City of Lakeland Fiscal Year 2024 Approved Budget Effective October 1, 2024 - City News Blog
LAKELAND, FL (September 21, 2023) | The Lakeland City Commission passed the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget during the final budget hearing on Thursday, September 21, 2023, in a 6-1 vote with Commissioner Read voicing the no vote. The FY24 budget total is $746,962,838 with the general fund budget totaling $172,672,720. The FY24 budget does provide 110 days cash on hand for the budget year and that drops to 95 days cash on hand for FY25.
The City of Lakeland continues to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars for the many residents and businesses that call Lakeland home. Under watchful leadership, the City strives to
deliver exceptional municipal services all while ensuring financial stability and maximum value for the growing population. Even though the area is growing, the approved millage or property tax rate did not. In fact, the FY24 Budget was calculated using the same millage rate as last year at 5.4323 mills. The FY24 Budget does include a 12.15% growth in property values according to the Polk County Property Appraiser.
The FY24 Budget does include workforce pay adjustments at 3% across the board for general employees and merit increases of 2.5% or 3% based on where they are at on the midpoint within their pay range. Those employees below the midpoint within their pay range could receive 3% with favorable review and those employees above the midpoint could receive a 2.5%merit increase. These adjustments are being implemented after a recently completed wage and benefit study indicated adjustments should be made when comparing other like markets. The cost of market adjustments in the FY24 Budget, based on the wage and benefit study is $3 million and equates to 3.6% of payroll.
STRATEGIC PLAN TARGET AREAS
The FY24 Budget does include funds to address the needs outlined in specific strategic plan target areas that includes Infrastructure, Economic Development, Affordable Housing, Public Safety, and new City Commission initiatives.
Infrastructure projects include an additional $2,785,600 for roadway maintenance, new sidewalks and multi-purpose trails, a roundabout at five points where Main Street, Lake Beulah Drive and Sloan Avenue intersect and dynamic parking features that notify users what downtown parking garages are open and how many spaces are available at any given time.
In the area of Economic Development, an additional $2,536,000 was allocated in the FY24 Budget that includes incentives that would help attract manufacturing and research companies to the area, the Catalyst 2.0 project that helps developers envision marketable parcels using sophisticated 3D modeling for smart growth and monies for the Oak Street Mixed Use Development that includes new market rate apartments, a commercial corridor and public parking in downtown. There is also $512,664 of additional funding included in the FY24 Budget to support education programs that target in-demand positions with the City. A few of the programs identified are the Aerospace Center for Excellence, Lakeland Electric Power Academy, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and the City’s internship program.
Affordable Housing has been a major topic of discussion by the Lakeland City Commission with a strategic objective to increase the number of affordable rental units within the community. The FY24 Budget includes $2,886,555 earmarked for rehabilitation, new construction, home purchases and emergency repairs. Over the past three years a total of $9,920,014 has been budgeted for affordable housing related projects.
Public Safety is one of the primary functions for local governments and citizens want to live in a safe community that enhances their quality of life. The City of Lakeland offers both police and fire services for our citizens. This past year’s budget included body worn cameras for the police force and there are funds set aside for a new fire station on the north side of town to address the growing population in that area. The FY24 Budget includes a budget impact of $923,589 that includes 12 new fire fighters in preparation for a new fire station and additional monies to assist in recruiting police officers.
CITY COMMISSION INITIATIVES
The FY24 Budget does include newly proposed City Commission initiatives totaling $1,725,000. This includes $250,000 for the Polk Museum of Art expansion project, $200,000 for small business development including programs through Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp. and Prospera for Hispanic and black owned business ventures, $275,000 for public art through the Mayor’s Council on the Arts and an additional $1,000,000 toward shovel ready affordable housing projects.
The FY24 budget includes staffing changes to meet the growing demand for services with a proposed 2,165 full time employees compared to 2,144 in 2023. The City of Lakeland’s population has grown from 107,552 in 2020 to over 120,000 in 2023 with further growth expected in 2024.
For more information on the FY24 Budget and a comprehensive breakdown of revenues and expenditures, please go to www.lakelandgov.net/budget.
The City of Lakeland was incorporated in January 1885 and has grown to become one of the largest inland communities in Florida. With a current population of 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 hour away, Lakeland continues to capitalize on its ideal central Florida location along the I-4 corridor. The City owns and operates Lakeland Electric, the third largest publicly owned utility in Florida and it was one of the first to offer power in the Sunshine State over 115 years ago.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please visit www.lakelandgov.net. Citizens are also invited to follow the City on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat and Nextdoor. Citizens can find the City of Lakeland on these social media platforms by searching lakelandgov.
For additional information about the City of Lakeland, please explore LakelandGov.net.
Citizens are also invited to follow the City on social media.