Isanti discusses long-term financial planning

By Elizabeth Sias

In preparation of finalizing the 2012 city budget, members of the Isanti City Council discussed long-term financial planning during the City Council meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15.

According to Mayor George Wimmer, the city had been planning for a 2 to 3 percent reduction in property values, but with the reduction actually at 22 percent, the city must revise the budget and plan long-term to avoid debt.

“That obviously has a significant impact on the city’s finances,” Wimmer said.

The city’s policy dictates that the fund reserve may not drop below 50 percent.

Wimmer proposed that property taxes not increase through 2014—the levy rate percentage would fluctuate, but the dollar amount would stay constant.

Local Government Aid (LGA) funds have continued to decline every year, Wimmer added, saying the city should consider whether to rely on the money or plan for it to disappear.

He also proposed the city makes a decision on whether to sell the community center, which the city loses money on.

The city is planning to hold a public meeting to discuss the budget and long-term financial planning, the date of which will be determined soon.

In other action, the council:

• Passed a resolution to hold a public hearing at the regular city council meeting Dec. 20 regarding the vacation and drainage and utility easements found on the three lots adjacent to Rum River Meadows Park purchased by the city.

• Passed a resolution adopting the electronic bulletin board policies for the Cambridge-Isanti Public Access Channel 10 and authorize the city to acquire and install a cable ready television to monitor the bulletin board. The agreement calls for the city to receive a free cable feed to City Hall, so no monthly fees will be associated with the cable television. The policy will allow the city to add content to the community bulletin on channel 10 from desktop computers with Internet access in City Hall.

• Authorized the Isanti Police Department to participate in the joint venture with Isanti, Kanabec and Pine counties for a Safe and Sober grant through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. Through the program, the city is given grant money to offset expenses for Peace Officers to provide enhanced enforcement of traffic laws.

• Approved an application for exempt gambling from the Isanti County Sportsman Club to hold a raffle event on Jan. 21 at Spectacular Events.

• Authorized city staff to change the name on the liquor license from DJ’s Bar and Grill to The Place to Be, under the Captains on Long Lake corporation liquor license.