Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Meet George at Swenson Park

I have been enlightened and enriched over the years having great conversations with you here online, and in the streets about our city. I am constantly humbled when people recognize the value of the arguments we've made at a Place in Mound. The fact is that many of the issues we see here in Mound are issues cities all over Minnesota and our country face. This is the beginning of a long and much larger process to create communities of value and enhance the lives we live in important, and meaningful ways.

On this Saturday morning, October 18, from 10 to 11 in the morning, I'll be hanging out on the Island at Swenson Park with my kids playing soccer. It would be great to meet you if you are in the Brighton Blvd area, so come out and join us.

I have been surprise how many people with whom I've barely know, offering me financial support. If you are interested in donating to my campaign for Mound Council member, you can use the link below.

If you would rather send me a check, you can mail it to me...

George for Mound
5017 Avon Dr
Mound, MN 55364

Thank you. See you Saturday. Let's work together to make Mound a place to drive to, not drive through.


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Thursday, September 11, 2014

George Linkert speaks to the Mound Council

I was very fortunate in November 2012 to have the Mound city manager invite me to come speak about some of the topics written about here to the city council. I spent a lot of time preparing material to talk mostly about the fast streets of Mound, and the lack of on street parking in it's downtown and at Surfside park.

This video was available for a year at the local cable access website, but it isn't anymore. Fortunately, I obtained a DVD of that meeting, and have made it available again online.

This is just my 17 minute presentation from that day. I will post the discussion I had with the city council in another week or so.

Please share this video and website with your friends and family in Mound. Let them know I'm running for city council in November. And let's work together to get Mound to build places for people.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A place to drive to, not through.

We want Mound to be a place to drive to, not drive through. ~ George Linkert

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George Linkert for places.

George Linkert for Mound City Council.

Please read more about ways we can make Mound a better place at

Please share this with your Mound friends and neighbors!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Who is George Matthew Linkert IV

Linkert family at Shirley Hills
I was born and raised in Crystal, MN and attended Robbinsdale schools. I went to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor's of Music in Education. I taught band and music classes in several public schools around MN. In 2004 I married the love of my life, Janet Denenny, from Mound, MN and built a new home on the property she grew up on in the Shirley Hills neighborhood.

Enjoying Avon Park
While building our new home we had our first child, Maeve, and made the decision to have my wife's father, Merrill, live with us when his health was deteriorating. Shortly after we built our home, our second child,
Cecelia, was born, and I became a stay at home dad. After Janet's father passed away, I opened a licensed home childcare business, and was fortunate to earn the trust of several local families to take care of their babies and young children.

George's daughter, Maeve
When Maeve and Cecelia started going to Shirley Hills Primary
full time in 2012, I decided to close the childcare and find other work close to home. I was fortunate on my time on the Planning Commission to hear twice about Mound's own Sojourn Adult Day Services and their successful growing business. In the last year and a half working at Sojourn, I have earned a valuable spot on their team, working to provide quality care and programming for an important and valuable population segment of our community.

George's daughter, Cecelia
I have loved being a part of Mound from the very beginning of our home construction in 2004. I was very impressed with the staff and city officials at city hall,
and knew during construction that I knew was going to find time in the future to give back to our community. The opportunity arose in 2010, I applied and I was honored to be appointed to the Mound Planning Commission.

I took my role very seriously at the Planning Commission. Before every meeting I looked thoughtfully over cases that were to be discussed, and made many site visits to homes and businesses that were on the agenda. I spent a lot of time personally researching Mound's development history, as well as independently researching how we have developed communities as a state and country. In my education, I attended the city's sponsored seminar's about city planning both in our own city hall, and at Minnesota Government Training Services.
Linkert Family

The training the city provided just scratched the surface of the subject of building our neighborhoods and commercial centers. I was hungry to learn more, so I sought more information and over the last 4 years attended city planning workshops and seminars with the following organizations

Our public spaces are some of the most important devices a city can use to improve itself. I have also spent many hours reading and attending meetings about how our local and state government plan and build these places including at Streets.MN, Project for Public Spaces, and Better Block,

Other organizations I have taken an active role include,
A Place in Mound
Mound Westonka Rotary
Westonka Community and Commerce (Tree Lighting, Dog Days, Scarecrow Stomp)
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (Parent Group Facilitator)
Mound Westonka Special Education Advisory Council (Chair)
Minnesota Valley Community Band
Seward Concert Band (President, Associate Conductor)

My vision for Mound in the future:
Mound city council will continue to work to make Mound a better place to live and work.
Mound will create ways to encourage businesses to expand and be successful by eliminating and phasing out ordinances that are out of date, or hinder their growth.
Mound will use our creativity and unique resources to encourage residents and home owners to improve their property.
Mound will not wait anymore for a big developer to come and build our downtown, but will build it ourselves by encouraging development of the buildings that already exist in our downtown.
Mound will focus on bringing activity and commerce to downtown, by building and adding on to the fabulous events that happen in the city.
Mound will become a place to drive to, not drive through.

I humbly ask for your vote for Mound City Council on November 4th.

George, Janet, Maeve and Cecelia Linkert

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Walgreens Property Tax Revenue update

I recently checked the property tax revenue for the Walgreens parcel. Honestly, I wasn't really sure if the numbers I found last winter were going to be final. As someone commented at the time, perhaps the Walgreens number were based on an incomplete structure. I figured time would tell if I was right or wrong.

