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!



Kevin Cook
Director of Communications | City of Lakeland
228 S. Massachusetts Ave.  Lakeland, FL 33801



LAKELAND, FL (September 19, 2011) - The Lakeland City Commission voted to decrease the fuel charge for Lakeland Electric customers 75 cents per 1,000 kWh effective for meters read on or after October 3rd.  The new fuel charge will be $49.90 per 1,000 kWh.  As of October 3rd, Lakeland Electric residential customers will pay $109.42 for 1,000 kWh of electricity.


Past                 New Rates – Effective October 1, 2011

Base Rate        $59.52                                     $59.52

Fuel Charge    $50.65                                     $49.90

TOTAL:            $110.17                                  $109.42


With the decrease in the fuel charge, Lakeland Electric rates remain the 5th lowest out of the 37 utilities serving Florida residential customers and the 4th lowest in Florida for large commercial customers.  After listening to a staff presentation at the September 19, 2011 Utility Committee Meeting, the Lakeland Electric Utility Committee recommended to decrease the current fuel charge based on favorable natural gas prices.

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. 

The Utility Committee also voted unanimously to reduce the environmental compliance charge by 4% from $2.559 to $2.456 per 1,000 kWh. This vote was also passed by the City Commission during the September 19, 2011 meeting. Environmental Compliance Charges are directly related to federal and state initiatives regarding clean air and water mandates. Most of the expenses are related to energy production and include air emission controls, water quality monitoring and capital spending for equipment necessary to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. 

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




Thom Grenkowski
Food and Beverage Manager
Cleveland Heights Golf Course

Cleveland Heights Presents Music at the Heights


LAKELAND, FL (September 19, 2011) – Cleveland Heights Golf Course will play host to guitarist Michael Bell and his band for Music at the Heights on Thursday, September 22, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Bell and friends bring a fusion of rock and roll, blues, and country music and are sure to be a crowd pleaser. There will be no cover charge for the event.

The Music at the Heights series features local artists on the last Thursday of each month in Rueben’s Lounge at the golf course, located at 2900 Buckingham Ave. For more information about this event or future Music at the Heights events, contact Thom Grenkowski at (863) 834-2326.


Solar Farm to be deployed in alliance with SunEdison is expected to generate more than 217 Million kWh of energy over 25 years

LAKELAND, FL (September 14, 2011) – City of Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, Lakeland Electric and officials from SunEdison, celebrated the groundbreaking of a 5.5 megawatt solar power plant at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Once completed the 5.5 MW solar farm is expected to generate more 217 million kilowatt hours of energy over 25 years—enough energy to power more than 20,000 homes for a year.

The 5.5MW photovoltaic solar farm will be deployed in two phases and will be comprised of more than 24,000 solar modules.  The project is made possible through a strategic power purchase agreement between Lakeland Electric and SunEdison, a global leader in solar energy services. Through the agreement, SunEdison will deploy, own, operate and maintain the solar farm with no upfront costs required from Lakeland Electric. In return, Lakeland electric will purchase the energy produced at predictable rates for 25 years.

“Environmental stewardship is important to our community, to Lakeland City leadership and to Lakeland Electric. It is vital that every utility consider carefully how to meet the increasing needs of their customers 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. This is our second solar project with SunEdison and we look forward to our continued partnership, working with them to develop solar energy into our generation inventory,” noted Jim Stanfield, General Manager for Lakeland Electric.  He added, “It is important that utilities like Lakeland Electric diversify their supply portfolio with renewable resources to reduce exposure to the fossil fuels market. This project along with others is a significant step in that direction.”

“We make affordable, utility-scaled solar a reality,” stated Robert Reichenberger, U.S. Vice President of VP of Utilities for SunEdison. “By bringing together the right people and the right technologies, SunEdison is able to help utilities across the globe realize the benefits of solar energy.”

Once both phases are completed, it is expected the solar farm will produce more than 9.8 million kWh of energy annually and roughly 217 million kWh over 25 years. The environmental attributes associated with the deployment is expected offset more than 300 million pounds of CO2 over 20 years which is equivalent to removing more than 29,000 cars off the road for a year.

The first phase of the project is expected to be operational by year’s end and phase two is expected to operational by August of 2012.

About Lakeland Electric
Lakeland Electric is a full service power provider with over 600 full-time employees and it was one of the first electric utilities in the state of Florida.  Serving over 120,000 customers, it is the third largest public power provider in Florida generating over 1,100-megawatts and operating 2000 miles of transmission and distribution facilities.  Lakeland Electric owns and operates one of the most efficient combined cycle gas units in the United States and has been on the forefront of emerging renewable energy sources.  It was one of the first utilities in the country to offer customers a solar hot water heater program over 20 years ago.  The utility continues to push toward the future with a recent roof-top solar project and now with a 40 acre, 5.5 MW solar farm.


The Synthetic Turf Council recently announced its Search for the Real Field of Dreams Contest winners and the National Finalist Honors went to the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department in Lakeland, Florida for Sunflower Preschool Playground in Barnett Family Park.  As the first multi-colored grass playground nationwide, the unique  playground  provides thousands of toddlers and their families age-appropriate developmental play experiences, accessibility for strollers and wheelchairs, and a creative play space to spark the imagination.

Bill Tinsley, Director of the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation Department said, “We were very honored and surprised last year when Common Ground Park was announced as the grand prize winner of the Real Field of Dreams Contest by the Synthetic Turf Council but now to have two of our parks recognized as Field of Dream winners is unbelievable.”  He added, “I believe we are the only Parks Department that has been recognized two consecutive years through the Real Field of Dreams program.”

Sunflower Preschool Playground is the newest addition at Barnett Family Park on Lake Mirror that is specifically designed for children 3-5 years old.  The park features age appropriate equipment that provides maximum early childhood developmental and play opportunities. Sunflower Playground includes a bright and colorful pallet of play equipment selected for imagination qualities, the ability to provide physical development and most important, fun! 

The development and funding of Sunflower Preschool Playground is modeled after the successful Common Ground that continues to provide inclusive play for thousands of children each week.  Sunflower Playground is the second community lead parks project for the City of Lakeland.

“Our annual contest recognizes synthetic turf athletic fields, parks and playgrounds in the U.S. and Canada that have made an exceptional impact on their local communities,” said Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. 

The Synthetic Turf Council created its annual Search for the Real Field of Dreams to recognize the power that synthetic turf has to transform the lives of youth and enhance public wellness.  Independent judges for the 2011 Search included Lisa Speckhardt of Landscape Architecture magazine, Christine Sima of Parks and Rec Business and Ron Hall, of TURF Magazine. Visit to review the full story on each winner.


The Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications.  The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf.  Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies.