About Me

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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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Isanti County News Ever Cat Fuels Article

Complete Isanti County News article on the Ever Cat Fuels Grand Opening -

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6920&Itemid=1

Union Negotiations

We had our first union negotiations yesterday. After they are completed I will give a comprehensive recap and an explanation of the new contracts regardless if I vote for or against. I look forward to a productive and efficient process.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Press Coverage of Ever Cat Fuels Facility

Photo and story by Rachel Kytonen
From Isanti County News Coverage of Grand Opening. Their coverage is at http://www.isanticountynews.com/ . Their full story will be published this week.

StarTribune Article on Grand Opening

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ever Cat Fuels Grand Opening Update

I want to thank Senator Amy Klobuchar, Don Shelby and State Senator Olseen for doing a wonderful job speaking today on behalf of the incredible Ever Cat Fuels project. People from across the country and around the world were at the Grand Opening today representing the true global reach of this technology. Mr. Shelby did an amazing job hosting today's event and Senator Klobuchar not only is a master of the issues but she is tremendously funny and wonderful to talk with.

I have included the remarks I made at the Grand Opening. Isanti should be proud of this accomplishment.



As Mayor of the City of Isanti, I would first like to take the opportunity to welcome each of you to our community; and to this highly anticipated event, the Grand Opening of the Ever Cat Fuels facility.

I was first introduced to this project 3 months into my first term at our 2007 chamber dinner when Landmark Bank President Kevin Johnson mentioned an incredible new bio-energy concept having something to do with zirconium. Paraphrasing it was something like ‘we have to make this work’. The only zirconium I knew at the time was cubic but soon realized we had a real diamond in our hands.

I will never forget my first meeting with the McNeffs. We met at City Hall and the initial details of the process and facility were explained. The fact that it was cost effective, not water intensive and eliminated the food or fuel choice; I was sold on the concept. We then went to look at possible site location. To get a better look at the lay of the land within the industrial park, we trekked up to the waste water treatment ponds because the elevation gave us an excellent view of potential sites. I knew they were dedicated individuals because they stood in the frigid Minnesota wind as it blew across those treatment ponds.

This lead to several more discussions about the types of development tools Isanti could bring to the project. We worked to educate, not only ourselves, but our city on the potential this project had and the positive impact on our community.

As part of this process we participated in several tours of the facility by media and elected officials from the local, state and federal level.

One of my greatest moments in public office was a trip down to SarTec to see the lab and attend a meeting with Congressman Oberstar. I listened to the Congressman ask specific detailed questions of the process. The weight of his knowledge and intellect on the subject matter was incredibly impressive.

As the Congressman educated us on the decades long battles he has waged for renewable energy and a cohesive national transportation plan, I was energized to make sure that we, the City of Isanti, work with our state and federal partners to ensure the future growth of Ever Cat Fuels by developing a rail industrial park. A rail park is needed to ensure that the full potential of this facility is realized – a ten fold increase in production.

We will build upon our current success and relationships to continue to grow good paying local jobs in exciting high tech renewable energy production. We stand here today celebrating a technology that can be one of the keys to energy independence, a strong economy and a positive environmental impact for generations to come.

This project has already fostered an environment of intergovernmental agency cooperation and will continue to create and enhance these partnerships, as the project evolves and grows into the future. The list of acknowledgements for those individuals and agencies that have worked with Isanti in the establishment of this facility from the preliminary planning stages through environmental reviews, financing, and the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy has been incredible and includes: Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Congressman Oberstar, East Central Regional Development Commission, State Senator Olseen, Representative Eastlund, Great River Energy/Connexus, the Initiative Foundation, Isanti County Emergency / Home Land Security, The Isanti Environmental Coalition, Isanti Police and Fire Departments, Landmark Bank, Minnesota DEED, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota State Building, Triangle Energy Group, the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College.
The end result only proves what can be accomplished, if we all work together and if the lines of communication between us all are open. The result is a successful project that may be an example to others. As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds”.

The Ever Cat Fuels facility means a great deal to the City of Isanti and our region as a whole. The demonstration plant not only provides good paying local jobs in a developing industry; it also has brought state and national attention to our community. Only a project of this nature could bring together the group we have assembled here today. Isanti’s ability to bring private and public sector resources together has truly been realized on this project.
The potential economic development spurred by this facility and the attention it brings to Isanti is exciting – personally, I take great pride in knowing that our City has played a small part in helping to reach energy independence in an environmentally sensible way.

I would like to take a brief moment and thank the McNeff Family and the entire Ever Cat Fuels family for their dedication and hard work - their perseverance in making this project a successful reality is an inspiration to us all. They have been a joy to work with on this project and are the highest professional and ethical individuals that I have had the pleasure to work with. From March of 2007 to the fall of 2009, we have faced a number of interesting challenges and at each and every hurdle we have found excellent solutions. Through their genius of invention to their tenacity to bring positive change to the world I, and we all, thank you - and look forward to your next great invention.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thank LGA Commercial

Interesting Thank LGA web commercial. We have put a plan into action to not rely on an unreliable state partner. I still find this web commercial interesting and thought you might like to see it.

http://thanklga.blip.tv/file/2638815/

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Water Treatment Plant Grand Opening

Water Treatment Plant Grand Opening Tuesday October 20th - 5:30 to 6:30 on site. Bolton & Menk, Inc. will be providing food and refreshments.

I am incredibly proud that we were able to complete this project on time and under budget. This project is a legacy of safe drinking water to future generations. I will be writing more on this subject in the following days.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Owls Win 8-2

2009 Home Opener Puck Drop
Owls Celebrate a great Victory


Owls at Center Ice After Win

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Isanti County Board Budget Fight Audio & City Council Audio

City Council Audio:

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

County Board Audio of the budget fight - the budget "discussion" starts at just over 42 minutes in.

http://alanduff.net/

Friends of the Isanti Library - Guest Writer

Friends -

Let the cheering begin! ECRL and Isanti City Council have both approved the Library Link Site, so we are finally (almost) in business!! If all goes well, we could open by the end of October!!!!

1) The next step is to have the internet stuff installed. Greg Owens is working on that.
2) Heidi Cava is looking at the ECRL garage sale items to see if there's anything we can use.
3) We need to find someone who can donate or build these items:
- 1-2 bookcases to fit against one wall - total width about 6-8'
- 2 sturdy, comfortable chairs for patrons
- 1 sturdy, comfortable desk chair for Heidi
- 1 bookcase 36"w x 12"d to fit under the window
- 1 small table (10"-12"h) to hold the book drop bin
- 1 table 72"l x 24"d
- 1 narrow book shelf for our FIAL Book Sales
- 1 small shelf or table (20-24"w) to use as an end cap on the double bookshelf.
- 1 Children's book bin (about 41"l x 29w).

They are really expensive to purchase, so we're hoping to find someone who would be willing to build it. We have pictures from the library catalog to use as a guide.
Please check the list above and let me know if you have access to any of the furniture we need - or know someone who would be willing to donate materials and/or skills to build them.
Congratulations to all of you who have worked so hard and persistently to make this a reality!!
Thanks,

:)Susi

--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.
Please reply to: Susi@IsantiLibrary.com
--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.--.
Susi McCune, President
Friends of the Isanti Area Library
Make It Happen!
PO Box 111, Isanti MN 55040-0111
763.444.4585 - www.IsantiLibrary.com

Washington Board Budget

Apparently the idea that County Boards should all agree on everything did not make its way to Washington County. A variety of ideas and opinions is not a bad thing..... We call that democracy....

http://www.startribune.com/local/east/59415857.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMcyaL_nDaycUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Timely Quote

Thought this Quote was a perfect fit for today -

"You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

- Sir Winston Churchill

County Budget Update

Isanti County budget fight - apparently the majority of the County Board thinks agreements are made before the meeting and dissent is not allowed as they raise our taxes again.

I did some quick research on taxes collected and population growth year to year:

-----tax revenue increase ---population increase

2003-------9.0% --------------4.6%
2004-------8.0% --------------3.4%
2005-------5.5% --------------3.3%
2006-------5.5%-------------- 2.0%
2007-------6.0%-------------- 1.2%
2008-------8.0% --------------0.5%

Avg--------7.0% --------------2.5%

So basically taxes have gone up nearly 200% faster than population growth. This again shows that the excuse of population growth for greater tax revenue is not correct.

