July 25, 2005
Thank you Commissioner
Sheehan for that warm welcome.
Good morning Commissioners. I am here to present to you, the Orlando
City Council a budget for fiscal year 2005-2006, which begins on
October 1, 2005, and runs through September 30, 2006.
I want to thank and recognize all of the people in the audience and
watching at home today for taking the time to be a part of this very
important process. Your participation and concern is key to helping
us, your elected officials, lead, and manage our City in the best
interest of all our citizens.
I would also like to thank our City Commissioners who have spent
numerous hours over the past several weeks participating in budget
hearings and reviewing volumes of information to ensure the City is
maximizing our resources. This administration and this City council
have strived to provide citizens with an unprecedented level of
access to our budgetary and fiscal information. These hearings were
open to the public and broadcast live on Orange TV. In addition,
this budget address will be posted on our Web site immediately, and
the 2005-2006 adopted budget will be available online for the start
of the fiscal year, in October.
Before I address the budget, there is one more group of people that
I must recognize for their efforts. They are our frontline City
employees… the people that interact with our citizens everyday. They
are the face of our City, the men and women who I believe provide
the highest level of public services in all of Florida.
They are our accountants and fiscal managers, who work tirelessly to
ensure we are the best stewards of citizen tax dollars. They are our
public works employees, who keep our streets clean, our water
potable, and our City beautiful. They are our permitting employees,
who ensure the ease of process when homeowners or developers apply
for permits to repair or construct. They are our employees in the
Families, Parks and Recreation Department, who maintain our City’s
parks, offer after-school programming for our youth, and manage our
116 parks and recreation facilities. They are our police and fire
employees, who ensure safe streets, safe homes and secure futures
for our children.
Our City departments strategically allocate their resources to
ensure every interaction with our citizens exemplifies the pride we
have in our work. Every department leader, every employee, is
continuously analyzing and seeking efficiencies in City services,
and each has played a critical role in presenting you a balanced
This is the third time I’ve had the opportunity to stand before this
Council to propose the City’s budget, and it marks the third year
we’ve had to face budget constraints and gaps similar to those of
our neighboring cities and cities throughout the nation. As we began
this process, growing expenses, including increased healthcare and
labor costs, had us facing a potential budget gap of $27 million
based on the projected cost to continue services matched with
anticipated revenue. Our Office of Management, Budget and Accounting
staff has spent months working with City department heads during our
budget preparation process to close that gap.
That process includes forecasting expenditures forward at restricted
growth rates, forecasting revenues based upon the State of Florida
estimates and conducting a 10-year historic analysis of property tax
collections. Forecasting is just one of the tools implemented by
this administration and Council in January 2004, to better manage
our fiscal resources. We have also created a Finance Committee,
which Commissioner Diamond is a member of, and which is providing
financial oversight and advice. We have implemented a reserve policy
setting requirements for the reserves the City should maintain to
keep our great city in good financial stead both here and on Wall
Street. Most importantly, we require and hold accountable all City
managers to examine their budgets on a monthly basis, to stay within
budget and to make the necessary adjustments to do just that.
Though we have these tools in place, we still face ongoing
challenges that contribute to difficulty in balancing city budgets.
For our City, as well as for our residents, we have the increased
burden of the aftermath of a very active hurricane season last year,
and consistently rising fuel costs. Fortunately, even after the
devastating damage left by the storms, I am proud to say that
through strong solid fiscal management we were able to maintain our
day to day operations, cover the hurricane expenses not reimbursed
by the state or FEMA and rebuild our City without further impacting
Though there is much work to be done to overcome our challenges,
there is also much for this City Council and our citizens to be
proud of. Many cities face the threat of businesses leaving their
downtown core because of the lack of services, yet we are
experiencing an explosive renaissance of business activity and job
growth in our downtown and throughout our City. Over the past year
the greater Orlando area has lead the state in job growth. In our
downtown, nearly $2 billion has been invested in projects proposed
or underway. This includes an 5,400 multi-family units, nearly a
half-million sq feet in retail space, and 1.3 million sq feet in
While cities such as San Jose, Indianapolis and Jacksonville have
been forced to make difficult decisions to decrease services or
eliminate staff positions, the City of Orlando has sought better
solutions … and thanks to the hard work of our staff and commitment
of our revenue partners, we have found better solutions for the
2005-2006 budget year.
We have closed the projected gap of $27 million dollars, without
raising taxes, without cutting services or reducing our workforce,
and without dipping into reserves. I submit to you a balanced budget
that is a reflection of our efforts to control expenses, while
actively seeking to increase revenue.
