Council Highlights – March 22, 2021

Last updated on March 22, 2021

Council Update - March 22, 2021 

Mayor's Update

General Items 

Recognition for Officer Kevin Valencia 

On behalf of our City Council, we want to send our condolences to Meghan and the entire family of Officer Kevin Valencia, as well as his friends and Orlando Police Department colleagues. Officer Valencia served our community for more than three years with dedication and heroism, putting his life on the line protecting our city and making the ultimate sacrifice.   

As a city, we mourn this passing of one of our own. Officer Valencia’s commitment to our community will not be forgotten. Please join us in a moment of silence in his honor. 

COVID-19 Update  

The last 12 months – since COVID-19 first impacted us – have been filled with challenges. The pandemic has tested us and forced us to change so much.  

We’ve adapted to stop the spread and protect others. We’ve mourned those we’ve lost to the virus.  

We’ve followed the lead of the healthcare professionals, first responders and so many other essential workers and not-for-profit groups who continued to serve our neighbors, especially those needing extra support during this trying time.  

We know that thanks to the vaccine, the day when we can safely gather with family and friends for celebrations and holidays is coming. And a day when restaurants and shops are again filled with customers.   

The vaccine will prevent more illness and death and help bring the pandemic to an end. We want to continue to encourage our residents that when they can get vaccinated to do so – and thank those that have already done so. We also want to thank everyone in our community for their response to this pandemic and for again showing that one of Orlando’s greatest strengths is our kindness and compassion. 

Items of Note 

EDV #13 Resolution Reducing Business Tax Delinquency & CRA #5 Small Business Rental Assistance Funding Agreements 

Moving on to items of note, related to the pandemic, we know that many of our businesses city-wide continue to feel the financial impacts of COVID-19.   

That is why, in another effort to support our businesses during these trying times, we are considering a resolution to reduce the $250.00 delinquency penalty typically assessed for unpaid business tax invoices for this year to zero.    

We hope that reducing this fee to zero will provide some relief to our businesses as they continue on their path to recovery.    

Also, today’s agenda we are seeking to approve two additional businesses under the downtown CRA Small Business Rental Assistance Program to provide rental assistance to those businesses in need. This brings the program total to assisting 49 approved businesses for a total of about $904,000 in funding.  

EDV #14 & EDV #16 STRIVE Job Creation Program – Sonesta Program Agreement

Also as we continue our economic recovery efforts, on today’s agenda is the STRIVE Orlando Program, a new performance-based local job incentive program to assist in advancing broad-based prosperity in the Orlando region.  

This program will use the National median wage to encourage not only high-wage job creation, but also middle-wage job creation in the region’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, thereby removing obstacles to job growth and stimulating economic recovery. 

Today we will also look to approve a STRIVE agreement with Sonesta International Hotels Corporation, making Sonesta the first recipient of the new incentive program. Sonesta is proposing to open a Shared Services Center in downtown Orlando that plans to create 80 new high-value jobs over two years with an average annual wage of more than $68,000. 

EDV #15 Black Orlando Tech Funding Agreement 

Today, we are also considering an agreement with local non-profit Black Orlando Tech to allow them to embark on a 12-month exercise to work on the creation of a strategic plan to help address racial injustices and economic inequities that exist for minority entrepreneurs in our community.  

The city is partnering with Orange County to fund this project because together, we have worked to grow and nurture a strong tech and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We want to ensure that every resident has an equal opportunity to start and grow a business that allows them to thrive in our community.  

Black Orlando Tech will work Forward Cities, a national nonprofit that has a history of helping communities grow and sustain more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.