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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Governor's LGA Cut Proposal.

Gov. Pawlenty's 2010-11 budget proposal recommends a $99.6 million cut to funding for 2009 Local Government Aid (LGA) and Market Value Homestead Credit (MVHC) reimbursement for cities. The proposed cut to 2010 aid and credit is $185.8 million. The governor did not propose any reductions to police and fire aids. ~ from the League of Minnesota Cities.

*****revised numbers just provided 1/28/09*****

The Governor’s proposal will cut $140,075 (27%) and leaving $373,813 for 2009. 2010 there will be a $292,501 (57%) cut leaving $201,283 according to the Governor’s proposal. This is the first proposal and these can change dramatically before we get to the final budget numbers.

Cambridge looks to lose 33% in 2009 and 70% in 2010. Times they are a changing....

The drastic cut in 2010 makes our LGA Flip process even more important to accomplish as Isanti would not be affect till 2011 and by then we should be moving strongly forward in our tax base. If these numbers hold we should be in pretty good shape so long as we follow the plan and continue being fiscally disciplined.

Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 Goal Setting

"Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon." ~ Winston Churchill

This is a quote I read when I am working on Commercial Development projects for the City and one of many when working on our Budget and Long Term Financial Plan.

We had a good Goal Setting Session today. The goals are followed by the appropriate Committee that will be working on it. Several of these items do tie together. I laid out the following Goals and policy changes:

  • Update Personnel Policy - Personnel Committee
  • Explore in house billing for utilities due to possible 80% increase in charge from Connexus. Secondary benefit would be implementing credit card payments for all types of City fees and services on the City Website - Finance Committee
  • O/S nuisance lawn and sidewalk care - Public Works Committee
  • Increase Commercial Tax Base - EDA
  • Complete Long Term Financial Plan with updated budget numbers - Finance Committee
  • Establish Intra-governmental Committee - Mayor
  • Terms of Office for Planning Commission and Recreation Board - Personnel
  • Rail served Industrial Park - EDA
  • Frontage Road system for Commercial Corridors - Planning Commission/DAC
  • City multi modal Transportation Plan - Planning Commission/DAC
  • Disaster Plan - Personnel Committee
  • Review of Fire Board performance - Finance Committee
  • Municipal Building cost - Building and Grounds Committee
The top 5 Goals for 2009 are:
  • LTFP
  • Increasing Commercial Tax Base
  • Disaster Plan
  • New Personnel Policy
  • City Multi-modal Transportation Plan
We will be focusing a great deal of time and energy increasing our Commercial tax base. This is the epitome of terrible economic times but we must continue to lay the ground work of economic development.
The Disaster Plan will encompass everything from a literal natural disaster to losing several key staff members at once. I am a planning person and want to make sure the City can respond in any situation.
I have been serving on the City's Personnel Committee for over 4 years now and we continually have to revise and fill in policies. This has caused a great deal of work and potential legal issues. We believe it is time to redo the entire policy and make sure we have a modern professional policy.
The New Multi-modal Transportation Plan will encompass everything from frontage roads on the west side of 65 to rail to trails to safe crossings of 5 and 65.
The Council will be voting on this at our February 3rd meeting.

County Comprehensive Plan Update

I was in the audience tonight to listen to the public hearing at the County Board meeting. Every Citizen who spoke was against the new County Comprehensive Plan for many of the same reasons as the City. The Board will take it up again at their next Board meeting.

Word of Thanks

I want to thank Cambridge/Isanti Youth Hockey Association and the Cambridge/Isanti Soccer Association for working so well with the City. The Hockey Association has been working with us on maintaining the outdoor rink for the remainder of the season as our outdoor Zamboni has broken down. The Hockey Association has been great to communicate with.

The Soccer Association has been meeting with us to go over the changes that will take place with 3rd avenue being paved this spring. We have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding with the Soccer Association regarding the changes including parking.

We have many excellent working relationships with community organizations which sometimes is overlooked. Unfortunately the only time our interaction with these groups is highlight is after a negative event. The communication lines we have opened with many community groups will help highlight the positive and work to prevent any future issues.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I thought I would put up a few quick numbers as we read about Counties and Cities. There are 87 counties, 1786 townships and 855 cities. 508 (59%) cities are 1000 or less in population, 49 cities fit in the same category of 5,000 to 10,000 as Isanti and Cambridge. There are 17 cities with populations over 50,000.