Just to remind you those old deteriorated buildings (including John's Variety) that were torn down for this "improvement" generated $53,141 in property tax revenue in 2012.

Last year (2013) the revenue generated was a whooping 57,490.90

Total property tax revenue for 2014 for the Walgreens development will be... $53 732.64.

I have always tried to say that there are lots of factors when a city looks any property development or improvement. I understand there are benefits to having this beautiful new building on this busy intersection including...
  • Big brand new drug store
  • Drive though pharmacy
  • Parking lot
  • Beautiful new Dakota Junction restaurant
But let's look at what's been lost at this corner...
  • Smaller drug store (still sitting empty, Walgreens holds the lease)
  • City Looks (recently closed)
  • Christopher and Banks (recently closed)
  • Johns Variety (said he was going to move, but just closed down, Johnny has moved some business to Jubilee)
  • Mama's Happy (demolished, moved out of town)
And after all that... property tax revenue generated on this brand new development is only going to generate $500+ dollars in for the county and city compared to it's predecessor?!

The City of Mound deserves to have it's more valuable land to be much more financially productive than this. Developments like this should be positively impacting the surrounding area... not taking away.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Our new game - Guessing Property Tax Revenues on New Developments

Here's a little game anyone can play. Let's look at a proposed development and try to estimate what the future property tax collected will be when the project is completed. Let's try our chops at the most recent Mound downtown project!

First the facts...
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Johns Variety Building right before tear down
The property in question is part of an old downtown block on Mound's most significant intersection of vehicle traffic. Very valuable in terms of location as it's near the Dakota Rail Trail, and across the street from Mound True Value, and Mound Marketplace, where Jubilee Foods and other restaurants and retail stores. Also, the property borders and is close to some residential. Buildings that will be torn down are, for the most part, very old, and on their last legs in useful life. Property Taxes generated on these parcels in 2012 produced $53,141 dollars for Hennpin County and City of Mound.

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Exciting new Walgreens!
Going up is the new Walgreens with a convenient drive through, two driveway accesses, a new parking lot, and a small bistro restaurant.

The game is played as follows... how much in property tax will the new Walgreens produce? How does it compare to the properties that used to be there? This is valuable land, and we want to be sure this property is financially productive!

Our first contestant is yours truly...
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George Linkert, the guy whom the Mound City Council decided wasn't worth reappointing to the Planning Commission without any explanation.
.... George Linkert only has a couple years experience on the Planning Commission. His background in music and education make him look like an underdog. Let's hear what he's got to say....

George ~ After looking at similar parcels on County Roads in our area, "It's uncertain if the property taxes raised on the Walgreens Block will be more than what is collected currently. If it will be, it certainly doesn't seem like it will be much."

Ok, George seems to thinks the revenues from the new parcels will be a little higher, if not the same.

Next up to play are the experts from the Hennepin County Assessor's office...

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Mr. Assesor warming up his slide ruler.
.... these guys do this sort of analysis for a living, can you tell us how much in property taxes the new Walgreens development will make for local governments?

Mr. Assessor ~ "I am the one who deals with most of the Walgreen appeals in our Hennco cities we provided services to. .... I would consider more in the tax area of $100,000 to $105,000."

Really! Wow... $100,000 is quite a different number that what George got. How did you come up with that number?!

Mr. Assessor ~ "There are many reasons why tax estimates can vary from one property or parcel to another. Walgreen's stores as related to other larger retail centers and/or other freestanding retail facilities generally locate themselves on highly visible or strategic corner locations.
As we attempt to estimate market value we look at the market forces that are at play within each given location and more particularly to the individual real estate that is being appraised. The estimate provided on the Mound Walgreen's reflects the quality, condition and the age of that structure as compared to some of the other surrounding retail.

What we are not valuing is the long-term income stream and the considered bond rate return that Walgreen's real estate provides in the investment market."

OK, Thanks for playing Mr. Assessor!

Let's review the numbers. What did our contestants believe would be the property taxes generated from this new development....
George Linkert - $53,141
Mr. County Assessor - $100,000

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Complete Walgreens, picture taken from trail.
Now let's check the Hennepin County Website a few months later as the development is nearing completion and find out what the revenues generated on the new Walgreens development will be!

2013 Property Tax revenue $57, 490.90*

Which means George was off by approximately $4,000
Mr. Assessor is off by approximately $42,000

Congratulations George Linkert! You estimated the future property tax generated of this new development more accurately than the highly touted, better educated county assessor by $38,000!

* - This total doesn't included the finished Dakota Junction, which wasn't finished until last year and so it's numbers haven't been published yet. I'll guaranty you it won't be $38,000.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Being dumped by the City of Mound

Without warning or any discussion, the Mound City Council choose to ignore the Planning Commissions recommendations for appointments to it's panel. The City Council apparently decided to take a pass on my reappointment without comment.

They have taken a pass on a Planning Commission member that...
... attended every meeting in three years but one
... gathered and prepared information on most items that have been on agenda
... offered unique and thoughtful comments an most items on the agenda
... accepted and attended training sessions the city offered
... as well as went on other training sessions on his own prerogative

I am, of course, personally saddened about this development. But frankly, I am more sad that our City Council, most of whom have sat with me on the Planning Commission at one time or another, haven't appreciated me. Apparently my contributions to the discussion of Mound have been so offensive or wasteful, that the City Council wants to move in a different direction.

This is a sad move by this City Council.