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Polk County voters to decide Charter Amendments

Published on Oct 30, 2020

Bartow, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2020) – Next week, Polk County voters will be asked to make many decisions, including on whether or not to pass two proposed local charter amendments.

These amendments, put forth by the 2017 Charter Review Commission, would save taxpayer dollars and enhance the mission of the charter review process.

They also happen to be the last two items on all local ballots. These amendments would increase the time between Charter Review Commissions from eight years to 12 and eliminate the Polk County Efficiency Commission.

Polk’s first Charter Review Commission in 2001 offered a number of solid recommendations. The most significant of which, was to make the constitutional officers nonpartisan. However, since that time, other proposed charter changes have been ministerial in nature.

The proposed ballot amendment on the Efficiency Commission, is quite simple: The original idea behind the Efficiency Commission never materialized.

The objective was to get as many municipalities, constitutional offices and the School Board to plan closer together; to create economies of scale and to enhance cooperation. While program cooperation and efficiencies did eventually emerge, it was largely out of necessity during the Great Recession.

In the end, the Efficiency Commission ultimately spent more money than they ever saved and voted to abolish itself.

In order to pass, both must be passed with more than 60 percent approval. Both have been recommended for approval by the Polk County Charter Commission and in 2013, the last time the Efficiency Commission’s board met, it voted to abolish itself.