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Breaking down Lakeland’s elected officials

We’re taking a look at some of the most prominent elected officials across Lakeland + Polk County — from how often they’re elected to the function of their offices.

A hand holding an "I Voted" sticker with a palm tree in the background

Get to know more about the elected officials across Lakeland + Polk County in this quick guide.

Photo by LALtoday

We recently asked our readers what they wanted to know when it came to Lakeland’s government, and more than 74% answered that they wanted information on what the different government positions do. Kudos to you for your show of civic engagement.

The City of Lakeland is one of Polk County’s 17 municipalities. While the City’s only elected officials are the mayor + City Commission, there are also several elected officials across Polk County whose office functions are crucial to Lakelanders. Before you mark your next ballot, here’s a quick breakdown of what each of these officials do and how often they are elected:

The Lakeland City Commission Chamber as seen from the audience seats. It features a large semicircular desk with name placards for commission members, and a podium with a microphone for speakers. Behind the desk are a US flag, State of Florida flag, and the City of Lakeland logo on the wall.

The City Commission meets in City Hall.

Photo provided by the City of Lakeland

City of Lakeland elected officials

Mayor

City Commission

  • Elected every four years
  • Including the mayor, Lakeland’s City Commission is comprised of seven officials representing the various districts of Lakeland. They work to develop and enact policies, decide on local tax rates, balance the city budget, address community issues, and more. Find your city commissioner.

Polk County elected officials

County Commission

  • Districts One, Three, and Five: Elected in presidential election years
  • Districts Two and Four: Elected in the intervening years
  • Similar to the City Commission, the Board of County Commissioners is comprised of five officials who represent districts across all of Polk County. Lakelanders who live outside of city limits are represented by a County Commissioner instead of a City Commissioner.
Exterior view of the Polk County Government Center offices

You can find the Court of Clerk’s Lakeland branch at 930 E. Parker St., inside the Polk Government Center.

Photo by LALtoday

Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller

  • Elected every four years
  • This office is responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Some of its key functions include managing the county’s jury system, processing passports + marriage licenses, and conducting foreclosures and tax deed sales.

Supervisor of Elections

  • Elected every four years
  • This office administers all elections and provides support for municipal elections. It also maintains the list of registered voters for the county, qualifies candidates for county offices, and receives candidate campaign financial disclosure reports.
PCPS school buses

The School Board helps oversee the 120+ schools across Polk County, which serve around 114,700 students.

School Board

  • Elected every four years
  • The Polk County School Board determines and adopts policies + programs geared towards improving and optimizing the operations of Polk County Public Schools. Its seven members represent various geographic districts of the county.

Property Appraiser

  • Elected every four years
  • The Property Appraiser determines the value of all property in the county. Additionally, this office administers homestead exemptions and must determine if properties are entitled to Agricultural Classification.
polk-county-sheriff-office-k9-unit-cars-937x545

The headquarters of Polk County Sheriff’s Office is located in Winter Haven.

Photo by LALtoday

Sheriff

  • Elected every four years
  • The sheriff is responsible for patrol and investigative duties throughout Polk’s unincorporated regions, as well as oversight of county jails and court security. It also provides law enforcement services for six of the county’s 17 municipalities: Frostproof, Polk City, Eagle Lake, Fort Meade, Dundee, and Mulberry.

Tax Collector

  • Elected every four years
  • The primary responsibility of this office is to provide state services to Polk County residents such as issuing driver licenses and titles, collecting sales taxes, and reporting + distributing revenues to the state.

What other government positions — elected or appointed — are you interested in learning more about? Let us know + we may feature them in an upcoming newsletter.