November 2013 - Access Lakeland
Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.
30290-I-0137 City of Lakelandâ€™s Monthly Newsletter November 2013 THANKFUL BE THE ONE FOR WHOM SOMEONE ELSE IS IN THIS ISSUE eBilling Made Easy Holiday EVENTS Mark Your Calendars for Holiday Event Lineup Meet Allison Jones: TLC Director of Event Services Cops Care Closet 228 S. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000 www.lakelandgov.net ROUND UP FOR PROJECT CARE As a City-owned utility, our goal is to provide Lakeland with reliable electric service but we also feel it is our responsibility to help improve the quality of life for our customers. To help our fellow citizens in need, a program called Project Care was developed to assist people with paying their electric bills. Lakeland Electric customers who are 60 and older and/or disabled are eligible for assistance. Lakeland Electric is pleased to offer a convenient program that provides assistance to those less fortunate. Round Up for Project Care is a voluntary program that allows Lakeland Electric customers an opportunity to help low-income senior and disabled members of the community. Through the Round Up program, Lakeland Electric customers can choose to automatically round up their utility bills to the next highest dollar amount. For example, a participating customerâ€™s monthly bill of $153.75 would be automatically rounded up to $154.00, with the additional 25 cents going to Round Up for Project Care. Each month the donation will vary, depending on the amount of your electric bill.There will be a separate line on your utility bill indicating the amount donated to Round Up for Project Care for that particular month. The minimum amount you contribute each month is one cent, and the maximum is 99 cents. The maximum any customer can contribute in a year is $11.88 ($0.99 times 12 months). If you are interested in participating in the Round Up program, please call Customer Service at 834-9535 or visit www.lakelandelectric.com and fill out the quick form because your small change will make a big difference. YO U R S M A L L C H A N G E C A N M A K E A B I G D I F F E R E N C E ! Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • July 2013 www.lakelandelectric.com *per 1,200 kWh usage eBilling Holiday EVENTS M A D E E A S Y Electronic bills, also known as “eBills,” are a convenient, secure and environmentally friendly way of delivering many of the bills you pay. What's an eBill? An eBill (electronic bill) is an electronic version of a paper bill that you can view and pay online. Instead of being sent to your home mailbox, eBills are sent electronically to your email account. Once you have signed up to receive an eBill, you will receive an emailed statement and streamline your bill paying routine. Plus, eBills can be printed or filed online for record-keeping if needed.When you’re ready to pay, all you need to do is go online and enter the amount, schedule the date you want the bill paid, and click to pay. It's that easy. More and more consumers are choosing to have their bills delivered electronically because there are so many benefits. What’s in it for me? Switching to eBills and online bill pay has many advantages. Probably the best one of all is that it’s FREE! Not only can you have your bills delivered electronically, you can pay them online without paying a cent for stamps or envelopes. Other great benefits of receiving and paying bills online include: Convenience – You don’t have to be at home to view or pay bills. You can access them quickly and securely online anytime from anywhere. Control – Online bill pay and eBills are not the same as an automatic draft where the same amount is deducted from your checking account every month. Instead, you're in charge of when payments get scheduled and the amount you pay. Safeguard Your Credit Score – You can receive e-mail reminders when bills are due and schedule automatic payments so your bills are paid on time, which helps you maintain good credit. Greater Organization – The days of having stacks of bills on your desk are history. Plus, there’s no filing because your billing info is available online. Enhanced Security – Replacing paper bills with electronic versions allows you to reduce the flow of personal information from unsecured mailboxes, where paper mail can be a target for theft. Environmentally Friendly – Using green-friendly eBills and online bill pay reduces the demand for paper and that helps reduce solid waste and curb the release of greenhouse gases. To sign up for eBill, please visit www.lakelandelectric.com and click on the "My Account" button. Holiday Walkabout TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3 • 6PM Downtown Lakeland kicks off the holiday events. Shops and restaurants are open late. Lakeland Christmas Parade THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 • 7PM Come out and celebrate the holiday season with your community. The Lakeland Christmas Parade is sponsored by The Junior League of Greater Lakeland and is a celebration you do not want to miss! Snowfest SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 • 10AM-2PM A holiday event for the entire family! Join Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department for its annual Snowfest featuring Snow Mountain, rock climbing wall, photos with Santa, live entertainment and more! Santa's Calling TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10 Arrange for your child to receive a special telephone call from Santa! Information forms will be available at various City facilities and public elementary schools throughout Lakeland. WWW.LAKELANDGOV.NET like \''līk\ vb: to be suitable or agreeable to. w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / c i t y o f l a k e l a n d Neighborhood Spotlight: WESTGATE Neighborhoods are an integral part of the City. Maintaining and enhancing these neighborhoods is critical to the long-term vitality and success of Lakeland and the quality of life of our residents. The City of Lakeland has identified approximately 100 neighborhoods. Of those, 15 have registered neighborhood associations that make up the Neighborhood Association Coalition (NAC), which works closely with City staff. This month, we spotlight the Westgate Neighborhood. This neighborhood has been registered with the City of Lakeland since 2000. Extending to the western City limits along the CSX Railroad to Wabash Avenue, Westgate is bordered by Wayman Street, Central Avenue and Olive Street. The Matching Grant Program offered by the City’s Community Development department has allowed the Westgate Neighborhood Association to coordinate community activities and projects such as an afterschool reading program, National Night Out, October Fest, a quarterly newsletter, a summer camp, and job skills training. Partnerships with several community groups and churches help with activities and services. Neighborhood partners include: Zion Hope Baptist Church, El Shaddai Full Gospel Church, Heaven My Home Baptist Church, Harvest Assembly, The Seed Sowers Evangelistic, Iglesia Missonera de Lakeland, the band Freedom Reign, Career Tech, The FALLS Adventure and Jesse King Elementary. These organizations are essential to the current neighborhood association focus: educating youth and their families and finding ways to keep them out of trouble and off the streets. Shirley Pickett, President of the Westgate Neighborhood Association, said only a handful of businesses and landlords in the community have responded to requests for additional help. “I believe that by all of us working together we can better deal with issues and get to the point where our WESTSIDE PARK LIKE US ON community becomes attractive again,” said Pickett. Neighborhood leaders and volunteers continue to reach out to youth and their families so they can help become change agents and develop a greater sense of pride in where they live. There are nearly 5,000 residents in this multicultural community that consists of single-family homes, duplexes, small apartment units and a mobile home park. About 60 percent of Westgate residents speak Spanish. “That’s a challenge,” said Pickett. “We would like extra support in communicating with our neighbors so that they too are well informed and we as a community can understand each others concerns. The community’s recreational site, Westside Park, is equipped with a large playground area, softball fields and a basketball court. Community members are pleased with the park’s offerings and in the future, they would like to see additional amenities. The Westgate Neighborhood Association meets quarterly from 6pm-7pm at Zion Hope Baptist Church, located at 504 Plateau Ave. The City of Lakeland appreciates the involvement of the residents and will continue to support their improvement efforts. Organizing a neighborhood association can be very rewarding. If you are interested in becoming a registered neighborhood association, please contact the neighborhood outreach office at 863-834-6011. G OV E R N M E N T E M P L OY E E S AT WO R K Meet ALLISON JONES Meet Allison Jones, Director of Event Services for The Lakeland Center. She is a long time employee who began working at The Lakeland Civic Center as a Part time Ticket Seller in 1987. She was promoted to full time Account Clerk in 1988 and in 1991 she was promoted to Director of Ticketing and Traffic where she remained until 2005. Jones said, “In 2005 I left the City for another opportunity but after six months into the business I realized it wasn’t for me and I was re-hired at The Lakeland Center as Director of Event Services." When asked to describe what she currently does, Jones said, “I manage three Event Managers who work as the liaison between clients and the building staff. Once the event is booked and contracted by Sales, I review the details, assign the Event Manager and stay in contact with them during the planning process.” She added, “Customer satisfaction is very important to us and we strive very hard to accomplish that goal with every client.” Jones conducts weekly staff meetings to review and distribute the latest details with representatives from all of the service providers at the Center including set-up, A/V, parking, guest services and catering so the client will have a smooth event. Jones said, “We work with the client very closely especially on the day when an event is moving in. We stay with the client until they are ready to take the lead and once the event has started we check on the client periodically to make sure that their needs are met.” Those that are lucky enough to work with Jones can appreciate her attention to detail and that shows with her interaction with clients at The Lakeland Center. Approximately 65% of business at The Lakeland Center comes from returning customers. Jones said, “We have established relationships with most of our clients and a great deal of our events are reoccurring so we get to do it all over again next year.” Jones said she likes working with the bigger shows most of all and she loves seeing patrons who are excited about seeing a concert or comedy act. She said, “I truly feel the energy and get goose bumps or even misty eyes from the energy in the room when there is a big show. I have seen a lot of concerts and musical shows in my 25 years at the Center and I don’t think any other industry was meant for me.” Jones shared that even her horoscope on the day she was born said that she would work behind the scenes in a Performing Arts Center. When Jones is not working, she enjoys gardening. “In my spare time I love to garden, I have a 200 sq ft organic vegetable garden in my back yard,” said Jones. “I also do my own composting and have over 200 gallons of rain water stored for my vegetables and plants.” She also enjoys yoga, eating healthy and preparing naturally grown cuisine. Jones is an advocate for recycling and back in the 90’s she became the chairperson for The Lakeland Center’s Green Initiatives. Jones said that she really loves island vacations and spending time on the beach. She is a big Survivor (TV show) fan and she even sent the show’s producer an audition tape in 2004. She said, “They never called me but I’m still a huge fan of the show.” Her favorite movie is anything with Jim Carrey and her favorite color is blue. Jones said that her favorite food is anything Mexican and she is very fond of Zoe, her long-haired Chihuahua. COPS CARE CLOSET WELCOMES DONATIONS FOR POLK COUNTY SCHOOL CHILDREN STAY CONNECTED Need to clean out your clothes closet before the holiday season? We have the perfect local program that can put your gently used and new clothing to good use. Last year, the Lakeland Police Department School Resource Unit started a campaign to help families in need receive clothing. The campaign, “Cops Care Closet”, collects new and used clothing items for Polk County Public school children who are in need. The officers are hoping that through this program, they will be able to provide children with clothing they can feel proud in and ultimately this will improve their self-esteem and lead them to better grades and opportunities. Please donate school clothes, uniforms, shoes and accessories in good or new condition and unopened packages of underwear and socks. Items can be dropped off at the Lakeland Police Department or one of 16 public schools in Lakeland. ONLINE www.lakelandgov.net IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday SCHOOL DONATION LOCATIONS ARE: Lakeland High, Harrison School for the Arts ¢ Lakeland Highlands Middle Blake Academy ¢ Lawton Chiles Middle Academy Rochelle School of the Arts ¢ Sleepy Hill Middle ¢ Southwest Middle Carlton Palmore Elementary ¢ Southwest Elementary Cleveland Court Elementary ¢ Dixieland Elementary Lincoln Avenue Academy ¢ Philip O’Brien Elementary North Lakeland Elementary ¢ Sleepy Hill Elementary PUBLIC MEETINGS City Commission and Utility Committee meetings occur the first and third Monday of every month. The public is invited to attend or watch live on In addition, the department has partnered with Southside Cleaners, Touch of Class Dry Cleaners, Elite Cleaners and Launderers, and Regal $1.95 Cleaners and items may be dropped off at any of those locations. Automated containers serviced by the City of Lakeland, both residential and commercial, are property of the City of Lakeland and each container is assigned to a specific address. In the event it is determined that a container is being serviced at an address different than that to which it was originally assigned and delivered to, the customer wherein the container is wrongfully located may incur an administrative fee of: $2 5 If you have any questions, contact the Solid Waste office at 863.834.8773 CITY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED For The Observance of Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 28 Friday, November 29 NO SOLID WASTE COLLECTION ON 11/28. COLLECTION WILL BE ONE DAY LATER FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEK. CHRISTMAS WEDNESDAY, December 25 Thursday, December 26 NO SOLID WASTE COLLECTION ON 12/25. NO CHANGE IN COLLECTION DAYS. New Year's WEDNESDAY, January 1 NO SOLID WASTE COLLECTION ON 1/1. NO CHANGE IN COLLECTION DAYS. GET INTO THE GROOVE Pet waste isn't fertilizer, it's pollution. Bag it and trash it every time! POLLUTION HOTLINE 863.834.3300 L O G O N. T U N E I N. G E T C O N N E C T E D. www.lakelandgov.net Channel 615 (Brighthouse) or Channel 43 (Verizon FiOS) CITY COMMISSION 9:00 a.m. UTILITY COMMITTEE 1:00 p.m. IMPORTANT NUMBERS City Hall 863.834.6000 Lakeland Electric Customer Service 863.834.9535 Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248 Stormwater Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE www.lakelandelectric.com BY PHONE 863.834.9535 IN PERSON Lakeland Electric has partnered with over 50 local businesses including area AMSCOT offices to accept your utility payment.