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As we bid farewell to 2016, the office of Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs is pleased to present this annual “Year in Review,” which provides highlights from Orange County in the areas of Economic Development, Good Government, Public Engagement, Transportation and Community Issues. Through the 2016 “Year in Review,” you can join in reflecting on the strength and resilience of Orange County as we continue to work in support of our united, sustainable neighborhoods and our flourishing economy.

Last year, our region achieved many great milestones. In addition to enhancing our quality of life, Orange County’s prosperous economy continued to play a significant role in maintaining one of the strongest job-growth rates in the nation, with thousands of new jobs introduced to our region in 2016. Examples of new job creators include VOXX International Corp., a leading manufacturer and distributor of automotive, consumer accessories and premium audio products, extended warranties provider SquareTrade, human resource and payroll software developer ADP and CVS Health’s Caremark.

These high-profile achievements continue to generate national attention, with Forbes ranking Central Florida’s metropolitan statistical area No. 3 on its list of The Best Big Cities for Jobs in 2016 and also naming Orlando one of the Top 10 Cities Americans Are Moving to Right Now.

U.S. News & World Report named Orlando one of the Top 100 Places to Live in the nation and in December 2016, the Milken Institute’s annual ranking of best-performing cities cited our metropolitan statistical area as one of the nation’s best performing regions for job growth.

Visit Orlando announced that 66.1 million people visited Orlando in 2015, a new all-time record, solidifying Orlando's position as the most visited destination in the nation. Visitation to Orlando has more than doubled over the past 20 years, growing exponentially from 32.4 million in 1995.

Orange County has also enhanced our excellent quality of life with programs and community improvement initiatives from Mayor Jacobs’ Our Home for Life initiative. With $300 million from INVEST in Our Home for Life allocated for public safety, parks, pedestrian safety, road construction and transportation improvements, there are significant planned future enhancements to Orange County's quality of life. The INVEST program was announced Mayor Jacobs in 2015 and, thanks to the fiscal restraint exercised by the Board of County Commissioners over the last several years, we are able to embark on this endeavor without raising taxes.

Also in 2016, after receiving strong support for the Mayor’s Tourist Development Tax (TDT) plan from the hospitality industry and the Tourist Development Council, on November 1 the BCC unanimously approved Mayor Jacobs’ proposal for an additional $45 million of TDT funding to complete the second and final stage of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (DPC) and to establish a sports bid fund in the initial amount of $5 million with annual replenishment amounts of up to $2 million.

Thanks to Orlando City Soccer club, Orlando Pride and the numerous international soccer matches hosted at Camping World Stadium last year, Orange County has truly embraced its nickname, “The Soccer Capital of the South.” Orange County is also brimming with excitement to host the NFL Pro Bowl and WrestleMania in 2017!

Orange County’s unique sense of resolve and spirit of collaboration truly exemplifies our famed neighbors helping neighbors reputation, and adds to our distinction as the best place to live, work and raise a family. We’re proud to present the 2016 “Year in Review.”