There are 763 cities that were certified to receive LGA in 2009. Cambridge was 615th and Isanti was 630th in rank of LGA per capita. Isanti was suppose to get $94 per capita and the highest rate was $675 per capita for the City of Le Roy.

We will have to wait and see what the LGA numbers end up at.

Town Hall Meeting

Isanti City Hall hosted Senator Olseen and Representative Eastlund last evening. With reports that the State deficit could be as large as 6-8 Billion dollars we had a full house. There was a lot of good information shared and questions answered.
A concern to local government however was affirmed. The Governor and many legislatures have discussed the fundamental change in the state budget and the impact on local governments. The push appears to be to have a radical change in how services are delivered. The outcome seems to be to eliminate entire police and public works departments to reduce local government cost and then pool resources to deliver services.
In some areas this may happen. I also believe we need to find better ways to cooperate as local governments to share resources. I do however believe that we exist as a City to provide services to our residents. Eliminating our Police Department or Public works department to move to some county wide service level is not the answer. We lose all control over service and would receive less service and would pay in the end higher taxes. Isanti has constantly been lowering our tax rate to now being significantly lower than Cambridge as we have seen the County raising its taxes with no appreciable increase in service. That is not a model I want to follow.
I took a great deal of flak when I laid out options that may lead to a police officer position being eliminated in 2010. The state appears to want entire departments eliminated. We face tough choices and we will come out the other side of this but we must all be patient.
I will be proposing that for 2009 the City budget and spend as if we are receiving zero LGA - looks more likely each day. Then whatever amount we physically receive in 2009 will be budgeted for 2010. The total certified to the City for 2009 was $514,000. We will do this by (numbers rounded)
  • Making permanent the cuts already approved by the City in January $65,000.
  • Liquor Fund transfer of $150,000 - really good we did not build a new store.
  • Park and Recreation Dedication fund interest of $103,000 - the funds can only be used for building new parks but the interest can be allocated anyway the Council chooses.
  • $98,000 from the general fund
  • $98,000 from the Capital Improvement fund
The $98,000 from each fund will be repaid back over 5 years at a cost of $39,000 each year to rebuild both funds.
This plan will take away the devastating effects of unallotment and the instability caused by the State's inability to live up to its promises. The fact that the City and all cities will receive less LGA and perhaps at some point will receive zero LGA is still something we must contend with.

City of Isanti Letter to the County Board

I am posting the letter to the County Board that the City Council sent regarding our concerns about the proposed Comprehensive Plan.

The City of Isanti has received notification that the Isanti County Board of Commissioners will be holding a public hearing on January 26th, 2009, on the Draft Isanti County Comprehensive Plan. The City of Isanti City Council has reviewed and discussed the proposed plan. By consensus, the City Council would like to express the following concerns and provide comments on the proposed Isanti County Comprehensive Plan:

1. In review of the draft plan, the charts and graphs; which are the basis for the plan utilize data and statistics that were collected in 2000. Isanti County, along with its cities and townships, has seen significant growth and development since this information was collected. The data provided within the plan no longer provides an accurate representation of Isanti County. For instance, on page 23 Table 4.6 Population Profiles, the City of Isanti has exceeded the population projections noted for 2030. As a result, much of the data provided within the plan is already “out dated” before the plan has even been adopted or implemented.

The City of Isanti had expressed this concern in a memo, which was sent to the Isanti Board of Commissioners on April 16th, 2008. It would appear that this particular concern has gone unrecognized at this point. Again, the County should consider and obtain more up-to-date information from other sources, which more accurately reflects the changes that have taken place within the County.

2. The City had requested a Future Land Use Map, which would show the proposed locations of the land use designations provided for within the Comprehensive Plan. The maps that were sent to the City would appear to be Existing Zoning Maps for Isanti County. As a result, the City of Isanti does not know where or how increased residential densities, commercial or industrial districts may affect future development within our expansion areas. In addition, the maps provided do not contain a key, depicting and clarifying what the various colors represent. The City also has concerns regarding the maps accuracy as they pertain to the City boundaries for the City of Isanti. Overall, it is very hard determine what is being represented on the maps.

