Council Highlights – July 20, 2020

Last updated on July 20, 2020


The last several months have been unlike any other in our City’s history. And today, we undertake another first, a virtual budget workshop.   
This year, as staff are finalizing their department budgets, our country faces two historic events: 

  • The Covid-19 crisis 
  • And, the call to end systematic racism in our country 

In some respects, these are separate issues, in other ways they’re very much connected.  

Both of these important dynamics are prioritized in our budgeting and investments over the next year and will be in the years to come.  

We’ll start with Covid-19. 

Year after year, the City of Orlando provides the best core city services of any major city in Florida.    

We’ve worked incredibly hard to maintain that standard during this crisis.  

Departments like solid waste and permitting experienced an increase in demand while other departments like FPR had to completely re-imagine how they deliver services.    

Our goal with this budget is to continue to deliver that level of superior service while also organizing our budget in a way that allows us to remain nimble and have the resources in place to respond to economic challenges that likely lay ahead because of the pandemic. 

The bottom line is... this year’s budget will allow our city to continue to deliver the services our residents depend on... without the need to raise the millage rate.  

Racial Equity  
The next important element of this budget is how we refocus funding for the police department... and how we expand our efforts to create racial equity.  

We’ve heard time and time again that the significant investments we’ve made in economic development, jobs, housing and education are more important than ever as we strive to make Orlando a more equitable city.  

Our affordable housing initiative is a great example of why this work is so important. 

For example, every dollar we've invested in the Fannie Mae properties.... has returned more than seven dollars in private sector investment.   

Our 40 million dollar commitment over the past five years enabled more than a quarter billion dollars in affordable housing to become reality... and given close to 1800 families a safe, affordable place to live. 

Over the last several weeks we’ve spent a considerable amount of time listening to our residents about what they’d like to see their city government do as we chart our path forward.  

In this budget, we have allocated police funds for the research and piloting of a co-responder model. 

The co-responder strategy is designed to de-escalate situations involving mental health issues. 

In the co-response program, a therapist, mental health counselor, social worker, or treatment professional works alongside law enforcement so that a police officer and social worker or therapist arrive together. 

We’re also investing in tools to enhance training for potential use of force incidents... and enhance the review process when those incidents occur. 

And, we’re investing in the wellbeing of our officers by expanding mental health assistance for them. 

We’ve also secured a federal grant to add a dedicated Community Oriented Policing Team, comprised of 10 new officers who will focus on working collaboratively with residents to solve community concerns and cultivate positive relationships. 

The officers will work in teams of two, with each team dedicated to a specific neighborhood, so that they can be regularly seen and interact with residents in these communities, working to earn the communities’ trust, promote more community engagement and better serve and protect the  residents of these neighborhoods. 

This budget also renews and expands our efforts to create racial equity by: 

  • Making 20 million dollars available in short and long-term funding for housing.
  • $4 million in job training and economic development initiatives for minority and women owned businesses.
  • Increasing the families, parks and recreation budget by 14% and expanding our successful Parramore Kidz Zone to three other neighborhoods in our city.
  • We know the PKZ model works. Over the last decade, it’s credited with reducing the number of juvenile arrests by 63 percent...and for 4 years in a row, 100 percent of the high-school seniors graduated... then went to college, post-secondary education or the military. 

These investments align with our longstanding, shared effort to create a city where everyone is equally valued... is equally protected... and has equitable access to opportunity.   

This is not a mission that’s going to be accomplished in a single budget.   

It’s up to us to make sure it remains a priority... day after day... year after year.   

That’s why this year’s budget also includes the creation of new position of an Equity Official within the Executive Offices.     

Commissioners, we want to thank each of you for your hard work over these past few months. 

We also want to thank you for your passion, commitment and unique perspectives as we work together on racial equity issues while ensuring our city can financially weather the global COVID pandemic.  

To our City employees... once again... thank you for your service and sacrifice as we work on behalf of the residents of the City beautiful.  

Now, we’ll begin this year’s budget presentation with our CFO Chris McCullion. 

General Items  

Commissioner Sheehan’s 20th Anniversary 

Happy Belated Anniversary to Commissioner Patty Sheehan who celebrated 20 years of service to the City of Orlando on June 1 this year. Commissioner Sheehan is truly committed to serving Orlando and this milestone exemplifies the two decades of being a powerful advocating voice for the businesses, neighborhoods and residents in her district. 

Robert’s Rule  

Anyone who wishes to speak during General Appearances must complete a request prior to Council's vote on the Consent Agenda.  

There are four ways to register for General Appearances listed on the agenda.  

We will allow one hour for General Appearances and the time will be divided by the number of registered speakers.   

Workshop Overview 

Commissioners, this morning we heard a presentation on the proposed budget for our next fiscal year. 

The last several months have been unlike any other in our nation’s and our community’s history. The COVID-19 pandemic and the call to end systematic racism are separate issues, but in many ways they’re very much connected. 

Today at the Budget Workshop we outlined how are going to address and prioritize both of these challenges in the years to come while also furthering our continued commitment to create a city where everyone is valued and furthers investments in affordable housing, providing access to jobs and education and strengthening youth programming.  

A key focus for our budget moving ahead also includes how we are preparing to respond to future economic challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic continues while maintaining and delivering core city services that residents depend on. 

Additionally, we’re focuses resources and funding to renew and expand on the City’s efforts to create racial equity by investing in programs and resources and refocus police funding to strengthen community policing efforts, enhancing review and training for use of force and expand access for mental health assistance for officers. 

For more information on today’s workshop, please visit

COVID Update  

COVID-19 is still here in our community and it’s so important that each person in our city continues to take the needed actions to keep ourselves and everyone here in Orlando safe.  

Every day we must continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing and be diligent with handwashing. These simple actions are critical to the efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.