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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

September 2012

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Think you know your library? Did you know that there are three libraries in Lakeland that are completely free to all residents of Polk County? You don’t have to live within the city limits of

IN THIS ISSUE

Lakeland anymore to enjoy the hundreds of thousands of titles available in print and many more online.

Library cards are

FREE to all Polk County residents and come with privileges that allow you to borrow materials, access computers and download eBooks and music. Your card is valid at any public library in

Lakeland Electric Needs Your Updated Contact Info

Polk County. September is the American Library Association’s Library Card Sign-Up Month. If you do not have a library card or if yours isn’t current, this month is a great time to visit your local library and sign up for access. Having an up-to-date library card is your ticket to one of the greatest bargains available to you as

Smart Meter Web Portal Open For Business

a resident of Polk County. Each time you check out a book, CD, DVD or other type of media, you’re saving yourself money. Aside from the savings, your local librarians are well versed in their holdings and are a great resource for learning about new genres and subjects. Over 113,000 people in Greater Lakeland have library cards—do

Meet Greg Porter: Wastewater Technician

you? Last year, the three library locations checked out over one million titles. The libraries log an average of 60,000 user visits each month for checking out books or participating in one of their programs. For a complete list of library activities, check out their website at www.lakelandgov.net/library. “The library is more than just books.

Lakeland Center Celebrates 20 Years of Broadway

Staff members teach

computer classes, offer story times for young children, proctor tests for distance learners, provide one-on-one tutoring for technology questions, provide meeting room space, and work with volunteers,” says Lisa Lilyquist, City of Lakeland’s Librarian. “Most importantly, however, our libraries are here to serve the information, recreation and educational needs of the citizens of greater Lakeland.” With school back in session, the most important school supply for your child (and you) is your ticket to adventure, to other

228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000 www.lakelandgov.net

worlds, to the past, to the future and to your biggest fantasies— your library card.

MAIN BRANCH • 100 LAKE MORTON DR. • 863.834.4280 LARRY R. JACKSON BRANCH • 1700 N. FLORIDA AVE. • 863.823.4288 ELIBRARY • 4740 S. FLORIDA AVE. 863.838.4507

A LIBRARY CARD IS THE SMARTEST CARD IN YOUR WALLET


Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • June 2012

www.lakelandelectric.com UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFO

PLUG INTO SMART WITH WEB PORTAL

FINANCE YOUR WAY TO ENERGY EFFICIENCY

At Lakeland Electric, we monitor weather conditions closely so we can respond to power outages as quickly as possible. We’ve installed equipment to protect your electric service against wind, rain and lightning. Despite these safeguards, you may still experience an interruption in your service. In most cases, our automatic equipment will restore service in a matter of seconds. However, when a severe storm hits our area, damage to our facilities could leave many customers without electricity. During an outage, our number one priority is to restore service to all customers without power as quickly as possible. Our repair crews respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are often in the field restoring power before the storm is over. We first repair transmission lines, substations and the main distribution lines so energy can be transmitted throughout the system. Next, we make repairs that will restore the service to the most customers in the shortest period of time. It is very important that Lakeland Electric has your current contact information so that our automated power outage reporting system can work efficiently by notifying you in case of a power outage. If we don’t have your phone number in our system, we can’t record your outage and you may be inconvenienced longer than necessary. The automated system records an outage based on the phone number and contact information on the account. Please contact Customer Service at 863.834.9535 to update your contact information so we can better serve you.

Lakeland Electric is in the final stages of replacing all analog meters with newer smart meter technology. This new meter technology allows Lakeland Electric to operate more efficiently. With the full implementation of the program, meters will be able to tell Lakeland Electric where an outage has occurred. This saves time and energy so your electricity is restored faster. The system reports exactly where the issue is so linemen can quickly repair the circuit instead of driving along a power line looking for the problem. This is just one of the benefits that your new Smart Meter and the associated Smart Grid system will offer Lakeland Electric customers. Ultimately, smart meters provide you with more detailed information about your energy use. For the first time ever, you’ll be an active participant in your household energy management. Lakeland Electric customers will have more control over how much power is used – and when it is used. There is a customized web portal available to customers that have already had their smart meters installed. Each smart meter customer can view electric usage patterns with easy to read reports. There is much to gain by monitoring and reducing your use of electricity. Customers using the web portal can be active participants in practicing energy efficiency – saving money and reducing their impact on the environment. Customers can view and analyze their electricity use and find ways to make energy consumption more efficient. The web portal is easy to use, secure and it will only take a few minutes to setup online. The portal will display daily, weekly and monthly electricity usage in detail. The PlugintoSmart web portal also supports energy analysis tools that highlight energy saving suggestions and tips to help customers reduce their power bills. Transforming the current electric grid into a more intelligent system involves a wide range of advanced technologies, including smart meters, which improve the reliability and security of the national energy grid. Please visit www.plugintosmart.com to start your smart meter web portal access and to receive more information on the Lakeland Electric Smart Meter Program.

The REEnergize Lakeland Finance program is a financing option for Lakeland Electric customers who wish to upgrade their homes to become more energy efficient. The Program works by extending a zero interest loan from $500 up to $5,000 to qualified homeowners to install one or more approved energy efficient upgrades. Upon approval of Program participation, the application fee and interest free loan payments will be assessed in $100 monthly increments on your monthly Lakeland Electric utility bill. Applicants must agree to execute a mortgage and corresponding Promissory Note to secure loan repayment which shall serve as a lien on Customer’s property until the loan is paid in full. In order to take advantage of the program, Customers should complete and submit an Application then submit a project and cost proposal to Lakeland Electric. For more information on this and other Lakeland Electric customer programs go to www.lakelandelectric.com and click on the Residential navigation tab at the top of the page.

Lakeland Electric Upgrades Customer Service Telephone System Customers may now access their utility account(s) by telephone 7 days a week / 24 hours a day with no wait time. The new system allows callers to retrieve account balances and due dates, make a payment, update their telephone number and request a payment extension if one is needed. An account number and the last 4 digits of the primary account holder’s social security number are required to access the account. Winter visitors or customers returning to the same location can also turn service back on, or turn service off using the new system. Customer Service representatives will continue to be available during normal business hours, 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). To access your account information today, simply call 863.834.9535.


GET CONNECTED - STAY CONNECTED There are many ways you can get to know your City government. The City of Lakeland has a dedicated Communications Department that oversees and manages several different products that were created to inform and engage residents. LGN TV NETWORK For cable and fiber subscribers, the City of Lakeland has a television station that airs on Bright House Networks channel 615 and Verizon FiOS channel 43. The Lakeland Government Network (LGN) broadcasts live meetings and specialized government programming. On a typical day, a viewer can tune in to watch a City Commission Meeting, see a City special event, learn about the City’s Water Department, watch a program on Lakeland Electric’s smart meters or view a show about Florida’s natural resources. Not only does LGN air scheduled and live programs on cable but the programming is web streamed on the City’s website as well. The video–on-demand option allows viewers to watch programming at their leisure and the feature is fully searchable by keyword, including any identifier associated with agenda items from any of the City’s televised meetings.

City of Lakeland or users can type www.facebook. com/cityoflakeland directly into their web browser. Twitter users can choose to receive instant City updates in 140 characters or less by searching @lakelandgov once logged into Twitter or type www.twitter.com/@lakelandgov into their web browser. Quick links to all of the City’s social media sites can be found on the City’s website by clicking the “Stay Connected” navigational button on the City’s homepage (lakelandgov.net).

HALLOWEEN FUN FEST! Kelly Recreation Complex 404 Imperial Blvd

OCTOBER 30, 2012 6-7:30PM

The Access Lakeland newsletter, LGN, the City’s website and social media pages are just some of the communication tools offered so you can stay informed and become engaged in your local government.

Canned Food Fridays @ Kelly Rec

October 5, 12, 19, 26 November 2, 9 WORKOUT FREE

when you bring in 2 canned food items on these select Fridays. (Weight Room & Cardio Room ONLY)

LAKELANDGOV.NET The City’s website www.lakelandgov.net is a great way to stay informed. The site is designed to get information to users efficiently. Internet users will notice a stationary right hand navigation section with easy to use buttons for video streaming, video-on-demand, Citizen Action Center and a new area “Stay Connected” that allows users to sign up and follow the City’s social media and other communication outreach programs.

All supplies will be donated to Senior Orphans of Polk County.

SOCIAL MEDIA The City is also involved in social media including Facebook and Twitter as ways for you to stay connected. Those interested can “like” the City on Facebook. Facebook users can find the page by completing a quick search that includes the

G OV E R N M E N T E M P L OY E E S AT WO R K

Meet Greg Porter When a customer calls the City of Lakeland’s Wastewater emergency number 863.834.8277, they may get a chance to meet Greg Porter, Inspection and Sealing Technician for the City of Lakeland. He is the foreman of a sewer line inspection team. Their job is to pressure clean and inspect sewer lines throughout the City, hundreds of feet at a time. Porter’s duties include camera operations. Yes, he runs a camera through the wastewater pipes to inspect for leaks, cracks, clogs, and tree root intrusion. If he finds a problem, City Wastewater crews have the proper equipment to repair any issue. They have a cutter device that clears the lines of any tree roots or clogs and they have fiberglass patches to repair cracks. Porter feels the work he does is important because it’s mostly preventative maintenance and therefore they can keep the pipes functioning well into the future, saving money from costly repairs of failed pipes. In their typical day, Porter and his crew clear and inspect about 2,500 feet of sewer

