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, March 31, 2009

Back from Vacation

I was gone the past week and will get caught up on some needed post. I hope to get caught up in the next week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Isanti Retail Meats Soft Opening

money from the first ever sales at IRM
Great Boar's Head products and they sell an awesome frozen pizza from the center aisle freezer

Some of the salads and cheeses for sale

Owner Joe and I

Joe, Bob Voss from the ECRDC celebrating with me

Pictures from the Isanti Retail Meats soft opening. I stopped in wearing my Rum River BMX T-Shirt - We have the National Trials in Isanti again this year bringing in thousands of visitors.
Isanti Retail Meats is open for business so get Downtown Isanti and buy some great food.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Isanti Retail Meats to Open

Isanti Retail Meats on Main Street opens 3pm Friday, March 20th. This is a great asset to our Downtown and Community as a whole. Lets make it a success.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Meals on Wheels

Helping with Meals on Wheels today as part of the Mayor's Meals on Wheels National Event. This is part of the Senior Dining program at the Isanti Community Center. I want to thank all the volunteers that make this possible.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Owls Second Round Playoff Results

The Owls fought hard the last few days:

03-13-09 Minnesota Owls 2 - Minnesota Ice Hawks 12
03-14-09 Minnesota Owls 3 - Minnesota Ice Hawks 2
03-15-09 Minnesota Owls 3 - Minnesota Ice Hawks 4 (OT)

The Owls lost their first game in the second round but defended their home ice. Sunday's loss was tough in overtime but was a huge improvement from game one. The Owl's first season in Isanti is one we can all be proud of and I look forward to many years of great hockey to come.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March 17th City Council Meeting

TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009 – 7:00 P.M.

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

E. Proclamations/Commendations/Certificate Awards

F. Approve City Council Minutes March 3, 2009 - Regular Meeting of the City Council

G. Citizens Input

H. Announcements
1. Park & Recreation Board Meeting Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.
2. EDA Meeting Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
3. City Council Meeting Tuesday, April 7, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
4. Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7:00

I. Council Committee Reports

J. Public Hearings

K. Business Items

Assistant City Administrator/City Clerk Irene Bauer

- Spectacular Events & DJ’s Grill House Liquor License Renewal
- Resolution Awarding Fire Extinguisher Service

Community Service Officer Steve Wacha

- Request for Abatement Public Hearing – 524 Dogwood Street SW

Community Development Director Carla Vita

- Resolution Approving Entering into Contract with ECM – Scotsman
- Ordinance Amending City Code Chapter 253 - Rental Dwellings
- Extended Extension for Business in default

Finance Director Kristi Smith
- Resolution Authorizing Movement of Certain funds, Designations of Fund Balances and Closing of Funds
- Resolution Authorizing Closing of Fund for 2009
- Resolution Approving Amendment to Agreement with Landmark Community Bank

L. Consent Agenda

Approve Municipal Builders, Inc. Pay Estimate No. 8 in the amount of $364,360.15 for Work Completed on the Water Treatment Facility
Approve Fransen Decorating Pay Estimate No. 4 in the amount of $13,680.00 for Work Completed on the WWTF Painting Project
Accounts Payable in the Amount of $***** and Payroll in the Amount of $69,460.21
Approve Minutes of the February 10, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting
Resolution ending Probationary Period and Promotion to Permanent Full-time Employee Status for Public Works Maintenance Technician Victor Fanth
Resolution Approving Renewal of Consumption and Display Permit for the Isanti Lions Club
Resolution Approving Exempt Gambling Permit to Triple Gobble Chapter of NWTF
Resolution Accepting Fairway Greens 2 and Placing in a Two Year Warranty
Resolution Amending Student Representative Description and Qualifications

M. Other Communications

1. Draft Minutes of March 10, 2009 Planning Commission Meeting
2. February 2009 Police Report
3. February Building Permit Report

4. March Engineering Project Status Report

N. Closed Meeting

1. Easement Acquisition – pedestrian bridge


City of Isanti Awarded Neighborhood Stabilization Funds

I have been receiving so many request on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program that I thought I would repost our information.

On February 26, 2009 the City of Isanti received notification that the City was selected to receive $552,855 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Funds. The City will use the funds to increase home ownership in targeted neighborhoods where there is a high incidence of foreclosures. The funds do have requirements please contact Jason at Central Minnesota Housing Partnership at (320) 259-0393 for more information.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Charisma Boutique Grand Opening

Mark your calendars for Thursday April 2nd - Saturday April 4th for our Grand Opening We will be having Refreshments Thursday - Friday. Saturday we will bring out the grill for a few hours for hot dogs. Door Prizes will be given away daily. Located next to Subway and Great Clips on County Highway 5 Isanti.

Hope to see you here,

Dori & Tom Johnson
Charisma Boutique

Arctic Plunge Update

Aerial of the Plunge

The Arctic Plunge committee did another great job this year. They raised over $21,000 to donate. This is especially impressive in these difficult times. thank you to all your hard work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Minneosta Owls Playoffs

The Minnesota Owls face off against their bitter rival, the Ice Hawks in the semi-final round of the MNJHL playoffs. The best of 3 series starts with Game 1, Friday at 7:05pm in Rochester; Game 2 is Saturday at 7:30pm in Isanti; and Game 3 (if necessary) is Sunday at 5:35pm in Rochester.

Students get into the remaining Owls playoff games for FREE as long as they're wearing a jersey? It can be any kind of jersey... hockey, football, soccer, NHL, NFL, etc.

For more information please go to http://www.minnesotaowls.com/ including which Owls player was named the League MVP.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The 2009 Arctic Plunge

I am working on getting more pics from the plunge. If you have pics please forward to me. It was great to support the Plunge and their amazing work raising money for Isanti County Safety and Rescue. I also wanted to support our hometown Owls as they are burning their way through the play offs.

Here I am "skating" my way to the hole.

The Ambassadors waving just before they push me in.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Our Minnesota Owls Win 12-1

The Minnesota Owls win tonight's round one play off 12-1 against the Minnesota Flying Aces. I could not be there but watched on http://www.esp1000.com/ .

Another impressive Owls blowout. They keep making Isanti proud. I will be wearing my Owls Jersey when I take the Plunge tomorrow afternoon.

Arctic Plunge is Coming (1 More Day)

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
http://www.vintagesnowmobileracing.com/which benefits the LONG LAKE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Congratulations Hometown Minnesota Owls

The Owls 1st Round of Playoffs on Home Ice:

Friday - March 6th vs. Minnesota Flying Aces - 7:30 PM
Sunday - March 8th vs Minnesota Flying Aces - 3:00 PM (If Needed)
For more information goto:

Foreclosure Rates

Another sad piece of information - albeit not surprising. These are the foreclosure rates by county for the 10 worse counties in Minnesota. Isanti has by far the worse foreclosure rate by total households in the entire state of Minnesota.

I am proud that we as a City have been working so hard on this problem and we are the only entity in the entire County to date that has gone after Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds to help turn this trend around. Isanti had a high of 174 occupied and unoccupied foreclosed homes in August of 2008 and we are down to 142 by March of 2009. From January 28th of 2009 to March 4th we have had 14 foreclosed homes sell. This drop in foreclosed homes has happened before we received the $552k in NSP funds. With the NSP funds and our aggressive approach - hailed by many state wide - we expect even greater results. This is all happening of course against the back drop of a terrible national economy. Progress is happening even in these difficult times.

Here are the top 10 foreclosure rates by county by total households.


1 Isanti -----0.58 ---1.41 ----2.32 ----3.27

2 Sherburne 0.75 ---1.22 -----2.41--- 2.65

3 Mille Lacs 0.6 -----1.02 -----2.27 ---2.37

4 Wright* -- --------0.77 -----1.89---- 2.35

5 Scott ----0.36 ----0.80 -----1.47 ----2.17

6 Chisago --0.62 ---0.99 -----1.77 ----2.07

7 Kanabec --0.55 ---1.01 -----1.53 ---1.91

8 Anoka ----0.44 ---0.72 -----1.43 --1.90

9 McLeod --0.39 ---0.5 ------0.98 ---1.77

10 Pine -----0.77 --1.06 ------1.98 ---1.62

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Isanti County Unemployment Jump

Year-Month*** Unemployment Rate

2009-01 ***********12.4%
2008-12 ************9.6%
2008-11 ************7.7%
2008-10 ************6.3%
2008-09 ************6.5%
2008-08 ***********6.2%
2008-07 ***********5.9%

The recent rate of 12.4% from January is the highest rate this region has seen at least in modern history. The Minnesota DEED site goes back to 1990 and the worse before the last two months was 9.4% in January 1993.

The issues we face in this County are unprecedented and their affects will snowball through our community. The City of Isanti has taken the lead in foreclosure management, crime prevention, disciplined fiscal policy, cutting taxes, cutting spending and attracting new good paying jobs to our community.

These are good steps forward but as the ripples of the state and national economy meltdown continue to wash over us we need to be prepared for more difficult times ahead. I have been putting together several different budget models that we will be using to prepare our 2010 budget. We will continue to work through the issues we face and we are as prepared as we can be. I firmly believe if we stay disciplined and follow our plan the future will be brighter than any of us could imagine.

March 3rd Council Update

A couple points from last nights Council meeting. We informed the Council about the Pedestrian bridge funding, Neighborhood Stabilization Program and 2nd Downtown Mural Approval. All told these projects to date will bring in $1.5 million dollars of federal and regional dollars to Isanti with more to come. These are dollars that have been approved at the federal and state level and we are making sure that Isanti gets its share of the resources that are being spent.

I swore in Police Officer Adam Gau as he has completed his year long probation. Officer Gau is an asset to the community and I am working hard to make sure we will be able to keep ever officer we have during these difficult budgeting years ahead.

The Council approved the hiring of two more part time officers. This simply increases the pool of officers to schedule hours with and will not cost more as the hours served do not increase. It will actually let us save money on less overtime hours for full time officers.

The youth member for the Park and Recreation Board was approved by the Council. The student must be in high school student between the ages of 14-18; a resident of the city of Isanti and has an interest in local government and/or park and rec issues. The position will be a one year commitment and the student must be able to attend park board meetings held on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 5-6 p.m. at Isanti City Hall. For more information contact City Planner Lisa Krause at 763-444-5512 or email lkrause@cityofisanti.us.

We passed terms of office for Planning Commission and Park and Recreation Board members. This is not a term limit but sets specific terms so that potential new members can join. This makes it a more open and inclusive process.

County Board Recordings

The local papers covering the County Board meeting Tuesday reported on Commissioner Duff recording the meetings. I went to his site - http://www.alanduff.net/ - and sure enough a pretty good recording of the meeting is there. I had to download the file to listen.

The last 10 minutes or so had Commissioner Morris ripping me for maligning her. I was a bit surprise by this since I have mentioned her only once that I am aware of in my blog. That was last month over the Comp Plan debate. It was not about her vote but her statements and I have included that blog post here. She says I attacked her personally which I can not see how she comes to that conclusion but I will let you be the judge of that. I hope everyone will listen to the County Board recording. The Isanti City Council has recorded and posted our meetings online for everyone to hear for the last year or so. It is an excellent way to let the people know what their elected leaders are doing. Transparency in government is a great thing. The hundreds of people that have listened to our meeting online would attest to that.

Knowing now that Commissioner Morris is an avid reader of my blog I would invite her to meet with me at her earliest convenience so we can discuss whatever issues she has with me. Here is the only posting I can find with Ms. Morris in it.


The County Comprehensive Plan was passed today 0n a 4-1 vote. That was expected especially since the Citizens Advisory Committee that created the plan was appointed entirely by the Commissioners. That is as I said expected, unfortunate but expected that it passed in its flawed state.

The disappointing part was Commissioner Morris's disrespectful comments that the 3rd District Commissioner should in essence not comment on the Comprehensive Plan since he was newly elected and had not participated in all the previous comp plan meetings. Ms. Morris is the new Chair of the County EDA and she has missed County EDA meetings last year - should she be disqualified for that. Why does Ms. Morris feel the 9,100 (most populous district in the county by the way with nearly 25% of the population) people living in District 3 should have no voice in this decision.

At what point does she think a Commissioner is suppose to participate. I assume she was active on the Board as soon as she was sworn in just two years ago herself. If Mr. Duff agreed with her position would she have still not wanted him to speak his mind?

I hope it was a momentary lapse and not a firmly held position because it opens a slippery slope of discussion. I would have liked to direct you to the audio of the discussion so you could make up your own minds on the interchange but unfortunately our County Board does not record their meetings.

We face real problems and we will at times disagree but we all deserve the right to have our voices heard. I respect Ms. Morris and all our County Board members and hope we will continue to be able to move forward. I disagreed with this vote but that is now in the past and we must work together to make this new county comp plan effective.

I believe it was President Reagan that said our 80% friend is not our 20% enemy.
********Update 3/10/09******

Commissioner Morris gave me a copy of last years EDA meeting minutes that show she was not absent. I suppose it is possible my notes are wrong but she did admit she was late to at least one meeting and perhaps we missed each other at that meeting. The meeting minutes do not reflect when members arrive. It would be nice to have recordings as the City of Isanti does to verify times but that fight appears lost.
Ms. Morris stated there are many meetings and some do get missed or arrived at late. I agree completely as I had 4 meetings today myself and had to leave two early. If it was about her missed meetings then I would have raised the October 1st Board meeting she missed (per the minutes published on the county website) or the meetings missed by other board members. That is not the issue - we will all miss some meetings I am sure - due to the fact everyone at the local level is asked to do a lot with very little. I was trying to draw the conclusion that even if a meeting was missed it does not mean a duly elected leader gives up their right to vote. Perhaps it was not written well if it caused so much heartache.

