In four meetings from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. today, city commissioners tackled a wide variety of topics, including budget cuts, municipal internet service, affordable housing and a lot more. Here are highlights, seen through posts on social media: More
The amendment to the hospital lease agreement removes the annual 2.75% increase in rent through fiscal year 2024, freezing the price at $14.4 million. The annual rent increases had been set under a 25-year agreement between the city and the hospital signed in 2015. More
The scope of a possible city-owned internet service provider became more focused Monday as the City Commission’s broadband committee set a goal to build a fiber optics network to cover all of Lakeland city limits. More
A plan by the city’s staff will reduce the pressure to raise the property tax rate if a request for rent relief by Lakeland Regional Health is granted, but it won’t be pain-free, City Manager Tony Delgado said. More
The new $80 million estimate to build a network that covers the area within the city limits cuts $30 million from a 2016 ballpark estimate prepared by Magellan Advisors, the city’s broadband consultant. The Colorado-based company was hired by the city this year to create a business plan for a proposed retail internet service. More
Facing financial challenges, Lakeland Regional Health has asked the city of Lakeland to forego planned rent increases through 2025. If city commissioners approve the request, it would mean a $48.6 million revenue reduction over the next few years for the city and a possible property tax increase for residents.
The Fort Lauderdale-based developers of a planned 80-unit below-market-rate apartment complex on Parker Street has asked for a loan from the city to help cover increases in construction costs. The Lakeland Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board last week approved a loan of $162,000 loan, half the amount requested by Green Mills Group (website). A final decision on the loan request will come from the City Commission. Construction at Parker Street and Stella Avenue is scheduled to start in September.
CANDIDATE FEE: Reporter Sara-Megan Walsh reveals a detail about the proposed changes to the City Charter that’s gotten little notice before: The filing fee to run for City Commission or mayor would increase from $25 to $250. The old fee was set 30 or 40 years ago and the higher one better reflects the city’s administrative costs, City Attorney Tim McCausland says. The proposed changes go to the voters in November.
The City Commission will be asked next week to change the name of Freedom Park to Buffalo Soldiers Park in honor of the all-black cavalry regiment who camped on Lake Wire in 1898. Freedom Park is the green space between Florida Avenue and Lake Wire near Lawton Chiles Middle Academy.