Orange County Government, Florida

ORANGE COUNTY’S BALANCED
2015-2016 BUDGET

With the improvement in the economy, and particularly as more development occurs, we will see a greater demand for government services, from increased health and safety needs to more people using roads for work or leisure travel. The current budget contemplates these and other priorities by adding and positioning resources to meet the demand in various areas, such as permit review, roadway building and public safety. At the same time, the budget is balanced and delivers all of the services the citizens deserve without increasing taxes — the 26th year in a row that Orange County has avoided raising the countywide millage rate. The fiscal year 2015-2016 adopted budget is $3.6 billion, which is about $45 million less than the prior-year modified budget.

MAYOR ANNOUNCES $300 MILLION
INVEST IN OUR HOME FOR LIFE
INITIATIVE AT 2015
STATE OF THE COUNTY

In June, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs delivered her annual State of the County address at the spectacular Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, with more than 750 citizens in attendance, the largest State of the County audience in the history of Orange County. Dignitaries and citizens heard a detailed report on the region’s strong and robust economy that saw rising property values, tremendous job growth, historic record-breaking visitation numbers, outstanding economic achievements and remarkable milestones for the region’s incredible sports and arts and cultural venues.

Leveraging Orange County’s superior fiscal position, Mayor Jacobs also announced her proposal for one of the largest capital investment projects in the history of Orange County, a $300-million initiative called INVEST in Our Home for Life. Thanks to conservative budgeting exercised by the Board of County Commissioners and an improving economy, Orange County will use existing resources to fund INVEST in Our Home for Life. This is made possible by leveraging improved sales tax collections from Orange County’s record-breaking tourism market, as well as increasing economic activity throughout the region. A combination of Orange County’s high credit rating, historically low interest rates and the rising cost of construction make this the best time to invest in long-term infrastructure and public safety needs.

INVEST is part of the Orange County Sustainability Plan, “Our Home for Life," which resulted from Mayor Jacobs’ initiative three years ago to provide specific, incremental and transformative changes through 2040 toward a more prosperous, healthy and livable community.

INTERNATIONAL DRIVE VISION PLAN

Upon coming into office, Mayor Jacobs envisioned a vibrant International Drive corridor that would be a dynamic gathering place for visitors and residents alike. Recognizing the importance of creating a shared vision for the International Drive Area, Mayor Jacobs appointed a Steering Review Group (SRG) composed of I-Drive-area stakeholders and landowners who are committed to maintaining I-Drive as the world’s premier global destination for tourism and family entertainment. The SRG was tasked with crafting a comprehensive and cohesive plan for the Study Area, along with implementation strategies and tools for consideration by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). It is anticipated that the SRG will present the final I-Drive 2040 Strategic Vision to the BCC for review and approval in early 2016.

With hundreds of world famous retailers and restaurants, thousands of stunning hotel rooms and contemporary resorts, dozens of family-oriented attractions and entertainment complexes, I-Drive accounts for a significant portion of Orange County’s robust travel, tourism and hospitality sectors. The proposed plan for the Convention Plaza District will create a vibrant, dynamic and safe pedestrian-centered environment, with dedicated transit lanes and sidewalk enhancements for local residents, conventioneers and visitors alike.

There are four pillars surrounding the completion of the visioning process including land development, regulatory components, parking and mobility. The 11-member SRG will assist in formulating the District’s vision along with implementation alternatives that will be reviewed and evaluated by the BCC as the Strategic Vision reaches completion.

The plan includes seven proposed sub-districts to meet the unique needs of each area, including the famed Orange County Convention Center, retail and hospitality, entertainment, Sea World, Destination Parkway, Universal Boulevard and Rosen & Shingle Creek.

The SRG began meeting on a monthly basis in January 2015 with the mission of formulating a shared vision for the Convention Plaza District. The SRG was tasked with creating a cohesive plan for the Study Area along with implementation strategies and tools for consideration by the BCC. Parallel initiatives that will support the SRG vision include Comprehensive Plan amendments and updated development standards.

UTILITIES WINS EXCELLENCE AWARD

Orange County Utilities was honored by Mayor Jacobs and the Board of County Commissioners in February for being one of only four recipients across the nation of the 2014 Platinum Award for Utility Excellence. The recognition came from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). To be eligible for the prestigious award, applicants must first win AMWA’s Gold Award, which the Water Division received in 2005.

The AMWA recognized the significant progress of “award-winning drinking water agencies” in innovative management practices, engaging employees and good leadership. Orange County Utilities provides water resources and solid waste services to protect and enrich the lives of the citizens and guests of Orange County. Every year it recognizes Water Conservation Month in April and offers customers a number of opportunities to make their homes and communities a more sustainable place to live.

MAYOR JACOBS RECOGNIZED AS
MENTAL ILLNESS AND
HOMELESS ADVOCATE

Mayor Jacobs was honored by Dave’s House, whose mission is to provide housing to citizens with serious mental illness, with an award at the Dave’s House Happy Days Soiree event held in October for her work and continued advocacy on mental health and homelessness.

Mayor Jacobs was also lauded for providing community awareness about mental health and homelessness issues, helping to make Orange County a community in which all citizens have homes. Dave’s House also recognized retired Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. for his advocacy efforts on behalf of citizens with emotional, behavioral, mental health and substance abuse challenges.

The Happy Days Soiree included a dinner and a special performance by NBC’s “The Voice” finalist Sisaundra Lewis. After dinner, the gala was converted into a sound stage for a rendition of the television series “This is Your Life,” which honored Mayor Jacobs and Belvin Perry, Jr. In addition to appearances from special guests, Mayor Jacobs’ mother and daughter presented The Dave’s House Soiree Award to Mayor Jacobs.

COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS
RECOGNIZED AT
2015 COMMUNITY CONFERENCE

Mayor Jacobs and the Board of County Commissioners recognized several Community Champions at the 20th Annual Community Conference held in July.

Pawsitive Shelter Photography founders Paul Wean, Joan Wean and Barbara Sheridan were honored with the Mayor's 2015 Distinguished Citizen of the Year award by Mayor Jacobs. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Pawsitive Shelter Photography, as well as our outstanding Orange County Animal Services (OCAS) staff, volunteers and advisory board members, our pet adoption rate is soaring, with 8,082 adoptions through OCAS in 2015 – a 20 percent increase over 2014!

Many other Orange County citizens, community associations and groups were also recognized for their outstanding community contributions at the Neighborhood Preservation & Revitalization Division’s annual workshop. The event helps citizens learn about the many resources that can benefit their neighborhoods.

Additionally, Orange County’s six Board of County Commissioners each recognized a citizen in their district as Citizen of the Year.

ORANGE COUNTY HOSTS
DAUGHTERS AND SONS WORK DAY

Orange County Government proudly participated in the national initiative Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in April, hosting the children of dozens of employees at locations across the County.

Following the morning activities held at Corrections, Environmental Protection, Fire and Rescue, Customer Service 311 and the Communications Division, participants gathered in the chambers for a special mock Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting hosted by Mayor Jacobs.

The 30-minute BCC hearing provided the children a firsthand look at how government impacts society. Six “kid” commissioners sat in the District chairs in the BCC chambers and discussed the possibility of a new hospital replacing a small shopping area. Children lined up to give public comment in support for and against the development from the speaker’s podium, coached by Planning Department employees. Despite hearing complaints about noise, lights and traffic, the “commission” voted unanimously to approve the zoning change.

This was the first time a mock hearing was added to the traditional event of hosting the children of employees from Orange County Government.

ORANGE COUNTY HONORS FALLEN HEROES ON MEMORIAL DAY

The Orange County Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council led the War Memorial Commemoration Ceremony to honor the nation’s fallen Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen on Memorial Day. The 2015 ceremony marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War, and paid tribute to the fallen and those held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action in Vietnam.

Keynote speaker was retired Navy Capt. Warren Hudson, president of Lake Highland Preparatory School. He commanded a swift boat in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor during a 26-year career as a U.S. Naval officer. Hudson reflected on the 162 names of Orange County service men and women inscribed on the Memorial Wall who lost their lives or were missing in action in Vietnam. Capt. Hudson joined Mayor Jacobs in the laying of a commemorative wreath.

Later in the day, Mayor Jacobs honored the fallen at the Central Florida Veterans Memorial Park Foundation ceremony at Lake Nona. The Memorial Park is adjacent to the new Orlando Veterans Administration Medical Center. Dedicated in 2013, the Warriors Memorial includes the names of 1,180 veterans from Orange, Lake, Brevard, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties who died while bravely serving our country.

INAUGURAL ORANGE COUNTY SCULPTURE EXHIBIT OPENS

Orange County officials, artists and citizens gathered in July for the unveiling of a new art exhibit featuring five large sculptures on the lawn of the Orange County Government Administration Center. The five sculptures were selected by Orange County’s Public Art Review Board from more than 100 sculptures submitted by nearly three-dozen artists. Four of the sculptures will be shown for a year and one was displayed for the opening month.

The Public Art Review Board, overseen by the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs Advisory Council, surveyed temporary sculpture programs throughout the state before committing to the exhibit. The board raised $20,000 in private funds to present the exhibition and rent the sculptures from the artists. The board hopes to make the exhibit an annual event.

NEW MAINTENANCE
UNIT RIBBON CUTTING

Orange County’s Public Works Division held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Young Pine Road Three-Points Maintenance Unit in July. The new location will provide better response times for issues involving pothole repairs and maintenance, tree trimming, grass mowing and sidewalk repairs for the citizens of District 3 and District 4 in Orange County.

The state-of-the-art facility will also be instrumental in improving response times during an emergency activation for sandbag distribution and the clearing of roadways. The property, at 4651 Young Pine Road, was purchased in 2009.

ORANGE COUNTY RECOGNIZES
CHILDREN FOR SAVING LIVES

At the August 4, 2015 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, Mayor Jacobs and Fire Chief Otto Drozd III honored Isiah Francis, 10, and Jeremiah Grimes, 11, for calling 911 and rescuing two small children from a burning home on June 16.

The boys each received a Mayor's Hero Award, an Honorary Firefighter plaque and a scholarship to attend the Central Florida Fire Academy when they turn 18. Additionally, community partners like SeaWorld provided goodies for the kids.

Orange County Fire Rescue is submitting the children's heroic acts to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for consideration of honoring them with a Carnegie Medal.

CELEBRATING ORANGE COUNTY’S
DIVERSE CULTURES

Orange County Government proudly joined in celebrating Orange County’s African-American heritage through Black History Month and celebrations around Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Mayor Jacobs participated in a variety of events that embody Orange County's mission and mirrors the legacy of citizenship embraced by Dr. King.

For the fifth year, Mayor Jacobs spoke at the “Pappy” Kennedy Prayer Breakfast, honoring the legacy of Dr. King and Orlando's first African-American elected city official, Arthur Kennedy, who passed away in 2000. Kennedy served on the Orlando City Council from 1972 to 1980. The breakfast is presented annually by the YMCA of Central Florida, who partnered in 2015 with the Southwest Orlando Jaycees to present the breakfast. The event featured Navy Rear Adm. Barry C. Black, the 62nd Chaplain of the U.S. Senate and who previously served as Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Navy. Orange County’s Sisaundra Lewis, a finalist on NBC's singing contest "The Voice," shared her talents with the capacity crowd.

Following the breakfast, Mayor Jacobs joined hundreds of citizens at the City of Ocoee’s annual Unity Day Parade, which honors Dr. King's dream of equality and opportunity for all. Mayor Jacobs also participated in both the Eatonville and Orlando Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades. Mayor Jacobs was honored to again speak at Eatonville’s Zora! Festival, a celebration of the inspirational writer, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. Bruce B. Mount honored Mayor Jacobs with the key to the Town of Eatonville.

The Black History Committee of Orange County also coordinated the annual Black History Month Celebration Luncheon where Mayor Jacobs honored the contributions of the County’s African-American employees, leaders and organizations. The committee has for years developed programs and activities to support the goals and achievements of our forefathers.

ASIAN PACIFIC
HERITAGE MONTH RECOGNIZED

Mayor Jacobs and Orange County’s Board of County Commissioners marked Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May by attending a festive cultural celebration held on the lawn of the Orange County Government’s Administration Center, organized by employees and community partners.

Now in its third year, the event was coordinated by the Orange County Asian Committee, an employee-based volunteer organization formed in 2012 with the goal of promoting and preserving the heritage and culture of Asian Americans, forming partnerships throughout the community, and building relationships with local and international governments.

REGION CELEBRATES
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH

Mayor Jacobs hosted a celebration at the Orange County Regional History Center in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15, 2015. The celebration included the unveiling of a Hispanic art exhibit, cultural dance performances and Hispanic food.

The Hispanic Heritage Committee of Greater Orange County (HHCGOC) coordinated and organized the event, which was attended by Orange County Commissioners, local officials, employees and hundreds of citizens. The HHCGOC is a volunteer-based organization founded in 1999 with the purpose of providing opportunities that promote and highlight the contributions made by individuals of Hispanic descent in the community.

A ribbon cutting was held for the Hispanic art exhibit, which was comprised of pieces created by local Hispanic artists, and was on display at the History Center throughout October. The works were focused on several historical, cultural and religious themes, and involved a variety of artistic media.

In October, Blanchard Park hosted the third annual Orange Fiesta in the Park, a family-friendly event hosted by Orange County and HHCGOC celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Guests at the event enjoyed live music performances, Latin cuisine, games and Fiesta in the Park’s first-ever children’s soccer tournament. Amidst the fun, citizens had the opportunity to learn more about the Orange County community partners and service agencies that were also present at information booths.

Mayor Jacobs provided a warm welcome and presented awards to the winners of the annual poster art contest and the children’s soccer tournament, which took place during the Fiesta. Citizens also learned about pedestrian safety and Mayor Jacobs’ new Walk-Ride-Thrive! initiative.

NEW GARBAGE AND RECYCLING ROLL
CARTS SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY

Single-family homes in unincorporated Orange County have transitioned to an automated garbage and recycling collection system — a move endorsed and supported by Orange County’s Sustainability Advisory Board.

Nearly 205,000 Orange County residents received two new 95-gallon garbage and recycling roll carts between October and December for the new Automated Curbside Collection Program that began on January 1, 2016. There are many benefits to the program, including increased convenience for residents due to fewer trips to the curb and cleaner communities because the roll carts create neater, litter-free neighborhoods.

Orange County opted to have the carts manufactured from black material because of the ability of manufacturers to use 30 to 50 percent more recycled content to make the roll carts.

Orange County's Sustainability Plan, Our Home for Life, is the result of the Mayor's Sustainability Initiative, which began in 2013 as an effort to plan for future population growth in a way that enhances the quality of life for current and future generations. The plan outlines specific incremental and transformative changes for the County through 2040, leading towards a more prosperous, healthy, livable and connected community.