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You may either Submit a City Record Request or contact the City Clerk's Office at 863-291-5600 or visit us at 451 Third Street, NW, Winter Haven 33881.
Contact the Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller or call 863-534-4000. The City of Winter Haven's City Clerk's Office is a separate governmental entity from the Polk County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.
Contact the Polk County Property Appraiser or call 863-534-4777 (Main Office).
Contact the Polk County Department of Health or call 863-519-7900.
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To get your Winter Haven Library card, good at all public libraries in Polk County, provide your Florida State driver’s license or ID card showing your current street address. If you don’t have that, bring in a photo ID and documentation with your name and current street address – utility bill, rental/lease agreement, or any government-issued mail will be accepted.
If you’d like, you may start the application online. Applying online will give you a temporary card number and allow you to place holds, but you will still need to visit the library with a proper ID to receive your card or use Library services and resources. We are unable to register children ages 17 and under for a library card online.
Your library card PIN number is used to access online library services and resources like managing your online Library Account or using Libby, Kanopy, or LinkedIn Learning. Your PIN is set to default to 1111. Immediately after logging in for the first time - please customize your PIN. If you need further assistance, call 863-291-5880.
The following library materials from the Winter Haven Public Library circulate for two weeks:
DVD movies circulate for one week and can be renewed for up to 3 weeks.
Eligible physical library items will auto-renew one day before the due date. The new due date will be based on the date of renewal and the loan period for that item (ex. a book due January 3rd would be renewed on January 2nd and have a new due date of January 16th). This service will automatically renew checked-out books, DVDs, and CDs, up to three times.
You may manually renew items online. You will need to log into your account with the 14-digit number under the barcode on the back of your library card along with your PIN. You may also renew by calling the Library at 863-291-5880.
To access your account online, go to My Account and log in using your library card number and PIN. From your account, you may request items, renew items, check due dates, and more.
Library cardholders may place items on hold for pickup by selecting “Place Hold” located next to the item in the online catalog. A library card number and PIN are required. You may also contact the Library and staff will be happy to place the request for you. Just call 863-291-5880. Patrons will be contacted when the items arrive and will have six full business days to pick them up before returning them to the lending library.
If the item was published within the last 12 months, we may be able to purchase it for the Library's collection.
Please see our Item Request Form to request an item.
You can utilize the library’s wireless printing service to print documents inside the library, when you are out and about, and even from home. Simply follow the wireless printing instructions on the Printing page.
The Library has three study rooms located in the back of the Library, near the Reference desk, which may be used at no charge.
Study rooms are available for two hours a day and can be reserved for up to one week in advance, not to exceed more than three reservations per week.
Book a Study Room or see Study Room Guidelines.
If you are a presenter and interested in doing a program at the Library, please complete the Presenter Application.
We will keep your information on file and contact you if we are interested.
In general, you can clear 50 ft or 50% (whichever is smaller) of shoreline to open water areas without obtaining a permit. In addition, if you live on a private lake less than 160 acres, no permit is needed. For areas larger than that, you can obtain a permit from FWC (Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) which allows for herbicide application done by a certified individual on lakeshores and in the water. There are some specific circumstances, such as conservation easements, where this rule may not apply. Always exercise moderation in clearing lakeshores as lakeshore vegetation plays a large role in lake ecosystem stability. For any specific questions please reach out to us at 863-291-5881
FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) has found that fabricating sandy beaches on lakeshores which are naturally vegetated in Florida causes adverse effects on lake health, such as increased pollutant run-off causing algal blooms and adverse effects on lake inhabitants (fish, shellfish, etc). A dredge and fill permit from DEP is needed to create a sandy lakeshore, as well an ERP (Environmental Resource Permit) from the local Water Management District (SWFWMD).
There are several nurseries in Central Florida that provide plants for lakeshores for wholesale. Some may require special arrangements for selling to residential customers. PlantAnt is a good resource for looking up local nurseries. Alternatively, the local UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Office is a very valuable resource for helping residents restore or promote Florida-friendly landscapes. In addition, the Natural Resources Division has a pilot Floating Treatment Wetland project from which aquatic plants are harvested and given away to residents periodically. Learn more about the program here, or call us at 863-291-5881 to be added to the mailing list when plants are available.
Any body of water, including smaller areas such as retention ponds, is a potential habitat for alligators. Like most wildlife, alligators have a natural fear of humans and are not a cause for concern. However, there are rare, exceptional circumstances where an alligator can become dangerous. If an alligator has been fed by humans or feels threatened then they can be aggressive. Alligators hunt during the hours of dusk and dawn so do not let dogs out on lakeshore property during these times. The mating season ranges from April to September in Florida, and it is best to be cautious of heavily secluded wetland areas, where they may place nests. If you observe an alligator exhibiting aggressive behavior or approaching humans, call the FWC Nuisance Gator Line at 866-392-4286. On City property, call the Natural Resources Division at 863-291-5881
If an injured animal is seen within City limits, please call us at 863-291-5881 and we will determine the best course of action. View a list of wildlife refuges that operate in the area (PDF). If a deceased animal is found on your property or a public space call the Solid Waste Division to coordinate appropriate pickup.
A license is needed to take fish from the lakes, regardless of intent to harvest or release their catch, unless the person meets the exemptions listed. Learn more about permits managed by FWC.
Florida-Friendly landscaping is a term that encompasses using plants and landscaping techniques that both conserve water usage as well as reduce the impact of residential and urban landscapes on the local environment. For information on Florida-Friendly gardening reach out to either the Natural Resources Office, the local UF/IFAS Polk County Extension Office, or the Water Conservationist with the Utilities Department.
The City’s Utilities Department has a Water Conservation program that can offer support in implementing water-conserving habits in your home to save money. There is even a rebate available for low-consumption toilets and smart irrigation control, pending availability. Visit the Water Conservationist page for more information.
Contact the Natural Resources Division Office as close to the witnessing of the incident as possible at 863-291-5881. Be prepared to provide details such as the location of the dumping, type, and severity. Natural Resources staff will investigate the incident and determine the appropriate action.
Outside of the rules for new commercial developments that require a certain amount of trees to be planted with each new construction, the City currently has no official ordinance or policy for urban forest management. However, if you have questions about tree care or removal City staff is happy to offer advice!
We are located on the first floor of the Winter Haven Police Department.
Our hours of operation are:Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.Closed Thursday thru Sunday.To expedite the return process, please call ahead at 863-291-5724.
If your property can be returned to you, you must have:
You can leave a message for the arresting or impounding officer by contacting the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 863-401-2256.
They must have a notarized letter or a Power of Attorney, authorizing them to pick up your property and any Court Orders if necessary. In this case, the Court Order should indicate the Power of Attorney’s name.
You have sixty (60) days after the completion of your court case.
You need to go to the Clerk of the Court and file a “Motion for the Return of Property.”
If the vehicle is placed on hold due to an investigation, you need to contact the investigator assigned to the investigation for the release or any questions regarding the vehicle.
You need to provide proof of ownership by presentation of a title or registration. The vehicle can only be released to the person whose name appears on the title or registration certificate as the registered owner of the vehicle.
Send us information through Heartland Crime Stoppers about criminal and suspicious activity. You can remain anonymous while providing important information to help make your community safer. Please be as specific as you can about the activity you are reporting.
See our Extra-Duty Details for Special Events page for information regarding hiring an off-duty officer for your event.
We have a variety of ways you can send us good news:
Email the Professional Standards Bureau.
Email the Police Department to request information on techniques and methods of preventing crime.
Report illegal narcotics activity in the community by calling 863-298-4412.
View monthly crime statistics spanning back to 2017 in the Archive Center.
Get a copy of a Police Report or Traffic Crash by emailing our Records Division or calling 863-291-5858. Please indicate the date, location, incident description, and any names associated with the report.
Get employment information by visiting our Recruitment page.
Visit our Neighborhood Watch page.
If you have property or items held at the Department and have a question, visit our Property and Evidence page.
If you have a Traffic Complaint, email our Motors Unit or call 863-291-5733.
We are located on the first floor of the Winter Haven Police Department, located at:125 N Lake Silver Drive NWWinter Haven, FL 33881
Our hours of operation are:
To expedite the return process, please call ahead at 863-291-5724.
You can leave a message for the arresting or impounding officer by contacting the Polk County Sheriff's Office Dispatch at 863-401-2256.
They must have a notarized letter or a Power of Attorney, authorizing them to pick up your property and any Court Orders if necessary. In this case, the Court Order should indicate the Power of Attorney's name.
You have 60 days after the completion of your court case.
You need to go to the Clerk of the Court and file a "Motion for the Return of Property."
Call the Property and Evidence Division at 863-291-5724.
We are located on the 1st floor of the Winter Haven Police Department:125 N Lake Silver Drive NWWinter Haven, FL 33881
The Public Records window is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm. We are closed on all official government holidays.
Copies of all police reports and documents open to public access are available from the Records Section. There is a charge of $0.15 per page for single copies and $0.20 for double-sided copies.
Yes, with very few limitations such as juvenile information, the identity of a victim of a sexual offense or domestic violence, and reports containing information about open or ongoing investigations. Nearly all police reports are available to anyone.
Florida Public Records Law allows anyone to request police report information about any individual.
Yes. A crime activity "grid" can be run for a specific period of time.
No. Public Records Law prohibits the use of police report information for the commercial solicitation of victims of crimes.
A smart city is a technologically modern urban area that uses different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect specific data. Information gained from that data is used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve operations across the city. This includes data collected from citizens, devices, buildings and assets that is processed and analyzed to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, utilities, urban forestry, water supply networks, waste, criminal investigations, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. Smart cities are defined as smart both in the ways in which their governments harness technology as well as in how they monitor, analyze, plan, and govern the city. In smart cities, the sharing of data is not limited to the city itself but also includes businesses, citizens and other third parties that can benefit from various uses of that data. Sharing data from different systems and sectors creates opportunities for increased understanding and economic benefits
Give us a call at 863-291-5678 one of our representatives will be happy to assist you.
You can log in to your account to view and print previous statements, email Account Services, contact 863-291-5678, or stop by our office. See the Map for Our Building (PDF).
Need to change your name due to a marriage, divorce, or legal name change? Complete and submit the Change of Name Form.
View our current year’s rates on the Rates and Fees Page.
Visit our Go Green page.
See our Water Quality Reports.
Here is a great way to see if you have a leak or if the Florida sun is evaporating all that water.
Take the lid off of your toilet tank.
There are two types of fill valves that your toilet may have. See the diagrams provided to determine what type you may have.
This chart shows how much water could be wasted in a thirty-day cycle if left in disrepair.
Fill out an adjustment request ticket.
Reading your own meter on a regular basis allows you to detect increased water use before you unexpectedly receive a high utility bill. High water bills are often caused by leaking faucets, toilets, pools, irrigation systems, or pipes that need immediate repair. To read your meter, open the lid to the meter box, then flip open the cover displaying the glass. You may have to shine a light on the meter to activate it. The read will then be displayed on the screen. Read Explaining Your New Neptune Water Meter Register (PDF) for more information.
All Meters are read once a month. They are read by a city meter reading vehicle that sends out a radio signal to each individual meter that then pings your meter to send back the read to the computer.
All Winter Haven Water Department employees can be identified by their florescent, yellow shirt or vest, a city-marked vehicle, and a Winter Haven Water-issued name tag.
If you are on City sewer we can offer to remove the excess sewer charges when doing a pool fill, see the instructions below for how to request an adjustment. If you are not on City sewer we do not offer any credits to your bill when filling your pool. All customers are still responsible for paying for the water used when filling a pool.
To start, take a meter reading before you start filling your pool and after. Then write us a letter stating your name, address, and account number, and include the before and after readings for filling your pool fill, along with the dates it took to fill. Be sure to write down the full 9 digits off of the display for both readings.
To avoid a late fee, your utility bill is due by 5 pm on the due date. Your bill is always due three weeks after being billed on a Friday. To avoid service disconnection, past-due balances are due one week from the current bill date.
Please be aware payments made through your online banking bill pay and Third-party vendors are not affiliated with Winter Haven Water and may require additional processing time. Utility accounts will not be credited with the payment until funds are received by Winter Haven Water.
A work order will be issued for your services to go inactive. To have service reactivated, any past due balance and required deposit increase must be paid, and you will be billed a delinquent account reactivation fee on your next bill. Please do not use our online payment portal to reactivate your service. Instead, pay by phone or in person. Your service will be restored the same day as long as payment is made by 4:30 pm. Payments made after 4:30 pm will be restored the following business day.
The tag is just letting you know that we turned on the water and the water was running so we had to shut it back off at the meter. When this happens just Call 863-291-5678 to reschedule your turn-on.
Winter Haven Water will restore the customer's water service only after the delinquent bill is paid and the customer's deposit has been adjusted to the current year's rate schedule by the customer. See Ordinance Section 19-6 for more details.
You will need your utility account number and password. First-time users will need their account number and billing zip code to establish an account or pay as a guest. View the How to Make a Guest Payment (Mp4) tutorial video for more details.
You can log in to your account, or give us a call at 863-291-5688.
To transfer home service or close your account go to our Start, Stop, or Move Services page for more information.
Give our Maintenance Division a call at 863-291-5853.
If you do not have a Main shut-off valve for your home give us a call. During normal business hours call 863-291-5853. If your emergency happens on a night or weekend call our after-hours line at 863-291-5767.
Lawn watering days are limited to twice per week, see schedule below. If you want to water by hand, you can at any time.
Simply dial 811 from your phone.
Winter Haven Water pumps its water from 22 wells that pump water from the Floridan Aquifer, which is about 800 feet under the ground. These wells are spread around the community and pump approximately 9.4 million gallons per day to 9 water treatment plants before it is pumped to homes and businesses. The water we use from the Floridan Aquifer comes from rainfall just north of Winter Haven and needs little treatment because it is so pure.
The Floridan Aquifer, from which Winter Haven gets its water, is connected to lakes, rivers, and springs. Across Florida, overpumping of the aquifer has reduced stream flow, lake levels, and spring flow. Faced with significant population growth and the need to increase water supplies, sources such as surface water, Lower Floridian Aquifer water (which is saltier), treated wastewater (reuse water), and seawater are the sources of water that can produce the quantities needed. The problem is, that these sources of water are more expensive than traditional sources and will cost more to pump and treat.
The simple answer is to conserve more water. Areas in Texas and California that are experiencing severe water shortages are using approximately 60 to 70 gallons per person per day. In Winter Haven, we are using an average of 115 gallons per person per day. Approximately half of the water we pump from the pure Floridan Aquifer is used for irrigation, which could use a lesser quality and less expensive source. Conserving water we use for irrigation and treating water as a precious resource are the first steps.
The primary way that reuse water can supplement the City's water supply is by using reuse water for irrigation. The City currently has two wastewater treatment plants that treat approximately 5 million gallons per day. The City's Wastewater Treatment Plant Number 2 on the north side of town uses almost all of its 1 million gallons per day flow for beneficial purposes. This water irrigates Willowbrook Golf Course, subdivisions, and parks. Wastewater Treatment Plant Number 3 however, has just finished construction of improvements to make the 4 million gallons per day of flow available for irrigation. The City just signed a grant agreement with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to begin construction of a 23,000-foot transmission main that will service a new development and agriculture uses. This pipe will also connect to the transmission main extending from Wastewater Treatment Plant Number 2 to make more reuse water available to the north side of town. A draft 15-year master plan has been developed which also recommends extending a reuse pipeline around the east side of town to service golf courses and new development.
Construction of alternative water supply projects is expensive. The Polk Regional Water Cooperative (PRWC) was formed by communities in Polk County with the recognition that individual communities need to work together to fund and construct future projects. The PRWC has approved of 3 projects for further investigation: Southeast Polk Lower Floridan Wellfield; West Polk Lower Floridan Wellfield; and the Peace Creek Integrated Water Supply Plan. An agreement was signed in February 2017 to spend $23 million on data collection and preliminary design to determine which projects are the most feasible.
The two Lower Floridan Aquifer Projects are somewhat self-explanatory. They would pump water from a deeper, less pure aquifer and provide more extensive treatment before pumping the water up to 30 miles. The Peace Creek Integrated Water Supply Plan would look at local water management practices, including aquifer recharge, flooding, and water quality to determine if water can be managed more efficiently to restore lake levels and river flows as well as produce a future water supply. In this manner, communities will not only develop future water supplies but reduce costs for existing and future problems related to flooding and water quality. One of the key features of this project is called 'natural infrastructure', which uses nature to help do the work for people. As an example, instead of creating man-made reservoirs, wetlands could be restored as storage sites. This is a relatively new concept, but one that has been adopted by the City of Winter Haven through the Sustainable Water Resource Management Plan.
No doubt that the cost of providing water, treating wastewater, managing storm water, and handling garbage will go up in the future. The higher cost of doing business will have to be passed along to the customers, but the community has considerable control over how fast this happens. No doubt that alternative water supplies will be more expensive, but the better we are at conserving water, the longer we postpone more costly projects. The better we are about using electronic billing and payments, the more time and money it saves staff. The better we are about recycling, the lower the cost of garbage disposal. Winter Haven is working towards being a sustainable community, and in the long term, this will save residents money.
Winter Haven obtains water from the Floridan Aquifer, which is a very pure source of water. It takes little treatment and maintenance to pump the water from the ground and send it to homes and businesses. Once the water goes down a toilet or drain, it begins its journey to the wastewater treatment plan. On its way to the treatment plant, the water might have to travel up to 6 miles and go through 3-4 lift stations to reach one of two wastewater treatment plants. Once it reaches the plant, it goes through a somewhat complex process to take raw sewage water and turn it into almost drinkable reuse water. The cost of maintaining this system is much more than the cost of maintaining the drinking water system.
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