Isanti Council puts performance center project on hold

By Elizabeth Sias

Bids were scheduled to be opened for the construction of the proposed Bluebird Park Performance Center building Aug. 30, but no bids were received on the project.

Mayor George Wimmer, right, recognized winners of the August Mayor’s Great Yard Awards. First place is Sherry Sonneson with a prize sponsored by Melissa Hutchens DDS PA, second place is Stephanie Kuznia with a prize sponsored by Startac Construction, and third place is Allen Goldsmith with a prize sponsored by KJD Signs. Photo by Elizabeth Sias

Several contractors were contacted before the bid to make them aware of the project, but City Engineer Brad DeWolf told city council members at the meeting Sept. 6 that it appears the contractors were too busy to bid at this time.

He also suspects that smaller building contractors capable of the work don’t monitor public advertisements and may not have been aware of the project.

He recommended that bids be solicited directly by mail from a predetermined list of contractors, however Mayor George Wimmer expressed concern over demand for the performance center and said he worried the project cost may exceed the performance center’s worth if it isn’t utilized by the community.

In similar situations, Wimmer noted that community education departments may take charge for planning and booking events, but that Isanti community education had been hesitant to make a commitment until the project’s completion.

“My feeling at this time is if we can’t get any kind of commitment or if there’s no desire or need, or if they’re not going to step up to any kind of commitment to it, then I would be hard pressed to move forward,” Wimmer said, adding that he otherwise supports the project.

Council members agreed to table the issue until commitments are secured. Wimmer suggested sending a letter to community education to gauge interest.


2012 Preliminary Budget

Residents in Isanti could be seeing a 1 percent property tax decrease in 2012.

The Isanti City Council approved the 2012 Preliminary Budget and tax levy collectible in 2012 at its meeting Sept. 6.

The city has developed a budget allowing for the maximum projected expenditures by the city for 2012 for a total of $2,848,868.

In an effort to maintain property taxes for 2012 and to account for a reduction in property tax values as well as the market value homestead credit reduction, the proposed property tax levy is $1,742,703.

The city will receive updated property tax values from the county near the end of September. To balance the budget, $254,020 of the General Fund balance will need to be utilized. Once the preliminary levy has been adopted, it can only be decreased.

The final budget and levy meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6, 2011, when the final budget and levy will be discussed and determined.


Cambridge-Isanti Bike/Walk Trail

The council also approved the first amendment to the joint and cooperative agreement for the Cambridge-Isanti Bike/Walk Trail addressing operation and maintenance items that were not included in the original agreement.

The amendment addresses the following areas:

• For the 20-year duration of the agreement, the city of Cambridge will contribute 66.6 percent and the city of Isanti will contribute 33.4 percent toward the cost of maintenance and repairs to the trail bridge that crosses the wetlands, and the cost of insuring the bridge against loss to fire or any other loss.

• The city of Cambridge will act as fiscal agent for holding and accounting for all funds designated for the Trail Bridge Maintenance, Repair and Insurance Fund, but both Cambridge and Isanti must approve any major repair over $50,000, or if there are insufficient funds to cover the cost of a proposed repair;

• Isanti Township’s annual contribution of $1,000 beginning in 2013 will be used for the Bridge Maintenance, Repair and Insurance Fund;

• The definition for the trail now includes the completed paved portion from 2,600 feet north of the Isanti Parkway and 3rd Avenue intersection to 313th Avenue NW;

• Naming or renaming of the trail shall be accomplished by joint resolution of the Cambridge and Isanti city councils;

• Turnover of responsibility for the trail from Isanti County to the cities of Cambridge and Isanti;

• The Bike/Walk Trail Advisory Committee will meet annually with representatives of Isanti County and Isanti Township to discuss any concerns regarding the trail.


In other action, the council:

• Passed a resolution accepting the proposal on the sale of $790,000 in general obligation improvement bonds for the 2011 street and utility improvement project. The city’s financial adviser, Northland Securities, reviewed the proposals.

• Amended city code chapter 325 on water. Midwest Testing LLC asked who is responsible for repairs if, after they turn off and on a water valve during the automatic meter reading system project, there’s a leak or the water won’t turn back on. Previously, the cost of repairs and replacement was the responsibility of the property owner. The code was amended so that during the project and for six months afterward, cost will be the city’s responsibility if the damage is directly related to the water meter installation. The ordinance will be effective until July 1, 2012.

A drawing will occur on Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 for residents who have previously had the new meter installed. Each winner will receive a $50 credit to their City Services account.

• Accepted the quote from Leaf Excavating for $2,300 to demolish the building at 11 Isanti Parkway NW and have the debris removed. The Isanti Public Works Department would then remove the remaining foundation, grade and level the site for an additional estimated $600 or less.

• Approved the amended application for a special event by the Minnesota Owls Hockey Team. The correct date for the opening night tailgate party is Saturday, Sept. 17. The event will be from 4 to 6 p.m. in the arena parking lot at 600 1st Avenue NW.

• Approved the application for temporary beer licenses to the Blaine Jaycees to sell at the Minnesota Owls Hockey Team games at the Isanti Ice Arena on Sept. 17, 18, 23, 30 and Oct. 1.

• Approved the application for an exempt gambling permit to the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce – Isanti Ambassadors to hold a bingo event Oct. 22 at Spectacular Events.