Over 100 people packed Cambridge City Hall on Monday, March 21, to hear first-hand the city’s plans on the annexation of Cambridge Township.
After hearing from Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer, the township residents learned the annexation had been discussed, but there are no such plans moving forward.
Palmer acknowledged a lot of the Cambridge Township residents attended the council retreat on March 10.
She explained the purpose of the retreat was for the council to set long and short term goals, which is basically a one to five year work plan.
Palmer said annexation was not part of the short or long term priorities or goals of the council.
She said at the March 10 meeting a lot of ideas were discussed, including Alabama Street.
“Because of the discussion on Alabama, it led to a discussion on annexation,” Palmer said. “The discussion of the council was we may want to start working on ‘islands’ areas of Cambridge Township that are completely surrounded by the city of Cambridge.”
Palmer explained the city may consider annexing the Woodcrest Park area if development picks up in the future.
“If the city does desire to begin discussions on annexation, meetings will be held with the Township Board and residents affected before anything occurs,” Palmer said. “It would be an open process.”
Palmer explained the Citizen’s Forum portion of the council meetings are for residents of the city only, or those who own property in the city. She said those rules have been in place for over 10 years.
Because of that, Dale Anderson, from Cambridge Township, had been the only person scheduled to speak on annexation during the work session portion of the meeting.
However, he yielded his time to attorney Jimmy Lindberg, representing Cambridge Township.
Lindberg started his presentation by saying “sometimes the fear of the unknown causes a lot of stress and anxiety.”
Lindberg said once township residents received the news that the city was discussing annexing Cambridge Township, they became concerned. The Township also questioned the accuracy of a four-page document regarding annexation that was presented at the Council’s March 10 long-range planning session.
Besides being an attorney, Lindberg said he has deep roots within the community. He mentioned he has lived in Cambridge his entire life, and has property interests in the city and township. He mentioned his grandson is now the 6th generation of Lindbergs to live in Isanti County. He has also served as city attorney of the city of Cambridge, and has been practicing law since 1978.
Lindberg questioned some of the statements made in the four-page annexation document, such as “The city of Cambridge is experiencing significant growth and pressure for both residential and commercial development. Available land for commercial growth has substantially diminished. In looking toward the future, the city is considering annexing additional property from the township into the city.”
Lindberg said the city isn’t any longer experiencing the significant growth that is asserted in the document.
“I called the county assessor’s office today and we have 711 vacant residential lots within the city,” Lindberg said. “The author who wrote this memo isn’t living in the same town I’ve lived in my entire life.”
Lindberg also cites statements from the city’s comprehensive plan that says annexation should only occur when development is imminent, and city sanitary sewer and water is available.
“We don’t know why or who prepared this four-page annexation document, but the intent is it calls for a complete annexation of Cambridge Township,” Lindberg said. “There is a lot of fear among township residents because of the untruths and misstatements in there. But I want to tell you the constituents of Cambridge Township are opposed to wholesale annexation and full annexation of Cambridge Township.”
Lindberg said Township residents wouldn’t object to a Township landowner petitioning the city for annexation of their property, if they would choose to do so.
Palmer explained the annexation document was prepared by the city so the council would be well-educated about annexation.
“The information was brought to us based on conversations we have had over the years,” Palmer said. “It was for informational purposes only.”
Lindberg asked the council to keep communications between the city and Township open.
“Let’s keep the lines of communication open,” Lindberg said. “The fear of the unknown, is the greatest fear of them all.”
Community Development Director Carlberg, City approve separation agreement
Also during the March 21 meeting, the Council approved a separation agreement and release of all claims with its Community Development Director Dave Carlberg.
City Administrator Lynda Woulfe described the situation as a “mutual parting,” and added she enjoyed working with Carlberg, and wishes him the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Carlberg’s last day of employment with the city was March 14. He had until March 18 to provide the city attorney with a document summarizing the projects or tasks he was working on before his employment with the city terminated.
According to the agreement, the city will make a severance payment to Carlberg in an amount equal to three month’s salary; which is inclusive of payment for all accrued vacation time, less withholding and deductions including, but not limited to, applicable state and federal taxes.
The city will also pay Carlberg a lump sump payment for his accumulated sick leave on May 31. Pursuant to the city’s personnel policy, Carlberg is entitled to $15,869 in accrued sick leave. The city will also continue to provide Carlberg his existing health care coverage through June 30, 2011.
Carlberg had been with the city of Cambridge since 2002.