The Lakeland City Commission held its final budget hearing on Thursday, Sept. 21. During the meeting, a Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Budget of $746,962,838 was passed in a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Bill Read voicing the dissenting vote.
Wondering how the budget was calculated? Despite Lakeland’s growing population, the City of Lakeland opted to use the same millage rate — 5.4323 mills — as last year to calculate the FY24 budget. According to the Polk County Property Appraiser, a 12.15% growth in property values was also considered.
- $172,672,720 — The Lakeland Police Department, city personnel, and other operational costs. This line item encompasses ~23% of the FY24 budget. It is funded by residential, commercial, and industrial property taxes as well as dividends paid by Lakeland Electric, surplus funds from the current fiscal year, and fees.
Strategic Plan target areas
- $2,785,600 — Infrastructure projects (think: New sidewalks and multipurpose trails, roundabouts, and a downtown parking availability tracker)
- $2,536,000 — Economic Development (think: Initiatives that attract manufacturing + research companies to Lakeland, plus an additional $512,664 for educational programs at the Aerospace Center for Excellence, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and others)
- $2,886,555 — Affordable Housing (think: New construction, rehabilitation and repairs of existing structures, etc.)
- $923,589 — Public Safety (think: New firefighters and police officer recruitment)
City Commission initiatives
Also under the umbrella of Strategic Plan target areas is a collection of new City Commission initiatives. With a combined budget of $1,725,000, here are the specific initiatives and their respective budgets:
- $1,000,000 — Affordable housing projects ready to begin construction
- $275,000 — Public art projects through the Mayor’s Council on the Arts
- $250,000 — Polk Museum of Art expansion
- $200,000 — Small business development programs through Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp. and Prospera for Black and Hispanic-owned business ventures