Good Morning Lakeland residents!
As with last week, I want to direct your attention to the lakelandtn.gov/agendas page for the official record of the City's public meetings, both those that have happened and those scheduled. For upcoming meetings, agendas and full supporting materials are generally published at least two days ahead of the meeting. The entire Board of Commissioners, our volunteer boards and commissions, and our City staff all work together to diligently carry out the much-needed work of public service - work that is never completed, but always "to be continued".
Last Week's Meetings - A Look Back
Board of Commissioners Special Meeting
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) met on Tuesday 1.24.2023 at 5:00 pm in a special called session. As allowed by City charter, and with all five members of the Board of Commissioners in attendance, Mayor Josh Roman called the meeting to address three items of business, summarized below:
- A resolution was passed authorizing me to sign a grant agreement with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) for the reimbursement of costs incurred in the winter ice storm of February 2022. Following the storm, Public Works Director Daniel Lovett worked diligently to track and capture the City's added costs, culminating in the grant award from the State of approximately $162,000. As part of their fiduciary responsibilities to the City (see the Financial Policies Manual and the Internal Control Manual), the BOC authorizes the City's acceptance of grant funds, many of which come with compliance and other requirements.
- A resolution was passed authorizing me to research available locations for a Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) substation within the City of Lakeland. Following a recent uptick of crime in Lakeland, Mayor Roman and I met with Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr., Assistant Chief Anthony Buckner, and their staff. As part of that discussion, the need for a location in Lakeland was discussed, and the Mayor presented this resolution to show the Board's support for this endeavor.
- A resolution was passed placing a moratorium on commercial development along Highway 70 in Lakeland for a period of one year. Concerns were recently expressed to our Municipal Planning Commission over commercial development along this corridor while the City's Lakeland P.U.L.S.E. Comprehensive Plan process was still in progress. In response, the Mayor presented this resolution to halt development until public feedback is fully received and a plan on which we can all agree is in place. Commissioner Jim Atkinson assisted in modifying the resolution such that the Lakeland Commons planned development was expressly excluded from the moratorium.
All three items presented in this special called meeting were unanimously approved by the Board of Commissioners.
Community Advisory Board Meeting
The Community Advisory Board (CAB) met on Tuesday 1.24.2023 at 5:30 pm in their regularly-scheduled quarterly meeting. The meeting was originally planned to provide an update on various City activities, but following the recent uptick in crime in Lakeland, Commissioner Michele Dial reached out to me to invite SCSO to attend the meeting to discuss public safety and Neighborhood Watch programs. With approximately 100 Lakeland residents in attendance, and many others watching the live feed, it was clearly a needed meeting.
Assistant Chief Anthony Buckner and approximately 10 of his staff were in attendance, and presented on:
- Neighborhood Watch programs, and how to start them
- Crime prevention tips, and what we all can do to stop crime from occurring
- The SCSO S.H.A.R.E. program, and how to upload photos and videos of surveillance systems with the Sheriff’s Office to assist with investigations
- The Citizen’s Academy program and how residents can get more involved with the Sheriff’s Office
Following the presentations, there was an extensive question and answer session with the SCSO staff present. The full video is available on our website’s agendas and minutes page. Additionally, the website has been updated at lakelandtn.gov/publicsafety with many of the resources and links referenced in the meeting.
Industrial Development Board Meeting
The Industrial Development Board (IDB) met on Thursday 1.26.2023 at 5:30pm in their regular monthly meeting. In December, the BOC dissolved the Economic Development Commission, recognizing that it served much of the same function as the IDB, but with more limited powers and authority. Through various other appointments and commitments, in recent months four of the seven Director positions in the IDB have been filled by new volunteers, with Mayor Roman serving as the BOC's non-voting liaison to the board. Last week, Vice-Mayor Wesley Wright attended the meeting on behalf of the Mayor. Here's a quick recap of last Thursday's meeting:
- Given that there were new members on the IDB board, I gave a quick update on the role and function of the IDB (which is a separate and distinct legal entity from the City of Lakeland)
- Guest presenter Mr. Dexter Muller provided a presentation on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and its role in encouraging economic development in the City of Lakeland
- Mr. Yehuda Netanel provided the IDB board with an update on recent activities in The Lake District
- The IDB, with new members, appointed new officers - Chairman Alan Johnson (former IDB Secretary), Vice-Chairman Richard Gonzales, Jr. (former Lakeland Commissioner), and Secretary Steve Laster (former IDB Chairman)
- Additionally, two expenditure reports from Lakeland Commons, LP were approved as eligible for cost reimbursement under the existing Lakeland Commons TIF agreement
This Week's Meetings - A Look Ahead
Lakeland P.U.L.S.E. Comprehensive Plan - Public Engagement Workshop
This coming Tuesday 1.31.2023 will be the second of three public engagement workshops as part of the comprehensive plan update process, led by consultants Kimley-Horn. The workshop is being held at the I.H. Clubhouse at 4523 Canada Road at 6:00 pm. Given that the primary focus of the workshop is upon facilitated breakout sessions on the City's proposed growth strategy, the meeting will not be live streamed. This means - we need you to attend in person! Be a part of the process and provide your input, so that the plans made by the BOC and carried out in our day-to-day operations reflect the vision of our residents! And as always, you may contact any member of the Lakeland P.U.L.S.E. Advisory Committee, including BOC liaison Commissioner Connie McCarter, to provide your input.
Any weather-related delays or reschedules will be communicated via the City's website and social media outlets as soon as possible.
Board of Commissioners Work Session
A work session is the meeting where the BOC meets to discuss the primary items of business to be addressed for the month's regular meeting session. February's work session is anticipated to address the following, with the final agenda published tomorrow afternoon:
- The City's municipal judge, the Hon. Kim Koratski, will provide a semi-annual update on municipal court activities
- The ordinance proposed by the Municipal Planning and Design Review Commission (MPDRC) regarding revisions to cell tower set back requirements will be presented to the BOC for discussion
- Mayor Roman intends to present a jointly-supported resolution from all municipalities in Shelby County encouraging the State of Tennessee to restore the historic revenue sharing formula for sales taxes
- Arbor Day 2023 in Lakeland will be discussed
- An amendment to the Lakeland Meadows planned development recommended by the MPDRC will be presented
- A residential development contract for Heathfield at Scott Creek planned development will be presented
- Contract awards are to be presented for discussion for the fiscal year 2023 paving project, and City Hall improvements for compliance with ADA standards
- A change order for a pavement marking project, a release of security related to Heron's Ridge planned development, and a contract related to the Oliver Creek Sewer Interceptor project are all on the agenda
Please be sure to watch the Agendas and Minutes page tomorrow for the publication of the full list of items, and show up or tune in Thursday night for any items of interest!
The meetings outlined from last week, and those planned for this week, are simply opportunities for you to be informed and involved in City governance. We welcome your input at all stages, and in all activities and events. We are here for you, and to serve this excellent community! These highlights from public meetings behind and ahead of us could never reflect the full scope of the dedicated work and service of our City staff, elected officials, and volunteers on a daily basis. Whether it is picking up trash on the side of Seed Tick Road, or reviewing complex engineering plans for wastewater interceptor improvements, we are One Team for One City - the City of Lakeland. As always, please email any questions or concerns to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and until next week I remain...
In Your Service,
Michael Walker, City Manager