The closing of the Lakeland Kroger store on Highway 64 will have a major impact on the financial revenue of the City of Lakeland and thus significantly impact projects and services. There will also be on impact on the Lakeland community by not having a “Lakeland” grocery store, at least for a period of time.
We estimate that the closing of the Lakeland Kroger store will have about the same impact as the closing of the major businesses in the Lakeland Mall, which was a very significant reduction in City of Lakeland revenues and thus city programs and services. The Kroger impact will be more sudden than the mall closing (the City of Lakeland revenues will be impacted in December or January if the apparent Kroger schedule is followed.)
The City receives sales tax and Business Use Taxes from the Kroger Lakeland store. Individual taxes paid by a business is confidential.
The Lakeland Board of Commissioners has been setting priorities, and reviewing projects in anticipation of lower revenues based on the the economy and the effects of major businesses closing in the Lakeland Mall.
Projects and services have been delayed or eliminated, City personnel costs and personnel have been reduced and expenses have been minimized as revenues have continued to decrease for the past few years. The decreased revenues from Kroger closing the Lakeland store will be included in the process of setting priorities and having to delay or eliminate projects and services and minimize expenses.
On the positive side, a story in a Memphis business newspaper noted that the Lakeland Mall owner is planning to rebuild the Lakeland Mall and tenant recruitment is in process. When completely developed, the positive financial impact would more than offset the Kroger closing. The story stated the mall would open next year although it probably could take several years for the Lakeland Mall to become fully operational. This will be a significant positive impact on the City sales tax revenues and business in Lakeland.
Another positive note is the Stonebridge Golf Course recent improvements to the greens and other areas, which we expect will substantially increase business for the Golf Course and result in more sales tax and business use tax for the City. The Stonebridge Golf Course just re-opened Thursday, September 1, 2011 and I understand the course is now one of the more outstanding courses in the Memphis area with the new improvements!
The Lakeland Economic Development Commission has been actively developing a strategic plan to recruit quality commercial businesses to Lakeland. Growth Management Director J. HIgbee is working with the EDC to develop the plan which I expect will be instrumental in attracting quality commercial businesses to Lakeland.
Hopefully, the current Lakeland Kroger building will be actively marketed for a suitable commercial business or businesses.
When I first came to Lakeland, a financial analysis indicated that three of the major potential problems for the City of Lakeland included the closing of the Lakeland Mall, and the closing of the Kroger Store (due to their significant sales tax revenue) and the decrease in development. I was even advised the there was no way that Schmucks was going to survive against Walmart and Kroger and that Kroger would get the store across the street cheap when Schmucks withdrew from the Memphis market. All of these threats have become reality, but I feel optimistic that the current initiatives will improve the Lakeland economy in the future. As a friend said, this is “just another opportunity to excel”.
We encourage Lakeland residents to support our community by supporting the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and Lakeland businesses which support our community, lists many Lakeland businesses.