LAKELAND, TN (abc24.com) - You expect charities, non-profits and churches to ask for your donations. Now the city of Lakeland is looking for a little help from homeowners, but not with taxes or extra fees.
It's one of the richest cities in Shelby County, with the average home value well six figures. But ask Lakeland Mayor Scott Carmichael why the city is soliciting donations, he'll ask you, "Why not?"
The City of Lakeland needs cash so it's asking for its residents' donations. City leaders want to raise money for parks, youth programs and to furnish the city's senior center. The problem is, Lakeland is "one of the only cities in Tennessee that has no property tax," said Mayor Carmichael. The city of Lakeland also lost a big source of revenue when Kroger moved its Highway 64 store across the street into Memphis.
A lack of donations won't mean future taxation. Mayor Carmichael said, "All this would mean is we would have to delay some projects, but no, we would not implement a city tax."
It cost Lakeland $2,000 to mail out the letters, but they're more than confident they'll recoup the cash and then some. "Everything we received so far has been a positive response; it sounds like a good idea so why not try it," said Carmichael.
That good idea came from City Commissioner Gerrit Verschuur
"Earlier this year when I was in Barcelona in Spain, there was this huge cathedral that's being built with public money and people contribute whatever they feel like giving," he said. Verschuur and others hope the Spanish import translates into more revenue.
The city normally gets about $15,000 a year in donations.