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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Writer Alan Duff for Connexus Board of Directors

Our County Commissioner Alan Duff is running for Connexus Board of Directors and if elected he will take his track record of no increased taxes and fees into this new position. Energy cost are one of the fundamental issues we all face and having proven leadership in such a key position is critical to our regions success. What follows is Mr. Duffs letter those interested in improving our energy cost and delivery. 

Dear Family & Friends:

Ballots for the Connexus Board of Directors have been mailed out to over 120,000 Connexus customers.  Members can vote by mailing ballots to Connexus OR you can vote online at www.connexusenergy.com if you have your Connexus account number and password from your ballot.

For more information, you can go to:

My Web site at: www.alanduff.net
My Campaign Flyer is attached (pdf)

Thank you for your support and be sure to make it a great day!  Alan

Alan Duff

The next several years will be critical for Connexus. With increased environmental regulations, decreased state support and reduced property values, providing affordable energy will be challenging.  However, this is NOT the time to increase costs or reduce services on already over-burdened customers.  We must find innovative solutions that best protect our future. 

As a retired military officer who served 23 years, including five years as Regional Environmental Officer, I offer unique insights for providing cost-effective solutions at Connexus.  Recipient of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, I have continued public service locally as an elected City Councilmember and now County Commissioner for Isanti County.  

I have fought hard against excessive taxes and regulations with Fiscal Responsibility, Accountability and Transparency as cornerstones of my leadership style in public service.  You can review my public record and additional credentials at www.alanduff.net.  Thank you for considering Alan Duff for Connexus District 3 Director!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Council Meeting Update

The big items from last night's meeting were the street project and annexation issue. We had a long discussion on the street project with some residents for and against the project. I explained my position that this project had already been delayed 3 years and that this delay had already cost us in broken infrastructure and redundant work. The longer we wait the higher the cost. If we continue to band-aide this section of town we will have escalating future cost. There was a proposal to just do one road but this would lead to much higher cost and continued delay in the hopes that future deterioration would not occur. This was the gamble made in the past and we suffered additional cost when the sewers backed-up in this section of  town. I believed we have waited beyond what prudence would dictate and must complete this project. The tough part of this is a great argument was made by an affect resident to delay the project. This speech was so well prepared and delivered that I believe it changed minds. I really appreciated the speakers passion and respectful delivery. She did an amazing job and was in direct contrast to a belligerent speech made by a person on another topic _ I will explain later in this post.  The vote was 3-2 but I believe a super majority was needed for it to actually pass. I will update you on this when I get my answer....

***yep the 3-2 was not enough votes to pass... The next Council meeting will have this discussion once again. I will again ask the Council to vote on this with the newest member and if it does not get the super majority then I will ask the other Council Members what there plan is to fix the ongoing problems at a reasonable to the City. The pipes are failing in sections and perhaps we can bury our heads in the sand and hope the rest will be ok but if not who is going to pay the extra tens of thousands of dollars to fix the problem... the tens of thousands of extra cost due to delaying the project or dividing the project once again.**** Our newest Council Member will be on the Council for this discussion.

The other major item revolved around annexation of properties 100% enclosed by the City. My concern was that City Taxpayers were subsidizing these properties by providing services that were not being paid for. We received agreement with the township board that these services should be paid for and the Council directed us to negotiate a settlement....

The sad part of this discussion was a township resident and former School Board member that was rude, offensive and made a number of false accusations. This situation led me to use my gavel for the first time ever in a Council meeting. The derisive attacks on our City Administrator and the intellectually lazy arguments were sad & offensive and can not be tolerated. The accusation that his process was being conducted in private or there was a secret 2nd list of properties and that he was getting his information from a "secret" unnamed source was reprehensible. The lie that was spread last night was that the properties would see a 250% tax increase was FALSE. If the annexations would have moved forward - which they will not - the increase per the County Assessor would range in area of 30%. If the former School Board member would have looked a little a deeper into the numbers and not simply tried to find inflammatory results he would have seen that the county portion is higher for a township property versus a City property because the County provides more services to a Township than it does to a City.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Election Results 2011

Lundeen 76

Streiff 60

These are the unofficial returns but with this low of a turnout and this margin I doubt it will change much... Lundeen will be sworn in at the first April meeting....

Vote Count

we are at 58 votes at 12:48 today... get out and vote for your candidate... every vote really does count in this type of election ....