Below is the link to the Star's newspaper coverage:

http://isanti-chisagocountystar.com/read/detail/48002.html

County News story:

http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6832&Itemid=1

Owls Home Opener

Your Hometown Minnesota Owls Home Opener Game
Date: Saturday, September 19th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Isanti Ice Arena

Tailgate Party begins at 4:00 p.m. in the arena parking lot.
(Free Food, Player Appearances and Autographs)

Please contact Carla with any questions:
Carla@MinnesotaOwls.com
Mayor Wimmer will be dropping the first puck

Email Updates

To receive email updates on City issues, contact me at George@georgewimmer.com

September 15th City Council Update

A quick update from our Council meeting. The Library Link agreement has been approved and in roughly a month it should be open at Isanti City Hall.

We received the agreement from BNSF railroad for crossing arms at South Passage. This work will be completed by the end of 2010. This is the railroad's schedule - if it were up to the city it would have already been completed.

The positive is that the last railroad crossing in Isanti will have crossing arms to improve safety. This is a good day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Ever Cat Grand Opening

Ever Cat Fuels commences operations Today - http://www.evercatfuels.com/PDFs/09-11-09%20Press%20Release.pdf

The Ever Cat Fuels Biodiesel Plant's Grand Opening is September 28th. We will have over 100 invited guest to not only showcase Ever Cat but also the City of Isanti. Industry leaders, investors, state media along with state political leaders are among the invited guest.

To learn more about Ever Cat Fuels go to : http://www.evercatfuels.com

Rum River BMX Open House

Click Poster to Enlarge


Thursday, September 10, 2009

103 Foreclosed Homes Sold

103 foreclosed homes have sold this year - great progress for our City. We expect many more to sell. We have had 3 new house building permits pulled as well. We have a long way to go but these are incredibly strong numbers.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

State Budget Deficit

$4.5 billion to $7 billion is being presented as the range of the next state budget deficit. Leads more to the looming fact that LGA cuts will likely become permanent and that further cuts and possible elimination are no longer out of the realm of possibility.

This is the unfortunate background in which we develop our future budgets.

Health Insurance

Working on health care insurance today. As we have talked before we are working on lowering our 18% premium increase. This is a key issue that needs to get resolved. We are looking at more cost sharing with our employees as the City Taxpayer can not continue to absorb the increased cost. We have an excellent insurance plan that the City has carried and I believe we will be able to continue with our plan but we will need to share more of the cost of this plan as is the norm.

We have a small group of employees and face the same insurance issues that small and medium sized businesses face - our premiums can jump with one costly claim. The previous options we have looked at did not result in any savings and most disappointing was the possible co-op that actually would have cost more.

As always I will update you as we move through this issue. We also start negotiations with our Police and Public Works Unions in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

2010 Budget Update

The City Council passed our 0% tax increase and -3% spending cuts unanimously. We have been cutting spending for the last several years which has helped us to weather the fiscal storm. A greater storm seems to be hovering over the horizon. We are anticipating a significant drop if property valuations next year that will impact the 2011 budget. The good news is that individual property owners should be getting some relief. The bad news is we will have significantly less tax revenue to fund City operations.

I expect the State to continue to not live up to its obligations. The promised LGA will continue to disappear and the so called mandate reducing legislature - you guessed it - added another costly mandate to local government.

The City of Isanti has healthy cash reserves but we are already using some for 2010 and will need to use a significant amount for 2011. This may seem far away but I believe it is necessary to make sure our City cost structure is in line with anticipated falls in revenue. The other option of course is to start the steady climb back up the mountain of property tax increases. This is not acceptable as the poorest among us are hurt the worst by this regressive tax.

Escalating insurance cost -18% increase this year alone - a negligent State government and lower property values make the next 2-3 years very challenging. We start our union negotiations and continue to work on lowering our health care cost in this environment.

One other quick note from the meeting - we had the last Mayor's Great Yard Award for the Summer. This has been another great success and I want to thank Landmark Bank, Startac Construction and Northland Landscaping for their great sponsorship that makes it all happen.

Poor Timing

I want to apologize to the Teachers and Staff for having to leave the in-service today before I could do my Welcome. The School District started the program late, first speaker went long and I had to leave on time as my wife had a clinic full of patients to see and I had to take the hand off of our children. I am far from pleased with the District and the poor time management that prevented me from from welcoming our terrific Teachers and Staff to another year of school.