Tensions are flaring between the city of Lakeland and the union representing around 26 Lakeland Electric workers who are being laid off today in connection with the closing of the city’s coal-fired electric plant. Bob Mahoney of Utility Workers Union of America told The Ledger he has several objections to an agreement workers are being asked to sign in order to receive eight weeks’ severance pay, including a provision he fears would end ongoing claims for job-related injuries. City Manager Shawn Sherrouse said the city is working with the union “toward a resolution.”
At the end of the five-month transition period after Lakeland Electric’s coal-driven McIntosh 3 power plant was taken offline, 26 employees are slated to be laid off Sept. 4, The Ledger reports. Initially, 60 were told they would be laid off when the utility announced it would shut the plant earlier than the previous 2024 target. That number was reduced as 23 found other jobs with the city and others left for other jobs or retired, Lakeland Electric said.
Lakeland Regional Health is stepping up employee recruitment and getting creative in how it uses space as its staff copes with a burgeoning number of COVID-19 patients, CEO Danielle Drummond told city commissioners today. More
City of Lakeland employees have once again been told to wear face coverings at work while indoors or in city vehicles when they are unable to maintain social distancing of six feet, The Ledger reports. “These protocols are necessary to protect our city workforce,” City Manager Shawn Sherrouse wrote in an email to employees. There is no mask requirement for non-employees visiting city buildings, but masks are encouraged.
Lakeland city commissioners are at odds over two key pending decisions: next year’s property tax rate and whether to equip police officers with body cameras. At a budget workshop Tuesday, commissioners discussed either keeping the tax rate at the current $5.46 per $1,000 of assessed value or reducing it to $5.43, The Ledger reported. Both are above the 5.20 “rollback rate,” the level expected to bring in the same amount of property tax revenue as the current year. The 5.43 level pushed by Commissioners Bill Read and Mike Musick is the highest level that can be adopted with a simple majority vote.
The number of accidents along South Florida Avenue in Dixieland has decreased from a high of 15 during the first month of the one-year road diet there, a Florida Department of Transportation engineer told Lakeland city commissioners Monday. But Steven Davis Jr. said he’s hoping to see more improvement. More
A 32-unit townhouse community will be built between Lake Parker and the Lakeland Hills Boulevard medical corridor as a result of City Commission action on Monday. The commission also approved a major update to the city’s comprehensive plan, tax incentives for two planned Garden District apartment complexes, and developing a plan to extend sewers to six pockets where septic tanks are now used. More
Nearly 80 percent of the $22.7 million the city of Lakeland expects to receive from the federal American Rescue Plan will go to replace a failing sewer trunk in southwest Lakeland, city commissioners decided today. More
Specifics of an Orlando broadband company’s deal with Lakeland to provide high-speed Internet emerged this week as the City Commission prepares to vote on a proposed contract next Tuesday. More
The city of Lakeland faces two federal lawsuits over decisions denying cell towers requested for southwest Lakeland, The Ledger reports. North American Towers LLC claims city commissioners improperly denied its request for a monopole on undeveloped land between Ariana Street and Lake Hunter based on citizen testimony that “lacks sufficient factual content.” In a separate lawsuit, 1 Source Towers says denial of a tower at 1800 Harden Blvd. prohibits Verizon from solving a 3.71-square-mile gap in coverage. The city is contesting both suits.