Water-Related News

Road, water funding top discussion at county commissioners’ retreat

BARTOW – Finding money to pay for growth-related road capacity and future water supplies will be two major policy challenges for Polk County, commissioners were told Thursday at the first day of an annual retreat that kicks off budget deliberations for the next fiscal year.

Commissioners also heard about unfunded flood-control projects and discussed the planned indigent health care referendum and local economic development efforts.

The focus of the road problems is in Northeast Polk County, which has experienced explosive growth over the past 20 years and is projected to have a population equal to the Lakeland area by 2040, said Tom Deardorff, Polk’s director of planning and development.

He said future solutions are unclear.

“Polk has gone through a boom-and-bust cycle (on road funding and capacity),” he said.

The problem is that to fix future problems the financial projections show that current property taxes and road impact fees will cover only a small portion of the estimated costs in each of the five impact fee zones.