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Lake City News

Lake City 2021: The Number One Story in Columbia County Was Lake City

Image of hand coming out of the sea with caption: Lake City 2021, the year that was. It was not a good year
Image by Nikko Macaspac via Unsplash | Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – As 2021 fades into the sunset, the number one story in Columbia County was its County Seat – Lake City.

While most folks may have never heard of Columbia County, everyone recognizes Lake City as one of the most recoginzed geographical locations in the state. Years ago, City Councilwoman Melinda Moses pointed out that Lake City is what Columbia County is known by. Studies have shown that to be true.

In 2019, Lake City’s population was 12,352, a 23.8% increase since 2000. (City-Data.com).

In 2019, the estimated median Lake City household income was $38,400, while the comparable number in Florida was $59,227.

In 2019, the percentage of residents living in poverty was 22.2%

In 2019, Lake City was 50.9% white.

In 2021, Lake City was a hotbed of murder and gun violence, most of it in minority areas of the City.

One City Manager was forced to resign. The Council rejected the City budget.

One Interim City Manager was forced to resign. Then, the next Interim City Manager resigned. Inbetween those two, there was an Interim City Manager for a day. That person in back as the Interim City Manager.

Two Assistant City Managers resigned.

Two Directors of IT resigned. The head of Growth Management resigned.

2021 has been a year of devolvement in Lake City. The City Council is a mess, and with the resignation of one Councilmember, it has not been at full strength for four months.

Lake City’s Police Chief resigned. Some thought that she feared for her own safety.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated various members of the City staff.

Lake City Utilities, at one time the utility provider for Columbia County, dropped the ball and forced the County to get into the utility business.

An obelisk, celebrating the Civil War victory of the Confederates over the North, remains standing in a place of honor in downtown Lake City, in a park named after the battle, Olustee Park. Olustee is not in Lake City or Columbia County.

There was one moment of levity in 2021

There was one moment of levity. City Attorney Fred Koberlein, Jr., invoked the Winnie-the-Pooh ‘Factor” to explain a derelict resolution prepared by his office.

It was not a good year for Lake City.

You can read all about it here.

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