Calling all lifelong Monopoly bankers. Following last month’s budget retreat, Lakeland’s city commissioners compiled a list of 34 initiatives for the upcoming 2022 fiscal year.
While city commissioners and city planners work together to decide how to allocate funds, we thought we’d ask our readers how they would distribute these big bucks. Take a look at 3 of this year’s initiatives below, and let us know what you would do with the city’s budget.
- Affordable housing. Commissioners unanimously agreed to increase funding for affordable housing by 50% from the previous year’s $500,000 to $750,000. This affordable housing budget is significantly higher than years prior — triple what the city pledged in support over the last three years.
- Cultural arts. In another unanimous vote, city commissioners expressed their support for backing Lakeland’s art scene by increasing funding for cultural arts by $25,000 in the upcoming fiscal year. This will bring the annual grant awarded by the Mayor’s Council on the Arts from $250,000 to $275,000. Commissioner Phillip Walker encouraged his fellow council members to express support for all art forms, including dance and cultural performances as well as traditional art mediums.
- Airport commercial service backstop. In partnership with funding from Polk County and money from the private sector, commissioners agreed to pledge $1 million to a “revenue guarantee” fund, which will act as an incentive for major commercial airlines to bring service to Lakeland Linder International Airport. The fund acts as insurance, protecting airlines from any potential financial losses they might encounter during the first year of service to LAL.