City Council Budget
Mayor Buddy Dyer
July 24, 2006
Good morning, Commissioners.
I am here to present you, the Orlando City Council, a balanced budget
for fiscal year 2006-2007, which begins on October 1, 2006, and runs
through September 30, 2007.
To our residents and constituents who have joined us here this morning
and those watching at home … thank you. The subject of finances and
policies is not always the most exciting topic, but it is definitely one
of the most important. We appreciate that you are involved in this
budgetary process through your presence here today.
Commissioners, each year you are asked to spend considerable time
reviewing information related to our City’s budget. In the past few
weeks, we’ve participated in numerous presentations that were open to
the public. I want to applaud you for tackling that project head on.
Getting us to this point
where I can present you with this budget, would not be possible without
considerable work by our dedicated City employees. Representing every
office and department, they act as our frontline…gathering information
we need to make sound financial decisions, exemplifying good customer
service, and making recommendations that befit a world-class city. Their
work does not go unnoticed and I want to thank them for their
Please note … this budget includes the pay and benefit increases from
three-year contracts that we have negotiated with the various unions
that represent our City staff.
I want to specifically thank our City’s Chief Financial Officer, Rebecca
Sutton; Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Ray Elwell; and their team for
working through the details of this year’s budget. This is a huge task
and I appreciate the dedication they have shown through this process.
It is hard to believe that this is the fourth time I’ve presented City
Council with an annual budget. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen that
our financial outlook is very different this year than when I took
office in 2003. It has not been an easy road; however we have met and
overcome challenges such as rising healthcare and labor costs, hurricane
damage and rising fuel costs.
For the past three years, though faced with recurring financial gaps, we
were able to balance the budget without raising taxes thanks to a new
forecasting process that helps us plan for the future. Our City
managers’ are dedicated to managing their budgets to remain “in the
black”, ensuring that we get the best return on our investment from city
assets. And, the creation and guidance of a Finance Committee has
provided us with valuable financial oversight and advice.
By making some difficult decisions and with City Council’s dedication to
that process, we have righted the City’s financial ship, and put our
financial future back on track. And, we have done so after making a
deliberate and careful decision not to raise our millage rate.
Through all of this, our City Council and City staff have established an
environment where we will not tolerate unjustified spending or
inefficient services. We’ve recognized that our citizens deserve better
and we have given it to them. I commit to you today – now that our
budget is back on track – we will remain on this course as long as I
hold this office.
We get to build on the solid
foundation we have laid. We are not going to talk about financial
deficits or filling gaps, but … thanks to a growing tax base … we are
focused on finding the best way to invest an unexpected increase in ad
I want to point out, that this budget also includes a dividend from OUC
in the amount of $45,700,000, which represents 80 percent of their
projected net income. Traditionally, OUC has provided the City with 60
percent of its net earnings, and I want to thank them for this
We are moving ahead, but we are doing so cautiously and with careful
consideration. The recommendations I’m making today, are not done
lightly. It is our responsibility to ensure that revenue is used to make
sure that the most critical services that affect our citizens daily
lives are enhanced.
The budget presented is about learning from our past, securing our
future and preparing for our City’s continued growth. Therefore, I am
asking for your approval to fund projects in key areas.
From the day I took office, public safety has been my number one
priority. This City Council has been supportive of that goal time and
time again. In my first budget address, when we reduced the size of our
City government by 7 percent we remained committed to public safety by
adding personnel. Last year, when budgets were tight, we provided $1.7
million for tools, technology and training needed by our police and fire
departments. With this year’s fortunate growth in ad valorem revenue, we
need to maintain our commitment to public safety.
Our community continues to experience tremendous growth, and we must
enhance the strength and force of our City police and fire departments
in order to meet and respond to the challenges the City faces today, and
will face in the future.
Therefore, I am proposing a three-year, comprehensive Public Safety
initiative to increase the effective strength of our police officers and
fire personnel by 11 percent.
This multi-year program will also dedicate bondable revenue to capital
improvements resulting in more than $65 million in public safety
Specifically, I am asking that we devote $12.1 million dollars this year
and $17.9 million dollars each year thereafter to protect our citizens
and visitors by funding:
75 additional police
officers to patrol our neighborhoods and protect our children and
Two detectives in the
violent crimes section of our Investigative Bureau;
Three new fire stations
with 45 new fire personnel;
The addition of two
police sub-stations to serve the southeast and southwest parts of
Construction of a
state-of-the-art, OPD training center that would ensure our officers
get the most up-to-date training;
Installation of a new
high-tech, digital communication system that will soon be the
standard around Orange County and will allow all of our region’s
public safety departments to communicate;
And, 13 new
communication specialists who are the first people our citizens talk
to in an emergency situation.
This safety initiative also
includes money to help safeguard our community’s legacy of investing in
families, parks and recreation. Over the past two years, a long list of
new recreation centers and park beautification projects have been
completed across every district in this City.
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First, I am proposing that we protect these valuable assets by funding
two OPD community service officers dedicated to patrolling our parks.
These funds would also be used to add part-time security guards at three
of our recreational facilities where they could assist residents and
maintain the quality of those centers.
Second, I am asking for your approval of funding to help safeguard our
City’s “crown jewel” … Lake Eola. This money would allow us to upgrade
our staff to “Park Rangers” giving them more authority to do their job
and maintain the quality of that park.
