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City of Lakeland’s Monthly Newsletter

March 2014


Lakeland Electric Helps Bring In New Business

A Brief Bit: Lakeland Electric

Meet Randy Thomas: Supervisor of Airfield Maint.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Lake Bonny

228 S. Massachusetts Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801 863.834.6000

THe GREeN APRIL CeL\eBRATION 18TH On Friday, April 18th there will be a free Green Celebration in honor of Earth Day with a concert & showcase at the Lake Mirror Promenade from 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. There will be live music from the Sofa Kings along with a variety of exhibits and displays promoting green living initiatives.

The Sofa Kings will provide an entertaining mix of dance, pop and rock with groovy antics to please the crowd. The band grooves audiences into a soulful mood like no other and they are a perfect fit to celebrate the 43rd Anniversary of Earth Day. Their music includes Southern Rock favorites along with crowd pleasers from the Beatles, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Buffett intertwined with hits from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. The Green Celebration honors Earth Day, a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and it is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. There will be a number of exhibits and vendors that will have displays at the Green Celebration. The Polk County School Board will showcase programs and earth friendly initiatives designed to promote a greener more sustainable future. This year, Polk County Schools will exhibit a “green fair”. The audience along with a panel of judges will decide on the most innovative project that promotes a cleaner, greener environment. The Green Celebration invites the Lakeland community to attend the free event. Bring a blanket, a picnic basket and enjoy the festivities as we celebrate Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to recycle, reclaim, reuse and ride a bike.

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Monthly Comparison of Residential Electric Rates

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

*per 1,200 kWh usage

LAKELAND ELECTRIC HELPS BRING DATA STORAGE AND PROTECTION FACILITY TO LAKELAND by Carly Mertz, Associate Editor, RELAY Magazine Lakeland Electric’s high reliability was the key factor in bringing a $20 million data center to the community. The project, located in Lakeland’s Interstate Business Park, is the new home to Colo5, a data colocation, disaster recovery, and cloud service facility. The colocation service facility will provide physical space for clients as well as the latest technology designed to protect computer infrastructure from theft, viruses, natural disasters and other threats. Lakeland’s Colo5 center will create many new jobs. Initially the data center will employ 14 employees, all in the security and technology management fields, responsible for monitoring and controlling the various systems, and will expand to 25 in 2014, before eventually growing to 50. The facility is being built-out with additional office space which can be occupied by clients in the event of a data emergency or leased by client IT staff for onsite data management. Colo5 plans to devote more than $20 million to the 105,000 square foot data and disaster recovery center, which will be built-out over the next three years in 10,000 square foot increments and will introduce a number of skilled, high wage jobs. The center will have a significant financial impact on the community by utilizing local city and business services as well as introducing a host of new clientele to the area. No grants were used to develop the Colo5 center. However, the site is located within the

Learn How You Can Start Saving With a FREE Home Energy Audit A FREE Home Energy Audit will help you understand and improve your home’s energy efficiency. A Lakeland Electric Energy Analyst will conduct a thorough inspection of your home by surveying your insulation, duct work, water heating, cooling & heating systems and overall efficiency. After the audit, you will receive a customized evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency as well as low and no-cost tips for lowering your bill. Call 863.834.6789 to schedule an appointment.

City’s Enterprise Zone and will be taking advantage of business materials and equipment and sales tax incentives offered through the Florida Enterprise Zone Program. Colo5 expanded into Lakeland to better serve the Central Florida market. Lakeland has an ideal central location, easy access to multiple markets, numerous technology providers and reliable and low electric rates. Energy costs, service and availability are all major aspects of business operating expense. Though Lakeland Electric has the lowest electric rates in Florida, Colo5 was primarily concerned with the municipal utility’s high reliability. “During the site selection process Lakeland Electric engineer’s provided specific details related to the loading and reliability of the distribution circuits on various sites, showcasing their knowledge and preparedness,” said Jason Willey, Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Lakeland. “Once they chose a site, Lakeland Electric’s development team met with the Colo5 representatives and quickly outlined a plan to fit their budget and electrical requirements.” Lakeland Electric’s efficiency and reliability was crucial in the Colo5 development. Time was important, and they rose to the challenge. Lakeland Electric has a top tier account management team to advise customers on the best alternatives for their needs, from starting a new business to expanding a current one.

Academy Topics Include: Electricity Explained Power Plant & Substation Tours Accessing your “Smart Meter” information on the web Energy Efficiency Utility Financials & Rate Structures CLASS 2 BEGINS APRIL 8, 2014 SIGN UP TODAY! The Lakeland Electric Customer Academy is a free, interactive informational program that allows you, our customer, the opportunity to gain insight into your community-owned electric utility and discuss energy industry “hot topics” with subject matter experts. The academy will consist of six (6) two (2) hour evening sessions, with sessions held on every other Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. Refreshments will be served prior to each session between 5:30-6:00 p.m. Participants are highly encouraged to attend all six sessions to get the most from the program. Class size is limited to the first thirty (30) Lakeland Electric customers who sign up, under Education & Careers at:

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Low Rates, Reliable Service and Great Customer Service; all of those can be used to describe your community-owned utility. For more than 110 years, Lakeland Electric has helped light up Lakeland by providing safe, reliable and efficient power for residents. Lakeland Electric is the third largest public power utility in the State of Florida serving over120,000 customers inside a 258 square mile service area. Based on the latest rate comparison data from the Florida Municipal Electric Association, Lakeland Electric’s residential rates are the lowest in the state and Lakeland Electric has the lowest rate in Florida for large commercial users. 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. McIntosh Power Plant houses one of the most efficient coal-fired generation facilities in the southeast and one of the most efficient combined cycle natural gas generators in the nation. Currently 552 full-time employees each play a part in making this public-owned utility among the best across the nation. Best of all, by having a public-owned utility, revenues generated stay right here in Lakeland. Last year alone, Lakeland Electric contributed more than $22 million to help keep property taxes low, fund public safety departments such as police and fire, and support quality public spaces that we all enjoy. For more information on Lakeland Electric visit their website at



First Friday, April 4, the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department will unveil the 2014 Lemon Street Sculptures. Come join us and vote for your favorite!


On Saturday, April 13, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the City of Lakeland’s Solid Waste Division in coordination with the Polk County Solid Waste Division is sponsoring a FREE Household Hazardous Waste and End-of-Life Electronics Collection Event. The event will take place at the Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime Street, in the south parking lot west of WONN Radio Station. This Mobile Collection Event is intended to make it more convenient for our community to safely dispose of their household hazardous waste and discarded electronic equipment. Household Hazardous Waste – Accepted Materials

Paints, paint thinners, florescent light bulbs, motor oil, drain cleaners, pool chemicals, insecticides, household batteries, etc. No biohazard (medical) waste or business waste will be accepted. End-of- Life Electronics – Accepted Materials

Computers, monitors, keyboards, terminals, televisions, stereos, printers, fax machines, video game consoles, wireless devices etc. No more than five items per household please. If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 834.8778.


Meet RANDY THOMAS Meet Randy Thomas, Supervisor of Airfield Maintenance at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport since 2000. When asked to explain what his job entails, Thomas said, “I work with the lighting and safety systems along with electronic signage around the airport.” He added, “I look at discrepancies within the safety areas to keep the airfield operational per FAA rules and I supervise a staff of four.” He said, “One of the major focuses of my job is overseeing the maintenance of the landing apparatus system that runs along each runway. This system is instrumental and helps pilots land and takeoff.” He added, “There are occasional issues with some of the cabling because it is not in conduit and during the wet season these systems need extra care and maintenance.” Thomas said, “Working with my hands is what I like most about my job. I love getting mechanical systems that are broken back to working condition and I really enjoy incorporating my ideas in making a system better.” When Thomas first started working at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport he was hired to

maintain the landscaping on the airport property. He gradually moved into other areas with increasing responsibilities and for the past six years he has been overseeing electrical maintenance and safety systems. He said that his biggest accomplishment is rewiring 523’ of runway that was completely done in house.Thomas said,“We simplified the wiring and made the electrical system better.” Thomas loves to read in his spare time. He said that his favorite author is Louis L'Amour, who brings to life the American frontier with stories of cowboys , indians, gunslingers, outlaws, Texas Rangers and marshals of the wild west. He said, “My wife claims I am doubling up on my Louis L’Amour books because I have quite a collection.” Thomas also enjoys fishing and chuckles saying that his brother who is retired has better fishing stories. When asked about his favorite movie, Thomas said, “I enjoy any movie with John Wayne and the western classic El Dorado is may favorite but I enjoy all westerns including movies with Clint Eastwood.” His favorite food is fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread. Thomas said, “I am an avid cook but anything that my sisters cook is delicious and I

better not leave my wife out of this because she is an awesome cook as well.” His favorite color is blue and he enjoys all college sports. Thomas said, “I really like college football and basketball more than professional sports and I am a huge University of Florida Gator fan.” Thomas was raised in Tallahassee and he played line backer at Quincy Shanks High School. Thomas is married to Jeanne Michelle and they have four grown children, three stepchildren and a total of 14 grandchildren. Thomas is close to his bulldog named Zeus.

jellybean JUBILEE APRIL 12 • 10 -1 AM PM

SIMPSON PARK COMMUNITY CENTER Eggstra Special Egg Hunt • Story Time Cookie Decorating • Arts & Crafts Jellybean Guessing Children 10 & Younger Welcome!

Improved Public Protection Classification Score City of Lakeland residents and businesses may soon notice improved insurance rates thanks to the Lakeland Fire Department (LFD). The department was recently audited by the Insurance Service Office (ISO) for the reissuance of the City of Lakeland’s Public Protection Classification Score. The protection score rates the level of fire suppression in a community and thanks to LFD’s hard work, increased access to its community, equipment, personnel, and other rated services, Lakeland now has an ISO protection score of 2. The score was only a couple of percentage points below a score of 1, which is the highest score achievable on the 1-10 scale. This accomplishment indicates that Lakeland residents are safer and have better access to emergency services than most other communities on both the state and national level. The score is also used by insurers, including the largest in the nation, to figure insurance rates and decisions in regards to underwriting. The score is effective March 1, 2014.

2013 Distribution of Public Protection Classification Codes Provided by ISO Properties

NEIGHBORHOOD SPOTLIGHT LAKE BONNY Neighborhoods are an integral part of the City. Maintaining and enhancing these neighborhoods are 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 Lake Bonny Neighborhood. This neighborhood association formed in 2002 after years as a crime watch group. It began to blossom in the 1940’s and 1950’s after World War II. After inheriting the role of neighborhood president nine years ago, Sandy Toledo set out to create a welcoming environment for everybody to share ideas and express concerns. “I think that it is important to neighborhoods because we are in this together,” said Toledo. Toledo attributes the crime watch strategy “See Something, Say Something” to halting breaking and entering incidents in Lake Bonny. “We are what some may call nosey neighbors who get out and do what we can to look out for each other,” said Toledo. Lake Bonny residents pride themselves on being very giving and welcoming. This spirit has helped to attract younger families to the quiet neighborhood. Residents are very active with events like National Night Out, walking groups, beautification projects, and more. The neighborhood park is called Interlachen Park. It encompasses a playground and the historical Elk’s Club monument. Like many of Lakeland’s neighborhoods, Lake Bonny has become very walkable. Speed bumps, repaved roads, sidewalks, trees and plants are enhancements that make Lake Bonny a great community to live in. The Lake Bonny Neighborhood Association meets at 6:30pm on the first Monday of each month at All Faith Baptist Church, located at 302 Longfellow Blvd. 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.


IN PERSON City Hall is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday PUBLIC MEETINGS City Commission Meetings First and Third Monday 9:00 a.m. Utility Committee Meetings First Monday 1:00 p.m. Watch the live broadcast on:

Channel 615 (Brighthouse) or Channel 43 (Verizon FiOS) IMPORTANT NUMBERS City Hall 863.834.6000 Lakeland Electric Customer Service 863.834.9535 Power or Water Outages 863.834.4248





Pollution Hotline 863.834.3300 PAYING YOUR UTILITY BILL ONLINE BY PHONE 863.834.9535

L O G O N. T U N E I N. G E T C O N N E C T E D.

IN PERSON Lakeland Electric has partnered with over 50 local businesses including area AMSCOT offices to accept your utility payment.

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14accesslakeland mar lowres