Polk Charter


Polk County, FL

Overview

The Polk County Charter was developed in 1997 by a Charter Commission appointed by the County Commission and the Constitutional Officers (Sheriff, Clerk of Courts, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Collector, Property Appraiser). The Charter Commission developed the Charter and submitted it to the voters for their reaction in the November 1998 general election. Voters approved it by a wide margin.

The Charter requires that by July 1st of every eighth year after 2001 a Charter Review Commission again be appointed to review the Charter and to present to the Board of County Commissioners any recommended revisions.

Polk Charter Commission Meeting

Amendments on the Ballot in November 2018

Polk County Efficiency Commission

At its final meeting in January 2014, the Efficiency Commission voted to recommend that the Charter be changed to eliminate the Commission. This amendment terminates the current Charter requirement to appoint the Polk County Efficiency Commission every eight years and amends Charter provisions related to appointment standards, qualifications, duties of members and other officers, commission reports and required responses.

Term Limits

Currently, Commissioners are term-limited after two, four-year terms. This will amend the County Charter to allow an incumbent to appear on the ballot for re-election to the office of County Commissioner for 12 consecutive years. Service as a Commissioner before November 20, 2018 shall be counted against the term limitation.

Charter Review Reform

Amends the County Charter to increase the time between appointments of the mandatory Polk County Charter Review Commission to 12 years. Adds explanatory language to the County Charter confirming the County Commission's authority to propose charter amendments and to create a special advisory charter review board at any time.

Members

  • J. Bart Allen, Esq.

  • Casandra Denmark

  • Bob English

  • Mike Hickman

  • Alice Hunt

  • Lisa Jensen

  • Greg Masters

  • Charles McPherson

  • Patty Schmidt

  • Christian Spinosa

  • Robert Stanz

  • Ramon Vicioso

  • Clay Watkins

Polk Charter Commission Members

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a County Charter?

It is a written document defining the structure, powers, and functions of government within a county of Florida. It is analogous to a “constitution” for the county’s residents.

What is Charter Government?

It’s a means by which the electorate may change the structure and service delivery mechanisms of county government. It is made available to the voters of each county in Florida by the Florida Constitution.

Which counties in Florida currently have Charters?

There are 20 out of Florida’s 67 counties in which the electorate has adopted a charter form of government. These are: Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Orange, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Volusia and Wakulla. Based on recent census data, these counties represent approximately 80% of the state’s 17+ million residents.

How do charter governments differ from non-charter governments?

It depends on the charter adopted by the electorate. The 1968 revisions to the Florida constitution and acts of the Florida Legislature have given many powers of “home-rule” (self-government) to non-charter as well as charter counties, making routine powers of charter and non-charter counties essentially identical. These home-rule powers for non-charter counties are limited to being those “as is provided by general or special law.”

Additional powers are given to a county if they are expressly provided for in its charter as adopted by its citizens. These must be consistent with state law, but may include such topics as the structure of the County Commission and offices such as the Clerk and Sheriff, the manner by which commissioners are elected, policy on delivery of county services, etc. All changes must be approved by a vote of the electorate of Polk County before they can be implemented.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact our Administrative Assistant at chartercommission@polkcharter.com or use the form below: