From the Blog: Lakeland Electric a Tremendous Asset to our City
Spending the past few months meeting with people in our community has been one of my favorite parts of the campaign. I love meeting fellow Lakelanders and talking about the future of our great city. A question that comes up frequently is Lakeland Electric and the proposed charter amendment on the ballot on Nov. 5.
The proposed amendment to our city charter would change the threshold required to sell or lease Lakeland Electric. The current charter requires 65% of Lakeland’s total registered voters to vote yes for a sale or lease. The amendment — if passed — would change the requirement to 65% of the voters who turn out, plus approval by a supermajority of five city commissioners.
Like many of you who I’ve met with recently, I don’t see a need to make a change to our city’s charter concerning Lakeland Electric. Lakeland Electric — established in 1889 — is a tremendous asset and an important institution to our city and to our residents. I know employees who work at Lakeland Electric, and I’ve seen their dedication and drive to make the utility an outstanding organization that provides excellent service to this community. Having worked with local governments in Florida when I was a Senate aide, I can tell you there are many communities in our state that would love to have an organization like Lakeland Electric that contributes millions of dollars to their budget every year.
While I don’t support this change to the charter, I respect our commission’s decision to allow Lakeland citizens to vote on the proposed amendment, suggested in 2017 by the charter review committee. Being accountable to our residents — a principle of government I strongly believe in — means allowing people to be part of the process and to have a voice through their vote.