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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

November 3rd Cambridge/Isanti School District Property Tax Levy Request

The vote on the Cambridge/Isanti School District Property Tax Levy hike is November 3rd. There has only been pro levy increase marketing - I have received my third phone call from Citizens Voting Yes Yes. The yes vote campaign did start quite late but that may have been a strategic decision so an anti-levy group could not organize in time - not sure as I am not part of this process. I would not be to surprised if the Levy does pass even in these tough times.
The fact this is an off year election and participation will be considerably lower than in a normal election year also helps the pro tax increase group. Regardless of how you vote make sure your vote is heard. There are strong arguments on both sides of the School District's property tax increase proposal. This is an incredibly difficult issue in tough economic times.
The sad fact is if the levy fails there will be difficult decisions and even if it passes it appears to be only a band aid for a few years and they will be back again for more. Nothing that was lost previously like the Marching Band will be brought back.
I have two young children in the School District and the teachers and staff do a fantastic job. I am adding the website link to the Citizens Voting Yes Yes and if there was an anti-levy group I would include their website as well. The School District also has information and I will be including that link as well.

Utility Billing

The City is switching to OPUS 21 for utility billing services. We were facing an approximately 80% increase in fees from Connexus. City services will be switched to Opus and Connexus will continue to bill for their services.

We looked at bringing the billing in house but that cost would have been even hiring than Connexus. Opus 21 also has much better customer service and report generation. They have all the same online billing services as Connexus. Opus will also save staff time because Connexus was so difficult for the City to use when we received complaints from residents.

The savings of $83,000 over Connexus hike in fees will also save our citizens $16,600 a year for the next five years. Opus will be doing an educational marketing program with residents to make the transition as smooth as possible.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Development Impact List

The Development Impact List is ready to present to the Council at the next meeting. This item gives us a great planning and budgeting tool. I am excited as this was a goal I have had since 2006. It will gives us the ability to evaluate the true cost of residential development and it will stress the need for great commercial growth to balance out our tax base.

This item will be added to the many other great accomplishments in 2009. We continue to make progress is these difficult times. Even the negative voices have to see the positives our City has accomplished.

Flag Raising at Blue Bird Park


Flags that finish off the Eagle Scout project at Blue Bird Park.

2 to 4 Years Repost

***Reposting to keep on top part of Blog***



I told the Council tonight that I will be asking them to vote for a resolution to change the term of office for Mayor from a 2 to a 4 year term. I have listed out my initial 5 points on this topic. I wanted to give the Council the courtesy of a heads up before I bring the item to them for a vote.


Point 1

The change in term of office would not take affect until after the next election and the winner of that election would serve the first 4 year term. My current term ends December 31st, 2010.

Point 2

2 year term breaks out roughly into the following monthly segments:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor. * overwhelming input from Mayor's Association members that it is really takes a year to get in full stride in office *
· Next 14 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position

4 year term would look like this:

· First 3months are a getting acquainted to the position and training for a first time Mayor and the new Council members for a re-elected Mayor.
· Next 38 months are focused on governing
· Next 5 months and sometimes more you are running for re-election again
· Last 2 months if you are defeated in the election you are in a Lame Duck position


The past history of numerous uncontested elections where a number of 2 year terms were strung together with no challengers is a thing of the past. There are competitive elections for nearly all local elections now and this reality must be recognized. A 4 year term may also attract more good candidates if they knew they would not have to run ever two years.

There will be a vigorous election every 4 years in which the totality of the position can be judged and the Voters can then decide if they want to go in a new direction.

All 5 County Commissioners, Sheriff, County Attorney, County Auditor, County Treasurer, County Recorder, all 12 Council members for the 3 cities, all 7 School Board Members and the Mayor of Cambridge are all 4 year terms. The Mayor of Braham and the Mayor of Isanti are the only two local elected positions that are 2 years.

Point 3

Most major city projects are 3 or more years to complete. Recent examples are our completed Water Treatment Plant and Ever Cat Fuels project. Both projects had a lot of the work and pain in the front end. The Water Treatment Plant had to be funded out of water usage fees because the City did not charge residential developers enough to pay for proper infrastructure. This could have easily turned into a campaign issue and turned the tide back on a vital City project before we are completed – wasting money, time and the health of future generations. The Ever Cat Fuels project was also a long project to a great finish but there was serious apprehension to this project and it was the number 1 question I received on the campaign trail in 2008. The fear of the unknown in this situation again could have been used as an election issue against me. This would have had a negative impact on this project and on others looking to make a significant investment in Isanti.

In both situations I had no problem sticking to my position and educating the voters as to the needs of both projects but this situation may have a chilling affect on future Mayors serving a 2 year term. We will be shortly embarking on other major multi-year economic development projects that will have great pay offs but will take a lot of work, education and possible controversy. Reasonable time needs to be given to a Mayor’s term as it is with the other 30 locally elected officials in our County.

