January 2012 Access Lakeland
Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.
City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter • January 2012 30290-I-0106 IN THIS ISSUE G Lakeland Electric’s Solar Farm: Phase One Ready for Operation ow M er as ritt, orthe N Looking For Great Lifeguards lv t ag e, Southwes D i st rict Meet Cheryl Edwards: LFD Fire Inspector us tin L Troller, At istrict ar ge t Di stric t o Fields, May LPD Shows Off Its New Look e W w alk er, North involved involved in several organizations including Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross and various others. w ard tL Wiggs, A 228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000 www.lakelandgov.net Ya te s, D st Southea For bios of all City Leadership, please visit: www.lakelandgov.net Lakeland City Commissioners encourage residents to continue to play an active role by staying informed and engaged in your local government. City Commission meetings allows citizens to see their government at work and to participate in the process. Regular meetings are generally held at Lakeland City Hall on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at 9:00 a.m. An agenda study meeting is held on the Friday before a regular meeting in the commission conference room at 8:30 a.m. Meeting agendas are available online at www.lakelandgov.net. All regular meetings are broadcast live on LGN channel 615 (Bright House Networks) and channel 43 (Verizon FiOS). A live web stream is also available at lgn.lakelandgov.net. ist rict ar ge MEET YOUR 2012 CITY COMMISSION The City of Lakeland operates under a Commission-Manager form of government. The City Commission is elected by residents and in turn, the Commission hires a City Manager to oversee the daily operations of the municipality. The City Commission makes policy decisions, passes ordinances and resolutions, sets tax rates and approves the City’s budget among other matters required by state or federal law. The City Commission accommodates to the needs and wants of its citizens by enacting local legislation based on the necessities of the citizens. The City Commission consists of seven (7) electors: the mayor, four district commissioners and two at-large commissioners. Each member serves a four-year term. The City of Lakeland has three City Commissioners that will begin their new terms this month after participating in the November 2011 City-wide election. Incumbents Justin Troller and Phillip Walker were re-elected in their districts. New to the Commission this year is Keith Merritt who represents the Northeast quadrant of the City. A graduate of Lakeland High School, Merritt has been a part of the Lakeland community for 36 years. Most recently, he served on the Lakeland Planning and Zoning Board. He is owner of Merritt Law Offices, P.A., a consumer law firm. Commissioner Merritt is r th Kei st D Don Se J Phi l li p ie Ed o H Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates OCTOBER 2011 Source: FMEA Monthly Utility Bill Comparison L A K E L A N D Lakeland Electric recently completed the first phase of a 5.5 megawatt (MW) solar farm located on the northwest corner of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport property. The second phase of the project is slated to begin spring 2012 and once the dual-phased solar farm is completed, it is expected to generate more than 216 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean solar energy over the next 25 years. The first phase of the project is built on 40 acres and it includes 9,504 solar panels that will produce more than 9 million kWh of solar electricity per year. The solar farm project generated over 90 local construction jobs that contributed to the vitality of the community during a time of economic downturn. A number of the temporary construction employees hired have been retained as full-time. “Lakeland Electric is very excited about this project because environmental stewardship and renewable energy options are keys to our success as a utility. It is vital that every utility consider carefully how to meet customers’ increasing needs for electricity and do it in a way that is fiscally and environmentally prudent. Deploying utility-scale solar with no upfront costs is a win- E L E C T R I C’ S win for Lakeland.” noted Jim Stanfield, General Manager for Lakeland Electric. The 5.5 MW solar farm was made possible through a strategic solar power service agreement between SunEdison and Lakeland Electric. In the agreement SunEdison will finance and deploy the solar farm with no upfront costs from Lakeland Electric. In return, Lakeland Electric will purchase the power produced at long-term predictable rates for 25 years—adding to Lakeland’s energy mix while helping to improve the environment. City of Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields said,“While our partnership with SunEdison is the latest green effort from Lakeland Electric, as a municipal government we have been installing more energyefficient lights in our buildings, we have moved