November 2018 – Farewell Edition
As my final term comes to a close, I am grateful to you, the people of Orange County, for the opportunity to serve as mayor for the last eight years and as the District 1 Commissioner from 2000 to 2008.
Since taking office as Orange County Mayor in 2011, my priority has been to create a sustainable future for Orange County.
In addition to the key community needs of public safety, affordable housing, parks and recreation, and pedestrian safety and roadway improvements identified in my $300M
“INVEST in Our Home for Life” initiative, our focus has included the creation of a diverse arts, sports and recreation environment, thriving natural resources, an expanded transit system and a broad array of resources for children and families. My administration has sought to address critical community issues such as gaps in youth mental health services, domestic violence, child abuse, the opioid epidemic and homelessness.
Through a combination of strong economic growth, responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars and the valuable contributions of our business, faith, nonprofit and education communities, Orange County has undergone sustainable, quality-of-life changes that will benefit the region for generations to come. Together with our regional partners and neighboring municipalities, we have built a strong, resilient, unified and world-class community for our residents, families and guests to enjoy.
In spite of all the turmoil in the world and the unprecedented level of political discord and violence in our country today, I leave office with great optimism for the future of Orange County.
Over the last eight years, I have been inspired time and time again by the resilience, the compassion and the potential of the 1.3 million people who call Orange County home.
Not long after taking office in January of 2011, I learned how resilient our economy was. At that time, the entire country was struggling to recover from the depths of the Great Recession. Central Florida was one of the hardest hit regions in the nation for home foreclosures, and our unemployment rates were at extremely high levels. As a result, County revenues were down substantially, making it extremely difficult for Orange County Government to provide the stimulus and support necessary to respond to the economic crisis. Through a series of restructuring measures to ensure the most cost-efficient delivery of services, Orange County was able to maintain a balanced budget without raising countywide taxes. In spite of all these obstacles, our community was one of the first to emerge from the recession. And, remarkably, it was tourism that would lead the way.
But nothing has bolstered my confidence in Orange County more than the compassion and resilience of its people. That compassion and resilience was evident in our response to the back-to-back impacts of Hurricane Irma, which hit Central Florida directly, followed by Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and left hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters fleeing the Island with more families arriving in Orange County and Osceola County than anywhere else in Florida. When they arrived, they found a community that opened its heart, its homes, its churches, schools and hospitals to help feed, house, educate and care for them. And those efforts went beyond the private sector. Before the very first evacuee arrived at the Orlando International Airport, my administration, under the leadership of Orange County’s Emergency Operations Manager, Ron Plummer, put together a plan to pay for hotels for those storm evacuees who did not have family or friends to stay with. And, with the help of a trusted community partner, Heart of Florida United Way, Orange County Government committed to bear the cost of housing evacuees while the United Way assumed the logistical challenges of locating available hotels. This partnership bridged a crucial gap until state and federal emergency management departments could coordinate and mobilize their efforts to provide assistance to those in need.
But the greatest test of our community’s compassion, resilience and unity came one year earlier on June 12, 2016 – the night evil struck the Pulse night club, taking the lives of 49 innocent souls, inflicting devastating injuries on 68 others, and igniting fear and sadness through our LGBTQ community here in Central Florida and the world.
As the sun began to rise the next day and people across Central Florida awoke to news reports about the horror that had unfolded, our community responded with an outpouring of love and support, kindness and unity unlike anything I have every witnessed in my lifetime. Never have I been more proud to call Orange County and Orlando home.
My optimism for Orange County comes from these examples of resiliency and our growing culture of compassion, but even more so because of the qualities I have seen in our youth.
Beginning in 2011 and every year since, I have hosted a Youth Leadership Conference in which students from Orange County Public Schools’ public high schools learn about their local government.
Through my interactions with these young people and the many other young people I have interacted with during the past eight years, I am both optimistic and inspired by their passion and selfless determination to make the world a better place.
Thank you again for the opportunity to serve as Orange County Mayor, and may we continue to serve as a shining example to the nation of the strength that comes from finding common ground and working together.
Orange County Mayor
In keeping with Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ No. 1 priority of providing for the public safety, health and welfare of local residents, Orange County has been deeply committed to strengthening the safety net for those in need. Orange County has also been committed to the continued success of crucial initiatives to impact affordable housing, domestic violence and child abuse; veteran, chronic and family homelessness; youth and adult mental health; and opioid, drug and alcohol addiction. The Mayor formed commissions and task forces, and created initiatives to address many of these issues, which are linked to below:
• Mayor Jacobs’ Youth Mental Health Commission
◦ Youth Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign
• Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Commission
• Heroin Task Force | Heroes Against Heroin Website
• Regional Affordable Housing Summit & Workshops
◦ Affordable Housing Recommendations
• Homelessness – Family | Youth | Chronic | Veteran
• Plan for Coast to Coast Trails
ORANGE COUNTY INITIATIVES
• Human Trafficking Task Force
◦ Human Trafficking “Safe Place” Pilot Program
• Mayor Jacobs’ Let’s Read Initiative
• Holiday Heroes Toy Drive
• New Veterans Medical Center
• Homeless Drop-In Center
• Orange County Fire Rescue ISO 1 Rating
• New Holden Heights Community Center
• Pine Hills Redevelopment & Bike Trail
• First All-Inclusive Park
• Apopka-Loop Trail Opening
• Solar Co-op
• Response to Hurricane Maria
• Pulse and Community Response
• TDT Debt Restructuring – Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Phase 2 | The Tourist Development Tax Grant Application Review Committee and Sports Incentive Fund | Camping World Improvements
• Tourist Development Tax – Arts, Venues, Sports and Capital Application Process
• One Orlando Collection Initiative and Pulse Response
• Orlando Ballet
• OnePulse Foundation
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Orange County worked steadily and strategically to nurture a strong and sustainable economy. In spite of broad private-sector gains, Orange County Government revenues fell so substantially during the recession that, coupled with legislative and constitutional mandates that capped the growth of local tax revenues, Orange County revenues did not return to prerecession levels until 2017. However, during that same period, Orange County’s population rose by 16 percent. Mayor Jacobs and her fiscal team worked diligently to restructure Orange County Government to meet our community’s needs, while balancing the budget and without raising countywide taxes. Orange County’s 2018 – 2019 Budget of $4.4 billion ensures all major County services remain at or above current levels of service. This fiscal discipline has resulted in strong bond and market ratings for the County and great fiscal benefits for taxpayers.
