Cambridge Mayor Palmer highlights growth during State of the City

Kay Jewelers, Famous Footwear and Maurices are just a few of the new businesses scheduled to open in Cambridge later this year.

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmers gives the annual State of the City address during the March 15 luncheon held by the North 65 Chamber of Commerce. Photos by Rachel Kytonen
Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmers gives the annual State of the City address during the March 15 luncheon held by the North 65 Chamber of Commerce. Photos by Rachel Kytonen

Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer highlighted the activities and growth of the city this past year during the annual State of the City address held March 15 during the North 65 Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Chapala.

“The most important thing about the state of the city is the citizens,” Palmer said. “Their safety, enthusiasm, satisfaction and most importantly is their sense of community that is absolutely paramount with the council and the staff.”

Palmer explained the role of the Cambridge City Council.

“The City Council is the policymakers of the city and we are elected by our peers to carry out the common good of our city,” Palmer said. “We depend on our citizens for their help, and we also depend hugely on our staff.”
Working together is vital to having a successful community.

“We have a city staff that is second to none,” Palmer said. “We have a council and staff that work together with and for all the citizens. We are really fortunate to live in this community, and the longevity of our staff makes the running of the city so good for us.”

One of the first items Palmer highlighted during her address was the announcement that, in 2017, Cambridge’s local tax rate is lower than the cities of Braham and Isanti. Palmer cited information that stated the city of Cambridge has a 85.69 local tax rate, compared to 85.93 for the city of Isanti and 88.26 for the city of Braham.

“In 2017, Cambridge’s tax rate is lower than Braham’s and Isanti’s … and I’m thrilled and really emotional about this one statement,” Palmer said. “We had a lot of financial problems many years ago and we had to keep moving forward and get that taken care of.”

City of Cambridge Emergency Management Director Will Pennings encouraged families to sign up for the CodeRED emergency notification system through the Isanti County website.
City of Cambridge Emergency Management Director Will Pennings encouraged families to sign up for the CodeRED emergency notification system through the Isanti County website.

The development of the long-range financial plan has kept the city moving forward in a positive direction.

“We have developed a long-range plan for the city of Cambridge and that has worked wonderfully well,” Palmer said. “We can only do things that align with this long-range plan and we recently paid cash for a fire truck and for our Second Avenue bridge project. And we could only do that because we’ve stuck to the long-range financial plan.

“We have a wonderful finance director who is very good about answering the phone anytime a citizen calls with any questions. It is her commitment, and ours as well, to the long-range plan that we can say right now, in 2017, we have the lowest local tax rate. It makes me feel so proud of the way we’ve been able to turn this city around, and I’m so proud the local tax rate has worked out the way we have strived for,” Palmer said.

Palmer talked about the growth of the city and what citizens can look forward to in 2017. In 2016, Palmer noted 745 building permits were issued equaling $306,747 in building permit revenue. So far in 2017, 78 building permits have been issued equaling $282,625 in permit revenue.

Upcoming projects in 2017 highlighted by Palmer include the $49.5 million GracePointe Crossing project that includes memory care, independent living and assisted living; Walker Methodist assisted living and memory care; and the addition of Kay Jewelers, Famous Footwear, Maurices, Verizon, Main Street Flats (28-unit apartment building) and Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Palmer mentioned Snap Fitness is relocating downtown and rehabilitating a building.

Palmer thanked the community for their support over the years.

“I humbly and gratefully thank the citizens of Cambridge,” Palmer said. “For the last 20 or so years I’ve been on the council, the partnership and teamwork is absolutely great, and we have created a valuable standard of cooperation for our home and our city.”

Also during the address, Deputy Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Will Pennings gave an overview of the emergency operations for the city.

Pennings explained the city does a lot of pre-planning for all different types of disasters and emergency situations, whether it’s a large or small emergency situation. Besides pre-planning, he explained there’s a lot of cooperation and coordination between both public and private partnerships; there is ongoing training; and an ongoing process and continued practice.

Pennings also encouraged audience members to sign up for the CodeRED emergency notification service. More information on CodeRED can be found through the Isanti County website at www.co.isanti.mn.us/isanti/departments/emergency-management or by calling 763-689-8306 to register over the telephone.