Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer discussed successes and future plans for the city of Cambridge during the annual State of the City address hosted by the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce.
The luncheon held March 27 at American Janes Grill & Bar in Cambridge, was well-attended by Cambridge city staff, chamber members and community members.
“There are a lot of things important to the City Council and one of them is community policing. This is one thing we have committed to and find many good things have happened over the years as a direct result of this. I hope you feel you are all safer because of community policing.”
— Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer
Palmer began her presentation by giving an overview of the city that included some statistics, such as the median home value is $150,500; median family income, $47,855; median age, 34.1 years; 6,123 are employed in Cambridge by 318 different entities; and Cambridge employment represents approximately 60 percent of employment opportunities in Isanti County.
“We were branded 10 years ago as the opportunity community,” Palmer said. “We had a community group work on this branding to reflect our progression, growth and quality of life for the city.”
As far as the city’s 2014 revenue sources, 46 percent comes from property taxes. The largest 2014 expenditures includes public safety, $2.02 million (16 percent); debt principal and interest, $1.77 million (14 percent); public works, $1.49 million (12 percent); and general government, $1.35 million (11 percent).
The Cambridge Police Department responded to 15,035 calls for service and 2,287 traffic stops in 2013. There were 1,062 adult arrests and 50 juvenile arrests, which resulted in 621 traffic citations-criminal arrests, including 51 DUIs, 675 administrative tickets and 940 warnings.
Palmer said the Police Department continues to focus on community policing to reduce crime. In 2013, the officers performed 4,563 business checks, 460 extra patrol requests and participated in 423 community policing contacts and events.
“There are a lot of things important to the City Council and one of them is community policing,” Palmer said. “This is one thing we have committed to and find many good things have happened over the years as a direct result of this. I hope you feel you are all safer because of community policing. I know as a local business owner, I’m always happy when I come in in the morning and see a little note on my front door from the Police Department letting me know they checked my business last night, found all the doors were locked and everything was OK.”
As far as public works, Palmer explained the city has 60.5 miles of streets to plow, sweep, sand and patch, and more than 1,300 storm sewer catch basins to maintain. The city has 16 parks, with 14 miles of walking-bike trails. The department has 3,555 street signs to maintain and mows 183 acres of grass every summer.
Palmer also mentioned the wastewater treatment facility is undergoing a $13.8 million remodel to replace some of the 1950s-era equipment. The remodel is expected to be completed in October 2014.
Upcoming activities include the move of the Cambridge Senior Activity Center into Cambridge City Mall; west Highway 95 bridge reconstruction project to begin in mid-May; and a large street improvement project.
Palmer said the city was excited about the opening of Fleet Farm and Aldi this past year, and the city maintains a solid mix of commercial, industrial and residential tax base.
As far as economic news, Metro Plains built a 24-unit town home, and 20 new single-family home permits were pulled. Palmer said builders and developers are purchasing vacant lots, and new home construction continues.
She also mentioned the former Ace Hardware building is now home to Rum River South, and City Center Mall is completely full with tenants.
Short-term priorities for the city include continuing to look into building a new Cambridge Public Library, the possibility of building a community center within the library and updating City Park on Second Avenue.
“The council is always committed to being available to the public, and we have an excellent staff working for you who always go out of their way to help you,” Palmer said. “We have a commitment by the council to always provide you with an excellent staff and together we work to the best of our ability to continue to do the business of the people.”