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City Manager's Report
Jonathan E. Evans, MPA, City Manager
Happy 90th Birthday Mrs. Minnie Lee Porter!  

Mrs. Minnie Lee Porter (pictured on the right) was born in Hawkinsville, Georgia on February 24, 1924, and has been a resident and a pillar of Haines City, Florida for 72 years. Mrs. Porter is a widow with a daughter, 5 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, and numerous other family members and friends.


Mrs. Porter has great memories of never having a hungry day in her life. She attributes that to growing up on a farm and learning to grow her own vegetables, her father would provide homemade food from the farm animals he raised, such as bacon, sausage, ham, cooked fried chicken, barbeque chicken and dumplings.


The radio and the record player were the primary sources of family entertainment. Mrs. Porter remembers listening to President Roosevelt's fireside chats, and her favorite record was, and still is "The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow".


On February 20, 2014, in celebration of Mrs. Minnie Lee Porter's 90th Birthday, the City Commission presented relatives, on Mrs. Porter's behalf, with a Proclamation, declaring February 24, 2014, as Minnie Lee Porter Day, and urge all residents of Haines City to observe this day in recognition of Mrs. Porter's contributions to Haines City.
     Left to Right: Commissioner H.L. Roy Tyler, Mayor Don Mason, Ms. Emma G. Lawson (Mrs. Porter's granddaughter), Mr. Robert A. Lawson, Sr. (Mrs. Porter's Grandson), and Mrs. Earnestine Pugh (Mrs. Porter's Niece)
City Manager Jonathan Evans 

At the Regular Meeting of the City Commission on February 20, 2014, the elected officials passed Resolution 14-1078 ("Fire Service Assessment Extension of Payment") unanimously approving a 90-day extension period for those property owners that were assessed. This extension makes all assessments due by June 2, 2014, at 5 PM.


Secondly, property owners are now able to pay their assessments online at hainescity.com/fire assessment. Should you have any additional questions, comments or concerns please visit our website for more information.


Lastly, each property owner in Haines City will receive a letter explaining the Fire Assessment and the extension that was provided for by legislative action of the City Commission.



Employees of the Month  


The exempt Employee of the Month for the month of January is Linda Fisher. Ms. Fisher began employment with the City of Haines City on February 28, 2011, with the Water Utilities Division in the Public Works Department. Ms. Fisher is a Water Utilities Superintendent, and has been instrumental in helping the Water Utility overcome issues with TTHM and HAA5 compliance in the water system.


Ms. Fisher has transformed the Water Utility from a group of individuals to a well-rounded work team that works towards a common goal of providing excellent service to the citizens of Haines City. Ms. Fisher has been able to accomplish more with less while creating a good atmosphere in the Water Utilities Division. For these and many other reasons, the City of Haines City is proud to honor Ms. Linda Fisher as the exempt Employee of the Month for January 2014.


The non-exempt Employee of the Month for the month of January is Karen Rodgers. During the last several months, Ms. Rodgers has had to ensure that the Records section has continued to run smoothly despite being short staffed. There have been days that Ms. Rodgers was without very much assistance, and she continued to serve the agency with pride and professionalism. Ms. Rodgers continued to step up to the plate and make sure all is done. Often times having to correct mistakes of others, such as correcting case numbers, incomplete paperwork, etc. Even without assistance in the office she can be counted on to get the job done.


Ms. Rodgers works diligently to comprise the UCR stats, enter training reports, and complete all tasks assigned to Records. Ms. Rodgers has had to work alone when others were away for training or requested to serve in another capacity. Records Management is an overwhelming job assignment, but she always does an awesome job. For these reasons and more, Ms. Rogers has been chosen as the non-exempt Employee of the Month for January 2014.


 Left to Right: Records Clerk Karen Rodgers, Mayor Don Mason,

and Water Utility Superintendent Linda Fisher 



The City of Haines City would like to thank all of our excellent, dedicated employees, and volunteers who help make the City a great place to work, live and play. If you have "Watched Outstanding Work" within the City, please let us know at wow@hainescity.com.



