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 28, 2015) - Tropical Storm Erika’s projected path continues to bring the storm closer to Florida. Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 15-173 declaring a state of emergency in every county within the state of Florida in preparation for Tropical Storm Erika.
As of the 2 p.m. update on Friday, the National Hurricane Center says Erika was located near latitude 17.7 North, longitude 70.2 West. Erika has been moving westward near 18 mph for the past several hours. A motion toward the west-northwest is expected to begin later Friday afternoon or Friday night and continue through Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts. Some weakening is forecast this afternoon and tonight as Erika moves over land, followed by little change in strength through Saturday night. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 150 miles to the east of the center.
There is still a lot of uncertainty in the long range forecast. For now, the intensity will be kept as a tropical storm and not a hurricane. Polk County is still in the cone of concern. Keep in mind that the models could shift again west on east.
For now, the big impact days for the area could be Monday and Tuesday depending on the track. A track going into the Gulf keeps inland areas in tropical storm conditions.
In preparation for a storm, Lakeland Electric would like customers to know that when an outage occurs, thanks to Smart Meter technology, Lakeland Electric is notified within seconds of approximately 90% of all outages with the help of this technology and action to resolve the outage begins immediately. However, Lakeland Electric customers are still encouraged to call (863-834-4248) if they lose power.
Customers can sign up for Outage Notifications online.  With these notifications, customers can receive texts or emails advising that their power was interrupted and a follow-up text or email notification that power has been restored.
To sign up for outage notifications and to view an interactive outage map, please visit
Lakeland area residents should know that due to the recent wet weather, the ground is saturated in many areas. In fact, during the month of August, Lakeland has received 11.5” of rain.  Erika is expected to deliver additional rainfall making trees are more susceptible to being uprooted. When trees fall, the potential for outages increases as trees can cause direct damage to the power system, as well as to our customer’s homes and other personal property.
Follow the City of Lakeland on Facebook at and share your storm related photos and information to help keep the community informed. For more information please visit

North Wabash Avenue Extension
60% Design Public Workshop
From 10th Street to Fairbanks Street

The City of Lakeland is holding a 60% Design Public Workshop regarding the North Wabash Avenue Extension Project in Lakeland, Florida. The project will construct an extension of North Wabash Avenue from 10th Street to Fairbanks Street, a distance of approximately 0.75 miles. This project is shown in the Polk Transportation Planning Organization’s Cost Feasible Plan through construction.     

The 60% Design Public Workshop will be held Thursday, September 10, 2015, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Trinity Life Church of God located at 1942 West Memorial Boulevard Lakeland, Florida 33815. City staff and representatives from the project team will be available to discuss the project, receive input, and answer questions related to the 60% Design Plans under consideration. Display boards and other visual aids depicting project concepts will be available throughout the meeting. The Workshop will end at approximately 7:00 p.m.

Participants may provide written comment at any time during the Workshop. Written comments can be submitted at this hearing or by mail to: Mr. Greg James, 228 South Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, Florida 33801 or by email to, no later than Monday, September 21, 2015. All comments will become part of the project’s public record.   

Public participation is solicited without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability or family status.  Persons who require special accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act or persons who require translation services, free of charge, should contact: Special Projects Coordinator, Ms. Lana Braddy, at (863) 834-6779 or by e-mail to , at least seven (7) days prior to the workshop.

For more information concerning the project, please contact City of Lakeland Project Manager, Mr. Greg James, at (863) 834-8440, by e-mail to or follow the City of Lakeland Public Works Facebook page at





In a budget workshop following the City Commission meeting, Tony Delgado was named Interim City Manager by the Lakeland City Commission as the current City Manager Doug Thomas prepares to leave the organization to pursue a new opportunity.  Thomas announced his resignation on Thursday, August 13th at the conclusion of a late afternoon budget meeting. Thomas stated in a prepared memo to the City Commission that his last day with the City of Lakeland is September 13th. Delgado will take over as Interim effective immediately after Thomas leaves the City of Lakeland.

Mayor Howard Wiggs said, “Tony has my full support to manage our City. He has be been a very capable and effective Deputy City Manager and he’s demonstrated an excellent ability to make decisions based on prioritization.”  He added, “Tony is trusted by the Commission, the employees, the unions, the business community and everyday citizens.”

Delgado said, “I’m truly humbled and honored to be considered as Interim City Manager. I thank the City Commission in having faith in my ability to manage this organization and I’m excited to focus my attention into moving the City of Lakeland forward.”  He added, “We have a great organization with devoted employees and we have an established roadmap in place as we continue to focus on what we do best during this transition period.”

Delgado has served the City of Lakeland for 19 years. He was first hired by the City of Lakeland as Assistant Director of The Lakeland Center in 1997.  In 2001, he was promoted to Assistant City Manager and in 2004 he was promoted to Deputy City Manager.  As Deputy City Manger, Delgado has been instrumental in negotiations with the labor bargaining units and he has been involved in management decisions with all Departments during his tenure.

Delgado is 54 years old. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Parks and Recreation Management from Southern Illinois University. Delgado is a Certified Public Manager from Florida State University.  He currently serves the community as a board member for Lakeland Vision, Polk Vision and The Polk Museum of Art. Delgado is married to his wife Robin. 

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