Polk building permits/plats drop over last 10 years

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The number of building permits and plats recorded in Polk County dropped significantly over the past decade, while the number of inmates and emergency medical service calls mostly increased, according to a report submitted with Polk County’s 2011 audit report.

Data taken for an operating indicator report between fiscal years 2002 and 2011 focused on functions such as percentage of registered voters participating in the election, number of inmates processed, number of plats recorded, number of building permits issued, number of EMS calls dispatched, public transportation miles and passengers, number of children in foster care, volumes and circulation at the library, education costs and tons of waste received.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners received and reviewed its annual audit report on Nov. 21.

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Polk County had its highest plats recorded in 2006 at 322 for the year. By 2010 the number dropped to 143 plats recorded. The number of plats increased slightly, after a steady decrease for a few years, to 157 plats recorded in 2011, according to the report.

Building permits issued saw a similar decline, with 205 issued in 2002 and 34 issued in 2011. The highest number of building permits after 2002 occurred in 2004 with 197 permits issued.

The number of inmates processed in Polk County has increased since 2005, which was the first year numbers were recorded in the report. There were 640 inmates processed in 2005, with numbers dropping in 2008 to 560 and rising significantly in 2009 and 2010 at 761 both years. The number of inmates processed in 2011 was 715.

EMS calls dispatched also saw a steady rise over the last decade, according to the report. There were 1,882 calls dispatched in 2002, compared to 2,639 dispatched in 2011. The largest number of calls over the past decade occurred in 2010 with 2,917 calls.

Public transportation miles have almost doubled since 2003. Total miles traveled by the Polk County Transportation Authority in 2003 were 232,213 compared to 410,156 miles in 2011. Passengers also increased from 43,679 in 2003 to 56,081 in 2011.

The number of children in foster care in Polk County has varied over the past decade. In 2002, there were 32 children in foster care compared to 24 in 2011. At times, such as in 2006 and 2007, the foster care numbers grew to 64 children in foster care.

Other trends recorded in the report include the percentage of registered voters participating in county elections, which occurs every even year. Polk County saw 45 percent of its registered voters participate in the 2002 election compared to 53 percent in the 2010 election. The percentage was the highest of the decade during the presidential election of 2008, where 71 percent of Polk County voters turned out.

Polk County’s waste tonnage at the transfer station has also varied over the past six years. In 2005, Polk County received 10,030 tons of waste compared to 17,775 tons in 2011. At times, the waste received reached as high as 23,595 tons in 2007 with those numbers declining each year thereafter.

Circulation numbers have increased at the library from 90,901 in 2003 to 103,761 in 2011.

Look for further coverage in upcoming editions of the Bulletin concerning statistical and economical data from the Polk County and Town of Columbus audit reports.