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The latest happenings in your city government.


The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) just awarded The Lakeland Center as host site of the state wrestling tournmanet for the next three years. Upon reviewing proposals submitted by several venues, The Lakeland Center was granted the contract after receiving the highest scores based on quality of the facility, experience, volunteer staff, financial considerations and other proposal criteria.

Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields had this to offer in congratulations to The Lakeland Center and their partner Polk County Sports Marketing, “The City of Lakeland is proud to once again serve as the host venue for this prestigious state sporting tournament. We thank the FHSAA for providing our fine city with the remarkable opportunity to accommodate the FHSAA’s athletes, their families and fans for another exciting three years of tournaments. Our appreciation also extends to the talented staff of Polk County Sports Marketing, under the vision and direction of Executive Director Mark Jackson, for their ongoing financial support and assistance in the preparations of our  winning bid documents. We look forward to another three years of state wrestling tournaments and the support of our valued Championship Committee sponsors.”

The Lakeland Center has hosted FHSAA events for more than three decades providing a superior venue for these prestigious state level tournaments. Contestants travel from all points of Florida’s peninsula to compete in the championship tournament and stay in the region for several days providing millions of dollars in economic impact. Teams are encouraged to bring not only contestants but family and friends to enjoy our area’s accommodations, dining and shopping attractions.

The Championship Committee comprised of over 30 local leaders is responsible for tournament operations and are instrumental in assisting with sponsorship funding. The tournaments are generously supported by platinum sponsors Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing, Publix Supermarkets and The Ledger Media Group. In addition to the platinum Championship Committee Sponsors, more than 20 other proud local businesses provide vital financial support through their gold, silver and bronze sponsorships.  

The Lakeland Center offers a full variety of sporting events, concerts and shows. Located minutes between Orlando and Tampa in Lakeland, Florida off I-4 on Lime Street, The Lakeland Center is a short drive from anywhere in Central Florida. Regular box office hours are Monday-Friday 9:30am-5:30pm and two hours prior to most events. For ticket information, call the Box Office at (863)834-8111 or  to charge by phone 800-745-3000. Additional information is available at our website at www.thelakelandcenter.com.


Lakeland Electric will hold a press announcement at the Sun n Fun Fly-In on Wednesday, March 30th at 2 p.m.  announcing the construction of a 5.5 megawatt (MW) solar farm to be deployed in alliance with SunEdison at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Once the dual-phased solar farm is completed, it is expected to generate more than 216 million kilowatt hours of clean solar energy over 25 years.   Details of the project will be shared during the announcement.

The first phase of the solar farm is expected to break ground in June and completed by the end of 2011. The second phase is expected to be completed in 2012. Once the solar farm is constructed, it is expected to be comprised of more than 18,000 solar panels and generate an estimated 9 million kWh of solar electricity annually.

"Lakeland Electric is very excited about this project because environmental stewardship and renewable energy options are keys to our success as a utility. It is vital that every utility consider carefully how to meet customers' increasing needs for electricity and do it in a way that is fiscally and environmentally prudent. Deploying utility-scale solar with no upfront costs is a win-win for Lakeland. We have already partnered with SunEdison on roof top implemented solar program but this project will be on a much larger scale.” noted Jim Stanfield, General Manager for Lakeland Electric.

The 5.5MW solar farm was made possible through a strategic solar power service agreement between SunEdison and Lakeland Electric. In the agreement SunEdison will finance and deploy the solar farm with no upfront costs from Lakeland Electric. In return, Lakeland Electric will purchase the power produced at long-term predictable rates for 25 years—adding to Lakeland’s energy mix while helping to improve the environment.

Over 25 years, the solar farm will produce enough clean energy to power more than 15,500 Lakeland homes for one year. In that same amount of time, the solar farm will offset more than 299 million pounds of carbon dioxide – equivalent to removing more than 29,000 cars from the road for one year.

Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida.  The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889.  Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 176-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. The utility also operates a group of energy-efficient generating units capable of providing up to 50-megawatts of additional electricity when other units are out of service or during periods when demand for electricity is highest.  Lakeland Electric also has been on the forefront of introducing renewable energy to its customers with an early solar hot water heater program and now solar is a viable addition to the generation mix.


At the March 21st City Commission meeting the commission presented the master municipal clerk certificate to Debbie Cason, the Deputy City Clerk.

Proclamations were presented honoring Boys & Girls Club Week, Children’s Day, Margo McGill Day and Water Conservation Month.

Board member appointments were approved for Beverly O’Neill-Copeland and Bruce Lyon to the Lakeland Housing Authority. Neil Merrill was reappointed to the Code Enforcement Board. On the Zoning Board of Adjustments and Appeals board, Arthur Chappell will serve an additional term and Greg Brower was appointed as an alternate.

It was decided that members of City Boards and Committees shall be appointed for terms of three years and may not serve more than two consecutive three-year terms; after having served two consecutive three-year terms, members may not be eligible for reappointment to the SAME board until after the expiration of three years. Members could be reappointed to a DIFFERENT board without a delay.

Rabbi Moshe Lazaros explained the Jewish Holiday of Purim and presented the commissioners with traditional food baskets.

Shannon Lanier, Executive Director of Lakeland Vision, introduced the launch of a web survey tool available through March 31st that allows participants to express their opinions on budgeting priorities for next year’s City of Lakeland fiscal budget.

The commission voted to schedule a public hearing regarding a request from St. Paul Lutheran Church and School reference a message sign permit application.

Conditional use to allow expansion of church facilities at property located south of east Parker Street, east of north Massachusetts Avenue was approved.

The commission also voted to allow 612,203 square feet of additional warehouse and distribution space for Publix Super Markets on property located at 2600 County Line Road.

Also approved was an amendment to an existing development agreement for Doherty Holdings LLC for Centinel Center at Mall Hill Drive.

The City Manager’s recommendation to enter into a contract with Best Fence Company in the amount of $265,412 for continued security improvements at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for fencing and access controls to be funded with a 100% Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) grant.

A resolution expanding membership of the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board to include a representative of the Downtown Lakeland Partnership was approved.

Appointment of owners who are not city residents to the Dixieland and Mid-Town Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Boards was approved.

The Commission authorized the execution of a locally funded agreement with the FDOT for installation of irrigation and landscaping on U.S. 98 between W. 8th Street and Griffin Road.

Agreements with Key Government Finance, Inc. and Tampa Bay Trane for an Energy Efficiency Building Component Upgrade Project for LPD were approved.

A recommendation from the Utility Committee to lower the electric fuel charge by $2.00 to $50.50 per 1,000 kilowatt hours was passed by the City Commission.

 


The Lakeland City Commission voted to decrease the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers $2.00 per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after March 31st.  The new fuel charge is $50.50.  As of March 31st,  Lakeland Electric residential customers will pay $110.02 for 1,000 kWh of electricity.

After listening to a staff presentation at the March 21, 2011 Utility Committee Meeting, the Lakeland Electric Utility Committee recommended to decrease the current fuel charge.  The City Commission reconvened and approved the recommendation. 

RESIDENTIAL RATES BASED ON 1,000 kWh

Past                 New Rates – Effective March 31, 2011

Base Rate        $59.52                                     $59.52

Fuel Charge    $52.50                                     $50.50

TOTAL:            $112.02                                   $110.02

With the decrease in the fuel charge, Lakeland Electric rates will be ranked 4th lowest out of the 37 utilities serving Florida residential customers and one of the lowest ranked in Florida for large commercial customers. 

Lakeland Electric bills are broken out for customer convenience in detail to show the base charge, fuel charge and appropriate taxes and service charges.  The fuel charge on a utility bill is exactly that, the actual costs for fuel used to generate the amount of electricity used within your residence.  Most utilities subscribe to the same billing practice and break out the base rate and the fuel charge for their customers. There is no mark-up in fuel.  In fact, fuel is a straight pass-through to customers. 

Visit www.lakelandelectric.com for more information and to see a residential rate comparison.