ORLANDO — Orange County plans to spend a total of $300 million to fund myriad improvement projects, including roads, fire stations, parks and more.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs made the announcement of the INVEST in Our Home for Life initiative at her annual State of the County address, which took place June 12, at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
Jacobs said the money will not come from new taxes. Rather, the county has identified funds from existing sources and plans to leverage its fiscal rating to secure bond financing of excess sales-tax revenue.
"The good news is that this proposal will not increase taxes," she said. "Through our conservative budgeting — and thanks to an improving economy — we are able to identify the annual revenue needed to finance this program from existing sources.
"And, to leverage the county's high credit rating and historically low interest rates — and before construction costs rise — the time is now to address our infrastructure and public-safety needs," Jacobs said.
Of the $300 million, two-thirds — $200 million — is earmarked for new roadways and the expansion of existing roadways. Thirty-million dollars ($5 million per district) will be used for capital projects that have minimum operating project.
Another $30 million will be used to bolster fire-rescue infrastructure and equipment. That includes $18 million for three new fire stations, $7 million for equipment and $5 million as an allocation for a potential regional fire-training center.
Twenty-million dollars will be used to improve parks and recreational facilities, $15 million for pedestrian and intersection improvements, and $5 million will be used to develop affordable family housing.
Jacobs said she will present a budget for the plan next month. That budget will include more details on which specific projects will receive funding.
"More than how you or I are impacted, let's remember why we're doing this, and for whom — our children and their grandchildren," Jacobs said.
Several West Orange-area officials attended the address, including District 1 County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd, District 2 County Commissioner Bryan Nelson, Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn, Winter Garden City Commissioner Bobby Olszewski and Oakland Town Commissioner Joseph McMullen.