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

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Senior dining

I was at a meeting with the amazing ladies that run Senior Dining and Meals on Wheels in Isanti this morning. I was saddened to hear that they have received zero donations this year. They normally receive $300 a year in private donations and stretch those dollars to the fullest. These extra dollars help cover the cost of meals for seniors that can not pay the already subsidized cost. I would like to make a personal plea that if anyone has even a few dollars to share with this needed program you contact me.

Seniors are going into uncharted waters the next two years. Their Social Security benefits are planned to remain flat. First time there has been a zero increase in over 30 years. This is difficult enough but there is also a planned Medicare increase that is taken out of the Social Security benefit so their actually money in hand will be less next year. Senior Dining is already a much needed program and I have tried to support them in anyway I can. This need will only grow in the years to come.

Foreclosed Housing Sales

I am happy to report that 77 foreclosed homes have been sold in the City of Isanti from January through July. This is before the $552,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds even hit the street. We have roughly a dozen properties currently going through the NSP program that makes tens of thousands of dollars available to purchase/remodel foreclosed homes. If interested in the program please let me know.

As the foreclosed homes are sold then the pace of sales of existing homes will increase and finally new homes will be built. a few non-foreclosed existing homes have been selling and a new house is being built as well in the City. We are steadily working our way through this housing crisis in a steady and methodical way to ensure a stable City for Generations to come.

County Budget

I have been following the County budget discussion and listening to Commissioner Duff’s audio recording of the meetings at http://www.alanduff.net/ – the other County Board members are against any recording of meetings. The City of Isanti of course records our meetings and posts them on our city website http://www.cityofisanti.us/. I have found this latest attempt to intimidate Commissioner Duff to be a bit silly. Commissioner Duff raised three simple issues - Commissioner pay, per diems and getting paid mileage to drive to County Board meetings.

The Board of Commissioners already received a pay increase this year – it seems pretty obvious that holding the line on any more pay increases would be appropriate. An Isanti County Board member makes $27,013 a year compared to an Isanti City Council member making $2,900 per year. It has been nearly a decade since the City of Isanti increased Council pay. Now take the $27,013 base pay and add an average $6,000 in per diems a year and we get to $33,000 for a part-time job that still pays you if you do not show up for meetings. The County has paid for laptop computers as well for several Board members and now we find out some members are paid to drive to the Board meetings. I am hard pressed to think of how many people are paid to drive to their job. As Mayor I am not paid to drive to City Hall and I would image most people would agree this practice should end in the best of times let alone in the difficult economic times we find ourselves.

I feel compelled to discuss the topic since my Citizens in the City of Isanti pay a significant amount in county taxes – the last numbers I saw showed the top three county tax paying jurisdictions as 1. City of Cambridge 2. City of Isanti and 3 Bradford Township. Coincidently 2 of the top 3 jurisdictions make up Commissioner Duffs 3rd District. Commissioner Duff’s 3rd District is the most populous by far and has 2 of the top three areas paying county taxes and he is constantly told to sit down and shut-up. Hopefully people will continue to stand up for what is right and shine the light of day on what is happening. If there is nothing to be ashamed about then why not have the conversation. If there is something to be ashamed about then fix it.

Draft of Fall Isanti Article

We have gone through another summer of considerable change. The 65/5 intersection has been significantly improved for safety and 3rd Avenue by the soccer fields will be paved with an adjoining bike trail. Our Water Treatment Facility will start treating our water and removing harmful radium and the nuisance iron and manganese which makes our water “hard” and at times foul spelling. Railroad crossing arms for South Passage are scheduled to be installed by the end of this year – completing the safety improvements to all railroad crossings in the City of Isanti.

I want to extend a welcome to all of our new residents. We have had a burst of home sales this year. Seventy-seven foreclosed homes alone have sold from January through July. This is without the aid of the over $500,000 in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Funds currently working through the system. We have roughly another dozen applications for these funds at some stage of the process. If interested in this program please visit our website at www.cityofisanti.us. We are the only community in the region that won NSP funds. There is still a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction.

Another great piece of news is that we were successful in our application for a COPS grant. We were only 1 of 14 communities in the state of Minnesota to win this grant. The grant will pay for one of our existing police officers for three years. This helps balance a budget that has been ravaged by state cuts, nonpayment of taxes and assessments and an 18% increase in insurance premiums. This leads me to my next topic – the 2010 budget.

When I was first elected to the Council in 2005 the City Levy was 74.211%. The 2009 final City Levy is 55.231% or a 26% decrease in just 4 years. This is just the City of Isanti’s portion of your property tax bill - the state, county and school district combined make-up the majority of your property taxes. The LGA Flip plan I introduced earlier this year has given us greater control of our financial future and has been praised as a blue print for other communities. We are not finished with the 2010 budget yet but the initial plan is to at worse have a zero increase in our City Property Tax Levy. To accomplish this we have set forth a budget with a zero increase in pay for all City employees, City consultants and numerous other savings while not impacting service level. We will actually be improving City services most noticeably with the Water Treatment Facility.

Isanti has been recognized for leadership on two critical issues – Home Foreclosures and Downtown Development. I was 1 of 3 Mayor’s asked to speak at a press conference held in St. Paul announcing funds to combat home foreclosures, the others being the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis. I was asked to speak about Downtown Development at this summer’s League of Minnesota Cities Conference and explain our recent successes. Numerous cities have contacted me to learn more about our great community. Isanti is leading the way into a brighter future.

I want to touch on communication. I have tried to make myself as available to our Citizens as possible and share what we are doing as a City. I also respond immediately to Citizen Input. As part of this I have a website at www.georgewimmer.com – a blog at www.georgewimmer.blogspot.com – a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GeorgeAWimmer - and a twitter account at www.twitter.com/mayorwimmer. You may also reach me at george@georgewimmer.com or my cell phone 763-442-8749. It is a privilege to serve and I hope I will hear from you soon on how we can do even better.

Isanti City Budget Update

We will be proposing a zero increase in taxes and a 3% cut in City spending. The total amount of spending cuts the last 2 years is over 6%. There is also a zero percent increase in employee pay along with many other cuts in spending. This may not seem like much but most communities will be seeing significant tax increases. We are also balancing out an 18% increase in insurance, significant changes in taxes to be collected and unpaid assessments.

The zero percent increase is the worse case situation depending on the numbers from the County. The County will be sending us their valuation of Isanti's tax base a few weeks after our preliminary levy has to be sent to the state. Backwards yes but that is the law we must follow. If the valuations come in higher then our reduced expectations then a further cut in taxes is possible.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Isanti Teacher and Staff Day

WHEREAS, teachers and staff make public education great; and

WHEREAS, teachers and staff work to open students' minds to ideas, knowledge and dreams; and

WHEREAS, teachers and staff keep American democracy alive by laying the foundation for good citizenship; and

WHEREAS, teachers and staff are needed more than ever and deserve our support and respect; and

WHEREAS, teachers and staff are listeners, explorers, role models, motivators and mentors; and

WHEREAS, the City of Isanti recognizes the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff.


I, George A. Wimmer, Mayor of the City of Isanti,
Hereby Proclaim

September 1st, 2009
Isanti Teacher and Staff Day

________________________________
Mayor George A. Wimmer

Heartland Express

Had an excellent meeting with Heartland Express. Heartland is the public transportation option for Isanti and Chisago counties. As our ridership increases there is the future option of adding a bus that runs a regular Isanti City route. The current route that makes pick-ups and drop offs in Isanti has one of the highest volumes of riders in the system.

To learn more about this low cost transportation option go to:

http://www.co.isanti.mn.us/heartlnd.htm

2008-2009 service policy:

http://www.co.isanti.mn.us/miscfiles/08HeartlandNewService.pdf

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thought you Should Know

Our City Engineer Brad DeWolf of Bolton and Menk Inc. has had a number of things thrown at him in rapid succession and he has once again exceeded my expectations.

I also want to point out that our City Engineer Brad DeWolf and City Attorney Clark Joslin have both offered to hold the line with a 0% increase in fees. They each offered this without being asked.

Minnesota Owls Hockey Housing Request

Hello everyone,

Well, it's already that time of year again and the Minnesota Owls are looking to place roughly 17 players into housing for the 2009 - 2010 hockey season. We've got players from all over the country again this year including California, Florida, Arizona and Michigan.

Just to refresh your memory, the host family receives $300 per month, per player. The host family provides a room and a bed for the player and must provide groceries for the player to make meals for himself. Please see the attachment for more detailed information.

The tryouts are being held August 21st - 23rd, and practice starts on August 24th. Some of the players will stay immediately after tryouts but some may plan to go home for the Labor Day weekend so housing will be needed sometime between the dates of August 21 - September 8th, depending on the player. The season wraps up sometime in March, depending on how well the Owls do in the playoffs and if they make it to Nationals.

We will be having a housing meeting on August 18 @ 7 PM, in the conference room at the Isanti Ice Arena. If you still have questions or concerns, this would be a great time to meet up with us and get those answers. We will be going over different ways to make the experience go well for both the families and the players. Please plan to attend if you have ever considered hosting a player.



Thank You,

Carla Duncan
Housing Director
Minnesota Owls Junior Hockey
MNWildFan30@msn.com
(763) 444-8330

Senior Dining

Had a great time talking to our Seniors yesterday. A thank you, hug and kiss on the cheek from an 86 year old lady makes for a great day.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Shirt Order

Have 15 shirt request....Any stragglers left before I order

Friday, August 07, 2009

T-Shirts

I have had a few ask for "George Wimmer Mayor" t-shirts. We will be putting in an order soon. If you would like one please email me your size at George@Georgewimmer.com

Thursday, August 06, 2009

City of Isanti Homes Selling

16 homes sold in last couple weeks in the City of Isanti. A nice fact I thought you might like to know.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

August 5th Budget/Council Update

We discussed several more departments at the Budget Work Session. The only point of some discussion was on whether or not we should have a police bike patrol for better Community Policing. I strongly support and have been pushing for police bike patrol the last few years using the current police resources. I will continue to fight for a bike patrol and try to change minds on this issue.

We also discussed the roughly $600,000 of assessments that may not get collected do to non-payment. These would eventually get paid but again it might be a cost the City has to carry for several years.

We are moving forward with a budget that cuts spending another 3% as we did last year and zero increase in taxes.

I want to thank Landmark Bank, Startac Construction and Northland Landscaping for funding the Mayor's Great Yard Award.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Meeting Cathy Wurzer

Cathy Wurzer and I holding her fantastic book.


One of the great perks of being Mayor is meeting wonderful people as they visit our great City. I had just such an opportunity today. Mark Rojas the owner of Bear books on Main Street had the amazing Cathy Wurzer - Yes I am a big fan - signing some of her " Tales of the Road Highway 61" book. I will treasure the personalized sign book.

Ms. Wurzer's blog Tales of the Road may be found here - http://www.talesoftheroad.net/blog/ . The June 16th entry talks of her first visit to Isanti.