City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.

City of Lakeland and Polk County impact fees set to change  January 1, 2016.

Polk County’s impact fees have been reinstated following a moratorium, and the City of Lakeland’s have been adjusted as the result of an updated fee study.  While some individual fees will increase, others will actually be reduced, so you should take steps to evaluate the effect of the fee change on any projects you anticipate permitting before or after the New Year.Please note that the cumulative effect of the changes is not an across the board increase.  We have prepared a series of example fee calculations for single-family, multi-family, 8,000 square foot restaurant, and 150,000 square foot warehouse projects so you can compare the current cumulative impact fees with those that will become effective January 1stClick here to review the examples.

In order for current (pre-2016) fees to apply to a particular project, applications and complete approvable plans (Site and Construction) must be submitted on or before December 31, 2015, and the permit(s) for which the applications and plans are submitted must be issued within 180 days.

For more information you may wish to explore our full web page on impact fees (click here), or, to discuss your specific project(s), please contact the Community Development Department at (863) 834-6011.


Have You Registered to Vote in the November Elections?
Deadline to do so is October 5th!

Residents in the municipalities of Lakeland and Winter Haven who wish to register to vote in the November 3rd Municipal Election must do so on or before Monday, October 5th.

Voter registration forms may be completed online at, or paper copies are available for pickup at many convenient locations throughout the county including city halls, banks, libraries, and chambers of commerce. Those who are already registered are reminded to notify the Elections Office of any name, address, or signature changes before Election Day.

For more information visit, or call the Elections Office at 863-534-5888.

Picture Polk History - A Photography Contest

Sponsored by the Polk County History Center

‘Picture Polk History’ features the History and Heritage sites on the Polk County Heritage Trail.  Explore Polk County’s ‘sense of place’ by capturing distinctive images of our unique, historic buildings, places and events.* Open to amateur photographers only.


Share a picture that tells the story of your town! Photography entries will be on display at the Polk County History Center May 22th. Images of excellent artistic and historic quality will remain on display from May 22nd through November 29th, 2014 at the Polk County History Center. Cash prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced at the opening reception May 22nd.

All entries must be submitted in person at the Polk County History Center located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Bartow by MAY 3rd. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-5pm. For more information call 863-534-4386.

*Photographs must feature a museum, a monument, a historic building, a cemetery, or a local festival that is listed on the Polk County Heritage Trail. You can consult the History & Heritage Guide to Polk County brochure online at or you may contact the Polk County History Center to check the master list of historical sites.  

All entries must be submitted by MAY 3rd to the Polk County History Center located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Bartow. We are open Tuesday through Saturday 9am-5pm.

For more information call 863-534-4386.



1. Photographs must be the original work of an amateur photographer.

2. Photos must feature a museum, a monument, a historic building, a cemetery or a local festival. For additional ideas, you can consult the History & Heritage Guide to Polk County brochure or you may call the Polk County History Center at 863-534-4386 to check the master list of historical sites.

3. Only 2 image entries per contestant will be allowed.



5. Photo manipulation is acceptable but it should enhance, not distract, from the heritage theme.

6. The Polk County History Center reserves the right to disqualify photographs for inappropriate or offensive imagery. 

Polk County Communities Recognized as Healthy Weight Community Champions

BARTOW- The Florida Department of Health has recognized the City of Lakeland, the City of Winter Haven, and Polk County as Healthy Weight Community Champions. Between November 2013 and February 2014, local governments were invited to submit best practice policies they have implemented to promote physical activity and improve nutrition in their jurisdictions. These “best practices” are exemplified by the Healthy Weight Community Champions.


“Efforts to improve health are often most effective at the local level and the Department wants to recognize the outstanding progress made by these communities to promote healthy weight,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong.

“We are very proud of the work our local community leaders have accomplished to make Polk County a healthier place to live, work, and play,” said Dr. Ulyee Choe, FDOH- Polk Director.

Some of the best practices enacted locally include:

  • Sponsorship of low or no cost fitness related events
  • Pursuing healthy community design and complete streets policies
  • Supporting the development of community gardens
  • Including healthier alternatives in vending machines at parks and recreation facilities

    A full list of policy changes for each community is available in the attached document or online at

    Each municipality will receive their award at an upcoming public meeting. Communities will also receive personalized Healthy Weight graphics and promotional material.

    The Community Champions program is part of the Department’s Healthiest Weight Florida initiative. Healthiest Weight Florida is a public-private collaboration bringing together state agencies, local governments, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations and entire communities to help Florida’s children and adults make consistent, informed choices about healthy eating and active living.

    To learn more about Healthiest Weight Florida, please visit

    For more information about the Florida Department of Health in Polk County please visit