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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Please be safe - it will not be a great New Year if you are not there!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Declining Home Values in Metro

A story in the Star Tribune about the housing market and the decline in home prices.

Foreclosed Homes Selling

136 foreclosed homes have sold in Isanti in 2009 to date. This is great news for neighborhoods and helps start the long process of repairing our shattered tax base which funds the vast majority of our City services. We keep moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

*** Snow Plowing Alert ***

We just had a meeting at City Hall to go over the snow plowing plan for the next few days. The plan was designed to meet the 2-3 days and nights of snow we are expecting.

We will be starting to plow 5am on the 24th and plowing all day then coming back at 1 am on Friday the 25th. Then back again on Saturday. This schedule may change if there is a dramatic shift in snowfall.

Everyone please make sure you obey the Winter Parking Restrictions or you will be ticketed and towed. I can not stress this enough especially in a significant snowfall event.

We must also remember that our Public Works employees are giving up their Christmas so we will have a safe Christmas.

Best Answer to the Chistmas vs Holiday Celebration

I wanted to share a great letter to the Editor that was written a few months ago in response to an honest concern about highlighting Christmas vs a more generic holiday representation. There is always strong debate on the topic and the following letter is a respectful an insightful explanation of why celebrating Christmas should not offend anyone but should be embraced.

Christmas Village is local heritage


Dear Editor:

First and foremost I would like to thank Mr. Peter Wahlstrom for his kind donation to the “Flower Fund.” We sincerely appreciate his support and sense of community and encourage others to follow his example.

In regards to Mr. Wahlstrom’s letter to the editor entitled “Christmas Village leaves him cold” on Sept. 2, I truly believe that Peter’s comments were thoughtful and well intentioned, however, I would offer that a true celebration of diversity should seek to preserve the differences and individuality of all religions and ethnic backgrounds and celebrate them as they exist versus a watered down politically correct version.
The local heritage of our area is overwhelmingly Judeo-Christian, and a part of that heritage has been to celebrate Christmas for centuries. It seems that only in America, a melting pot of ethnic diversity are the majority expected to change their beliefs to be more inclusive and that other ethnic groups are encouraged to celebrate their heritage as it exists.
On a recent trip to Mexico my wife and I chose to participate in a local religious festival. It was an experience that was totally enjoyable and one we will not soon forget. It was traditional, genuine and we would not have asked or expected them to change anything to accommodate our participation. We were welcomed with open arms to celebrate their heritage as it exists with them. We did so willingly and came away with a better understanding and appreciation of their culture.
The Christmas Village title is historically accurate and reflective of the local heritage. With that in mind, The Historic Downtown Isanti Revitalization Committee cordially invites and welcomes with open arms members of all ethnic persuasions and religions to come and learn about our local heritage and celebrate one of this great country’s national holidays, “Christmas.”

Jaysen Guthmueller, Chairperson

Historic Downtown Isanti Revitalization Comm.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friends Open House

Friends of the Isanti Area Library are having a Holiday Open House at the Library Link Site (located at Isanti City Hall) on Wednesday, December 23rd from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Please plan to join them for refreshments while you browse the extensive collection of items available to check out. Everyone is invited!
Also, helpers are needed on Wednesdays at the Library Link Site. Please contact Susi@IsantiLibrary.com to volunteer.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stop Stealing Christmas Lights

There is that saying "We can not have anything nice". I feel that way sometimes..... the wonderful Christmas lights that were put up on Main Street are being stolen and broken repeatedly. The City has been replacing these but will soon be out of replacements. It is just a sad testament that some kids or individuals think this is a great thing to do.

A Few Frustrating Days

It has been an interesting week. Everything from neighborhood disputes, anger over plowing to early in the morning - we need to do this to make sure roads are cleared for school and work traffic-, potential costly Community Center repairs to fix aging sprinkler system, parking disputes, speeding ticket disputes, neighbors fighting over fence location, neighbors fighting over where dogs should be walked and where they do their business, citizens complaining we did not need to plow the roads and others saying we did not plow enough, budget holes to fill as revenue continues to dive, a frustrating back and forth about removing snow from the outdoor hockey rink and an unfortunate letter to the editor. Well actually this is a pretty normal week as Mayor.....

The outdoor hockey rink back and forth today was especially frustrating as the request to remove snow is something we are already doing but it quickly spiraled into negative comments about the City not helping the kids and that the City did not really pay for the rink anyway. I will not go into detail but this whole thing, and those agitated to providing unhelpful comments and misinformation, could have been corrected if someone would have called or emailed me for the facts. The City paid for roughly 84% of the outdoor rink and is removing the snow. The real story that should have been promoted today is that the Youth Hockey Association is doing a great job. We have fantastic volunteer sports groups in our community.

