It's that inevitable time of the year when we get an extra hour of sleep but, as a tradeoff, have to say "see you tomorrow" to the sun at what, some days, feels like noon. Pitch-dark o'clock is now at 5pm! Before we jump in to what's going on this week, let's recap last week:
A Look Back at Last Week
Beer Board Meeting
The Beer Board (which simply doubles as the Board of Commissioners) met at 5:45pm before the start of the BOC meeting to approve a beer permit for the highly anticipated Portales Mexican restaurant opening this Sunday, November 12th. The commissioners (Roman, Wright, and Dial) expressed their excitement for the new restaurant and approved the permit 3-0.
Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners (BOC) met on Thursday of last week at 6:00pm. While we were able to have the meeting in the board room, it is still in the middle of construction and our normal live streaming setup is unavailable. The meeting, though, was recorded and the video can be found here. With Mayor Roman, Vice-Mayor Wright, Commissioner Atkinson, and Commissioner Dial in attendance, here is an overview of the happenings:
- The first three agenda items were approving previous meeting minutes. This is new to the regular agenda as it was previously under the consent agenda. Mayor Roman, at the October 5th meeting, requested this change. The minutes passed 4-0.
- The next item up was originally on the agenda for the October 5th meeting but, due to my absence for that meeting, the item was deferred. The commissioners discussed possible use of the empty lot at 0 Huff N Puff as overflow parking for the Refuge Church. A representative from the church was there and spoke on the need they have for additional parking and the commissioners ultimately decided that our city attorney and I would have further meetings with the church to finalize use of the lot for their parking needs and/or other planned uses of that property.
- Mayor Roman, at the start of the regular agenda, decided to table the 5th item (requiring all new electric distribution lines on future Seed Tick Road and Old Brownsville Road be underground) to be possibly discussed at a future meeting time.
- The Equestria residential planned development was on the agenda for approval by the BOC. After discussion around traffic, options for access, and other concerns, the item was deferred to a future meeting.
- On the agenda as discussion and possible action, the discussion around delaying the effective date of the sewer user rates, changed back in May, resulted in an ordinance being presented for first reading at the meeting last week. The ordinance clarifies that the minimum bill is in addition to the volumetric rate, and makes the change effective December 1st. Essentially, our sewer rates are billed and charged through MLGW's billing department, and the language of the original ordinance led to a misinterpretation of the rates. Rather than residents and businesses receiving a large "catch-up" bill just in time for the holidays, Mayor Roman proposed simply deferring the effective date. This passed 4-0.
- The last item on the agenda was introduced by Mayor Roman, and was to change the meeting time for regular BOC meetings back to a 5:30pm start time. This item passed 4-0.
Community Clean Up Day
Our Public Works department hosted the last community clean-up day of the year and, as always, it was a great success! We made the decision to move it to City Hall this year and it significantly helped with the flow of traffic. We are appreciative to all of the Lakeland residents who came out this weekend and participated in keeping our beautiful city clean!
A Look Ahead to This Week
Municipal Planning/Design Review Committee
The MPDRC has a regularly scheduled meeting this Thursday at 5:30pm at City Hall. The agenda is posted to our website but a general overview of what's to be discussed is:
- The approval of the Evergreen Landscape Plan
- The approval of a land disturbance permit at Beverle Rivera Drive
- Discussion of the Ritter fiberoptic internet project in Lakeland
The shift from calling in bulk waste pickup requests to the new route schedule has officially started. Our public works department was able to finalize and verify that they will be mimicking the trash pickup schedule to alleviate any confusion. So, for example, if your scheduled trash pickup day is on Monday, the drivers for the bulk waste pick up service will also be collecting that day. If you're new to Lakeland and are unsure of your trash pickup day, you can visit this link to search your address. As a reminder, if you have more than 10 cubic yards of waste, or have an appliance, these requests will still be called in to City Hall as there is a charge for these services. All of the bulk waste pickup rules and regulations can be found on our website. For any additional questions or information, please call City Hall at 901-867-2717.
Parks and Recreation
The parks have been officially winterized for the season. The water has been shut off and the bathrooms are closed. This typically lasts until March but will ultimately depend on how soon the warm weather in the spring rolls in.
Coming soon, I'll be pushing out information on how to sign up for Lakeland's new "CodeRed" system - this system is a communications and alerts system that uses geo-location combined with mobile alerts to notify residents of things such as road closures, local emergencies, and other important updates. As we implement the system, you'll be able to decide which areas you'd like to be notified on, and this is one more way that the City of Lakeland will attempt to stay connected to you with useful and timely information - so be sure to sign up quickly when it's live, before an event occurs! As I said earlier, this time of year - anything can happen. And we want to ensure that when the unforeseen does occur, we're able to continue to communicate as much as possible in as many ways as possible to keep everyone as safe as possible.
For instructions on how to sign up for website notifications to stay up to date with City of Lakeland news, please visit my previous City Manager's Update. There is a detailed step-by-step list of instructions with visual screenshots to help assist you. You can also find updates on information from our city official social media pages.
To Be Continued...
As always, please reach out to me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, concerns, ideas, or improvements.
In Your Service,
Michael Walker, City Manager