Lakeland revises sewer ordinance, approves major repairs and purchases

bigger-lakeland-logoLakeland made major decisions for its sewer rates and infrastructure at the Jan. 12 board meeting, as well as buying a large piece of roadwork equipment and changing the city’s pickup schedules for trash, yard waste and recycling. Board members also said goodbye to a distinguished commissioner who is moving out of state.

It was the final reading on revisions to the residential sewer ordinance. The changes include using a different unit of measurement. Instead of gallons, the rate will be stated in ccf, an industry-standard measurement in hundreds of cubic feet, with the first C standing for the Latin term meaning 100. The ccf rate will also be rounded to 5 ccf, reflecting the way that Memphis Light Gas and Water reads water meters.

A section on sewer charge adjustments also has been added, outlining how to request an adjustment to a sewer charge because of faulty equipment or water leaks. Adjustment requests must be made within 60 days of the incident. One financial adjustment will be allowed annually. Adjustments won’t be allowed for normal outdoor water use, such as irrigation, car washing, pressure washing or swimming pools.

At the board’s request, city personnel are re-evaluating the current sewer rate and researching possibilities to reduce sewer charges for irrigation customers. Work has begun with MLGW to explore options such as a winter peak cap and/or cost reductions for irrigation meter installation. Lakeland will also be running new rate models to ensure revenue generated is adequate to improve the sewer funds net position and pay for future capital improvement projects.

Sewer repairs

The board authorized Bunker to execute a contract with the lowest bidder, Enscor LLC, for the FY2017 Sanitary Sewer Project. The bid was for $69,200. With a construction contingency amount of $10,000, the total comes to $79,200.

The work will repair broken or collapsed sewer lines in eight locations. Most are small point repairs at the residential service connection to the main line. Also included is a replacement line on Canada Road south of Interstate 40, where the pipe beneath a drainage structure (an inaccessible location) has collapsed. A parallel line will be installed and tied into the existing downstream manhole, creating a bypass to the existing line.

Equipment purchase

The board approved the purchase of a John Deer 6105E cab tractor with an Alamo Machete-2 side boom and a 60-inch rotary cutter for $120,500.10 from Tennessee Tractor LLC.

City Engineer Emily Harrell said the equipment will speed up the trimming of vegetative growth along roadways and sewer right-of-ways, as well as lower costs over the long term by bringing the work in house.

Trash schedules

City Manager Jim Atkinson explained upcoming changes to Lakeland residents’ pickup schedules for trash, yard waste and recycling. Residents currently have a regular trash pickup day (Monday -Thursday), and they also can put out a limited amount of yard waste and recycling on that day. Unlimited yard waste is collected on Fridays. But as of Feb. 6, the city will allow unlimited yard waste on the regular trash day and move recycling pickups to Fridays.

A letter covering all the changes was mailed to each Lakeland resident on Jan. 13. Residents will get another reminder placed on trash carts during the week of Jan. 23. That same week, reminder signs also will be placed at the entrances to neighborhoods. For that week and the next, reminders of the A week/B week schedule will be placed on recycling carts.

City honors commissioner

At the start of the meeting Mayor Wyatt Bunker presented outgoing Commissioner Sherri Gallick with a City of Lakeland proclamation honoring her for her service. Gallick is moving, and the Jan. 12 meeting was her last in office. She has been a Lakeland commissioner since Sept. 19, 2013, and also completed a two-year term as vice mayor.

The proclamation praised her humility as a public servant as well as “her enormous capacity for hard work and her ability to express the needs and desires of the Lakeland residents she serves.”

In part, the proclamation read, “Sherri has demonstrated in many ways her deep and genuine love for the city of Lakeland and the surrounding area, dedicating her time to the Economic Development Commission and Keep Lakeland Beautiful.”

She responded with thanks and said, “I do want to say that it has been a privilege and I feel very honored to be able to serve, because I know that not just me, but everybody on the board, we made a difference in Lakeland and we set a foundation going forward that’s going to change this city and make it even better.”

The board will be accepting applications for someone to complete her term of office, which will end Nov. 6, 2018. Applications are open to qualified voters in Lakeland and will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31. See details and a link to the application online at

At the Jan. 12 meeting, the board also appointed Angie Grooms as the newest member of the Economic Development Commission, replacing a vacant seat.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or