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Polk County, Florida

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Transparency grading process

Polk County is one of 67 counties in Florida. As of 2000, the population was 483,924. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates of 2006 put the county population at 561,606.[1]

Polk County is sometimes called Imperial Polk County. This name stems from 1914, when the county issued a $1.5 million bond to pave a number of roads. That bond issue was considerable for those days, and allowed for 9 foot-wide roads to start from Bartow to Mulberry, Lake Wales, Fort Meade, Winter Haven, Lakeland and Auburndale. According to historical reports, then-county commission clerk W.S. Wev had the idea of erecting an arch over every paved road at its entrance to Polk County, proclaiming that the motorist was about to enter "Imperial Polk County." The name stuck.

Polk's county seat is Bartow, and the largest city in the county is Lakeland.

The Polk County School District is the public school district of the county.

Polk County's population as of 2007 was 581,058. It is one of 20 charter counties in the state. It became a charter county in 1998.[2]

History

Polk County became Florida's 39th county on February 8, 1861, when the State of Florida divided Hillsborough County into eastern and western halves. The eastern half was named Polk, in honor of the 11th President of the United States, James Knox Polk.

Following the Civil War, the county commission established the county seat in Bartow, in the central part of the county. Bartow was named after Francis S. Bartow, a confederate Colonel from Georgia who was the first confederate officer to die in battle during the first battle of the Civil War. Fort Blount, as Bartow was then known, in a move to honor one of the first fallen heroes of the Confederacy, was one of several towns and counties in the South that changed their name to Bartow.

Evaluation of website

Main article: Evaluation of Florida county websites

Last rated on Jan. 30,2013

The good

  • Budgets
    • Budget is published and archived for three years.[3]
  • Meetings
    • Board meeting schedule, agendas and minutes are posted and archived for three years.[4] Archives are located in the left side bar.
  • Elected Officials
  • County commissioners are listed with contact information.[5] Each commissioner can be accessed by the navigation bar on the left.
  • Administrative Officials
    • Name, phone numbers, email address, and physical address are available for the County Manager[6]
  • Building Permits and Zoning
    • Building permit applications are available in the county document center[7]
    • Zoning information is available.[8]
    • Includes information on permits and the permits themselves.[9] [10]
  • Audits
    • Audit information is available and archived for 3 years on the county clerk page[11], which is available through the county website's main navigation bar.
  • Contracts
    • Information on bids and contracts is available[12]
    • Active contracts are posted.[13]
    • Open bids are posted.[14]
  • Public Records
  • Taxes
    • Local tax information is available.[16]
  • Lobbying
    • City ethics page[17] includes links to the state sunshine page, which includes a database of registered lobbyists.[18]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • No information on taxpayer funded lobbying efforts by the city.

Municipalities in Polk County

  1. City of Auburndale
  2. City of Bartow
  3. City of Davenport
  4. Town of Dundee
  5. City of Eagle Lake
  6. City of Fort Meade
  1. City of Frostproof
  2. City of Haines City
  3. Village of Highland Park
  4. Town of Hillcrest Heights
  5. City of Lake Alfred
  6. Town of Lake Hamilton
  1. City of Lakeland
  2. City of Lake Wales
  3. City of Mulberry
  4. Town of Polk City
  5. City of Winter Haven

Lobbying

Main article: Florida government sector lobbying

Polk County has reported $750,000 spent on lobbying the federal government since 2001 (see table).

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2001-2009[19]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2009 $60,000
2008 $90,000
2007 $100,000
2006 $100,000
2005 $80,000
2004 $80,000
2003 $80,000
2002 $80,000
2001 $80,000

Audits

For Polk County, the clerk or comptroller performs the internal audits.[20]

External links

References