In a session to plan next year’s city budget, Lakeland commissioners voted 5-2 to keep the property tax rate at $5.5644 for every $1,000 of taxable value. Commissioners Michael Dunn and Justin Troller dissented, saying the city should forego the extra 8 percent that tax rate will bring in because of rising property values. Mayor Bill Mutz, however, said, “It’s not super conservative, but I think it’s appropriate.” The city’s financial managers want to build up reserves against anticipated property tax declines next year caused by expected changes in the homestead exemption.
- A report from the city’s preservation expert recommending they approve the request to move the 108-year-old monument to Veterans Park.
- A larger audience than they’ve probably ever encountered.
Plans to develop a massive urban park west of downtown Lakeland could get a boost from city commissioners Monday. City staff is recommending the City Commission sell 2.3 acres of land and some right of way to the private developers of the Bonnet Springs Park. The appraised value and asking price: $424,601. But commissioners have the option of reducing that amount, a memo from the city attorney notes.
The triangle-shaped, city-owned property is south of the intersection of George Jenkins Boulevard and Kathleen Road and just north of the abandoned Florida Tile site. Lake Wire Development Co. plans to offer both parcels to an outside developer for a commercial/residential/office complex. Proceeds would complement the multi-million-dollar fund-raising being undertaken to build the 180-acre park.
Realtor David Bunch, who is joined by retired city Parks Director Bill Tinsley in spearheading Bonnet Springs, told The Ledger (“only half joking,” the paper said) that while the city is fair in asking $424.6k, “A fair price to us would’ve been a donation.”
The officer investigating $117,000 missing from the city of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department concluded that a lack of accountability makes it impossible to determine who misappropriated cash that residents paid for recreation programs.
Lakeland Electric is holding three public meetings this week on a proposed rate increase that would add about $2.50 a month to the average home customer’s utility bill. An in-person meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the RP Funding Center. In addition, online-only meetings are scheduled for tonight and Thursday.