Recently some statements about Lakeland were made in the Commercial Appeal about Lakeland's request to participate in the Shelby County "Environmental Court" in Arlington.
We appreciate the invitation of Arlington Mayor Wiseman and other Arlington City officials to participate in the Arlington Environmental Court sessions and submitted an Interlocal Agreement to Shelby County for approval.
The Interlocal Agreement was considered by a Shelby County Commission Committee on Wednesday, April 5, 2005 and was delayed for 30 days. According to a story in the Commercial Appeal, the County Commissioner who requested the delay is not correctly informed.
I feel it is important that the misconceptions about Lakeland not be allowed to continue.
-The statement was made that “Lakeland depends on the County for fire services”. This is correct. Lakeland also pays more than it’s share of the County Fire Department. Each resident pays $24.00 per month and each business also pays a fire fee. In addition, the City of Lakeland spent over $1,200,000 on Lakeland Fire Station # 1 and provides it free to the County Fire Department.
We aren’t complaining. We’re glad to help our neighbors in the County out, but the statement that Lakeland is freeloading on the County Fire Department is absolutely false.
-The statement was made that “Lakeland doesn’t have a Police Department". Neither does the City of Arlington, so I don’t know what this has to do with it.
-The City of Lakeland pays it’s full share of the ambulance system.
-The County already pays whatever extra expenses there are to have a separate Environmental Court in Millington and Arlington. Actually, the County would make money off of this, since the City of Lakeland would file more citations (which pay the County fines and court costs) in a nearby Court. Also, it would save Lakeland residents and the City of Lakeland time and money in not having to go to downtown Memphis.
-If the Shelby County Commission is so concerned about the costs to other suburbs, why were the Courts approved for Millington and Arlington? If the Shelby County Commission objects to “other suburbs” subsidizing the courts, this is already happening and it seems that Lakeland is subsidizing Millington and Arlington.
We did not ask for another Court site, we only asked to participate in an existing site, which would actually profit the County, not cost the County money. We have absolutely no objection to the Courts in Millington and Arlington, even if we can't file our citations there. We feel the locations benefit Shelby County residents and we support that and applaud Millington and Arlington for better serving their residents. We appreciate the invitation by Arlington to participate and hope that the Shelby County Commission will consider the Interlocal Agreement on the merits as soon as possible.
I don’t know the real reason for delaying the Inter-Local Agreement with Shelby County so our residents don't have to travel to Memphis, but the reasons presented are not valid and continue incorrect perceptions about Lakeland.