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 email@example.com. My website is www.georgewimmer.com
We need a 1st place sponsor for the Mayor's Great Yard Award. This cost $100 for June, July and August totaling $300. Our 2nd and 3rd place prizes are funded. All sponsors help provide positive reinforcement to Isanti residents that help beautify our community. The Awards and monetary prizes are presented each month at City Council meetings. This is a great way to highlight our sponsors and their wonderful contributions to our City. If you are interested please call me 763-442-8749 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This Edition of Isantian looks a little bit different due to my goal of adding greater transparency to our City Government. We have taken each City department and explained how your taxpayer dollars are being used to fund City services. Many duties are self-evident such as police stopping speeders or public works plowing streets. Many other state mandated duties and expenses are not such as our City Planner making sure we do not allow spot zoning which could cost the City significantly in legal and future development cost. Our HR person has to make sure we comply with comparable worth and a litany of other State mandates. Our Police Department is not only busy catching the bad guys but also helps with such things as infant car seat inspections and lockout assistance. I believe it is important each Citizen and Taxpayer has a complete view of what their City government is doing and how their money is being spent.
Another topic we need to discuss is the ever changing landscape of our City. Isanti has gone from 74% our tax base being owner occupied homes in 2010, to 65% in 2011. This is a significant shift and shows the trend of our housing stock being converted into rental properties. This is a foreseen outcome of the foreclosure crisis our Nation has been plagued with. When I was elected Mayor in 2006 I made a rental and maintenance ordinance a high priority so Isanti would be well positioned to deal with the coming changes. Isanti may very well see 50% of our housing stock converted into rental properties. This will lead to many challenges, which we have seen in other communities where rental property owners try to force communities to lower their standards and increase their profits at the City’s cost. Future Mayors and Councils must not allow an eroding of community standards to profit a few at the expense of families that invested so much in making Isanti a wonderful place to live.
On this same topic there is a trend occurring centering around the theme of ‘times are tough Isanti should take anything they can get’. This would be disastrous to the long term health and vitality of our community. Residential proposals allowing new tiny cheap homes in established neighborhoods would not only hurt existing property values but would never generate enough future property taxes to help pay for City services thus increasing the burden on existing homeowners. Only the developer would make money on this type of deal. We see it on the commercial property side as well. Proposals to build low value additions along TH 65 that would never provide decent paying jobs, tax base or services our community needs. Times are hard and will continue to be for years to come but we must not allow short term fear to drive long term policy. The approval of any type of ‘growth proposal’ is what got Isanti in such a mess to begin with and has left us paying millions in debt that we have inherited. Long term city planning is like planting trees - we do it for the generations to come.
2012 will see exciting events and changes in Isanti. Redistricting has placed our City in a new State Representative district as well as a new County Commissioner District. These changes highlight the need to have good representation for our community at each level of government. There is not one seat on the School Board or County Board occupied by a City resident.
We are hosting State tournaments for soccer and BMX along with numerous weekly games and rides this summer. Our State Champion Redbirds will be playing in a tougher division this year and will continue to make us proud. These two groups alone bring in tens of thousands of spectators and participants and highlight the great strengths of our community. Rodeo Jubilee Days along with other numerous events make Isanti such a wonderful community.
1. We need a vision for our County's future that provides a Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP), strong economic growth, transparency and shared services. I developed a LTFP for Isanti that has significantly lowered taxes, reduced debt and spending without cutting any City services. This must be repeated at the County level. I chaired the County wide group that brought cities and townships together and developed the County Economic Development Authority. After its development we handed it off to the County Board where it has been languishing for years now. Not one business project has been developed or enhanced by the County in the years since the County EDA's creation. They have not even decided on what type of organization they wish to be. Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent with no positive result. This needs to be turned around immediately. The lack of transparency at the County Board has been glaring for years. The board only recently, after we placed tremendous pressure on them, voted to record their meetings but has yet to appear on the County website. The Board holds meetings of the whole where they all discuss County business and these meetings are not recorded nor are they covered by the press. I have attended several of these over the years and it is clear why they hesitate to record these meetings. Transparency please in all County discussions so Citizens and Taxpayers know how decisions are being made. The County needs to take leadership on pooling services and purchases with the cities, school board and townships to help lower all of our cost. We have done these type of delas wit hthe City of Cambridge and currently working with Isanti Township on others - We know how to make this work even if the County does not. City, Township, School District and County taxes come out of the same wallet. We must streamline all levels of government and eliminate unnecessary redundancies.
2. The County Board and School Board do not have anyone from our Isanti Community on their boards. We pay the 2nd highest amount of County and School District taxes and we have ZERO representation. This is undemocratic and must be addressed. We need strong representation that will fight for our communities needs. We also need strong County leadership in dealing with State Government. We are all to often forgotten and left behind when policy is being developed on the State level.
3. We have a track record of reform, fiscal discipline and leadership. We have cut taxes and cost. We are spending less in 2012 than we did in 2006 in the City of Isanti. We have cut employee cost and improved city services. We must replace the good ole boy/girl style of County Government and usher in a wave of reform that breathes new life into our Community.
I am far from deciding if I will run or not and I hope the County Board does not play politics with redistricting. I love serving my Community as Mayor and hope to continue to do so but if the County continues on its normal course we may have no choice but to knock down the same walls of misgovernment of Isanti County as we did in 2006 in the City of Isanti.