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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

April 2013

lemon street IN THIS ISSUE

Smart Meter Installation Complete



owntown Lakeland is now home to 10 new sculptures that are part of the 13th Annual Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition. Lakeland and Winter Haven are each hosting 10 pieces of art. In Lakeland, the sculptures are displayed along Lemon Street and there will be a chance for art lovers to vote on their favorite outdoor sculpture for the coveted “People’s Choice” award during the May 3rd First Friday event that will take place in downtown Lakeland, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

L A K E L A N D' S

The City of Lakeland Celebrates Public Works Week

Meet Brenda Patterson: Fine Arts Librarian

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week

228 S. Massachusetts Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000

Artist Roster Mike Baur | "Furrow" � Jeff Brewer | "Bunny" � Robert Cordisco | "Paradox" � PM Goulding | "Rock, Paper, Scissors" � Hanna Jubran | "Opposing Forces" � Cecelia Lueza | "Diversity II" � Chris Scala | "X-ray Camper" � Adam Walls | "The Ball & the Red Staircase" � Charles Wells | "Super Committee" � Ben Woitena | "Mandatory Dogs"

The sculptures are selected by a committee of community members and Polk Museum of Art staff for the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition. The sculptures are displayed for a year in downtown Lakeland and Winter Haven. An independent judge selects the Best of Show, Second Place and Honorable Mention awards for the pieces of art. The winners along with the “People’s Choice” award will be announced at the May 3rd First Friday event.

Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

Source: Florida Municipal Electric Association (FMEA) Monthly Utility Bill Comparison • January 2013


Lakeland Electric just completed a successful Smart Meter implementation that replaced older analog mechanical meters with newer technology that uses low powered radio frequencies to share information with the utility company. Smart Meters allow Lakeland Electric to operate more efficiently and the meters offer many customer benefits. Lakeland Electric is working very closely with the US Department of Energy and the utility is considered a pioneer in Smart Meter programs. This $34 million project was funded through a grant from the US Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Lakeland Electric Smart Meter project is the largest municipal owned utility installation in the country that included a system-wide complete retrofit with over 122,000 meters that include the newer “smart” technology. The US Department of Energy uses Lakeland Electric as the model for Smart Meter integration. Randy Dotson, Smart Grid Operations Manager for Lakeland Electric said, “I am proud to say that a project of this scope and magnitude was accomplished within budget and on time. The entire project was completed in about 20 months.” He added, “There were many divisions and multiple City Departments that worked together including those from Lakeland Electric, Finance, Information Technology and Telecommunications that devoted a lot of hours to make the project a success.” Smart Meters are able to notify 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. Lakeland Electric is finalizing the testing for outage restoration so meters will announce when they are off line. The entire Smart Meter reporting system will be operational for the upcoming storm season. This is just one of the benefits that a Smart Meter and the associated Smart Grid system offers Lakeland Electric customers. Ultimately, Smart Meters provide customers with more detailed information about energy use. Currently 95% of the installed Smart Meters are billed using electronic reading. Very soon, all Smart Meters on the system will report monthly usage for billing purposes, eliminating the need for manual meter reads. This is more efficient and it allows customers to actively monitor power usage. Lakeland Electric customers now have more control over how much power is used – and when it is used.

There is a customized web portal available right now for customers to view their electric usage patterns with easy to read reports. Customers can save money and reduce environmental impacts by analyzing electricity use so power consumption is more efficient. The web portal is easy to use, secure and it only takes a few minutes to setup online. The portal displays daily, weekly and monthly electricity usage in detail. A customer’s energy graphs can be viewed in kilowatt hours (kWh) or dollars and cents. Customers also have the ability to view and compare their monthly billing trends. The web portal is constantly being upgraded to include additional customer friendly features. In the very near future, in home displays will be available that will allow customers without computers the ability to access the same information that is found on the web portal so they too can monitor the usage in their home. Lakeland Electric will also be offering a program for residential utility customers to prepay for their electricity — a set up that empowers citizens and saves money for the utility and its customers. The service is likened to buying gas at the pump: Customers purchase what they need when they need it. A customer can monitor their account and put money on their meter when it is getting low. 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. to start your Smart Meter web portal access and to receive more information on the program.