3. The City continues to have concerns regarding the proposed density increases and the potential location of these increased residential density developments as well as the additional commercial / industrial development that is being proposed. As mentioned in the City’s previous concern memo to the Isanti Board of Commissioners, with increased residential densities, 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 that is being promoted. The County needs to ensure that those individuals living within the 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.

4. The City has concerns regarding how the Rural Service Centers will be administered under the new plan. In one portion of the plan, the “existing rural service centers will retain current ordinance status and requirements”; however, later within the document new standards are to be developed for this particular district. The understanding is that these areas are to expand and new uses are to be added. Where are they going to be located? What types of uses will be permitted?

5. The proposed plan would appear to have the sentiment that the Comprehensive Plan can be changed on a whim to provide areas for Commercial and Industrial development, on a case by case basis. While the market and goals of the County may change over time and amendments may be necessary, the intent of the Comprehensive Plan is to provide decision-makers and staff with a guide for making future development decisions. In many ways, the language provided within the County Comprehensive Plan would appear to allow outside parties to drive the future development of the County. As a result, business and commercial development could locate almost anywhere conditions seem warranted.

6. There is a section that focuses on Smart Growth, its definition, history, rationale, and principles (begins on page 32). This would appear to be more of a reiteration of information provided within a planning textbook. While this information is helpful, there does not appear to be a rational reason as to why it is necessary to be included within the plan itself. The City questions how the information actually shapes the plan.

7. Again, 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, rural service centers with different types of uses as well as expansion of commercial and industrial areas. Transportation and land use are intertwined. The City questions whether the transportation portion will be able to support the land uses and density ranges that have been proposed.

This point had been questioned previously, the response from the County in a memo dated 4.22.2008 was that “this comprehensive plan update references the preparation sequence of land use and transportation plans and the desire for land use to inform planned and future transportation decisions. It is anticipated that the Isanti County Transportation Plan 2006-2030 will require modification to respond to changes in land use.” Obviously, there are concerns that the development will take place without having a new transportation plan to accommodate such growth.

8. The County has proposed residential densities that could potentially double within future City of Isanti growth areas. This increase in densities will make it cost prohibitive for the City to extend utilities (sewer and water) within the future to these areas. Rather than trying to coordinate and work with the future development recommendation of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the type of development proposed by the County would appear to work against the City’s future plans.

9. Much of the information provided within the Comprehensive Plan will require amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and / or Subdivision Ordinance, to ensure that the County is developing in accordance with the goals and objectives of the plan. Will the County enact a moratorium on development? The County has spent a great deal of time drafting this plan. Rules and regulations should be in place to guide development in the direction that has been identified within the plan.

10. The City strongly encourages that definitions be added, which accurately describe and characterize the planning and land use concepts that have been presented and identified within the plan. In recent general discussions of the County Board of Commissioners concepts or words, such as “conservation easement” have been provided; however, there are various ideas or perspectives as to what is actually meant or intended by this term. Providing definitions or explanations for these terms within the plan would be helpful to those administering the plan, as it provides direction when making difficult land use decisions.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 20th Council Update

We had a good discussion regarding the paving of 3rd Ave adjacent to the soccer complex. All of us who have either had children play soccer there or watched it know the benefit of paving this stretch of road. The discussion revolved around what is called an urban vs rural section of road. The urban has curb and gutter and the rural section is like most county roads and even a few in Isanti proper that does not have curb and gutter. Both road options would eliminate all parking along 3rd but the rural section is roughly $140,000 less. Currently there is no parking allowed along the west side of 3rd. All the parking lots in the area will need to be used when parking is prohibited along both sides of 3rd.

City Staff and I have met with the Soccer Association and informed them of the road improvement and the change in parking status. We also explained we will need the Association to communicate the changes to their members to avoid parking violations. This will leave only 1 other section of road in the City that is gravel.

I briefed the Council on the LGA Flip concept and the importance of its approval. We will be discussing this at the Febuary 3rd Council meeting. I will provide the details in the next few days.

We have submitted our application for $552,855 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. We will know in the next two weeks if we receive the funds. These dollars are federal funds managed through the state that provides help to qualified buyers of foreclosed homes. Two important facts: this can only be used to help purchase foreclosed homes and it is only within Isanti City Limits.

The Council has sent a letter of concern to the County Board regarding the proposed County Comprehensive Plan. We hope the Board will take the 10 points to heart and give them full consideration. The County Comprehensive Plan affects the entire County including the cities.

Council Goal Setting

The Isanti City Council will be holding a Goal Setting Session January 26th at Isanti City Hall starting at 8 AM. If you have any thoughts for City Council Goals please share your suggestions by emailing me at george@georgewimmer.com

Commissioner Duff Town Hall

Commissioner Duff will be conducting a Town Hall meeting at Isanti City Hall February 3rd, 6pm to 6:45. Your chance to share your thoughts, questions and concerns with our County Commissioner.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Isanti County Deputy Chad Meyer Benefit

Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 5 p.m.

Isanti Community Center
208 1/2 1st Avenue NW

(All proceeds will go to Deputy Meyer for his recovery)
Spaghetti Dinner

5 to 8:30 p.m. - $10 per person
Children 12 and under - $5 each
and Silent Auction
5 to 8:30 p.m.

Deputy Meyer was struck by a vehicle while assisting at a traffic accident and will be unable to work for 5 months due to his injuries.
Pre-sale tickets available at: Isanti County Law Enforcement Association
PO Box 428
Isanti MN 55040

Donations accepted at: Cambridge State Bank, c/o Chad Meyer
127 South Main Street, PO Box 472
Cambridge MN 55008

Silent auction items are needed!
Contact Chief Ron Sager, at (763) 444-4761 or
chiefsager@cityofisanti.us, for more information.

Thanks to Isanti Lions and Blaine Jaycees for helping to sponsor this event!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Legislative Leaders

Isanti City Hall is hosting Senator Olseen and Representative Eastlund at 7pm on January 22nd. We look forward to the town hall style meeting.

State of the City February 18th

I will be delivering the State of the City address at the February 18th Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. I will be sharing our vision of Isanti's future which is based in the decisions we make today. I will be presenting a fundamental shift in our relationship with state government which will take political courage from our Council.

We have a great year ahead of us which would be wonderful in a normal period but in this age of economic collapse all around us is simply amazing. We will be moving forward in filling vacant homes, expanding and bringing in new businesses, improving City infrastructure and maintaining fiscal discipline.

January 20th Council Items

I wanted to touch on a few upcoming items for the January 20th Council meeting. We will be taking advantage of our newly awarded A+ bond rating and refinancing some of our old debt. We project on this latest refinance that $55,000 will be saved. This coupled with the $72,000 we already saved on the last bond issue and the Taxpayers have save $127,000 from the improved bond rates.

We will be discussing significant issues with the current proposed County Comprehensive Plan. The Council will have the option of passing on the concerns to the County Board such as the population projections for the year 2030 have already been surpassed to the lack of planning for the implementation and so on.

I will also be giving a preview of our plan to fundamentally change how we use LGA. The plan will allow us to only count on money we physically have and no longer bet on the State living up to its promises. It gives us greater ability to control our own future and helps stabilize our fiscal planning. It will also eliminate the need for any elimination in the Police Department or Public works in our budget cycle. It will take political courage to implement the plan but will ensure our own future for generations to come.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arctic Plunge is Coming

The Arctic Plunge is fast approaching. I hope everyone will seriously consider supporting this great event. This will be my 4th year jumping and sponsoring. I am so proud of the hard working Committee that puts this all together. I have pulled off a few lines from their website http://www.arcticplunge.com/...

The ARCTIC PLUNGE started in 2002 when Herb Knutson was the first brave soul to jump into the frigid waters of Long Lake to raise money for the Red Cross following the September 11th attacks. The event took off from there! Since 2002 the event has been a huge success raising money for the Isanti Fire Department 2003- 2006 and Isanti County Safety Rescue 2007-2009.

Most recently raising $23,958.72 at the 2008 ARCTIC PLUNGE which was donated to Isanti County Safety Rescue to purchase equipment and upgrade their capabilities.
ARCTIC PLUNGE Inc. is a non profit organization which is made up of seven volunteer board members. With the help of many volunteers and the donations from local businesses the event continues to grow each year.

If you are interested in sponsoring the event or brave enough to take the PLUNGE please contact Carrie at 612.282.6246 or Sue at 763.234.9691.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2009 ARCTIC PLUNGE, March 7th 2009!
Come early and enjoy Vintage Snowmobile Racing www.vintagesnowmobileracing.com

75,000 and Counting

We have passed the 75,000 Hit Milestone!!!

League of Minnesota Cities Conference

I was at the League training conference this past weekend found it to be quite helpful. First, many of the suggestions to deal with all the issues we are facing are actions we have already taken. I was especially happy to hear that Councils need to have good committees, work sessions and goals. Items we have been using for a few years now. One strong statement that was nearly beaten into the group was there is a lot of work to do and you had better make the time to do it or get off your Council and let others who are willing to do the hard work on. I have long shared that sentiment.

Secondly, Isanti has tough problems but many cities are in far worse condition from much smaller reserve funds to high dependence on LGA to aging/failing infrastructure. This fit in well with our two main budgeting goals of maintaining infrastructure/essential City services and flipping our use of LGA. I will explain the LGA flip.

Currently most cities budget the promised LGA into their budget and expect to receive what was promised. The state has failed several times to live up to its promise in the last 5 years. What we trying to work out is operating only with the LGA we have physically received. So if in 2010 we are to get $500,000 in LGA we budget as if we are getting zero then use what we are given in 2010 for the 2011 budget - hopefully the $500,000. The difficult part of course is bridging the gap. I do believe it is possible to do by changing the timing of some of our expenses and using some of our cash reserves. If we do not accomplish this then we will always be at the mercy of a State Legislature and Governor that has proven they can not live up to their promises. If we are able to do this we added great stability to Isanti's Fiscal operation.

Lastly, the conference was a good chance to discuss many issues with other Mayors and Council Members and take a fresh look at our situation. It was an energizing experience and as I always do I paid my own mileage and lodging in the spirit of keeping City cost low.

The 2010 Census is coming to your community!

Every 10 years, we conduct a census of our population. The census count not only determines your community's representation in Congress, state legislatures, and local government—it's also used in distributing about $300 billion annually in federal funding of public programs in: education, community healthcare, public transportation, housing, and community development.

Thousands are needed for temporary jobs

Conducting the census is a huge undertaking. Thousands of census takers are needed to update address lists and conduct interviews with community residents. We want to hire census takers from your community.

Earn good pay

Census takers receive competitive pay on a weekly basis. In addition, they will be reimbursed for authorized mileage and related expenses.

The 2010 Census offers excellent opportunities for people in many walks of life: Retirees Full-Time Workers Job Seekers Students and Grads Community Leaders

Being a census taker is an exceptional opportunity to earn good pay in a temporary, part-time job and at the same time help your community and nation.For more information about Census jobs, please visit our website at www.2010censusjobs.gov or contact us at 1-866-861-2010.

Woodland Development's Request

On Tuesday December 30th 2008 I had posted -http://georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2008/12/by-numbers.html which further broke down the financial issues we are facing as a City. I had the following paragraph that Woodland Development objected to:

3 more quick points... There would be no need for any of this if either the State lived up to its promises or if the delinquent taxpayers - especially developers- paid their taxes.

Mr. Carlson of Woodland decided to write a memo of complaint to me and copy the entire Council for reasons I can only imagine. The statement I made is true, if delinquent taxpayers did pay the City would not be in such a difficult situation. Some of our largest delinquent taxpayers are developers..... my statement did not say all developers just as it did not say all citizens or business or anything else. There is a line in Hamlet Act 3, scene 2, 222–230 that sums up my feelings about this leap of logic.

Mr. Carlson did call me several days later, which would have been useful before the memo was sent, asking to discuss his concerns. Mr. Carlson however had chosen to make a very public display, again for reasons only he knows, by sending a memo of complaint to the entire City Council. I have never spoken to or met Mr. Carlson but have met and worked with Mr. Westlund of Woodland Development on many different developments within the City. I have always been impressed with Mr. Westlund and have used Woodland and their proposed Farmstead development as a model project. I had also appointed Mr. Westlund to represent me on the Committee tasked with developing ordinances for the City under our new Comprehensive Plan.

I have offered Mr. Carlson the opportunity to place his letters of complaint here and he has accepted - with another letter written to the entire Council.... still not sure what he is trying to do with that. Of Course the last time a developer, Mr. Iverson, involved the Council in my blog my readership increased by well over a 1000% so it is not all bad. I did try to make the point to Mr. Carlson that my blog is personal and not a City funded entity but he seemed not to understand. I write the blog about City issues and I am the Mayor but Mr. Carlson the Council nor anyone else has the right to infringe upon our most sacred Freedom of Speech.

A past Council tried this before and was told it could not. That battle was at least based on something. Mr. Carlson seems to have taken a very large leap in logic and against all my past actions and words pertaining to Woodland Development as a good company.... But as I said I will publish his words -

Mayor George Wimmer
City of Isanti
110 First Ave North
PO Box 428
Isanti, MN 55040


Honorable Mayor Wimmer,

I have taken the liberty of copying the other council members on this letter since I do want my comments to be taken very seriously.

I’ll start by saying that Woodland Development has been in business for 40+ years. I am the owner. Not once in those 40+ years has my company not timely and fully met its obligations to any municipality that we have ever been involved with. I consider our track record, and therefore our reputation, to be without a single blemish. I am not only proud of that but intend to keep it that way. Byron is now the principal from our office that represents us with the community and I can assure you that he feels the same. Let it be said that we are good corporate citizens of Isanti.

There have been times over the years when I/we have had to fight to retain our reputation and I have and always will do so. I believe that your comments in the blog titled “Wimmer’s Rhetoric” are slanderous to our company. I am not only asking that this be stopped but that you correct your earlier statements.

Specifically the latest comment in your blog dated December 30, 2008, is “3 More Quick Points…there would be no need for any of this if either the state lived up to its promises or if the delinquent – especially developers – paid their taxes.” I believe this is the third time that you have put all developers in the same rotten barrel rather than specifically naming perhaps who should be in that rotten barrel and which developers should not be which would include Woodland Development.

You will probably recall meeting with Byron Westlund on November 10th, 2008, and this matter of your comments in the blog were on that meetings agenda. I am confident that Byron did a good job explaining how important our reputation is to us; that we believe we have been and will continue to be a good partner/citizen for the City of Isanti; that certainly we need the city’s support and understanding as we work through ongoing land issues and finally, he asked that you end these misleading comments.

Obviously citizens that read your blog, including fellow council members, will not be as prone to work with us if they are misled by comments such as you have made. As far as I know, and surely you have the wherewithal to correct me if I am wrong, I believe we have timely and fully paid our real estate taxes in Isanti County going back to the very beginning through today’s date.

I don’t understand why you feel compelled to destroy all developers’ reputations just because of one or two “very bad developers” that may have been involved in your community. I ask for two things from you as Mayor (please understand that your blog may be personal in one sense but it clearly identifies you as Mayor).
­ Don’t slander our company any further
­ Make a specific correction in your blog stating that your use of the term developers not paying real estate taxes refers either specifically to named companies or specifically does not include named companies such as Woodland Development.

If you would please handle it as I am asking, then the matter is finished.

In closing, I want to make it clear that I am truly sorry that this letter is necessary. We do want to continue working amicably and cooperatively with you and the other council members and staff. It is our hope and intent to be a part of the Isanti community for many years to come. It is a matter of all of us at Woodland being just as concerned and protective over our reputation as I must assume you and all the other council members would be about your own reputation. I would also say that there are too many in the development business that are “less than trustworthy”. I hope that these slow times will drive many of them out of the business which would certainly be beneficial to the citizens, the city as a whole and we remaining developers. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Lary Carlson

cc: Council Member Jim Kennedy
Council Member Jeff Kolb
Council Member Sue Larson
Council Member Ross Lorinser

His second letter to the Council:

DATE: January 13, 2009

TO: George Wimmer

FROM: Lary Carlson


In order to put an end to my genuine concerns regarding the reputation of our company, perhaps the most important issues must be understood by all concerned.

