City News Blog


This is the official blog of the City of Lakeland, Florida. Check back frequently to stay up to date with all that going on in our beautiful city!

On Thursday March 15th the Lakeland Fire Department received a call to a structure fire at 2602 Tennessee Rd. Eight units from stations one, two, three and four were dispatched at 7:15 pm and arrived on the scene at 7:20 pm.

The responding team consisted of seventeen fire personnel of three fire engines, two rescue units, one heavy rescue unit and a battalion chief.  

When units arrived they found a home partially engulfed in flames. Chief Jeff Wharton took charge of the scene and assigned teams to extinguish the fire, perform search and rescue, water supply, and rapid intervention.

In a wooded neighborhood surrounded by other homes, mobile homes and trailers, in close proximity; LFD was able to bring the initial blaze under control within a few minutes, containing the incident to the original structure. This helped quell the fears of neighbors who had gathered anticipating that the fire might spread.

A trouble truck from Lakeland Electric was also on scene to insure the safety of any electrical service to the home.

At approximately the same time units from stations two, three and six were dispatched to another structure fire on Trenton Rd that turn out to be a false call. The members of the Lakeland Fire Department, and other city departments, continue their dedication to making our city a safer place to live.

           TOW TO GO” FOR 2012 

A Partnership Between AAA Auto Club South & Budweiser 

Since its inception in 1998, "Tow to Go" has safely removed more than 18,000 drunk drivers from the roads.  

•   FREE and open to both AAA members and non-members (100% confidential) 

•   Call 1-800-AAA-HELP -- the call will be directed to a ERS Call Center 

  The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver safely home 

Purpose:  This program is designed to protect both the intoxicated driver and the motoring public from avoidable car crashes 

Since the program's inception, over 18,000 intoxicated drivers have decided to use Tow to Go vs. getting behind the wheel when their sobriety was in question. 

Dr. Greg Robinson

Supervisor, Crime Prevention Unit

Lakeland Police Department



LAKELAND, FL (March 12, 2012) -- The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce Brad Johnson as the Assistant City Manager.  Johnson most recently served as the Budget Administrator for the City of Palm Bay, Florida. 

Johnson started his local government career in 2006 at Palm Bay where he worked for four years as a Management Analyst.  During his tenure as Management Analyst he worked with Palm Bay’s public safety, utilities and City Manager’s office assisting in projects such as the Fire Department’s accreditation process, the City’s performance management system and the implementation of Palm Bay’s annual budget.


In 2010, he was hired as the Assistant to the City Manager/Public Works Director for the City of Holly Hill, Florida.  While at Holly Hill, he managed the daily operations of the Public Works Department and assisted the City Manager with the coordination of Economic Development, Planning and the development of the City’s annual budget.


Johnson returned to the City of Palm Bay in 2011 as Budget Administrator where his duties included overseeing the daily operations of the City’s Budget Office.  He developed and implemented Palm Bay’s $140 million annual operating and capital budgets that involved 10 departments and over 40 funds.


Johnson said, “I am grateful for this very exciting opportunity within an extremely dynamic organization and I am looking forward to being an integral part of the team.”  He added, “My first task is to meet the staff to better understand Lakeland’s many services and to better learn the community’s needs. I am very excited and I look forward to my family and I becoming part of the Lakeland Community.”


City Manager, Doug Thomas said, “We conducted a national search that delivered a group of highly qualified applicants. After a very thorough process that included panel interviews, one-on-one interviews and community tours; we believe that Brad will enhance our operation as we prepare for the future.”  He added, “We know that his previous experience in performance management, strategic planning and his financial knowledge of municipal operations will be a great fit for our team. Brad has a tremendous passion for local government and his experience in a comparable well managed Florida community (Palm Bay) will also enable him to hit the ground running.”


Johnson received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 2002 and he earned his Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri in 2007.  He is very active in community service.  He has served as a United Way of Brevard Campaign Cabinet Member, Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition Volunteer Member and he has served on the event planning committees for Relay for Life as well as Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida. Brad and his wife Shira, a non-profit administrator, have a 4 1/2 month old daughter.


Johnson will be paid an annual salary of $90,000 as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Lakeland.   He is scheduled to start March 29, 2012.

- END -




At The City Commission meeting held March 5th Casey and Carly Reeves, of Girl Scout Troop 90 began the meeting by leading the audience in the pledge of allegiance.

Communications director Kevin Cook presented an update of the cities communications activities highlighting the city’s newsletter “Access Lakeland” now distributed with the city utility bills.  There was also a presentation made honoring Helen Chappell the city’s main lobby receptionist for the last 17 years on her impending retirement later in March. March 9th 2012 was also declared as Helen Chappell day.

Beautification Awards were presented to: 1601 Josephine St. , Hickory Hills Manor  for commercial landscaping and 409 Tucker St. ,Donald Williams for residential.

Employee service awards for 10 years of service were presented to: Eddie Benitez, Jannie Cuttrell, Chawn C Hall, Jeffrey Michel, Kathy Mott, Julie Pride, and Staci Scott.

20 years: Terry Crosby, Kenny Jordan and Donzetta Lloyd.

25 years: Frank Bass, Jack Daugherty Jr., Linda Fairbanks and James Niblack.

35 years: Jeffrey Wiiliams

Proclamations were presented in honor of the Women’s Club 100th Anniversary, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Girl Scout Week, Lakeland Fire Fighters Association Local 4173, Appreciation Month, and Purchasing Month.

The Real Estate & Transportation Committee meeting recommendation of the first amendment to the lease agreement with At Your Door Moving & Storage, LLC at Lakeland Linder Airport, was approved.

The Municipal Boards Committee recommendations to appoint: George Figgs to the Beautification Board, Jason Troller to the Citizen Advisory Committee, Jim Studiale to the Harden/Parkway CRA Board, Rosalyn Kennedy to the Planning & Zoning Board and Steven Wade to the Utility Committee were all approved.

Tom Deardorff, Polk County Planning Manager, presented the Draft Community Planning Strategy Report.

 Pamela Damewood, President of Carillon Lakes Homeowners Association and others addressed the commission about fire protection in their area of the city.

The Neighborhood Services division presented the One Year Action Plan and Projected Use of Funds, 38th Year CDBG and 18th HOME . The recommendations continue to emphasize benefits to low and moderate income residents of the City, with funding directed to housing rehabilitation, home purchase assistance, code enforcement, and public services ranging from summer recreation to services for the elderly.

A Public Hearing was held for Comprehensive Plan Certification

Program Monitoring Report and the recommendations were approved.

The city commission approved $22,490.16 in assessments for lot clearing at 76 properties throughout the city.

Public hearings were scheduled for the next commission meeting concerning ordinances to allow for the expansion of an existing solar energy farm on property located at 4070 Hamilton Road, allow a six bed group home on property located at the northwest corner of East Lime Street and South Indiana Avenue, a third incentive category to qualify for economic development impact fee mitigation for Transportation, Law Enforcement and Fire fees.

The position of Deputy Parks and Recreation Director was approved as a position not covered by civil service.

An agreement between the City and Keystone Challenge Fund, Inc. governing the terms/conditions of eligible Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) projects related to the development of affordable housing in the City of Lakeland was approved.

An acquisition and redevelopment agreement with White Challis Redevelopment Co., LLC for the New Southern Square – Bay Street Parking Lot Redevelopment Project was approved.

In final action a Task Authorization with TJR Technical Services, Inc. for technical assistance for McIntosh Power Plant’s Unit #3 during the March-April 2012 scheduled outage was approved.