JOY & RON BOWLING, SR. with their son CORY BOWLING and K-9 Partner- RIDDICK


On Friday, March 1, 2013 police officers, community leaders and citizens gathered at the Lakeland Police Department to honor retired police Sergeant Ron Bowling, Sr. Bowling dubbed "Polk County's father of K-9 training," was honored for starting the first program at the Lakeland Police Department and helping to build other K-9 teams across Polk County. For his years of dedication and service, the Lakeland Police Department has renamed their K-9 training facility the Sgt. Ron Bowling, Sr. Lakeland Police K-9 Training Facility.

SGT. Ron Bowing, Sr. with K-9 SARGE

The City of Lakeland Celebrates Public Works Week Check out all that Public Works has to offer in Munn Park On May 3

The City of Lakeland Public Works Department will celebrate National Public Works Week on Friday, May 3rd in conjunction with First Friday activities in downtown Lakeland. It all begins at 6 p.m. in Munn Park. “Because of Public Works…” is this year’s National Public Works Week theme recognizing the quality of life brought to communities around the world by Public Works employees.We are able to have clean water, safe streets and neighborhoods, efficient traffic and safe clean communities "Because of Public Works..." The Friday night celebration is a time to energize and educate the public on the importance that public works plays in their daily lives: planning, building, managing and operating the heart of our community and building the quality of life. During the event, staff will be on hand to showcase information about each division, explain education programs and demonstrate the use of a variety of equipment.There will also be give-a-ways, games and lots of First Friday entertainment. Downtown shops and restaurants will stay open late. The City of Lakeland’s Public Works Department consists of seven divisions and 265 full-time employees. The seven divisions include Engineering, Construction & Maintenance,Traffic Operations & Parking Services, Lakes & Stormwater, Facilities Maintenance, Fleet Management and Solid Waste. The fiscal year 2013 budget for the Public Works Department is just under $53 million. Public Works also oversees a capital improvement plan budget of more than $12 million. The City’s Public Works Department is pursuing accreditation through the American Public Works Association (APWA). APWA manages an official accreditation program that assesses a public works agency’s practices with regulatory directives, effectiveness in daily operations, administrative efficiency and regulation, continuous improvement, performance measurement, and a variety of other considerations. Look for a follow-up article in the next issue of Access Lakeland. On Monday, May 20th the Lakeland City Commission will issue a proclamation, where Public Works employees from each Public Works division will be recognized. Please visit for more information.



Meet BRENDA PATTERSON Meet Brenda Patterson, Fine Arts Librarian at the City of Lakeland’s Main Library. She is working toward her 29th year as a City of Lakeland employee and all of those years have been with the library. “I like the library,” she said. “I do a little bit of everything and that makes my job very interesting. I have a large say in what fiction we choose, the movies we offer and the audio books that we have available,” she said. As Fine Arts Librarian, Patterson has a focus on dealing with the arts including: music, dance, architecture, painting and cinema but her duties also include working at the library’s reference desk up to 16 hours per week. She oversees adult programming that may include book discussion groups, movie discussion groups, music performances or she may arrange for an author to visit the library. She said, “Many people may not know that we have music performances on Sunday afternoons and I work with the musicians as part of music programming.” When asked about how the library has changed during her tenure, she flashes a grin and says, “The library has changed a lot but in the same time it hasn’t changed at all.” Patterson elaborated, “We still help the public navigate what’s out there but what has changed is the technology.” When she first started working at the library everyone used

the card catalogue and there were no computers. Today the library offers computer classes and computers are a big reason why some people regularly visit the library. Patterson said, “We have a large population in our community that just don’t have the resources to keep up with technology and we provide a service to those that don’t have computers.” She added, “The library is not just about books, we have plenty of those but there are so many other wonderful things that we offer like one-on-one tutoring for computer programs and smart devices like iPads and eReaders. We offer computer classes, we show independent films and we have children-specific programming so there is a lot more than books happening at the library.” When she is not working, Patterson likes to read and at this moment she is really into the poetry of Nikky Finney and Sharon Olds. However she is quick to point out that those are her favorite poets at this second and she enjoys so many different authors. Patterson said, “I just read a book by Junot Diaz and I really like the way that he develops his characters. They are regular people that you can associate with and you actually feel like you know them. His characters feel real.” Patterson also enjoys writing. She said, “I write poetry and essays but I’m about to jump off the deep end and start writing fiction.”

When asked about her favorite food, Patterson quickly explains, “I love food and I’m one of those people who loves to eat. My favorite food has to be bacon but I really enjoy vegetables and cheese,” she said. “If you put a dish together that includes bacon, vegetables and cheese, then it’s got to be good.” Her favorite television shows are Jeopardy and the Big Bang Theory. She said, “It took me a little while to get into the Big Bang Theory but now I’m hooked.” She is married to James Jackson Jr., a mental health counselor. “We’ve been married for 14 years and he makes me be my better self,” she said as her face beamed with a bright smile. The next time you are at the Main Library, located on Lake Morton, say hello to Brenda Patterson and she will be quick to suggest a book or help you with a very cool item called a Playaway, a selfplaying, preloaded digital media player available at your library.


UNSEEN BUT NOT UNAPPRECIATED National Public Safety Telecommunications Week April 14 - 20th

Emergency Communications Specialists, more commonly known as 9-1-1 dispatchers, are often the unsung heroes working in the background when a crisis occurs. 9-1-1 operators are the true “first responders” to any citizen in an emergency situation. Long before police, fire, or EMS arrive on scene, a 9-1-1 operator has comforted the victim at the height of a crisis, ensured proper resources are immediately enroute to the victim, and in many cases provided pre-arrival instructions to either ensure the safety of the caller or provide comfort to those facing unimaginable horror. These operators also provide assistance to police officers and firefighters by serving as the voice on the other end of the radio channel, offering additional resources, researching vital information as requested or simply monitoring the safety and activities of field units. The Lakeland Police Department has a dedicated Emergency Communications staff of 43 men and women who man the critical 9-1-1 center. Teams work in 12hour shifts mirroring the shifts worked by patrol officers. The 9-1-1 Center is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On average, the 9-1-1 center receives 6,000 calls per month and another 21,000 calls on administrative lines that are often emergency related. A 9-1-1 call is generally answered at Lakeland Police Department within six seconds or less. The team averages a 99.5% rate of any 9-1-1 call being answered within 10 seconds or less; besting the national performance target of 90%. Not everyone has the ability to be a dispatcher. Team members need to be exceptional at remaining calm in high stress situations, be able to multi-task under extreme conditions and be excellent problem solvers. They must leave their emotions at the door and be able to ask questions, process and relay information and attempt to calm down a caller who is generally upset on the phone. Becoming a 9-1-1 dispatcher is not an easy task. Each


In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing National Volunteer Week, a weeklong celebration and recognition of volunteers in the month of April. U.S. presidents have continued the tradition since then. Even local governments have followed suit by issuing proclamations in their respective communities. This year, National Volunteer Week is April 21-27. The theme is: Celebrate Service. It presents an opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities alike to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. Volunteers play an integral part in the services the City of Lakeland provides to its citizens. That is why in 2009 the City formed its Volunteers in Public Service (VIPs) program. Many of our volunteers dedicate their time all year long. They help to clean our lakes, coach athletic teams, maintain our nursery, sit on governing boards and committees, and help out in our libraries among other things. We salute volunteers around the nation and celebrate their service close to home!

specialist takes part in a 7 – 8 month training program that includes an 80-hour orientation phase, 40 hours of classroom training and nearly 250 hours of intake operation with a trainer. Upon completing the 9-1-1 intake training, they move on to the other phases of training before working independently. Along with the requirements of the Lakeland Police Department, the State of Florida now requires all public safety telecommunicators to be statecertified within a year of being hired and recertified every two years. Recertification requires at least 20 hours of continuing education. For many, the job is a calling. They do it because they know their job truly makes a difference. The Lakeland Police Department currently has five 9-1-1 dispatchers that have more than 23 years of experience. To all of the men and women on the team, we say thank you for your service and dedication. Are you looking for an exciting, fun-filled and powerpacked enrichment program for your child during the summer? Then look no further – Camp BLAST is your answer! Camp BLAST is the highly successful summer recreation program for kids located at City recreation facilities and various schools throughout Lakeland. Children who have completed grades K – 5 are eligible for the program and parents must verify the child’s grade with a copy of their most recent report card. Spots fill up quickly, so be sure to mark your calendar for these dates!



June 17th - August 9th, 2013 (8 weeks) No camp: July 4th Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm


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 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.

April 2013 Access Lakeland  

Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.

April 2013 Access Lakeland  

Access Lakeland is the City of Lakeland's citizen newsletter that is distributed each month with Lakeland Electric utility bills.