Candidates for the 2014 Municipal Elections


Friday, February 14, 2014 was the last day of qualifying for City Commissioner, Seat No. 2 in Haines City, and the following individual(s) have qualified for the 2014 Municipal Elections: 


  • LaRon Rodriquez Adams

  • William Grobasky

  • Julio "Ricky" Morales

  • Horace West* 

* Incumbent Candidate



Important Election Dates


2014 Municipal Elections

Regular Election - April 1, 2014

Run-Off Election (if needed) - April 8, 2014


Voter Registration Deadlines

Regular Election - Monday, March, 3, 2014

Run-Off Election - Monday, March 10, 2014 


Polling Locations


Your polling location may have changed for this election. The polling places for the 2014 Municipal Elections are hereby designated as:


Precincts 402, 407 & 408

Bethune Neighborhood Center (Auditorium), 915 Ave E, Haines City, FL 33844 (Directions)


Precincts 405, 409 & 410

Haines City Community Center, 555 Ledwith Avenue, Haines City, FL 33844 (Directions)


The polls will open at the polling places at 7:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time, and will close at 7:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time, on the specified day of the election. 



Election Information Center


Please visit the Election Information Center for candidate information, election records and the

election schedule.

Bidding Opportunities 

The City of Haines City, in partnership with Onvia, Inc., processes its procurement transactions through the Onvia DemandStar electronic procurement system. Onvia DemandStar will enable the City of Haines City to better connect with vendors and improve the overall efficiency of its purchasing operation.


Onvia DemandStar will provide vendors with access to important procurement information. Services that will be available to you include:


  • Electronic Notification of formal bid, proposal, and qualification solicitations
  • Access to project detail information
  • Access to key documents via electronic download
  • Access to Planholders Lists
  • Access to award information



You may register for Onvia DemandStar services, online, at demandstar.com/register.rsp. If you would like to register for your free notification service of purchase solicitations issued by the City of Haines City through Onvia DemandStar, once you are logged onto the web page, select the "Onvia DemandStar FREE AGENCY" option. On the form that opens, furnish the pertinent information for your business, be sure to enter "City of Haines City" in the Agency Name field.


Bid Listings

Access Current bidding opportunities with the City of Haines City. View Bid Listings.

Introducing Officer Jose Pena and "Lobo"   

Police Chief / Interim Fire Chief Rick Sloan, and members of the Haines City Police Department, are excited to introduce our new K-9 "Lobo", and his handler Officer Jose Pena,  to our Community (pictured to the right).  Officer Jose Pena has been with the Department since 2009.


During the last 4 months members of the Haines City Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, Auburndale Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff's Office, have participated in the K-9 school hosted by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.  Ten dogs in total graduated  from the training consisting of 200 hours of intense narcotics detection  training. Officer Pena and his K-9 partner Lobo earned their narcotics certification from the North American Police Work Dog Association.


Once the rigorous narcotics detection school was successfully completed,  the K-9 teams attended a 480 hour patrol school  consisting of tracking, criminal apprehension, and obedience.  During this school, the teams traveled through Polk County exposing the dogs to numerous scenarios preparing them for police work on the road.  Upon successful completion of the K-9 patrol school, the team of Pena and Lobo also earned  Florida Department of Law Enforcement Patrol Certification. They began patrolling the streets of Haines City on February 19, 2014. 



The Haines City Police Department is partnering with  Keep Polk County Beautiful for the  Annual Neighborhood Cleanup, which  is Saturday, March 15th, from 7:30 AM to 12 PM. The areas of focus will be the Oakland Community, Hinson Avenue to Johnson Avenue and McKay to McLeod Avenue. Anyone wishing to volunteer please contact Lieutenant Keva Harris of the Haines City Police Department at (863) 421-3636 ext. 226. or (863) 557-2281 or via email at  harrisk@hainescitypd.com. Please assist by cleaning around your property and leave the bags by the curb, we will be happy to pick them up for you. Refreshments will be served and t-shirts will be given to the volunteers.


The Week of February 17th      

During the week of February 17th, Haines City Fire Department operations and administrative personnel successfully completed their CPR re-certification training.  Every two years, personnel is required to refresh their CPR knowledge and skills in a classroom setting.  Re-certification classes also help personnel keep up with changing CPR guidelines.  


In addition to CPR re-certification, all Haines City Fire Department certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) must successfully complete a 30-hour refresher training class every two years.  The Department has scheduled our refresher class for April.  This refresher class, together with CPR re-certification, ensures that all EMTs are in compliance with state re-certification guidelines.


In addition, all apparatus with pumping capabilities received their annual preventative maintenance during the week of February 17th.  Scheduling routine preventative maintenance ensures that fire pumps perform properly and when needed.  Annual pump tests are scheduled for later this year.


