City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.

Election Team Hits the Road for Registration Deadline

POLK COUNTY, FL (October 1, 2015) – The last day to register to vote for the November 3rd municipal elections in the cities of Lakeland and Winter Haven is Monday, October 5th, and the Polk County elections office will be offering mobile voter registration services to ensure everyone has an opportunity to register before this important deadline.

Residents who have not yet registered can sign-up to vote, and voters may update their information if it’s not current with the elections office.  Voters may also request a mail ballot.

Our Mobile Voter Registration Teams will set up Monday, October 5th at the following locations:



  9 am   Harden Boulevard near Oakbridge Center                                

10 am   South Florida Avenue near Southgate Shopping Center

11 am   US Highway 98 North near Taco Bell and Panera Bread

Winter Haven                      

1 pm     Highway 17 and State Road 544 near Home Depot

2 pm     3rd Street NW near City Hall

3 pm     Cypress Gardens Boulevard near Chain of Lakes Complex


For more information, call the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.


Kevin Cook
Director of Communications + 863.834.6264
Twitter@lakelandgov +,FL

Kathleen Wallen
Associate Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
+ 863.687.1122


City of Lakeland and Lakeland Regional Health Announce Proposed Lease Amendment

Lakeland, FL – Administrative leadership at the City of Lakeland (the City) and Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) announced today that they have reached an agreement on a proposed sixth amendment to the Lease and Transfer Agreement between the two entities.

Following deliberations by the Lakeland City Commission during the FY 2015 Budget process, LRH’s annual lease payment was capped at $12.9 million for two years. The City and LRH agreed to conduct negotiations to explore long-term alternatives to the payment terms of the current Lease and Transfer Agreement. The proposed amendment is subject to approval by the Lakeland City Commission and the Lakeland Regional Health Board of Directors.

The proposed amendment is for a term of 25 years, which adds an additional seven years to the current Lease and Transfer Agreement that was set to expire on October 1, 2033. The amendment provides a lump sum of $15,000,000 to be paid to the City by LRH on October 1, 2015. Additionally, annual lease payments will be made in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016 through the fiscal year ending September 30, 2040.

The lease payment for the first year of the proposed amendment will be $13,254,750 and increases by 2.75% per year through the duration of the agreement. Lease payments will be made in equal quarterly payments, beginning on October 1, 2015.

In fiscal year beginning October 1, 2036, the City and LRH will enter into negotiations for a 25-year extension of the proposed Lease and Transfer Agreement. At any time during the lease negotiation period, but no later than October 1, 2037, the City may notify LRH that it intends to sell the hospital. LRH has the opportunity to purchase the hospital at fair market value as determined by a nationally recognized health care appraisal firm mutually agreed to by the City and LRH. If a purchase agreement is reached, a credit against the purchase price for all rent and payments made since inception of the lease on October 1, 1986 would be applied.

Doug Thomas, Lakeland City Manager, said, “Our administration is keenly focused on finding innovative solutions to provide the very best services possible to the citizens of the City of Lakeland. The proposed amendment is a win-win for our community. The lump sum payment provides the City with the opportunity to invest in our future and appropriately plan for a successor lease in 2037. Quarterly lease payments will enable both the City and LRH to better forecast and develop budgets based on known income and expenses.” He added, “We appreciate the strong partnership we have with LRH and believe the fruition of our negotiations respects desired outcomes envisioned in the original Lease and Transfer Agreement and provides stability for both parties over the next 25 years.” 

Elaine Thompson, PhD, FACHE, President and CEO of Lakeland Regional Health said of the arrangement, “We appreciate all of the time, hard work and earnest discussions held with City administration on this matter. The predictability of lease and additional payments as provided by the proposed lease amendment positions our not-for-profit organization to make the financial investments necessary to improve patient safety and experience, while delivering nationally recognized, essential healthcare services to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, at our Medical Center.”

About the City of Lakeland

The City of Lakeland was incorporated January 1885 and has grown to become one of 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 U.S. Census Bureau for over 30 years. With tourist attractions and gulf beaches only an hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City of Lakeland owns and operates Lakeland Electric, a full service municipal utility servicing over 120,000 customers with some of the most economically priced electricity in the state of Florida. Lakeland Electric is the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 110 years ago. To learn more about the City of Lakeland, please visit


About Lakeland Regional Health

Lakeland Regional Health, a not-for-profit, community-based organization serving Polk County and adjacent areas, provides a wide range of healthcare services at its Medical Center, Cancer Center and ambulatory care campuses. As an 851-bed, comprehensive tertiary referral hospital, the Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center operates a Level II Trauma Center, a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the state’s busiest single site Emergency Department. It handles over 1,300 trauma visits annually and holds accreditation as a Primary Stroke Center. Lakeland Regional Health is transforming the future of healthcare by offering patients the highest quality of care with the lowest possible cost through the use of innovation, technology and evidence-based best practices. For more information about these facilities and services, go to


# # #

LAKELAND, FL (September 23, 2014) -- The City of Lakeland Parks Division will be on Lake Morton at 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 1st for the 34th Annual Swan Roundup.  Crews will be catching and herding the swans as the initial part of their annual veterinary check-up. The swans will be confined in large holding pens on the south side of the lake for their annual wellness examinations that will start Thursday morning, October 2nd at 7:30 a.m. with Patricia Mattson, DVM. The Annual Swan Round-Up allows Lakeland's Parks and Recreation Department to closely monitor the health and vitality of Lakeland’s swan population. 
The original swans on Lake Morton were donated by Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom in 1957.  As Lakeland’s swan flock grew, it became paramount to give the regal birds an annual health check so the Swan Roundup began.  This practice started in 1980 and has continued every year since then. The swans were first cared for by veterinarian (emeritus) and original "Swanvet" W.G. Gardner who recently passed but his dedication to the flock carries on with Dr. Mattson. 
Dr. Mattson has almost 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine.  She the owner of Companion Animal Hospital a full service facility that provides general medical care, preventive medical care, vaccinations, health certificates, caesarean section, diagnostic services, on-site kennel, on-site laboratory testing, flea control, dietary counseling, spay/neuter, declawing, radiology, general surgery, dentistry, emergency services, microchipping, pharmacy services and boarding.

Critical Mass, a gathering of bicyclists and skateboarders, will take place Friday at Munn Park in Lakeland.

It is the first of what are planned to be regular rides held the final Friday of each month. Critical Mass, which originated in San Francisco and has spread to cities throughout the world, brings attention to cycling and other forms of transportation as alternatives to driving.

Participants will gather at 5:30 p.m. and begin their ride at 6 p.m. Helmets are recommended. Maps of the ride route will be shared before the ride begins.
*copy courtesy of @theledger