What’s Next For Renewed Polk Environmental Lands Program?

Some of you have wondered what happens next now that the voters have agreed to renew funding for the Polk County Environmental Lands acquisition efforts.

One key decision involves reviving the committee that will review applications for funding under the program.

The County Commission is scheduled to consider a resolution early next year to re-establish the committee.

Applications for membership are scheduled to be solicited by March and in May commissioners are scheduled to appoint members, based on staff recommendations. How the public will be informed about the application process is still being worked out.

The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting in late summer to lay out the procedures, which have been fine-tuned from what was contained in the 1994 ordinance that set up the earlier program.

The voter-approved tax will not take effect until the 2023-24 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. That means funding will start rolling in early in 2024 after tax payments begin rolling in.

The amount of revenue the tax will generate is speculative at this point, but will be clearer by mid-summer when Polk County Property Appraiser Marsha Faux releases the tentative tax roll and the County Commission sets the tax rate for the next fiscal year.

As many of you recall, the tax was divided into two portions. One part was for acquisition and another part for management.

There are rumored to be a number of property owners who have already contacted county officials asking to be considered under the program.

It sounds as though it should be off to a good start, but as noted above, the start date will not be immediate. Be patient.





Posted in Group Conservation Issues.