An unfortunate letter to the editor had so many issues I first thought to just let it pass but of course that is just not me. The writer claimed secret meetings and disrespect for Citizens of the City of Isanti.

The writer came before the Council and demanded we vote that night to force a road on private property 1/2 a block from his house for better traffic flow. I stated we could not put the road on private property unless the City had obtained right of way or bought the property.

Then the gentleman claimed the problem was the planned Pedestrian Bridge Project. Not true - the road was originally designed to go through in 2005 - 1 1/2 years before the bridge was ever discussed - as part of a commerical project but the developer never gave right of way to the City at that time to put a road through nor did the developer ever build the proposed bar/restaurant. We have been unable to come to an agreement with the property owner and since I do not believe in taking away property rights through Eminent Domain there is very little we can do but find other solutions.

The claim of secret meetings was especially hurtful as we strive to be as transparent and open to the public as possible. We record all our meetings and make them available to the public online. When we have a closed session for negotiations for land purchases or union contracts those meetings are recorded and once the item has been finalized all that is open for public scrutiny as well. There are no secret meetings but having the Council discuss our bargaining position in a land deal or Union negotiations in open session would be ludicrous and completely fail to get the best deal and services possible for our tax payers. These closed sessions are specifically allowed under State Statute.

The person's letter also claimed the Council was undemocratic and that we were corrupt and should all be thrown out for treating the Citizens so bad. This claim seems very unclear to me unless this individual believes he has been somehow selected by the nearly 6,000 residents of our City to come before Council make a demand and if we do not immediately do as he demands then the Council - which is elected by the nearly 6,000 residents of our City - is not democratic and is tyrannical. What if one other self appointed representative of the people did not want the road to go through.... that person made that demand to Council....it is a silly situation.

Now what if the Council did own the land and did want to put the road through... would we still have voted to do so at that meeting... No there is a process to every road project. I have included a brief summary description of that process as provided by the City Engineer that we follow for all City projects.

The City of Isanti process for a public improvement project starts well in advanced of actual construction. The project is first conceived through various staff and committee level planning sessions. A project will be listed in a planning document such as a Capital Improvement Plan or Comprehensive Plan and prioritized along with all other improvements within the City. These plans are approved by the City Council. When funding has been secured or made available, for a project listed in the planning documents, the formal process of completing the project begins.
The process is summarized as follows:
The City Council will consider the improvements and order the preparation of a Feasibility Study on the project. This study is prepared by staff and used to identify all aspects of completing the project. The report describes the existing conditions of the site, all proposed improvements, all needed right-of-way or easements, a cost estimate, financing, and schedule for completing the project. Staff will then conduct an open house to allow affected residents a chance to review the proposed project. The preliminary engineering report is then presented to the City Council for their consideration and approval. If the City Council determines that the project should move forward, they will order the acquisition of needed right-of-way and easements along with the preparation of project plans and specifications. When right-of-way has been secured and plans have been prepared they will be brought back to the City Council for approval. If the City Council approves the plans, as presented, they will order the advertisement for bids. Staff will then advertize the project for public bid for a period of not less than 21-days in accordance with Minnesota State statutes. Bids are open, publicly read, tabulated and presented to the City Council for their consideration. At this time the City Council will consider if the project will be awarded and constructed based on final budgeting figures. If the City Council awards the contract the final contract documents are prepared and signed by the City and the Contractor. With final contracts in place, a preliminary construction meeting will be held to discuss the project construction schedule and associated items. With all steps completed the construction of the project can begin.

County Truth & Taxation Meeting

The Isanti County Truth & Taxation meeting will be Monday, December 21 at 6:00 pm at the courthouse in Cambridge. At the preliminary budget meeting, the Board approved a 2% increase in 2010 property taxes on a 3-1 vote with Duff opposing and Morris not present at the vote (she later said she supported the majority opinion of a 2% increase). If you want to voice your opinion on the county budget, this is your last chance to be heard.

Water Plant Update

Waiting for test results on water from water treatment plant. Already getting feedback from residents that have been able to lower the amount of salt in their softeners. It is frustrating the official results for the radium and hardness levels takes so long - once I know the results I will pass them along.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow Plowing

City Workers were plowing through the night and now are getting some much needed rest... we have them on call and they will be back full force in a few hours

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Foreclosed Home Sales

125 foreclosed homes sold in Isanti since January 2009..... We have the best Neighborhood Stabilization Program in the State.....

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December 1st Council Meeting

The City Council will be setting the final Levy and Budget for 2010. To view the full agenda go to: