City Commission Calls Special Meeting to Vote on Resolution Supporting USFP “or any independent successor organization”

The City Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning for a special session to discuss a resolution supporting USFP “or any independent successor organization.” Here is the proposed resolution in full:

I-A FEBRUARY 22, 2012

RESOLUTION NO. ____

PROPOSED RESOLUTION NO. 12-008

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAKELAND RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC (USFP); RE-EMPHASIZING ITS COMMITMENT TO THE SUCCESS OF THE PROPOSED UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA POLYTECHNIC; INDICATING ITS SUPPORT FOR THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS PLAN TO TRANSITION TO INDEPENDENCE; ACKNOWLEDGING THE IMPORTANCE OF A PROCESS THAT ENSURES A CONTINUALLY ACCREDITED
POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY IN LAKELAND; URGES REEVALUATION OF PROPOSED DISPROPORTIONATE BUDGET CUTS BY THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE; MAKING FINDINGS; PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

WHEREAS, on November 7, 2011, The City Commission of the City of Lakeland enacted Resolution No. 4949 as an expression of its support for the University of South Florida Polytechnic (USFP) and expressed its reasons for continuing to be a strong advocate for the development of the polytechnic campus in Lakeland; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland based its support on the significant and transformative regional impact that a prosperous and vibrant polytechnic university will have on Lakeland, the Central Florida I-4 region, and the State of Florida; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland believes that the future requirements of our technical society must be met by leaders who have the scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematical education that operating in tomorrow’s highly competitive world will require; and

WHEREAS, as demonstration of its unwavering commitment, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland has previously invested $5.4 million in water and wastewater infrastructure to provide public utilities and is scheduled to invest an additional $6.1 million in associated roadway improvements on SR 33 in support of the ancillary development that is anticipated; and

WHEREAS, as further demonstration of its commitment and support, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland entered into an Economic Development Grant Agreement with the Lakeland Economic Development Council dated January 1, 2008, and provided funding to the University of South Florida (USF) in the amount of $5 million to further the construction and development of the proposed University of South Florida campus development; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland relied on the stature of the University of South Florida as an important citizen of the Lakeland community, and its representation that significant ancillary economic development supporting the campus would result in development activity, job creation, and further economic growth; and

WHEREAS, in conjunction with the University of South Florida, the Board of Governors of the Florida State University System has provided a measured and deliberate program which will transition USFP to an independent polytechnic university; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland respects the expertise and experience of the Board of Governors in these matters and wishes to announce its position and pledge its continued support; and

WHEREAS, the Florida Legislature is considering budget cuts to Florida Public University Systems; and

WHEREAS, the proposed budget reductions to the University of South Florida (USF) represent a significantly higher percentage than those proposed for any other Florida Public University system; and

WHEREAS, the proposed budget cuts would be detrimental to thousands of current and future USF students and educators; and

WHEREAS, USF is an important institution for attracting new employers to the Central Florida I-4 region to provide for economic development that is much needed by the State of Florida; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland restates and embraces, as its primary goal, the success of the polytechnic university regardless of its affiliation, and supports the program as implemented by the Board of Governors; and

WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Lakeland believes that the Board of Governors’ conversion plan will ensure the continuous operation of an accredited polytechnic university in Lakeland;

NOW, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF LAKELAND, FLORIDA:

SECTION 1. The foregoing findings are incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof.

SECTION 2. The City Commission emphasizes its continued support and desire that University of South Florida Polytechnic, or any independent successor organization, be operationally and financially successful.

SECTION 3. The City Commission concurs with the program implemented by the Board of Governors which will ensure the continuously accredited, successfully operated polytechnic university in Lakeland.

SECTION 4. The City Commission urges the Florida Legislature to re-evaluate the proposed Florida Public University budget reductions and apply such on a more equitable basis that would not impact USF on a disproportionate basis.

PASSED AND CERTIFIED AS TO PASSAGE this 22nd day of February, A.D. 2012.

______________________________
GOW B. FIELDS, MAYOR
ATTEST: ____________________________
KELLY S. KOOS, CITY CLERK
APPROVED AS TO FORM AND CORRECTNESS: ______________________________
TIMOTHY J. McCAUSLAND
CITY ATTORNEY