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Polk County Board Approves Record Annual Budget

Published: September 19, 2023

Bartow, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2023) — Polk County’s Board of County Commissioners approved a record $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2023/24 on Monday evening. This represents a 1.72% increase over last year’s budget.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the 2023/24 budget:

  • The budget sets aside $476 million for the Community Investment Program. CIP dollars fund major infrastructure improvements – a priority given the county’s growing population – and this year’s funding is part of a $1.2 billion five-year plan. About 55% of this year’s CIP money will be spent on Roads & Drainage projects, including Lake Wilson Road, West Pipkin Road and Marigold Avenue. CIP money also will fund new fire rescue stations, stormwater/water quality improvement projects and a sheriff’s K-9 training facility.
  • In an effort to provide financial relief to homeowners facing increasing property values, the BoCC approved a second-consecutive 3% millage rate reduction. As a result, despite an average 16% property value increase, homeowners will see only a minimal increase in their property taxes, as opposed to the significant increase they would have experienced if the Board had kept the millage rate steady or raised it.
  • In November 2022, Polk voters approved a referendum for additional millage that will be assessed exclusively to purchase and maintain select environmental lands and conservation easements over the next 20 years. The measure is the first of its kind in Polk County since 2014, and it is expected to generate $11.3 million in 2023/24.
  • Residents living in unincorporated Polk County will experience a 5% increase in their Fire Fee. For a single-family residence, the Fire Fee will be $268.
  • The Polk County Sheriff Office’s budget is nearly $236 million, a $32.7 million increase from 2022/23.
  • Waste collection fees in unincorporated Polk County are returning to the $206.50 special assessment fee established in 2021/22. Also, the county is creating a third waste collection zone that utilize county employees beginning Oct. 1, 2024.

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