2012 Property Tax Valuation

My home value according the County's valuation has dropped over 30% in the last 3 years.... I expect a further drop for 2013 then hopefully the property market in our region will stabilize.....

The Downside

I have been dealing with an unfortunate situation of a direct threat to my family and myself the last week. This is the downside of holding office. The anger and hatred of a few is focused on the leadership of the community. It saddens me this has to happen and that I have to consider whether or not serving the public is worth risk to my family. These types of actions drive good people out of office or from considering serving in the first place.

Special Council Election Today

The Special Council election is today.... Be informed and Vote your conscience....

My Spring Isantian 2011 Article

As you read this article, we will have a new Council member as a result of the March 15th special election. Once we have the Council up to full strength, we will be dealing with several difficult issues – water & sewer rates, annexations and City service levels.

We discussed the expansions on the east side of TH 65 and the costly consequences of this action. I am especially frustrated by this project, since as a Council Member, I voted against the City taking on the responsibility of this project instead of having the developer pay for the expense as was traditionally done. With the collapse of the housing market, the bonds are not being paid for by new construction as anticipated. The City has been left with this debt. Even though I was against this action and fought hard to stop it, we are now left to deal with this problem. This leaves the debt payments to you and I to pay for through increased water and sewer rates. Rapid residential growth has saddled our community with problems, of which, we are trying to work our way through.

The issue of annexation has arisen as we are dealing with 23 properties that are 100% surrounded by the City; receive Isanti police protection, planning/zoning and public works support but pay no City taxes. These properties are Isanti Township and pay their taxes to the township which provides none of these services. It is a basic fairness issue that if these properties receive City benefits - they should pay City taxes – otherwise current taxpayers will continue to subsidize these areas. It is something new and the property owners will not like this action but we cannot afford to continue to provide City services to these areas for free while we are looking at cutting service levels elsewhere in the City.

At the time of writing this article, Community meetings have been scheduled for March 1st and March 4th to receive public input on the City’s service levels and to explain how your tax dollars are spent. We are looking for input into what is most important to our citizens as we work our way through this Great Recession. Isanti has seen a 10% reduction in the total value of all properties in the City, which means lower property taxes paying for City services. We have made the commitment to not increase property taxes to make up the difference as many communities have done. This does mean that we will be looking to make further cuts to balance our budget. The many actions we have discussed previously have bought us time to deal with these issues in an appropriate manner. Our budget reserves along with efficient City government will get us through this dark period. A positive in this area is our new 3 year contract with our Police Union in which they have agreed to share a greater part of their health care expenses. This now brings all employees into the same health care plan.

I want to share a few fun items for the spring. The City has taken possession of a 22 acre parcel of land along the Rum River that is bisected by Isanti Brook in the Northwest quadrant of the City. This passive park will have a walking trail and will be kept in its natural state for future generations to enjoy. Redbird baseball will be gearing up soon along with Rum River BMX and our Soccer complex will be humming as well. Our Soccer complex will be hosting nearly 5,000 players and 20,000 spectators from the end of April through May as we host the Minnesota Cup. Let’s make sure everyone feels welcome to our great community.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact me at 763-442-8749 or email me at George@georgewimmer.com . You may also get my City updates on Twitter at twitter.com/mayorwimmer  Facebook at facebook.com/GeorgeAWimmer or my blog at georgewimmer.blogspot.com 

Follow-up to March 1st Council Meeting

As I had argued previously we now have a positive of roughly $308,000 for the City by the cancelling of the Pedestrian Bridge.... http://georgewimmer.blogspot.com/2011/02/pedestrian-bridge-project-needs-to-end.html

The first community meeting was well attended and there were several pointed questions - the second meeting had only 4 people in attendance and even though the business community was specifically invited no one single business owner or manager attended. I will assume that the business community must be completely satisfied by the direction of the City considering not a single one attended.

The general impression is from the meetings along with emails and phones is that the vast majority wants to maintain the current service levels....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2011 Arctic Plunge was a Great Success

A lot of fun... Thanks Hazelle for being crazy enough to join me

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Couple Quick Things

The Council came around to my position and cancelled the Pedestrian Bridge project due to lack of funds. We had a good group at the Community Meeting tonight and had some good exchanges.... I will be writing much more about these tomorrow but wanted to delivery the Pedestrian Bridge news....

Community Meetings

The first Community meeting is tonight at 7pm at Isanti City Hall. This is your chance to have your voice heard. The second meeting is Friday noon at Isanti City Hall.