8 x July 5 — 18, 2018 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com In the glitzy and expanding Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs gave her last State of the County address to a large crowd. “In reflecting on this amazing era of recovery, discovery and transformation, an era of tragedy and triumph, I believe we have truly become the best place to live, work and raise a family,” she said. The Jones High School Opus Singers and Brass Quintet entertained attendees during the pre-event reception. Southwest resident Rich Maladecki, president and CEO of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association gave the opening remarks. Before the mayor took the stage, she played a video providing a look back at the past nearly eight years, providing a visual of how she has aimed to improve the community for “our children, their children and their grandchildren.” This is Jacobs’ last year as mayor. Term limits do not allow her to run again. NOTEWORTHY NEWS Mayor Jacobs Gives Her Final State of the County Address Jacobs interspersed her address with some humor, reminiscing about test-driving a helicopter in simulation and crashing it, operating a bulldozer during a code-enforcement operation, and recalling how the Windermere mayor danced with her and others during a commission meeting. She thanked her family, county staff and county commissioners for their support and hard work. Then she turned serious, recalling why she ran for mayor and how she has tackled the needs of children and families during her years in office. Jacobs began her first term on the “heels of the Great Recession,” when the county lost about $150 million in annual revenue. The county’s economy has rebounded. It now enjoys a Triple-A bond rating. by Debra Wood “Knowing that economies can experience volatility is the reason that I have focused so intently on boosting our fiscal management practices and improving our credit worthiness,” Jacobs said. Jacobs reported that the county issued 84,000 building permits in 2017, valued at more than $2.3 billion. She recalled that when she took office, employees of the building department were furloughed because of a lack of demand and funding. The area’s tourism and hospitality industry has rebounded, and Central Florida remains the No. 1 travel destination in the country, generating $70 billion in economic impact and supporting about one-third of the jobs in the county. Last year, Southwest resident and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs presents her final State of the County address. the hospitality industry generated $255 million in Tourist Development Taxes. “Thanks to the superior customer service of our frontline workers, we’ve made Central Florida the envy of the global hospitality market,” Jacobs said. “Thank you to our tourism leaders.” 2018 Open 6 Days a Week Until 9pm on Weekdays Voted #1 Physician 4 Years in a Row *Now Accepting New Patients (407) 876-CARE (2273) | WindermereMedicalCenter.com Accepted Plans: Aetna | BCBS (all plans) | Cigna/Disney | Florida Hospital (FHHS) | Healthchoice | Medicare | United Healthcare and many more Niral Patel, M.D.
Jacobs called the state of Orange County strong. She praised neighbors helping neighbors during hurricanes Maria and Irma and the community’s “culture of compassion and collaboration.” Not all has been positive. On June 12, 2016, patrons of Pulse nightclub were attacked. “Together, our community endured a nightmare that none of us could ever have imagined,” said Jacobs, before playing a video that highlighted the 49 people who lost their lives that night. She discussed how the county, in cooperation with the city of Orlando and United Way, opened the Orlando United Assistance Center to help surviving victims. “As overwhelming as the loss was, the response of our community was equally overwhelming,” Jacobs said. “Never would I have imagined the outpouring of love and unity, or the depth of our strength and resilience. As a community, we share a commitment to make sure the whole world never forgets our 49 Pulse angels.” Jacobs also remarked on the efforts the county has taken to help with the rehoming of Hurricane Maria evacuees from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and to address the opioid crisis. The speech occurred on the day of another mass casualty shooting in a high school. Jacobs paused for a moment of silence and teared up before talking about making schools and places of worship safe again and dealing with mental illness. Jacobs and the county commissioners took the public-safety action this year to close the “gun show loophole.” The new law “requires criminal background checks and a three-day waiting period for everyone who purchases a firearm at a gun show, flea market or firearms exhibit — a requirement that otherwise only applied if you are purchasing a firearm from a licensed gun dealer,” she said. Jacobs also talked about addressing the challenges of affordable housing, increasing the number of www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x July 5 — 18, 2018 x 9 animals adopted through animal services, and remembering sacrifices of first responders, including Windermere Police Officer Robbie German, who was “senselessly gunned down by two suicidal teens. Both teens then took their own lives.” She reported that Orange County’s unemployment rate has declined from 10.7 percent when she took office to a current rate of 3.2 percent. Orange County has added 160,000 new jobs during that time. Michael J. Tortorella, MD Obstetrics & Gynecology Board Certified Pregnancy Family Planning Menstrual Disorders Menopause Second Opinion for Surgery Rather than leave with a feeling that Jacobs took credit for all of the progress the community has experienced, she humbly suggested that people have come together to make a difference in shaping the vibrant community that now exists. “Working with each of you, and with so many others throughout Central Florida and our state, has been the honor and privilege of a lifetime,” Jacobs said. “May God bless each of you and all those who stand in support of Orange County.” ª In-Office Ultrasounds In-Office Surgery Minimally Invasive Surgery Sterilization (407) 363-1003 Michaeljtortorellamd.com 7300 Sandlake Commons Blvd. Suite 320, Medplex A next to Dr. P. Phillips Hospital Listed in Best Doctors in Orlando Magazine Waterproof vinyls starting at $2.39sf Laminate Totally Installed $2.99sf (selected items) Hardwood starting at $3.09sf • We offer 6-month financing “No Interest” • We guarantee to beat any quote on laminate floors and installation • 100s of samples to choose from • No add-on charges (free measure & estimate, delivery, move basic furniture, carpet rip out, warranty) • Limited time offer $150 OFF over 500sf installed 407 622 0699 501 N. Orlando Ave., #155 Winter Park, FL 32789 USACITYFLOORS.COM firstname.lastname@example.org