Community Leaders Face Tough Issues



The Cambridge City Council is composed of one (1) Mayor and four (4) City Council members who are elected at large to four-year (4-year) terms.  Their terms of office are staggered so there are elections every two years in even years.  Municipal elections are non-partisan and names are placed on the ballot without party designation. This is the post found on the website on the City of Cambridge home page which informs the citizens of the chain of command of the city government and also gives a variety of information that a citizen may use.

 The Mayor of Cambridge is Marlys Palmer who has served for 12years. She is the first woman to hold the office of mayor in the city.  Like most cities Mayor Palmer said the source of strain for communities is finding enough cash to meet the needs of the town.  Cambridge is unique in that the upkeep required for this smaller city involves two major highways, is a major railroad spur for Burlington Northern, and is on a river that has two bridges to maintain.  These transportation avenues need attention of the city at various times of crisis. With traffic control, water pollution and job losses being on most of the City Councils agenda for supervision these infrastructures are a handful to maintain under Mayor Palmer and the councils watchful eye..

Right now the burning fire brand is the tentative loss of Minnesota Extended Treatment Option or  METO as reported in the Isanti County News.  Cambridge has housed a State facility for the disabled since the 1920’s.  The large system was dismembered in the 1990’s by the State of Minnesota. The clients were released or housed in smaller more family like housing after that.  METO was a part of this reconstruction.  METO in Cambridge is a 16 bed facility that houses clients with extreme behavior disorders.  Cambridge’s workforce was trained mostly out of the previous State Hospital system.  The loss of METO would mean the loss of 66 jobs and that would also mean the loss of continuity for 16 clients that have made METO their home. The City of Cambridge is looking into helping support the Senator from North Branch Rick Olseen in advocating for its survival.

The City of Cambridge works close with MNDOT about the traffic congestion created by the train going through Cambridge during peak times.  The back-up of traffic can be huge.  Another traffic concern is the need for two bridge replacements crossing the Rum River; this is also on front burner. How traffic flows will be a major concern when each of these bridges is being rebuilt.

Isanti County is number one in the State Of Minnesota in foreclosed housing.  This county was on the fastest growth list in the state several years ago; it was also on the end of the housing boom.  With that boom ending so abruptly it has created a huge financial strain.  It is a hard thing for the elected officials to deal with when the tax revenues bases are being eroded by people losing their homes.  But the City of Cambridge and the County of Isanti come from a long tradition of fighters and fortifiers of their community.  They have great optimism and determination as they go through this decade of economic hardship and growth.  The people of Cambridge and Isanti County are behind their community leaders with hopes of a fast and sure recovery.