And, third…something that has been discussed more than once on this
Council…graffiti. Graffiti attracts other forms of crime and street
delinquency to our City neighborhoods. I am proposing that we expand the
Keep Orlando Beautiful program by dedicating a staff member to establish
a graffiti reduction initiative. The goal of that initiative would be to
educate youth and adults about preventing and reducing graffiti and
provide tools and resources, such as graffiti removal kits, to
businesses and residents.
Together, these public safety projects will allow us to continue to
offer our residents the highest quality urban services. In fact, they
will help our Orlando Fire Department attain its first-ever ISO rating
of “1” and allow our OPD officers to become more integrated into the
neighborhoods they serve.
The next area we need to focus on is Economic Development.
We have taken a hard look at the increasing demand being placed on the
Economic Development Department due to the growth happening across our
City. We want to ensure that we provide the highest-level of customer
service, so a homeowner doing a renovation or business owner opening a
new store is served quickly and efficiently.
I am proposing close to a million dollars be dedicated from this budget
to add seven new code-enforcement officers, making up a task force to
address violations in apartments and condominium complexes as we see
more of these projects come online…five new city planners, allowing that
department to refocus on sustainable, long range activities rather than
just meeting short term needs…and eight new permitting staff, assuring
our level of customer service remains high as our City continues to
The budget also includes funding for important business development
projects such as a Neighborhood Commercial District Revitalization
Program that would enhance retail and shopping areas in every
I am also proposing we fund an Enterprise Center in Commissioner Wyman’s
district that would help young companies grow and prosper.
Finally, a new program we’ve discussed that will assist minority and
woman owned for-profit small businesses is being launched. Called the
Minority/Women Entrepreneurs Business Assistance program or MEBA, this
initiative is starting with a pilot program in Parramore this year and
will be funded through our downtown CRA.
The third area we want to focus on is Public Works.
Public Works is certainly not the most glamorous subject or the area of
City government that garners the most headlines. Although, it certainly
houses those services that directly impact the day-to-day lives of our
citizens … from providing well-maintained roads; to constructing new
parks and green spaces; to ensuring that systems are in place to reduce
flooding in our neighborhoods.
Today, I am proposing several projects that are critical to the
long-term sustainability of our City and the core infrastructure on
which it is built.
First, 32 Wastewater Capital Projects have been submitted for the 06/07
fiscal year. These projects represent a five year cost of $140 million.
As was discussed during our recent “budget camp”, these funds will be
paid through our Wastewater Enterprise Fund and will not be paid out of
the general fund.
Examples include updating our downtown sewer system, some of which was
built in the 1920s and 30s and needs to be upgraded to handle the
significant development happening downtown. We will also install sewers
in some of our neighborhoods still served by septic tanks and provide
those areas with a more reliable, environmentally friendly means of
Our public works department will complete construction of the Parramore
Stormwater Treatment Facility at a cost of $1.5 million. This will allow
a million dollars worth of work to begin on the first phase of the
Parramore Heritage Central Park and lead to our downtown having a new
jewel…a park to enhance the Parramore neighborhood’s quality of life and
help attract new economic development investment to the west side of
Work will also begin on developing the City green spaces in Baldwin
Park. This includes extension of the Blue Jacket Park, construction of
the Harbor Park and extending the trail system around Lake Baldwin and
Lake Susannah. These projects will be done in three phases and will cost
a total of $4 million.
In the world of transportation, I am proposing continued support of
METROPLAN ORLANDO, our region’s metropolitan planning organization. I am
also proposing that we contribute $4.5 million to LYNX, our
nationally-recognized transportation authority, as well as $1.6 million
to the continued operation of the downtown Lymmo service. Our region’s
continued growth relies on our commitment to supporting these valuable
mass transit options.
Commissioners, this budget represents a defining moment. For the past
several years, we have been faced with significant budget constraints.
Now that we stabilized our financial condition, we have the opportunity
to consider enhancements to our services.
Over the coming year, there will be other monetary decisions that we
will need to make for projects like the community venues and commuter
rail. I cannot express to you how important these projects would be for
the City of Orlando and our region. These are decisions that will
benefit our citizens for generations and will help define who we are as
A region’s quality of life, transportation infrastructure, public safety
organizations, education system and economic vitality are what make it a
great place to live, work, play and learn.
Left neglected, they can erode a city and region’s foundation if its
leaders don’t prioritize maintaining and strengthening these assets.
I look forward to working on these important initiatives with you over
the coming year.
Fellow City Council members, Florida Statute Section 166.241 requires
that I present you with a balanced budget, and I give that to you in the
amount of $801,856,319 (eight hundred one million eight hundred fifty
six thousand three hundred nineteen). I repeat … for the fourth year,
this budget does NOT include an increase in the millage rate which is
On September 11th and 18th, 2006, the City Council will conduct public
hearings on the budget starting at 5:01 p.m. on both days and those
hearings will be held here in City Council Chambers.
Once approved, the adopted budget will be online for the new fiscal year
that starts this October. This budget address will also be posted on our
Web site immediately.
Commissioners, thank you for your service to our residents and for
maintaining your commitment to fiscal responsibility. I look forward to
the year ahead, and the great things we will accomplish as a City.