Point 4

2 of the 4 Council members each cycle and the Mayor are up for election every 2 years. This leads to the Majority of the Council changing over and a possible zig zag of City direction leading to stunted growth. When in discussions on bringing in new commercial growth, especially major projects, there needs to be an understanding that there will be some consistency in leadership and support from the City. This is also important in recruiting critical talent to the City. High profile positions like Administrator or Economic Development Director needs to know that they have support to move the City forward. If the majority of the Council changes over every two years then key personnel could be facing radically different expectations.

Point 5

A 4 year term also takes the “politics” out of the position for the vast majority of the term. With 50% of the current 2 year term in an election year - the perception is all those votes and decisions are politically motivated. We need to make the position as effective as possible for the long term. This will benefit all Mayors and the City long into the future.

Malicious

Anonymous rumors are the tools of cowards. False & malicious rumors are criminal under Minnesota law. Think before you spread such nonsense and find yourself prosecuted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Isanti Retail Meats

Stop by Isanti Retail Meats on Main St. They have a great selection year round - not just for the summer grilling season.

A Couple Pics from Water Treatment Plant


Monitoring Pump House #3








Just a few pictures of the plant layout. Will link to newspaper stories when they become available. County News Story - http://isanticountynews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7086&Itemid=59

October 20th City Council Agenda Update

A couple points from tonight's City Council meeting:

We have a new business coming to town. Marla Properties is buying the former Midwest Metal Framing building. This roughly 25,000 square foot building will be the home to the assembly of the Mcgyan Reactor along with other functions. Another positive outcome of the Ever Cat Fuels project.

We approved the Economic Development Director position. I am dedicated to get the right person for the job even if it takes a bit of times. This is incredibly important to the City moving forward and we must do the best job possible.

I shared some difficult financial news with the Council tonight. I have been tracking the cash on hand the cash generated by the Liquor store. We have budgeted to transfer over $150,000 to the general fund as we do each year but the cash has not been generated over expenses to do that. We may be $80,000 to $100,000 short by the end of the year. We will not know for certain until the end of the year but we will need to draw down that same amount from the general fund reserves to balance our already reduced budget.

We are facing very difficult times and we have a financial cushion from our good stewardship the last two years. There are some that look at the cash we have on hand and think how can we spend it. I look at it as how can we make it last through this national financial storm.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Water Treatment Ribbon Cutting

Grand Opening and tour of Water Treatment Facility located next to Water Tower - Tuesday October 20th at 5:30. Hot dogs, chips, and cookies will be served by City Engineer Bradly DeWolf, PE from Bolton & Menk with the ribbon cutting at 5:45.

This is an exciting day as we will no longer have to worry about the cancer causing radium or the nuisance iron and manganese. This project makes everyone safer and our community more desirable for residential and commercial growth. I am very proud we were able to accomplish this major goal to protect generations to come.

As with most major projects this one took multiple years (3) to complete. It is often very difficult to accomplish long term complex projects with changes on Council and City staff.

October 20th City Council Agenda

http://www.cityofisanti.us/Irene/CC%20Agendas/2009/10-20-09%20CC%20agn.pdf

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Injury

Recovering from a recent head injury. Will be back in the flow of things next week.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Breakfast Benefit for Joe Courneya

Pancake Breakfast Benefit
----- Sponsored by the Lions Club -----
For: Joe Courneya

Sunday, November 1st 2009

Isanti Community Center 208 1st Avenue
8:30 am to 12:30 pm


Please join us in supporting Joe Courneya, a wonderful father of two young boys (Owen – age 10 & Henry – age 8), a good friend and neighbor. Joe is recovering from a motor cycle accident on August 22, 2009. As he was traveling on Whiskey Road, a driver of another car didn’t see him, and turned out directly in front of him. The terrible accident that day left Joe with 15 broken bones, leaving him with a long road of recovery and physical therapy ahead.

Friends and family are asking the community to come together for a delicious pancake breakfast, where all the proceeds will go to Joe Courneya to help with his fast rising medical bills.



Please join us for Breakfast - $5.00 per person
**Minimum donation**

Door prizes, a nice breakfast with family, friends, neighbors & community

Friday, October 02, 2009

Senator Olseen & Representative Eastlund

The City Council will be hosting Senator Olseen and Representative Eastlund as they give a legislative update. This will be at our October 6th, 7pm Council meeting. If you would like to hear from your legislators, this is the meeting to attend.

Community Development Director Resigns

The Isanti City Community Development Director resigned effective October 15th. The Council will be accepting this resignation at the October 6th Council meeting. I am recommending replacing with an Economic Development professional. The Council will give its direction and hopefully we will be able to fill the new position ASAP with a highly qualified individual.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Commissioner Duff Open House

3rd District Commissioner Open House October 6th, 6pm at Isanti City Hall.

A Terribly Sad Fact

To many pedestrians and bicyclist are being killed on Minnesota's Roads. Already past the total 12 months of 2008 in 9 months of 2009.

http://www.startribune.com/local/63136317.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUZ