Bartow City Government

     The City of Bartow has a commission-manager form of government, in which five elected city commissioners set policy and adopt ordinances, and hire a city manager to carry them out.

Commissioners serve three-year terms. Three must live in the district from which they are elected, and two may live anywhere in the city.
All registered voters who live in the city are eligible to vote for all five positions. The commissioners elect a mayor and a vice-mayor from among their number, and historically have rotated the position among themselves.


The commission meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. Most meetings are preceded by a work session that begins at 5:30 p.m. unless otherwise announced.

All meetings of the commission and the airport authority, including work sessions, are open to the public under Florida’s open meetings, or “Government in the Sunshine,” law.

The city commission appoints 16 boards and commissions, some of which act in an advisory capacity to the city commission, and some of which have independent authority. For more information, check out the City of Bartow website.

Polk County Government

The Board of County Commissioners is the governing body of Polk County, as established by the Florida Constitution, and serves as the legislative branch of county government, as defined in the county charter.

The five commissioners must reside in their district. Commissioners from District OneDistrict Three, and District Five are elected in presidential election years; District Two and District Four are elected in the intervening years. And shortly after the beginning of a new fiscal year, a chairman and vice chairman are elected by the members of the county commission.

The authorities and responsibilities of the Board of County Commissioners include :

  • Adopting ordinances and resolutions to establish public policy;
  • Levying authorized taxes and fees;
  • Adopting a budget each fiscal year;
  • Appointing a chair and vice chair at the annual organizational meeting in November;
  • Providing county services and infrastructure, including determining the amount and sources of funding for each;
  • Appointing, supervising and removing the county manager and county attorney;
  • Approving expenditures of county funds;
  • Entering into contracts and agreements;
  • Appointing individuals to serve on various boards and commissions established by state law, or by the Board of County Commissioners.

Check out the county’s website here.