The issue of course is not how many meetings a person missed it was Ms. Morris's statement that the District 3 representative should not even vote on the comp plan. I am big enough to put the other side out - I am still waiting for an apology that my citizens had no right to be heard about the comprehensive plan. I said it before and I will say it again, I like and respect Ms. Morris but I completely disagree with her position on who should be allowed to vote. I had hoped that we could all continue to move forward and try to make the best out of the situation.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Latest State Budget Deficit

The latest State budget deficit has come in at $6.3 Billion but since the State has used $1.8 Billion in stimulus to offset this number they are claiming "only" $4.57 Billion. Much of the money in the stimulus has strings attached that does not allow the state to cut the programs the money is being used for.

This sets up a much bigger cliff for us to fall off in 2 years. So regardless if you are a Democrat or Republican - or this is a revenue vs. spending problem - the structural mess we are in has simply been punted down the field. The deficit is still massive and there will still be painful cuts but with the prospect of much more stimulus money in the federal pipeline I fear the real problems will not be addressed.

I do not like commenting on federal or state issues but this one does affect how our City moves into the future. We can not allow our budgeting process to get sucked into the shell gamed played on the state and federal level.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Listen to our Council Meetings

Remember that you can listen to Council meetings at:


March 3rd City Council Agenda

TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2009 - 7:00 P.M.

Call to Order
B. Pledge of Allegiance
C. Roll Call
D. Adopt Agenda
E. Proclamations/Commendations/Certificate Awards

F. Approve City Council Minutes
February 17, 2009 – Work Session Meeting of the City Council
February 17, 2009 – Regular Meeting of the City Council

G. Citizens Input

H. Announcements

1. Planning Commission Meeting Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
2. City Council Work Session Tuesday, March 17, 2009 – 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.
3. City Council Meeting Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
4. Park & Recreation Board Meeting Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.
5. EDA Meeting Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.
6. $950,000 in Omnibus Appropriation Funds
7. ECRDC $5,000 Arts Commission Downtown Grant Approved
8. $552,855 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program

I. Council Committee Reports

J. Public Hearings

K. Business Items
1. Request for Solution to Water Line Freeze Up – Scott Flannigan
2. Appointment to the Isanti County Human Rights Commission

City Planner Lisa Krause

3. Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 445: Zoning Ordinance – Relating to Provisions for Recreational Vehicle Repair and Outdoor Storage
4. Park & Recreation Board Student Representative
5. Resolution Approving Scheduling Policy for Athletic Fields and Park Shelters

Community Development Director Carla Vita

6. Business Subsidy Project in Default Action
7. Resolution Waiving Rental License Fee

Police Chief Ron Sager

8. Resolution ending Probationary Period and Promotion to Permanent Full-time Employee Status for Peace Officer Adam Gau
Swearing in of Officer Gau
9. Request to Hire Two More Part-time Officers
10. Consider Isanti Area Anti-Crime Commission

City Engineer Brad DeWolf

11. Sun Prairie Storm Sewer

Finance Director Kristi Smith

12. Resolution Authorizing Closing of Accounts with Pershing LLC through Northland Securities, Inc.

Assistant City Administrator/City Clerk Irene Bauer

13. Term Appointments for the Planning Commission and Park & Recreation Board Member
14. Resolution Awarding Municipal Building Cleaning Services
15. Resolution Awarding Newsletter Publication Service
16. Resolution Approving On-Sale and Sunday Liquor License Renewal to Spectacular Events & DJ’s Grill House

City Administrator Don Lorsung

17. Ordinance Amending City Code Relating to the Responsibility of Water Lines

L. Consent Agenda

Accounts Payable in the Amounts of $155,115.16 and Payroll in the Amount of $66,677.25
Resolution Approving On-Sale and Sunday Liquor License Renewals to the following:
Junction Bowl/Whistle Stop Bar & Grill
Rum River VFW Post 2735

3. Approval of Minutes:
a. January 27, 2009 Park & Recreation Board
b. January 27, 2009 EDA Board

4. Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Dog Licenses at a Dog Clinic Sponsored by the Isanti Community Involvement Team and to Waive the Late Penalty Fee

5. Resolution Accepting Fairway Greens 2 and Placing in a Two Year Warranty
6. Resolution Modifying the Enabling Resolution for the Economic Development Authority

M. Other Communications

1. Draft Minutes of the February 24, 2009 Park & Recreation Board Meeting
2. Draft Minutes of the February 24, 2009 EDA Meeting
3. Memo from Bolton & Menk on Frozen Water Lines