Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

Lake City News

Index of stories 2009 & 2010

LCPD toy drive a huge success

Lake City Community Redevelopment
Working to work out the bugs for a better downtown

Lake City Report - Dec 17, 2010
Florida Small Cities CDBG Audit Report

Lake City Report - Dec 10, 2010
Home ownership possibilities enhanced

Challenge Learning Center - Revisited
Now the cops are there

Gov Elect Rick ScottGov Elect Rick Scott listens in Lake City

Woman Arrested for Stealing Drugs
from Lake City Medical Center

Interested in the downtown?
Lake City Wants You

Lake City Projects and Activities Report
December 2010 • Administration, Community Development, Fire, Police, Public Works, Recreation, Utilities

Missing Lake City vehicle found in pond

Lake City Report - Nov 19, 2010
Citizen Alert Full Speed Ahead

Lake City's City Workers - One vote short of a fair shake

Monday night in Lake City - Employee "at will"
A bad policy for employees and the City

Lake City Report - Nov 05, 2010
Airport terminal and personnel taking off

Lake City Report - Oct 29, 2010
Gas rates & waste water on tap

Lake City Report - Oct 22, 2010
Brownfields & Community Development

Councilman George Ward911 Combined Communication Center stays
City Council supports interlocal agreement

Lake City Report - October 15th
Lake City Airport on center stage

Lake City Annual Report

Tyson Johnson in front of the Lake City CouncilLake City Puts Insurance Providers In Ring

Lake City Report - Sept 17, 2010
Health insurance wk shop Monday night

Lake City Report - Sept 10, 2010
North Florida Broadband and Project Activities take center stage

Councilwoman Moses studies the issue.Twelve minutes that will change Lake City for the next 100 years

Lake City Report - Sept. 3, 2010
Budget Hearing on the docket for Tuesday

Lake City Report - Aug. 27, 2010
Jefferson wins - Ward is back - LC is rolling along

Marc VannVann awarded $5000 CRA grant on split decision

Lake City Report - Aug. 13, 2010
City Utility Bonds up-up and away, $600,000 airport terminal grant on the way

Lake City Report - Aug. 6, 2010
Budget Planning Complete - No City Layoffs

Lake City Report - July 30, 2010
Utility Revenue Bonds - Budget

Lake City – There will be a plan
But will there be an execution?

Lake City Report - July 23, 2010
Bonds - Budgets - Capital Improvements

Lake City Report - July 16, 2010
The Old City Jail - Stay of Execution

Lake City Report - July 9, 2010
City Workers save taxpayers $231,944

Lake City shines as host for Suwannee River League of Cities

Lake City Report - July 2, 2010
Airport terminal and energy savings on top

Lake City Report - June 25, 2010
It's budget crunch time in Lake City

Lake City Planning for Future Downtown
County Commission MIA

Lake City Report - June 18, 2010
Blanche - Airport - Old City Hall - Budget

Lake City Monthly Projects Report June 2010 status updates

Grayson Cason, Executive Director of Admin. Services: "We are all working together to prepare these reports. These reports are our yardstick to see how we are doing."
(The June 6th staff report is available here)

Lake City Report - May 21, 2010
Bonds - Grants - Wastewater - Engineers

Lake City Report - May 14, 2010
This week city budget planning tops the list

Lake City Once-A-Decade Charter Review
After much intelligent conversation – 1977 lives on

Lake City Report - April 23, 2010
City bonds and broadband top the list

Lake City Charter Review Board
Decision time on the horizon

Lake City Report - April 16, 2010
Money and waste water top the list

Lake City Report - April 9, 2010
Demolition and Redevelopment top the list

Lake City Report - March 26, 2010
Classification and Pay Plan - Budget Workshop

Lake City Report - March 19, 2010
NFBA -- Old City Hall Demolition -- and more

Lake City Charter Review Board
Up-Up and Away

OJ Lake and Victoria Ellis share a light moment as the legendary Herbert Darby explained that there are still parts of the charter that he is trying to understand... Chairperson Skinner, like the Mayor who appointed her, will be representing Lake City's open style of government well.

Lake City Report - March 5, 2010
WWTP Financing - The Blanche -- Master Plan

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

The Blanche Hotel
The seventh inning stretch

The Blanche Group Bailout
Who are they? Where are they?

Observer exclusive • A Blanche Investor Interview

Structural Evaluation of the Blanche Hotel
Now in the hands of the City Council

This Monday night, the City Council will weigh in with its thoughts and its vote on whether to accept the responsibility of the engineering study. 

Lake City CRA Master Plan Competition
And then there was one

By Stew Lilker

Kurt Easton of IBI GroupLate Thursday afternoon, Lake City again showed that it is leading the way into the 21st century in Columbia County, when the three finalists came before the City Council to present themselves and their ideas on why they should be chosen to develop Lake City's CRA Master Plan. All were at the top of their game and the cream of the urban planning and design crop.

Lake City Report -Feb 19, 2010
Community clean up, Airport Terminal Project

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

The City staff and local community volunteers are planning the 2nd annual “Take Pride in Your Community” Cleanup Campaign. This “Green Team” event will take place from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon on April 24, 2010 staging at the Richardson Community Center.

Lake City Report - Feb 12, 2010
Personnel Policy revision, Strategic Plan, Bond debt review

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

The planning draft of the new City Personnel Manual has been on-going for several months and is approximately 40% complete. The new policy will provide information ...

Lake City Report - Feb 5, 2010

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

On the City Manager's docket this week are the February Projects and Activities Report, a few more words on the awards banquet and all the department reports.

And The Winners Are
Lake City Awards Night

Lake City abuzz
Awards dinner tonight

Lake City Report - Jan 22, 2010

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

The Rudolph Davis Affair • Employee at will

Capt. Rudolph Davis

In the United States, employees without a written employment contract generally can be fired for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. Florida is an "employment at will" state. This means an employee in Florida can be fired -- "because." In Florida it is established law that no reason has to be given. An employee can be fired because his employer just "feels like it."

Lake City Report - Jan 15, 2010

Bond Debt and the Blanche Hotel take center stage this week

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

The bond review continues ... At this time I am pleased to report the City has a very favorable position ...

Lake City Report - January 8, 2010
Going going - availability fees - almost gone

by City Manager Wendell Johnson and staff

At the year's first City Council meeting the Council approved the “Water, Wastewater and Reclaimed Water Rate Study.” The City Attorney and Staff are proceeding with the legislative and public notice activity.  The implementation process should take 90-120 days.

Lake City  Report - December 18, 2009

(The adoption of the rate study was tabled until January, after Utility Director, Dave Clanton, discovered some inconsistencies in the numbers. As reported earlier, the unpopular availability fees are on tap to go away. -- ed.)

Lake City Report December 11, 2009

Lake City Manager raises the bar
Lake City Reports are on the roll

Lake City utility accessibility fees
Going the way of the dodo bird

Monday night's City Council meeting began at 6:15 with a short workshop and a few words from the city's utility consultants, Tetra Tech, regarding the proposed elimination of the city's utility accessibility fees.

The Blanche Hotel Saga Continues

     • The Blanche Photo Gallery
     • The Blanche (Part I) -- The visit • The fire inspection
     • The Blanche (Part II) -- The City steps up • Councilman Hill wants slow down
     • The Blanche (Part III) -- Conversation with Steve Smith Blanche investment trust spokesman

This unlucky creature did not escape the Blanche Hotel. The Lake City Fire Department and the Observer want to make sure this doesn't happen to you. Go to Photo Gallery

Lake City Steps Up To The Plate
Offers to buy Landmark Blanche Hotel

The Lake City ad hoc Blanche Hotel Committee met on Wednesday, October 7th. The committee members, Council members Melinda Moses and George Ward and City Manager Wendell Johnson were joined by police chief Rigby-Gilmore for the important discussion. The purpose of the meeting – bring back a proposal to the City Council regarding the Blanche Hotel. 

After squandering millions
Columbia County has a map

(The city meeting)

The Sept.14 Lake City utility committee ran smoothly, quietly and professionally. Everyone from the city knew what they were talking about. City Manager, Wendell Johnson (blue shirt and tie) addresses County Com DuPree with his reservations about running the county utility at Ellisville. The entire city council attended this important meeting.

The City of Lake City has been in the utility business for a hundred years. There have been some bumps, big bumps, along the way. The city utility is now run and managed by a team of professionals and soon, along with its world class water plant, will also have a state of the art and up to date sewage treatment plant.

Lake City’s Own Sunshine Girls
Audrey Sikes and Michelle Green

City Clerk Audrey Sikes at the computer
City Clerk, Audrey Sikes, sorts through the city's electronic data base of digitized records.

Gov. Charlie Crist has proclaimed this week “A Week of Sunshine” and urged Florida’s citizens to celebrate Florida’s dedication to making state and local government accessible and transparent to the public.

Two weeks ago the Observer interviewed Lake City’s own Sunshine Girls, City Clerk Audrey Sikes and Deputy Clerk Michelle Green. The City Clerk’s Office serves as a beacon of sunshine for all of Columbia County and is no doubt what the Governor had in mind when he proclaimed “A Week of Sunshine.”

 • Meeting Calendar