line. With over 300 miles of wastewater lines in the City, they will be working a long time. Porter has been with the City of Lakeland for 16 years. He started out working with Solid Waste. He then worked as a trades worker and equipment operator for the Division of Construction and Maintenance before transferring to Wastewater where he has been in his present position for the past six years. He and his wife Melissa, live in the Lakeland area with their 16-year-old son, Austin and 12-year-old daughter, Abigail. Porter and his family spend most of their time involved with Austin who wrestles and Abigail’s involvement in the Central Florida Rodeo Association. As a family they like to go fishing when they can. In fact, Porter has a picture of his wife proudly holding her biggest catch on the wall of his office which is also the sewer line TV truck. Porter does have one request for wastewater customers; don’t put kitchen grease down the drain

because eventually it cools into a thick substance that causes major clogs and is very difficult to remove. Porter says, “It is what it is, it’s wastewater. It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.” He does admit that by the time he’s in the line with the TV camera it’s been pressure cleaned. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, he doesn’t see too many unpleasant things, except for the occaisional pressure-cleaned rat (see cover). Porter says his daughter likens his job to performing colonoscopies, except on a much larger and non-human scale.


Lakeland Fire Department Open House Scheduled for Saturday, October 13TH The Lakeland Fire Department is hosting its 13th Annual Open House on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. This free community event will take place at Station 1, located at 701 E. Main Street in downtown Lakeland. The department will hold live demonstrations to include a vehicle extrication, rappelling, search and rescue, using a canine and a simulated medical response. Apparatus and equipment will be on display. Firefighters will provide tours of the station, conduct blood pressure checks and have fire safety information available. Refreshments will be also be served. The Open House is Lakeland Fire Department’s way of commemorating Fire Prevention Week which is October 7-12, 2012 . The event is a great opportunity for residents of all ages to interact with firefighters and learn more about the services the Lakeland Fire Department provides to the community everyday!

The Lakeland Center Celebrates 20 Years of Entertainment and Broadway Series Magic The Lakeland Center Entertainment and Broadway Series has been the center of attraction for entertainment in Polk County for 20 years. The Series, which started in 1992 as a means to promote the Youkey Theater, featured entertainment performances from the Shanghai Acrobats and The Letterman and Broadway standards including Oklahoma, The Sound of Music and the King and I. Since that time, The Lakeland Center has continued delighting its thousands of series subscribers with performances ranging from Wayne Newton to sold-out performances of the all time best selling Broadway musical CATS. In its long and illustrious history, the Series has brought acclaimed performers to Lakeland making The Lakeland Center not only Florida’s First Venue but also one of the most successful complexes in the area. For the upcoming 2012-2013 season, The Lakeland Center invites you to be a part of the excitement by purchasing a complete Broadway or Entertainment Series Subscription. The Broadway series offers an amazing selection of shows including Nunset Boulevard with television icon Cindy Williams December 5th, In The Mood February 5th, Fiddler on the Roof February 20th, A Chorus Line on March 12th and HAIR on April 3rd. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and a series subscription can be purchased for only $195 per person.The Entertainment Series is especially dynamic this year offering stellar performances from Cirque du Noel December 12th, Engelbert Humperdinck January 22nd, George Jones February 7th, The Lennon Sisters February 18th, Mandy Patinkin February 25th, The Pipes and Drums of the Black Watch March 21st and Richard Nader’s Rock & Roll Dreams with Bobby Rydell, Shirley Alston Reeves, Tommy Mara and Brian Hyland March 27th. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and a subscription is only $150 per person. While a complete series subscription offers the best value and benefits, The Lakeland Center is also offering a new Mini Series Pass option which allows patrons to select three shows from either the Broadway or Entertainment series line-up and receive special savings. Patrons can choose any three Broadway series performances for $132 per person or select any three Entertainment series performances for only $111. Entertainment and Broadway Series subscriptions and Mini Series Passes can be purchased at The Lakeland Center Box Office or by calling 863.834.8111. A full description of each series performances along with a full season listing of events is available online at www.thelakelandcenter.com or call 863.834.8111 to request a brochure. Series subscribers receive many additional benefits including discounts on upcoming shows, discounts at Center Stage Café and preferred seating. Series subscriptions also make excellent holiday gifts! Join the celebration and make sure you have your tickets for one of the most exciting seasons in Lakeland Center history!

STAY CONNECTED ONLINE www.lakelandgov.net

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 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.


September 2012 Access Lakeland