Growth was a part of the solution … with increased growth comes
increased property value and revenues. Projections for the 2005-2006
fiscal year show an increase in property tax revenue of
approximately $10 million.
We also recognized a greater return from the City’s largest
financial asset and partner, the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC).
OUC has agreed to increase its dividend to the City this year from
60% to 85% of net income, which represents $13.6 million in
additional revenues … a major step in closing the projected gap for
the 2005-2006 fiscal year. I want to thank our partners, especially
Ken Ksionek and the OUC board for their willingness to increase
OUC’s return to the citizens of Orlando. I also want to thank them
for their commitment to work with the City to identify a formula for
a multi-year dividend agreement that will benefit our citizens for
years to come.
While this is great news, it must be tempered with the understanding
we still have a difficult road ahead of us in identifying additional
reoccurring revenue. Projections show that spiraling benefit costs
and economic conditions will still cause our ongoing expenditures to
outpace current revenue.
As traditional revenue streams become stagnant, we will seek out
innovative revenue sources for the new economy. These include
cutting-edge telecommunications, WiFi and broadband initiatives
intended to leverage CRA money to generate general revenue - funds
that can be used for improvement projects and City services
throughout all of our neighborhoods, not just within the CRA.
Furthermore, we are reviewing fees in the Economic Development
Department, including permitting, planning and code enforcement.
These fees must be assessed appropriately to ensure the City’s
processing costs, are adequately covered. At the same time, this
study will help us ensure we are offering the most effective and
efficient services to both citizens and businesses.
Commissioners, this City is dedicated to maximizing resources to
ensure the services that touch our citizen’s lives will remain at
the level they have come to expect. This year’s budget requests are
focused on providing the tools, the technology, and the training
that give citizens a sense of pride and place in the unique and
distinctive neighborhoods in which they live.
Even in this lean budget year, the public safety of our citizens
remains at the forefront of this Council’s priorities. I am asking
for your approval of these vital elements for our public safety
1) Approximately $800,000 for new recruit training that will help
increase our effective strength, officers on the street, by 15
2) Approximately $500,000 for the maintenance of 48 additional
police vehicles, and this will complete the implementation of the
vehicle take-home program for police officers.
3) Funding for replacement body armor, service weapons, and for new
computers in police cars.
4) $300,000 for the design of the Savannah Park Fire Station in the
South East part of our City.
5) $350,000 for extrication equipment, fire hose replacements, fire
fighting gear, thermal imaging cameras, and onboard computer
replacements for our fire trucks.
6) In the area of Emergency Management, we’ve included a request of
$100,000 to be used to match FEMA mitigation funds specifically to
retrofit buildings used during hurricane emergencies.
To improve our neighborhoods, I’m recommending that each
commissioner have increased flexibility to use their traffic-calming
funds totaling $600,000 on projects that extend beyond roadways to
include sidewalks, stormwater and green space. Commissioners know
their neighborhoods’ immediate needs and should have the ability to
immediately address those needs … it’s all about customer service.
I’m also asking you to approve:
7) $2.6 million in the proposed budget for pedestrian safety
projects, including a school safety sidewalk program, sidewalk
repair throughout the City and funding for pavement rehabilitation.
8) $2 million for new traffic signals to improve the flow of traffic
on our City’s busy roads.
As we focus on improving City services and quality of life
amenities, I’m asking for the approval of:
9) Three additional positions in our economic development department
to expedite plan review and to assist with code enforcement
10) And, one that will bring a smile to all of your faces is a
proposal for full funding of operations and maintenance is also
included for the recently opened Airport Lakes Park and Rock Lake
Neighborhood Center. Additionally, funding of operations is
allocated for Rosemont Community Center opening in September, Ivey
Lane Park in October and the College Park Community Center, which
will open in December.
The tools, the training and the technology requested in this budget,
reflect our priorities for the City of Orlando; and with no doubt,
these proposed additions will build community pride, strengthen
confidence in our public safety entities, and enhance the quality of
life in all of our distinctive neighborhoods.
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 $681,415,629.00 (Six hundred eighty one
million, four hundred fifteen thousand, six hundred twenty nine
dollars). Today, I am proud to do just that and at this time I will
ask Deborah Girard, our Director of Management, Budget and
Accounting, to take you through the specifics of the budget.
On September 12th and September 19th, 2005, 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.
Commissioners, once again, I’d like to thank you for your commitment
to fiscal responsibility and your dedication to the citizens of
Orlando. Thank you very much and I now call on Deborah Girard.
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