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September 2013

In contrast to the largely rural nature of many Florida counties, Orange County, Florida is a world-wide destination for business and leisure visitors.  This year alone, we will welcome more than 57 million visitors! Our success has not come overnight.  It has taken decades of planning and a lot of hard work to create our thriving economy, our excellent quality of life, and the wonderful amenities that differentiate us from the rest of the world. In part, Tourist Development Tax funds have helped us create this incredible place we call home.

A thriving culture of performing arts, sports, recreation and education are all vital to creating Orange County's reputation as the best place in the world to live, learn, work, and raise a family.  In the spirit of building the public trust, as well as strengthening our public amenities, I recently shared an update on the proposed amendments to the downtown venues agreement.  Also included was an update regarding the proposed additional marketing dollars for our convention center and Visit Orlando, and my reasons for supporting the funding request for the stadium that will be required to secure a Major League Soccer franchise.  I encourage you to read more on this important subject in a special edition of the Orange County Connect.

Also in this month's newsletter you will learn more about how Orange County has resumed our skybox ticket giveaways, the first meeting of our Youth Mental Health Commission, the Red Chair Gala, and the extraordinary contributions of our wonderfully creative arts and culture community.

As always, I thank you for your hard work, your continued support, and for staying connected with your government.

Teresa Jacobs
Orange County Mayor


      Orange County Approves Budget

In September, the Board of County Commissioners held two public hearings on Orange County's proposed $3.26 billion budget for fiscal year 2013-2014.

This year's budget is balanced, provides all of the crucial government services that citizens have come to expect, and lays a sustainable foundation so that the county can continue to meet the challenges of tomorrow while operating on a lean budget ($355 million less than the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget).

Overall, the county is operating at the same staffing levels that existed in 2005 while serving a population that has grown 15%. A focus on efficiency and process improvements has allowed for simultaneous staffing level reductions and customer service improvements.

While the last few years have been challenging, Orange County has fared better than most other governments. And, although we sense an improvement in our local and broader economy, Orange County's focus on fiscal responsibility will not change.

As we look to the work ahead, I have every confidence that we will continue to collectively rebuild our economy.  To build upon that recovery, we are so fortunate to have an engaged Board of County Commissioners who care about the needs of the community and about spending taxpayer funds responsibly. 

I wish to thank our Board and all of our staff for their efforts on compiling this year's budget and for providing a detailed and transparent report  for our citizens.

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        Youth Mental Health Commission Convenes

In August, I convened the Orange County Youth Mental Health Commission, co-chaired by Florida Hospital Regional Vice President Rich Morrison and Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
Did you know...? More than 50% of all lifetime mental health issues present themselves before the age of 14 and 75% before the age of 25.
The Commission seeks to develop comprehensive recommendations in addressing mental health issues in children and young adults, as well as identifying new strategies and initiatives to address system-of-care issues in children's mental health within Orange County.
Divided into five work groups, the Commission members will examine mental health resources, values, and accessibility, as well as the stigma associated with early identification and interventions available to children and families in Orange County. The group is also tasked with recommending how best to fund a system of care that works and can make a real difference in the lives of young people and their families.
All meetings will be announced and open to the public. The Commission will act in an advisory capacity and is expected to make its recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners in early 2014.  

The sooner we can screen, detect and treat, the better for our community, as well as the individual young people in need of services.

As a community, it is vital that we focus on this issue. On behalf of our community, our citizens and the many young people and families who will face mental health challenges, we must put forth our best efforts.

For more information, please click here.

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                 Skybox Ticket Giveaways

Orange County Resumes Skybox Ticket Giveaways
at the Amway Center

Jose Sanchez won skybox tickets to Marc Anthony's concert at the Amway Center in August.

I am so pleased that Orange County is once again able to give our citizens the opportunity to win skybox tickets to popular sold-out concerts at the Amway Center.

For several months, hundreds of Orange County residents took part in Orange County's randomized Facebook contests, winning tickets to concerts like Carrie Underwood, Justin Beiber, Maroon 5, and Taylor Swift. The purpose of the promotion was to give Orange County residents the opportunity to attend the concerts and engage with their government through our official social media platforms.

To qualify now, citizens are asked to submit their personal photos related to select events, and the photos garnering the most votes win our skybox tickets. Tickets to Bruno Mars and Marc Anthony were up for grabs in August.

I encourage our citizens to connect with Orange County through our many social media pages, which allow us to engage with constituents and relay important information regarding disasters and other services. As an additional bonus, our concert giveaway gives the public access to the best seats in the house!

For the latest news and information about Orange County, remember to connect with us through our social media pages.

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Red Chair Gala

Red Chair Gala Previews Season's
Arts and Cultural Offerings
(L-R) Terry Mooney, COO of Evok Advertising and Board of Directors member of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida; Mayor Jacobs; Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Administrator Terry Olson; and Garden Theater General Manager Alauna Friskis.

I had the honor of attending Central Florida's 8th Annual Red Chair Affair at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in August. Guests previewed the offerings of the Garden Theatre, Orlando Aerial Arts, Central Florida Community Arts, the Power Chords from the Orlando Repertory Theater, and many other wonderful local performing arts groups.

This year's show also featured presentations by two Central Florida organizations that are observing milestone anniversaries this season. The Orlando Ballet celebrates its 40th anniversary as Central Florida's resident ballet company, while the Orlando Shakespeare Theater will mark 25 years of thrilling plays and musicals.   

The Red Chair Project is managed by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida and is designed to increase awareness of and participation in local arts and cultural offerings. As a collaborative campaign involving more than 400 organizations, the project promotes the arts through RedChairProject.com, a website offering discounted tickets, classes, and cultural getaways.

I offer my sincere thanks to all of our citizens who support Orange County's arts and culture community and applaud them for their important contributions in Central Florida. Especially with the holiday season approaching, this is a great time to check out the local arts scene, and create some new family traditions!  For more information, visit the Red Chair Project for a comprehensive calendar of events.

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           The Orange County Experience  

       The Orange County Experience Begins in October

It's time for the 2013 Orange County Experience! On behalf of our entire Orange County family of employees, board members and volunteers, I am proud to invite you to participate in an 11-week citizen engagement program, designed specifically for those who are interested in learning more about their government.

The Orange County Experience provides citizens with information that will enable them to better understand and navigate county operations and services. Last year, our graduates explored several different Orange County departments and divisions touring 10 facilities ranging from the Convention Center, the Medical Examiner's Office, Fire Rescue and Public Works.

Applicants must be at least 18-years-old and be a citizen or resident of Orange County to participate. 

Seating is limited and the deadline for registration is Friday, October 11, 2013. For questions, please e-mail Carol.Burkett@ocfl.net or call 407-836-7335.

The Orange County Experience begins Friday, October 25, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  We'll see you there!

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Orange County's Crossing Guards

Orange County's School Crossing Guards
Make a Difference

Are you looking for a way to contribute to your community? Why not consider service as a school crossing guard! Every day, dozens of school crossing guards rise before daybreak and report to their assigned posts to ensure that our students can safely cross busy streets as they walk to and from school in Orange County.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office has several immediate crossing guard vacancies.  It's important that we promptly fill these positions so that our young students do not have to cross a busy street without any adult supervision.

To apply, visit www.ocso.com. You may also call the School Crossing Guard Unit at (407) 836-4082. The School Crossing Guard Office is located at the Sheriff's Central Operations Complex in Human Resources, 2500 West Colonial Drive in Orlando.

Our outstanding crossing guards make a tremendous difference in the lives of our children and are just one of the many reasons that Orange County continues to be the best place in the world to live, learn, work and raise a family.

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News Worth Noting ...

- It was my pleasure attending Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church's 94th Anniversary celebration in August. Joining me in the photo are Senator Geraldine Thompson and Rev. Dr. Bartholomew Banks, president of the Progressive Missionary & Educational Baptist State Convention of Florida.

- I enjoyed good food, great stories and exceptional company at the Christmas community's Covered Dish Dinner in August. I wish to thank the citizens of Christmas for the dinner invitation and the warm welcome.

- It was my pleasure speaking at the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration regional office inauguration ceremony in August. We are thrilled to welcome the staff and administrators from the regional center to our circle of advisors!

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In This Issue

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Mayor Teresa Jacobs
201 S. Rosalind Ave.
Orlando, FL 32801

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