Members of the Department's bicycle patrol worked Ribs on the Ridge.  Engineer Dave Borawski worked the event on Friday night. Lieutenant Jacob Jimenez and Engineer Borawski both worked Saturday.  The bicycle patrol works large City events such as Ironman, Ribs on the Ridge, and Thunder on the Ridge.  Bicycles are easier to maneuver in large crowds and provide an efficient method for responding to medical emergencies.



Award for Unique and Innovative Plan 


On February 7, 2014, the City received an award from the Heart-of-Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, Florida, for the Oak Avenue Study. The City received an award in the "Plan It" category for creating a unique and innovative plan to address the future need for additional vehicle capacity on US 17/92 (Hinson Avenue) in the area around the underpass. Not only was this planning effort recognized as significant by the urban planners in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands Counties, the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken notice of the plan.


Since the creation of the study, the DOT has increased the amount of funding for their project design and environment study from $750,000 to $970 998. The DOT, in their most recent draft work program, is now proposing to spend an additional $1,353,000 to start preliminary engineering, to begin in Fiscal Year 2018-19. Staff has already had preliminary discussions with a consultant hired by the DOT to conduct what is best described as a pre-feasibility study, which will begin later this year.   While a significant sum ($180,000) was spent on the study, the study has already benefitted the City, due to the project's accelerated prioritization. The additional 1.5 million dollars in funding from DOT. More importantly, the City has now taken the lead on the design of future road improvements, instead of deferring to other government agencies.



Economic Development

602 US 17/92 Medical Office 

The medical office project at 602 West US 17/92 (north of Johnson Avenue) is almost complete. This project involved a conversion of the office for the former Guaranteed Concrete & Layout, Inc./A Quality Septic Service facility into a medical office. In addition to building improvements, due to the change in use, site improvements were required to comply with current Land Development Regulation requirements.  The before and after pictures show a substantial improvement in the appearance of the property, thereby contributing to the improvement of what is on the primary entryways into the City. Community Development staff thanks Mr. Rashmi Patel and Nish Construction Inc., for their work in redeveloping this property.



Reclaimed Water

The conservation topic of the day from Haines City's Wastewater Treatment Facility is Reclaimed Water. As you may already know, the great State of Florida has one of the largest aquifer deposits in the United States. Here at the Wastewater Treatment Facility, we are trying our best to keep that title by way of reclaimed water usage. We produce roughly 1.5 million gallons per day of reclaimed water that is used in a variety of applications, such as golf courses (Southern Dunes Golf Resort), parks, ranches, citrus groves, and industries. The City is dedicated to the conservation of this great and valuable resource. So the next time you see the words "Reclaimed Water" here in Haines City, give yourself a pat on the back because if it wasn't for everyone that makes up this City, we could not do this, and we are very appreciative.



Florida Friendly Landscaping Principles

Since spring is just around the corner a lot of us tend to get a little "SPRING FEVER"! We want to go shopping for flowers and plants to add to our landscape or replace plants that perhaps were lost during our Winter season. We get out the lawn mowers and clippers to keep our lawns well maintained, and naturally, we want to purchase fertilizer to keep our landscapes healthy and beautiful. We like to fertilize our lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers. Here at the Public Works Department it is our responsibility to provide you with information for the care and maintenance of your lawn and landscapes. We strive to be "FLORIDA FRIENDLY". You will find tips below from the Southwest Florida Water Management District to help get you started. For more information please contact our Public Works office (863) 421-3777.




Little League Baseball / Miss Haines City Softball

Leisure Services is proud to announce that the Little League Baseball Jamboree is scheduled for Saturday, March 8, 2014, at our Larry Parish Baseball Complex. This event will kick off another successful season of excitement for a lot of our children, and parents, throughout the area.

Miss Haines City softball season will begin March 1, 2014, with their jamboree at our East Park Softball Complex. We invite you to come on out and cheer for your favorite teams and experience the thrill of competitive softball.


Adult Volleyball

The Haines City Leisure Services Department is still accepting registrations for the Spring Co-Ed Adult Volleyball League.  It is only $150 for each team and space is limited so contact the office as soon as possible.  Registration ends on February 28, 2014, at 5PM.  All games will be played on Monday nights at the Lake Eva Community Center beginning in March. For more information please contact Jill Latimer at (863) 421-3700 or jlatimer@hainescity.com.

