City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.



LAKELAND, FL (June 21, 2011) – On Thursday, June 23rd at 2:30 p.m. Lakeland Linder Regional Airport will celebrate the first commercial service arrival of Direct Air Flight 7705 from Hagerstown, MD and Myrtle Beach, SC.

WHEN: Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.; Flight arrives at 2:45 p.m.

WHO:  City of Lakeland, Direct Air, Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Central Florida Tourism & Sports Marketing

WHAT:  Celebrating the first arriving Direct Air flight to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport

WHERE:  Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Terminal Building, 3900 Don Emerson Drive, Lakeland, FL 33811


Face to Face Communications Program

“Accessibility is key to local government and the Mornings with the Mayor program allows residents to express their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues of concern.”

LAKELAND, FL (June 15, 2011) - Mayor Gow Fields invites local residents to attend the next Mornings with the Mayor event that will take place at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, July 22nd at the north side Golden Corral located at 4705 US Highway 98 N, Lakeland.

Citizens that attend these informal breakfast sessions get to hear from the Mayor about key issues and initiatives taking place within the City before he invites questions from the audience.  This is a chance for residents to converse directly with Mayor Fields on a topic of interest or concern.

Mayor Fields said, “Accessibility is one of the keys to local government and Mornings with the Mayor provides the opportunity for our citizens to share their views, ask questions and provide feedback on issues that are directly affecting them.” He added, “We have successful asked for public engagement during these events and I look forward to spending valuable face to face time with our residents listening to the concerns that they feel are facing our community.”

Those attending will have to pay for their own breakfast.  The Golden Corral features a breakfast buffet with a host of items for around $7. The premise behind the Mornings with the Mayor program is to make elected officials more accessible to residents in the community and to promote one-on-one communications.

This program allows residents an informal and comfortable forum in which to meet with the Mayor to talk about issues, ask questions, voice concerns and offer comments or suggestions.  Mayor Fields said, “It’s also an excellent way for us to gather candid feedback about how people feel things are going in our City; what amenities they particularly enjoy, areas they feel could use improvement, or what they’d like to see in the future.”


The Lakeland City Commission voted to increase the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers 15 cents per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after June 30th.  The fuel charge increase was due to an 8% raise in the cost of natural gas since March 2011. The new fuel charge will be $50.65 per 1,000 kWh.  As of June 30th, Lakeland Electric residential customers will pay $110.17 for 1,000 kWh of electricity.

After listening to a staff presentation at the June 20, 2011 Utility Committee Meeting, the Lakeland Electric Utility Committee recommended to increase the current fuel charge.  The City Commission reconvened and approved the recommendation. 


Past                                Effective June 30, 2011

Base Rate        $  59.52                                   $  59.52

Fuel Charge    $  50.50                                   $  50.65

TOTAL:            $110.02                                   $110.17

With the increase in the fuel charge, Lakeland Electric rates remain at the 4th lowest out of the 37 utilities serving Florida residential customers and the 3rd lowest 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 for more information and to see a residential rate comparison.

Assistant City Manager Stanley Hawthorne recently accepted a new position with the City of Fort Lauderdale as Assistant City Manager effective July 5, 2011.  Hawthorne joined the City of Lakeland team on January 17, 2005 as Assistant to the City Manager.

Hawthorne said, “I welcome this new opportunity and I look forward to the challenges that may lie ahead but it has been a great honor serving the Citizens of Lakeland.”  He added, “This past year has been exceptionally rewarding as we continued our strategic operation process, we implemented a new budgeting system, we concentrated on new public outreach initiatives and we focused on our organization’s most valued resource – our employees.  I am very glad to have been a part of these initiatives.”

Before coming to Lakeland, Hawthorne had a very illustrious career in municipal government that started in Saginaw Michigan where he worked for seven years, advancing to Assistant to City Manager. In 1992, he was able to return to his home state of Florida, accepting the position as Budget Director for Hollywood, Florida.  Since then, other opportunities have included Assistant City Manager and Director of Finance for Tamarac, City Manager for the City of Lauderdale Lakes, and as General Manager for the Sun ‘N Lake of Sebring Improvement District.

City Manager, Doug Thomas said, “We wish Stanley well in his new endeavor as Assistant City Manager in Fort Lauderdale and I will truly miss him as an integral member of my management team.”  Thomas added, “He led the Performance Excellence Division that focused on developing operating efficiencies and was tasked with aligning the City’s budget priorities with our Strategic Operating process.  Additionally, he played a key role on the City’s negotiation team for the inaugural collective bargaining agreement with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA).  I am confident his skills will serve him well in his new position as part of the newly appointed municipal management team in Fort Lauderdale.”

Hawthorne is a native of Highlands County, born in Sebring and raised in Lake Placid.  He received his undergraduate degree at Troy State University in Alabama and he earned his Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Virginia.  He is a certified government financial manager and a graduate from the Senior Executive Institute at the Darden Business School.  Hawthorne has been active in the Government Finance Officers Association, National Forum for Black Public Administrators and the International City Management Association.