to LED traffic signals and we have converted to more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in our larger facilities.” He added, “We have no intention of stopping here. As a utility, we have other renewable energy plans that include the expansion of our solar rooftop program throughout the City.” Over 25 years, the solar farm will produce enough clean energy to power more than 15,500 Lakeland homes for one year. In that same amount of time, the solar farm will offset more than 299 million pounds of carbon dioxide – equivalent to removing more than 29,000 cars from the road for one year. The 40 acre solar farm is not the first photovoltaic project by Lakeland Electric. In 2009 over 1,230 solar panels were installed on the roof of The Lakeland Center; the City owned and operated multi-function facility. This roof top installation that covers approximately one acre generates a total of 283,360 watts per year and this solar energy goes directly into the electric grid benefitting all of Lakeland Electric’s customers. Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida. The utility is also one of the first utilities established in Florida having started operation in 1889. Today, power is generated at Lakeland Electric’s two main power plants, the 941-megawatt McIntosh Power Plant and the 176-megawatt Larsen Power Plant. Lakeland Electric has been on the forefront of introducing renewable energy to its customers with a continued solar hot water heater program the installation at The Lakeland Center and the recent completion of the 40-acre solar farm, energy from the sun is a viable addition to the generation mix. Solar Farm - Phase One www.lakelandelectric.com Help Honor Youth for “Doing the Right Thing” Since 2000, the Lakeland Police Department has been committed to recognizing and rewarding area youth for their exemplary behavior and good deeds through its “Do The Right Thing” program. “We want them to have a sense of pride for doing the right thing and making good choices, which helps to develop them as good citizens,” says SGT. Rusty Longaberger with LPD Juvenile Services Section. LPD needs your help with identifying gooddoers. If you know of a young person who is deserving of a “Do The Right Thing” award, please nominate them now. Nominees may have turned in something that was lost, helped keep their school safe, helped the police solve a crime, volunteered their time or many other things. Nominees must reside in or attend a school in the City of Lakeland. Winners will be selected and invited to attend a bi-monthly awards ceremony at Lakeland Police Department where they will receive medals and other rewards for their service to our community. Upcoming Ceremonies: Feb 23 at 4:00pm (Nominations due by Feb. 9) April 19 at 4:00pm (Nominations due by April 5) For more information about the program and to download a nomination form visit LPD online at http://www.lakelandgov.net/ lpd/Programs/DoTheRightThingProgram.aspx. Nomination forms are also available at local public schools. Nomination forms can be submitted by email to Officer Lori Edwards at Lori.Edwards@polk-fl.net or by mail: Do The Right Thing Program, Lakeland Police Department, 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801. If you would like to become a sponsor of the Lakeland Police Department’s “Do The Right Thing” program please contact Officer Lori Edwards. Thank you for helping to recognize the youth of Lakeland who have chosen to “do the right thing”! Lifeguard Recruiting The City of Lakeland’s Parks and Recreation Department is looking for those interested in becoming lifeguards for the 2012 summer season. Applicants will be required to pass a swim test and interview process. All hiring and training for Summer 2012 will be completed by March 1st, so get your application in now! Jobs start at $8.14/hour and uniform will be provided. Interested parties must be over the age of 16 and avaialble to work all summer. Contact Gandy Pool at 834-3157 for further details. WANTS The City of Lakeland YOU! BE A LIFEGUARD! role for 14 years.” During that time she went through fire standards and became a certified fire fighter as well as a certified fire inspector and fire instructor. “About three years ago a Fire Inspector position opened within the Fire Department and I was lucky enough to receive the job,” she said. “I really love the variety and the duties that we have as Fire Inspectors.” Many citizens may not realize that Fire Inspectors with the City of Lakeland’s Fire Department are also sworn police officers as well as sworn fire fighters. Edwards said, “A typical week may have me on a fire scene and during unfortunate circumstances, I may have to view an autopsy because of a fire fatality or I may be in the office reviewing plans for new construction.” She added, “Every day is different — and I enjoy that.” The Lakeland Fire Department is one of the few Apply Online using Job Code 8016 @ www.lakelandgov.net Meet Cheryl Edwards Cheryl Edwards is one of five Fire Inspectors with the Lakeland Fire Department. She serves the Southwest Quadrant of the City and primarily reviews plans and conducts building inspections for commercial properties making sure they are safe for the public. “I am proud to serve in a position that is normally viewed as a nontraditional role for a woman,” said Edwards. Edwards moved to Lakeland 20 years ago from the small town of Olpe, Kansas to be a teacher. Her home town just reached a population of 500. In fact, her high school graduating class had 16 seniors. She is married to a Lieutenant in the Polk County Fire Department and she has a 16 year-old stepson. She began her career with the Lakeland Fire Department in 1994 as the Public Education and Information Officer. Edwards said, “I served in that divisions in the State of Florida that conducts their own fire investigations. In many communities that role is provided by the state. A Fire Inspector’s duty is to help keep citizens safe by making sure public facilities have the proper fire suppression devices and that commercial properties adhere to regulations and building fire code compliance during and after construction. Edwards said, “I am blessed to be a part of such a great organization and I take my job very seriously. Working for the Fire Department has been a wonderful experience and it’s such a great feeling when you feel that you are part of a big family.” Thank You, Cheryl, for all you do to continuously keep the citizens of Lakeland safe! G OV E R N M E N T E M P L OY E E S AT WO R K R E K A M Y A L P DIRECTO RY OF OGRAMS PARKS, PR AND SPE CIAL EVEN TS SPRING JANUAR 2012 Y- APRIL On February 18th, Kelly Recreational Complex will hold its Third-Annual open house. Featuring Kid’s Activities, Class Demonstrations, Food, Prizes, and a Raffle, this event is a great way for you and your family to get a hands on feel of all of the activities you can enjoy at Kelly Rec. Whether you’re looking for a healthier lifestyle, a new hobby or just something fun to do, come check out one of the City’s great facilities. KELLY REC OPEN HOUSE STAY CONNECTED ONLINE www.lakelandgov.net FEBRUARY 18 • 9AM-1PM LAKELAND FIRE DEPARTMENT REMINDS YOU TO “CHECK IT ON THE SECOND” The Spring 2012 PLAYMAKER is now available in print and online @ www.lakelandgov.net PICK UP YOUR COPY TODAY! IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday 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 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 NEW YEAR - NEW LOOK LPD GETS A NEW LOOK One of the most important fire safety devices for the home is the smoke alarm. However, only a working smoke alarm can save your life. Studies have shown that 70% of building fire victims are killed by smoke not by fire.The Lakeland Fire Department would like to remind you the importance of testing your smoke alarms each month to ensure they are working properly. To help you remember the fire department has kicked off a new campaign called Check It on the Second. On the second of each month you should conduct a simple test by pushing the alarm test button on your detector. If you have difficulty reaching your alarms, use a broom handle or a cane to gently press the test button for 30 seconds. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace smoke detectors the batteries or the save lives! detector immediately. Check It on the 2 N D The New Look of LPD The Lakeland Police Department just unveiled a new black and white color scheme for their patrol vehicles. Initially, 26 newly purchased Ford Crown Victorias, seven Chevrolet Tahoes and three Chevrolet Impalas will sport the bolder graphics. Police Chief Lisa Womack said, “It’s a good practice to change up the color scheme for police vehicles every 10 years or so to increase visibility and make the community more aware of a police presence.” Money seized in drug cases will be used to convert to the new color scheme. The new look will be gradual with additional cars converted to the new black and white paint job each year. March 15TH June 8TH September 13TH December 6TH *** ALL DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE*** 2012 Dates: Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248 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. HOLIDAY CLOSINGS DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. Lakeland Electric and City Hall offices will be closed on Monday, January 16th for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Accessibility is key to local government and the Mornings with the Mayor program allows residents to communicate with the Mayor in a valuable, face-to-face, setting. This program provides residents with an informal and comfortable forum in which to meet with the Mayor to talk about issues, ask questions, voice concerns and offer comments or suggestions. Mayor Fields said, “It’s also an excellent way for us to gather candid feedback about how people feel things are going in our City; what amenities they particularly enjoy, areas they feel could use improvement, or what they’d like to see in the future.”