Lakeland City Commissioners voted Monday 5-2 to use $225,000 in red light camera citation money to pay to move a controversial Confederate monument.
The city commission voted last December to move the monument out of Munn Park.
City commissioners, including several new members, then voted on May 7 to move the monument to Veterans Memorial Park using private funding.
Former Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs, who previously voted against moving the monument, said he doesn’t support the idea of using public funds.
“If you look at the verbiage, the statement at the May 7 City Commission meeting where the motion was made to move the monument to Veterans Park, intact, it says we will move the monument provided donated funds are used,” Wiggs said.
“To say it’s not public money is a little ludicrous. It’s ludicrous because of how you could use the money. You could use it to reduce taxes, to supplement the law enforcement agencies, the first responders. So you could use it the way you would to supplement any taxpayer money.”
At the meeting a number of people spoke in favor of using the funds to move it.
“It’s time to just get it done. It’s time to stop pretending that there’s reasons not to do it and just do it. Moving the statue will provide healing, and I hope you vote to do it,” said Lakeland resident Alecia Folsom.
“I can’t think of any better use of taxpayer money than to solve a problem today,” said Polk County School Board Member and Lakeland resident Billy Townsend.
A date has not been set.