Summer Rec 

Registration for our popular Summer Recreation program.  It will be the same great program including daily indoor & outdoor activities, regular visits to the Aquatic Center, weekly field trips, a camp shirt, as well as breakfast and lunch.  An initial payment of $200 for each participant must be made at the time of registration to hold the space and the full balance must be paid by May 9, 2014. For additional information please contact the Community Center at (863) 421-3700 or jlatimer@hainescity.com for more details.


Men's Basketball  

The Haines City Leisure Services is also still taking registrations for our Men's Basketball League.  It is only $250 for each team and space is limited so please contact our office to register!  Registration ends on February 28, 2014, at 5PM.  Games will be on Thursday nights at the Oakland Gym beginning in March.  For more information contact Janette Carter at (863) 421-3720 or jcarter@hainescity.com.




Get your exercise and enjoy sunsets like these at Lake Eva tennis.  Monday night adult class runs from 6 PM - 7:30 PM and costs only $10.


The Haines City varsity tennis players are doing battle with other teams from Polk County in February and March at the Lake Eva courts.  All the matches begin at 3:30 PM. These fine young men and women would love your support.  Also, beginning in March, many college teams will once again be competing at Lake Eva while they are in Florida on their spring breaks.  Call Jeff at the Pro Shop at (863) 419-3447 for days and times.


On Friday, February 21st from 4 PM - 6 PM, there will be a pizza and play day for youth tennis players from the ages of 5 to 18.  All are welcome for this fun event, and the cost is only $2 per child.  Tennis will be played from 4 PM - 5:30 PM and then dinner arrives.  No need to sign up, simply show up.



Ribs on the Ridge  

The City of Hanes City, and the Leisure Services Department, would like to thank everyone who participated and attended the sixth Annual Ribs on the Ridge competition on Friday, February 14th and Saturday, February 15th, held at Lake Eva Park in Haines City. Congratulations to all our winners! Ribs on the Ridge Photo Gallery.




Grand Champion Professional Division


Everglades Seasoning BBQ Team, Team Captain Jimmy Brod from Sebring, Florida


Reserve Champion Professional Division

Hot Wachula's, Team Captain Matt Barber from Lakeland, Florida


Grand Champion Backyard Division

Hot Ashes, Team Captain Trey Harden from Lakeland, Florida


Reserve Champion Backyard Division


Second Hand Smoke , Team Captain Jason Hunter from Lakeland, Florida


Sauce Competition


1st Place      Sweet Smoke Q

2nd Place      Burning Bush


Dessert Competition


1st Place      We Be Smokin

2nd Place       Deep South Cooking


Kid's Q Competition


6-10    1st Place       Madison Eckert

6-10    2nd Place      Matthew Enos

11-15  1st Place       Justin Ahrens

11-15  2nd Place      Devin Harden


For 2014 Score Details, please visit http://www.flbbq.org/contests/haines.htm 



Kiss a Pig Competition

After all the proceeds from the Kiss-a-Pig Competition were counted, it was determined that City Manager Jonathan Evans won the privilege to Kiss-a-Pig! Thanks to everyone who helped with this fun, worthwhile project, especially our City Manager Jonathan! With the help of the community, we were able to donate approximately $850.00 to the Shop With A Cop/Firefighter Program for underprivileged kids. Way to go Haines City!




Haines City gives back!

Following the judging at the Ribs on the Ridge barbecue competition, the Leisure Services Department was able to donate 90 quart bags of meat to the East Polk Breadbasket to help feed the local community!



Food Truck Wars 

What better way to kick off your Spring Break than with lots of food & friends.  Food Truck Wars is coming to Haines City on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 3:00pm to 9:00pm at Lake Eva Park; 555 Ledwith Ave.  This event features over 40 gourmet food trucks from all over the state competing for five prestigious prizes awarded by celebrity judges.  


If you like to eat and like to try new foods you'll love Food Truck Wars.  There are lots of choices from Thai and Mexican dishes to lobster and everything in between.  Make sure you leave room for dessert because there will be plenty of that too.  Costs run from $3 to $18 with many entrees averaging between $6 and $8. Food Truck Wars combines a festival atmosphere with lots of delicious food choices to create a lively casual dining experience for consumers.  With entertainment from the stage, vendors and kid's activities, there is plenty for the entire family.


Mark your calendar and bring your appetite! 


Food Truck Wars Flyer




City Manager's Office
City of Haines City
620 E. Main Street
Haines City, FL 33844
Next Report - Monday, March 10, 2014

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