our Citizens from cancer causing water
  • My push to lower our water rates
  • My work to bring in high paying jobs
  • The over 300 new Jobs in Isanti since my swearing in. Isanti had 1132 at the end of 2006 and as of June 2008 we had over 1460, a 29% increase in 18 months. This number will only grow with Isanti Retail Meats and the High paying jobs of Ever Cat Fuels
  • Working along with Landmark Bank and City staff to bring Ever Cat Fuels to Isanti and our being awarded the Economic Development Association of Minnesota's Business Recruitment Award. Raising Isanti's profile throughout the state as a City where businesses want to go.
  • My work to market our city
  • Tax Abatement and Revolving Loan Fund to promote business growth
  • My work on the Isanti Retail Meats as a future lynch pin for Downtown
  • My creation of the Mayor's Great Yard Award to honor our Citizens great work
  • My creation of the Mayor's Employer Recognition Award and Lunch
  • My development of the new Isantian
  • Transparency in government so the rich and powerful do not rule the City but each Citizen has an equal voice
  • and on and on and on

We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. We need to make sure we continue our reforms and do not allow the mistakes of the past to darken our brighter tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Puck Drop

Shaking hands just before the Puck Drop

Heart Breaker for Owls

Behind the scenes with the Color Guard

Great Crowd

Hudson Crusader Bench

Great fast action tonight

Home Crowd Cheering our Owls

Our hometown Owls lost a heart breaker tonight 6-5 in a shootout. It was a great night of hockey and they made it exciting. We had a huge crowd and we need to keep coming out to cheer our home team on. They are now 1-1 and have scored 15 goals in 2 games.

To learn more about the Owls go to http://www.minnesotaowls.com/

Friday, September 19, 2008

MnDot delays 65/5 Project

MnDot just informed the City that the 65/5 intersection project has been delayed till next year. The initial word is that the signal light polls will not be in on time. What type of incompetence is there that we find this out 3 days before the project is to start. The pre-construction meeting was held and everything was a go at that time. 

The City and School District has spent quite a bit of time, energy and dollars preparing for this important project. I have communicated my frustration with our legislators and MnDot. 

MnDot's Press Release

Minnesota Department of Transportation
News Release

Sept. 19, 2008

Contact: Judy Jacobs, Communications - 218-828-5706

Highway 65 turn lane, traffic signal installation in Isanti delayed until spring 

ST. CLOUD, Minn. - ST. CLOUD, Minn. - Work on Highway 65 in the city of Isanti, scheduled to begin Sept. 22, will be postponed until spring 2009 because of a delay in materials shipments from a supplier, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said today.  

The project includes installation of a new dual-turn lane on the northbound lanes of Highway 65 and the replacement of a traffic signal system at the intersection of Highway 65 and Isanti County Road 5. The delivery of the traffic signal system is not expected to arrive until December.

"We regret the delay on this important highway improvement project, and ask for the public's understanding and patience," said Cal Puttbrese, Mn/DOT district construction engineer.

Utility work on the shoulder will be completed this fall as planned, with no anticipated impact on traffic, Puttbrese said.

Knife River Corporation of Sauk Rapids is the prime contractor for this $750,000 safety improvement project. Work is expected to begin May 1, 2009.
For updated statewide traffic, construction, weather and travel information, visit www.511mn.org. 

Work Zones. Pay Attention or Pay the Price.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Historic Main Street Picnic

Isanti's Historic Main Street Revitalization One Year Anniversary Picnic
Where: Main Street in front of the Mural
When: Noon - 2:00 pm on Friday, Sept. 26
What: Free Picnic, Mural Dedication, Presentation to the City
Please bring your own lawn chairs.
Picnic Sponsored by: Community Pride Bank
Questions please call Jan Peterson of the Chamber of Commerce at 763-444-8515 or Jaysen Guthmueller at 763-444-4554

Communities Investing In Families Repost/More Information

Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Why we need my Isanti Initiatives

The latest national housing numbers show we are still trending downward in housing. The number of building permits for single-family homes dropped to a 26 year low. Actual new home starts fell to a 17 year low. The permit number is a good indication of future new home starts. I mention this to reinforce the fact that we will be dealing with the negative impact of the housing collapse for several more years. 

This is one of the main reasons for my Long Term Financial Plan and budget strategy. Fiscal discipline is important in any economy but doubly so in our current situation. We must continue to be aggressive in growing our business community as this is the key to future success. 

We must also embrace my Isanti Initiatives such as using our City website to conduct business. We need to allow application and payment for everything from building permits to dog licenses. Most of our residents are unable to come to City Hall between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm and must take time away from work. Doing this will cut the need for City staff time saving money for our Taxpayers. We should be looking at doing what many cities and government agencies have done - retrofitting our vehicle fleet to natural gas. This can help save fuel cost and is more feasible for a group of vehicles that can fill at a central location. We need to work with our surrounding cities and county to do cooperative buying to lower overall cost from everything from office supplies to road repair materials. 

