Jose Iglesias and Family

Polk County Commissioner Jose Igleisas (right) with his sons (from left) Isaac, Efrain and wife Giovanna. / Kevin Myrick

Local residents have a choice to make by the end of next Tuesday. Who do they want to represent them on the school board, for a Polk County Commission seat, and in statewide offices? The choices Polk County makes now can shape the future to come. To better help voters understand who everyone is on the board, we’re providing some brief profiles of local candidates in contested races. We’ll have more information on those who are running unopposed, or who will face a challenge in November later on this week.

Jose Iglesias is in love with Polk County.

He’s a transplant, like many who have come before and after him to town. Yet the Taxes de America owner in Cedartown has a clear vision for how he wants his adopted home should look in the future.

Iglesias, who is running to keep his seat on the Polk County Board of Commissioners, was appointed last year to fill a vacant seat. In the many months that he’s been in office since being sworn in last fall, he’s already jumped into the job and is learning to swim fast. He’s already been appointed to chair committees, has been working on grant applications and involved in a variety of county project.

Chief among them and part of his overall goal as a commissioner is to try and find new revenue sources within and without Polk County to help ensure adequate funding levels are in place to keep the county government operating efficiently, while also avoiding what no one wants: raising taxes.

During the candidate forum, he asked the audience frankly whether they wanted an increase in their property taxes, and got no one to raise their hands.

Instead, he’s focusing a lot on how the county might find more grant money from government, nonprofit and private sources, and is also working with a group in the finance committee to find areas where the county should be charging more fees, or haven’t been charging for services at all.

A native of El Salvador, he came to the United States when he was 10, and got his education at Suffolk College in New York before his family moved to Polk County. He became a naturalized citizen in 2005.

Iglesias, his wife Giovanna and sons Efrain and Isaac are all involved in the family business on South Main Street. Additionally, he’s been involved in a number of initiatives. He’s both a member of the Cedartown Planning Commission and the Primary Healthcare Board of Directors, was in the 2014 Biz Builders program and is a graduate of the 2017 class for LEAD Polk. He also served as a Cedartown stakeholder for the latest 10-year combined plan for the cities and county submitted to the state.

The owner and operator of Martin’s Styling Center for decades on North Main Street in Cedartown, Martin already has served a-plenty in Polk County. A past school board member and Cedartown city commissioner, the jolly and always-smiling Martin served two terms in each job before he retired off the Cedartown commission as 2015 came to a close.

Back then and even now, Martin has only one goal in mind: a “better quality of life for citizens of Polk County.”

In a visit to Martin’s Styling Center last week, he pointed out some areas where the County Commission needs to work on in quality of life areas, like working on blighted properties and putting in place an ordinance for residents in unincorporated Polk County to have to cut their grass after it gets to a certain unruly length.

Martin has also voiced a number of opinions about how to handle the Grady Road Landfill – “eliminate the stink and get the EPD man out there to make sure this thing is done correctly” was his quote at the Chamber political forum – as well as support for public safety, keeping taxes low, and not coming into the office with any kind of agenda.

He also wants to dig down into budget numbers, the same way he said he did when working on the Cedartown City Commission to lower costs but also ensure that employees are being well paid, mainly by controlling spending on small and large items. He added that the city avoided having to continue the use of Tax Anticipation Notes to cover costs.

He did seek the District 1 seat previously, when he was among several candidates for the position to fill the remaining term when the seat came vacant last August.

Martin has been in business in Cedartown for 54 years at Martin’s Styling Center. He has one son, Wade, who lives in The Villages, Fla., as an award-winning golf coach and professional.