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!

LAKELAND, FL (August 13, 2015) - The City of Lakeland is pleased to announce Bob Conner as Water Utilities Director effective immediately.  Conner has been serving as interim Director since December 2014.  He started with the City of Lakeland as Assistant Director of Waste Water in September 1996.
City Manager Doug Thomas said, “Bob has done an excellent job as Interim Director of Water Utilities and throughout his lengthy career with the City of Lakeland.  He also played a leadership role in the nationally recognized 30-year public-private agreement with the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and the Tampa Electric Company (TECO) to provide reclaimed water from the City’s wetlands to the Polk Power Station. The agreement has been heralded as an innovative “win-win” project that provided TECO an alternative water supply for their Polk Power Station and it eliminates future City costs and permitting requirements for our wetlands.”  He added, “The project also secured a new water use permit from SWFWMD to help meet the future water supply needs of our growing community.”
Conner said, “Lakeland now perhaps more than ever, needs long-term planning to secure the resources that form the base for our continued prosperity.  Planning for 50 years is not a bad thing.  The City is still reaping the benefits of sound decisions made about utilities in the 1960’s and as Water Utilities Director, I plan to continue that legacy.”
Conner holds a Masters of Science and Engineering from the University of South Florida and an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of West Florida. As Director of Water Utilities, Conner will be paid an annual salary of $149,739 and directly oversee a $64,870,000 budget in a service territory that covers 132 square miles.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to be come on the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population over 100,000, Lakeland continues to grow.  It has been designated a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an our away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal location along the I-4 corridor.  To learn more about the City of Lakeland, please visit


LAKELAND, FL (August 13, 2015) – Rick Lilyquist, Director of Public Works, is pleased to announce that Angelo Rao, P.E., will serve as the City of Lakeland’s next Manager of Traffic Operations. Prior to beginning work with the City of Lakeland, Rao was employed by BCC Engineering, Inc., serving as the Director of Local Government Services. Rao has over 35 years’ experience providing planning, design and project management in the transportation services arena with emphasis on traffic calming, complete streets, livable communities, and bicycle/pedestrian safety enhancements. For more than 23 years of his professional career, he has been employed in the public service sector as an employee of various government organizations.

Lilyquist commented, “Angelo brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge in the transportation field, and more specifically an area which the Lakeland City Commission has elected to place a heightened importance on – making Lakeland a more bike-friendly/walkable community.”

Rao said “I am looking forward to being part of the City of Lakeland, Public Works Management team”.  He added, “I am particularly eager to work with citizens on transportation issues to help enhance the quality of life that the residents of Lakeland already enjoy.”

He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida. His annual salary as the Manager of Traffic Operations will be $94,494.




Doug Thomas has announced that he will step down as Lakeland's City Manager on September 13, 2015. 

Resignation Letter

Public Meeting Notice - South Wabash Avenue Extension

The City of Lakeland has scheduled a public meeting regarding the proposed South Wabash Avenue Extension Project. The meeting will be held Monday, August 17th, 2015 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Legacy Christian Church located at 901 West Beacon Road, Lakeland, FL 33803.

This project includes a new two-lane divided roadway with pedestrian and bicycle facilities. It begins at the intersection of Beaker Boulevard and Harden Boulevard, extends north along the Beaker Boulevard alignment under the Polk Parkway and along the west side of the Lakeside Village Shopping Center and Grasslands Subdivision, and ends at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and Ariana Street.

The public meeting is being conducted to present the 30% design plans for the South Wabash Avenue Extension and to obtain input from elected and appointed officials, property owners/tenants, business owners/operators, and other interested parties. 

The meeting will be conducted in an open-house format beginning at 6:00 pm. City staff and representatives from the design team will be available to discuss the project, receive input, and answer questions. Display boards and other visual aids depicting the project will be available throughout the meeting.

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, handicap, or family status. Anyone requiring special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or persons that require translation services (free of charge) at the meeting should contact Ms. Francey Halbert at (863) 834-6001 or

Design related information may also be obtained by contacting the City of Lakeland Project Manager, Joseph Baan, P.E., at the contact information above or by contacting the City’s consultant, James Hunt, P.E. with Cardno, at (727) 431-1593 or

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