We must change the way we look at how we do business as a City. There are many efficiencies to be gained and tax dollars saved. The possibilities are endless if only we are open to change and not locked into doing business as usual. 

We have had great success in bringing in new businesses to Isanti and growing jobs, services and tax base. We must prove we as a City are good stewards of the taxes paid by residents and businesses alike. 

Candidate Forum

Thursday, October 9th the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Candidate Forum at the Isanti Middle School Auditorium from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Should be an interesting evening. 

September 16th Council Update

I had the great privilege tonight to honor our Senior Dining and Meals on Wheels program. The Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Catholic Charities, Glenda Reynolds and all the volunteers should be recognized as providing a vital service to the City of Isanti.

I invited the Minnesota Owls to tonight's council meeting so the Council could officially welcome them to our great community. I will be dropping the first puck at Saturday's home opener - I told the Owls that I threw out the first pitch for the Redbirds and they went deep into the playoffs so I have high expectations. Having the Owls and their 24 home games plus playoff games will add tremendously to our City. The Owls will be working with our youth hockey league. I am excited to have the Owls in Isanti. Check out their website - http://www.minnesotaowls.com/

We finished a few items the Council has been working on for some time. The Council approved $309,050.75 to correct deficiencies in Iverson's developments. This work is to be completed this fall to bring the projects into compliance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and City requirements. 

The Council agreed to an agreement regarding the Bike/Walk Trail between Isanti and Cambridge. The agreement covers design, construction and maintenance of the trail. The Council confirmed my appointment to represent the City of Isanti on a joint Advisory Committee that will oversee the project and future trail operation. The trail is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

The Council approved a design change in the Water Treatment Plant that will save the City approximately $85,000 per year in operation cost. The Water Treatment Plant is scheduled to be pumping treated water by the fall of 2009. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pic from Music Fest

Announcing participants and the winner of the Governor's Chili Cook off, with a little help from our Ambassadors. S.T.A.R.T. is in the back ground - they were fantastic. 

More and more stolen Signs

Unfortunately it appears the idea that it is just random "kids" stealing my signs does hold up in the recent events. My signs are stolen and others it is flanking are left in place. It is silly to steal signs since it really fires up the people who had them stolen. I placed 6 more signs out yesterday, 3 of which were requested after neighbors had their signs stolen. If the signs did not cost so much I would not be concerned.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Communities Investing In Families

Click to enlarge

Isanti Fall Music Fest

The Isanti Fall Music Fest will be held from 2pm to 11pm Saturday, September 13th at the Rodeo Grounds. I am honored to give the official welcome and will have a campaign booth throughout the event.

Sponsored by the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce.

Crafters 2-6pm
Governor's Deer Opener Chili Showdown 3-6pm
Skate Board competition and demonstration 4-6pm
Chicken poop roulette 2-6pm-----it is a sight to see
Cupcake Walk 2-6pm
Moonwalk 2-6pm
S.T.A.R.T. classic rock band 6-8pm
Christina Rayne Band 8-11pm

Vendors and games will also be offered throughout the day.

Food vendors include:

Isanti Lions - hot dogs and nachos and cheese
Olimae's - corn roasting and mini donuts
SugarPie Concessions - misc (hot dogs, brats, mini donuts, chips, pop, water, etc)
The Taco Shoppe - deep fried tacos
Cooties - pronto pups and beverages
Pizza Man - assorted pizza
MOCA 99 Axillary - sloppy joes, baked beans
The Concession Monkeys - misc (brats, hot dogs, all the usual)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Primary Results

The results as reported are:

County Commissioner---top 2 move on


Alan Duff---------51--------165-------216--35%
Gail Genin-------99--------65--------164--27%
Tom Anderson--73--------32--------105--17%
Ralph Johnson--42--------28---------70--11%
Tim Swanson----41--------23---------64--10%

City Council-------top 4 move on

Jeff Kolb---------181---35%
Ross Lorinser---129---25%
Jim Kennedy----99----19%
Steve Rask-------84---16%
John Booth------24----5%

Primary Update

As of 2:45 pm today there were only 152 voters that cast ballots in the City of Isanti. In the 2006 election nearly 1300 Citizens cast their ballots in the November general election. This year the numbers should shatter that mark.

If you want your candidate on the ballot this fall you need to vote for them today. 

Isanti Retail Meats Pictures

Isanti Retail Meats' Drawing

Telling the Isanti Retail Meats Story

Group picture showing the link with the School District and County

Monday, September 08, 2008

Go Vote

The Primary election is Tuesday. Decisions are made by those who show up. Primaries have one thing in common, incredibly low turnout. Your vote matters in all elections but perhaps even more in a primary. We all have different candidates we support and desire their victory. Get out and support your candidates and vote.

Website Issues Resolved

Website issue taken care of.

Website Issues

Website Issues.

I am having the site host look into why my website is not working. I hope this issue with get fixed ASAP. 

Isanti Retail Meats Ground Breaking

We are breaking ground today at 30 West Main St for the new Isanti Retail Meats. This is an exciting project that will lead to further economic renewal in our Historic Downtown. I am proud to have been working on this project from its inception last year. Past chamber President Jaysen Guthmueller and I had visited the owner of Isanti Custom Meats as part of our business retention and expansion visits.

The first words out of the owners mouth is what did I do wrong. He was assured that we were there to help him and only wanted to know what he needed. He was excited by this new approach to Isanti businesses. He talked about having a retail outlet in Downtown Isanti to accompany his existing business. City staff and I worked on this immediately. 

Now a little over a year later the project is ready to break ground. Seems long to some but in this economy the fact we are able to continue to grow our City's business sector in a downtown is borderline historic. 

Isanti Retail Meats will add much needed jobs, services and traffic to continue to move forward into a better future for all our Citizens. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

September 2nd Council Meeting Audio

The audio is up from the Septmeber 2nd Council meeting, including the budget debate, at

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

I hope everyone takes the time to listen.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

2009 Budget Update

We had an active meeting tonight debating the budget and levy. There were many strong opinions shared but it was all done in a respectful and professional manner. The audio should be posted in a day or two on the City website (www.cityofisanti.us) so you will be able to listen first hand. The Finance Committee which is composed of select city staff, CM Kolb and myself worked the last few months on several budget scenarios. The scenarios had a 3% increase, 0% increase and a 3% decrease to help frame the different options and cuts that would be needed to match the different levels of spending.

I recommended that we pass the 3% decrease option with two additional changes. The first change was to use the technology fund, which is financed by the cable franchise and not tax dollars, to pay for the $14, 245 in technology improvements for 2009. The other item was a bit more difficult. I recommended that the City no longer fund the Administrative Assistant position in 2009. Eliminating this position would save the City $56,000 in 2009. The 3% decrease option already had the elimination of a PT police secretary position. 

In 2007 we eliminated one of the two building inspector positions because of the decrease in activity. I followed the same logic in trimming these cost.  Both positions were hired in 2006 when city activity had already been on the decline. I voted against adding extra staffing at the time for the same reason I recommend that we cut the positions tonight. It was made clear tonight that this in no way  reflects on the individual people holding these positions but that this was a financial decision. 

I discussed that Isanti needs to reduce spending to live within our means. I used the example of our surrounding cities and their budgets compared to their tax bases. I used the 2007 numbers for East Bethel, Cambridge, North Branch and Isanti.

East Bethel $4.6 million budget and a tax base of $11.6 million or a 40% budget/tax base ratio.

North Branch $4 million budget and a tax base of $9.6 million or a 42% budget/tax base ratio.

Cambridge $5.6 million budget and a tax base of $7.5 million or a 76% budget/tax base ratio.

Isanti $3.5 million budget and a tax base of $3.9 million or a 90% budget/tax base ratio.

I have used many different numbers and examples to illustrate why Isanti needs to cut spending and reduce our tax and fee burden on our residents and felt this ratio really shows how Isanti stands out compared to our region. 

After much discussion CM Kolb and Duff motioned and seconded the necessary Council resolutions for the budget and levy to be passed. Many difficult decisions had to be made but the final votes were unanimous.

One more word on property taxes. I have for years tried to stress that essential regressive nature of property taxes. This means rich or poor you pay the same rate. Property taxes hurt the poor the hardest. Many of our working families feel the dramatic pain of increased property taxes whether it comes from a higher levy rate or a higher assessed value from the county assessor. Property taxes are one of those issues that our state's political parties agree needs to be fixed even if they do not see the same solution. We need to protect our tax payers, especially those among us that are most vulnerable, our seniors on fixed incomes that can be quickly taxed out of their homes. 

Now the good news. We have cut spending and taxes each of my 2 years as Mayor. Spending was cut by 3% and the levy rate was cut from 59.886% to 55.51%. The levy rate cut equates to a realized 7% City property tax cut if your 2008 and 2009 assessed value stays the same. Last year I promised to work to lower taxes from the 65% rate we had when I was sworn in to the state average of 55% in 3 years. We are but a fraction of the way there in just 2 years. I promised to cut spending and work to have Isanti live within it's means - we are well on our way. 

Another piece of good news is that we were able to keep an enhanced economic development marketing program in place. We will have more resources to continue to attract businesses to Isanti and those new businesses will enjoy lower tax rates along with the rest of the residents of our great City.

Stolen Signs

Another few days of stolen signs. Looks to be about 2 dozen from at least 4 different candidates... If you have had a sign stolen please let the candidate know so they may replace if possible.

Please report anyone who has stolen signs as this is not only harmful and costly to a candidate it is also limiting the free speech of the property owner. 

September 9th Primary Repost

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 and 2 in the Council race in the primary. 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.

Commissioner Poll Results

I want to first state this is not a scientific poll but a fun exercise. Remember the primary is September 9th. Polls open in the City at 7am and close at 8pm. Decisions are made by those that show up.

Alan Duff-----------136---44%
Gail Genin----------85---28%
Timothy Swanson-48---16%
Thomas Anderson-19---6%
Ralph Johnson-----18---6%