­ It is my absolute impression through discussions with Byron and from what I read, that you have in fact been a solid, hardworking mayor. Your efforts on behalf of a financially stressed community is commendable. I have absolutely no goal or wish to “go after” Mayor George Wimmer.
­ Woodland Development is admittedly in an industry that has more than its share of shysters. Therefore, having a good reputation doesn’t just help our conscience. It is a most important business tool. We need that tool at all times, not just from time to time, to operate a successful business. Our business philosophy is caring for the people we do business with and to always be open and honest with everyone.
­ Frankly, when you say your blog is personal, this seems to be a somewhat foolish statement. You are speaking as Mayor through that blog. For example, when you campaigned against Sue Larson you used the blog. You are talking directly as Mayor to the citizens. I absolutely commend you for having this blog. However, with it comes the responsibility of being quite careful of what is included. You have stated that developers are a problem. I think you would see quite a backlash if you stated that council members are the cities problem if you were actually referring to only one of them. Likewise, if you said farmers aren’t paying their taxes or city residents aren’t paying their taxes. The broad brush just doesn’t work and I think you know very well that is where I am coming from.
I have dictated this after leaving a message for you yesterday. Hopefully you will have an opportunity to return my call.

Finally, at this moment I can only say I certainly see no problem with publishing my letter to you on your blog. I also would ask that you clarify that your earlier comments were never intended to include Woodland. I believe this is a reasonable request.

Lary Carlson

cc: Council Member Jim Kennedy
Council Member Jeff Kolb
Council Member Sue Larson
Council Member Ross Lorinser

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

January 6th City Council Update

2009 Oath of Office
Council Members Kolb and Kennedy were sworn in right after I was. After a vacancy was declared since Council Member Duff was elected to the County Board - Ross Lorinser was appointed by the Council to fill the remaining two years of the term. The vote was 3-1 with me voting against. I do not believe in appointing Council Members with so much time left on the term of office. I believe Mr. Lorinser will make a good Council Member and my vote in no way reflects on him. I voted the same way in 2007.
I had the privilege to award a certificate of appreciation to Officer Valerie Zeman. Officer Zeman won the Isanti County Officer of the Year Award. We have excellent Officers working for us in the City of Isanti and we need to do everything we can to maintain our Police force.
I made the following appointments tonight to Council Committee Assignments -

Economic Development Authority - Wimmer, Kennedy
Park Board - Wimmer
Planning Commission -Lorinser, Larson
Community Education - Lorinser
C-I Arena Board - Larson
Cable TV - Kolb
Community Involvement - Larson
Fire District - Kolb (alternate-Kennedy)
North TH 65 Corridor Coalition - Lorinser (alternate-Larson)
School Liaison - Wimmer, Kolb
Development Advisory Committee - Wimmer, Lorinser
Finance Committee - Wimmer, Kolb
Building & Grounds Committee - Larson, Kennedy
Personnel Committee - Wimmer, Kolb
C-I Bike/Walk Trail - Wimmer
Liquor - Larson, Lorinser
Police - Kennedy, Lorinser
Public Works - Kennedy, Larson

The Council voted unanimously to move forward with the budget amendments. This was a painful decision but we need to make sure we have a plan in place to deal with the many economic realities everyone has to deal with. I would like to thank the Council for their support of the plan and the groups that were asking for funding. The Chamber, Rum River BMX, Community Involvement Team and the Friends of the Library all had been asking for funds but each was respectful and responsible in their responses to the cuts we had to make.
The plan that was adopted tonight is posted here - http://georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2008/12/2008-and-2009-lga-solution.html
This is a difficult time for all of us and together we will work our way through to a brighter tomorrow.

Emailing List

If you would like to be on the confidential email list and receive blog updates on City news and events email me at:


Monday, January 05, 2009

Free Film Festival!

What: The Three Stooges, Laurel &
Hardy, The Little Rascals & Loony
Toons etc…

When: January 10th & 24th
(Noon to 5:00 pm)

Where: Isanti Community Center

Some concessions will be available.

Free will donations will be accepted
to help with the downtown project.

Sponsored by: Jaysen Guthmueller’s
American Family Insurance

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009

Nuisance Complaints Received 2008

Expired License Tabs 132...25%

Noxious weeds and grass 115...22%

Trailer violations 98...18%

Boat Parking violations 58...11%

garbage and junk 56...11%

RV Parking violations 32...6%

Sidewalk Snow removal 16...3%

ATV Snowmobile Storage 14...3%

Fish House Storage 6...1%

Poultry in City Limits 2

Semi Parking violations 2

531 total complaints received