In addition to strong fiscal and personnel policies to manage costs and leverage tax dollars, Orange County has vigorously pursued a diversified and expanded economy. As a result, during the past eight years, Orange County has made a strong recovery. Economic measures from 2017 include ranking by the U.S. Dept. of Labor as the No. 1 metro in the nation for job creation, recognition from Forbes as the No. 1 metro in the nation for STEM job growth, and from the prestigious nonprofit Milken Institute, a metro ranking of No. 7 in the nation for wage and job growth.
• 50 economic development projects and 159,143 jobs
• Annual Economic Summit
• Modeling, Simulation & Training Blue Ribbon Task Force
• Annual Florida Simulation Summit
• Tech Match
• Central Florida Branding Summit
◦ Branding Campaign Outcomes
• Central Florida International Trade Office
• National Entrepreneur Center ,
• Prospera – Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
• Black Business Investment Fund
• Orange County Façade grants
• Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Phase 1 & 2
• Camping World Stadium
• Amway Center
• NFL ProBowl
• NBA All-Star Game , NCAA March Madness
• COPA , Orlando City Soccer + PRIDE
• International Drive Vision Plan
• Orange County Convention Center Campus Master Plan
• Orange County Convention Center North/South Building LEED Gold Certified
• New UCF Cancer Care Center to occupy Burnham building
• Economic Development and Job Creation projects
• 2012 Tax Abatement voter referendum
Mayor Jacobs has been a staunch advocate for citizen involvement and has established and grown numerous programs to better engage and inform citizens about the role and functions of Orange County Government.
• Office of Public Engagement & Citizen Advocacy
• Youth Leadership Conference
• Orange County Experience
• Jazz in the Park
• Adopt a Fire Station
The Mayor has continued to champion public engagement through community events and broader digital enhancements through pioneering web and mobile applications and social media in Orange County.
• Neighborhood Community Conference
• Technology and Social Media Workgroup
• Orange County Mobile Application Suite
• Connecting Citizens through Technology
• Enzian Florida Film Festival Primary Public Sponsor
• Zora Neale Hurston Festival
Public safety has remained a top priority for Mayor Jacobs. A key component of the County’s integrated operations is keeping citizens safe through crucial public safety operations and top-tier safety protections for its 1.3 million local residents and 72 million visitors.
• INVEST – $30M for 3 new Fire Stations, Regional Training Center
• Fire Rescue – ISO 1 Rating (OC Fire/Rescue ranked in the top 1% in the United States)
• OCFL Alert App – National Recognition (Obama)
• Prescription Drug Abuse Summit
• Pill Mills Ordinance
• Heroin Task Force
• Heroes Against Heroin website
• Zika Protection Measures
• Youth Mental Health Task Force
• Hurricane Response (Irma , Matthew)
• Hurricane Response/Humanitarian Aid (Hurricane Maria)
• Orange County Corrections’ Inmate Construction Program
Trustworthy Efficient Government
Under the leadership of Mayor Jacobs, Orange County continued to embrace its “neighbors helping neighbors” philosophy, with the shared values of fairness, integrity and character, excellence and innovation, professionalism and accountability serving as the platform for providing outstanding services to the taxpayers and citizens of Orange County. Additionally, through improved operations for essential regulatory and permitting processes, Orange County undertook transformational quality-of-life enhancements that will benefit the region for generations to come.
• Closed loopholes in Orange County’s Ethics Code
• Lobbying Ordinance
• Created Ombudsman Position
• Created Whistleblower Policy
• Orange County’s Fiscal Health
• Created Regulatory Streamlining Task Force and Recommendations
• One-Stop-Shop Permitting and Streamlining
• “Orange Code”
• Sustainability Plan
• INVEST $300 Million
• School Siting Ordinance
To spur economic development, job creation and a continued superior quality of life, Mayor Jacobs has been committed to transforming the County’s transportation network. In the next five years, together with federal, statewide, regional and local transportation partners, approximately $11.7 billion of infrastructure-enhancing projects will deliver massive improvements to highways, commuter roads, rail and air travel in Central Florida.
• INVEST – $200M in local road construction/improvements
• INVEST – $15M Pedestrian Safety; Walk Ride Thrive
• Revamped CFX Board & Structure
• Completion of Wekiva Parkway underway, through CFX, FDOT and Turnpike
• SunRail & Phase 2 South
• I-4 Ultimate, underway by FDOT
• Lake Apopka Loop Trail
• Coast to Coast Bike Trail
• OIA Multi Modal Transportation Hub
• Walk, Ride, Thrive program
Orange County Government, 201 So. Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801