On Tuesday, your leaders will hear about the needs of children in Orange County. Here’s what to expect.
Thank you for your continued support of the Children’s Trust of Orange County. We have a lot of activities in support of our campaign coming up over the next few days and we need your involvement.
You are welcome and encouraged to testify/present– but if not, we would appreciate your presence at the county commission chambers that morning to convince our elected officials to get the Children’s Trust issue on the ballot in November.
If you would like to testify, you can go here and fill out the form required by the county to present. Or, you can just get it the morning on April 24th as you go into the commission chambers.
Let us once again encourage you to share our website and social media links (@OCFLChildren). All options, from signing a petition, to emailing your commissioner and the mayor, or making a contribution is available on mental health.
Petition: As of today, over 1400 people and rising have signed the petition asking the mayor and commission to put the children’s trust issue on the ballot. Spread the word.
Multiple sources have been commenting that Orange County staffers dispatched by the Mayor have been encouraging individual commissioners to vote against putting the children’s services issue on the ballot. They are telling the commissioners that a YES vote to put the Children’s Trust on the ballot in November would be characterized as those commissioners voting for a tax increase.
That is simply not the truth. Both the Mayor and county commission have voted several times to put tax issues on the ballot to let Orange county voters decide. This includes the sales tax for school construction, which was twice put on the ballot. The Mayor and county commission voted to put the school systems full-mil ad-valorem tax on the ballot twice and are scheduled to take it up again within the next couple of months.
One must ask the question; How can the Mayor and our county commissioners defend putting other tax issues like school funding on the ballot and not one dealing with children’s services? It would seem as if the county staff has been directed to give misleading information to the commissioners on the Children’s Trust issue.
It is also worth noting rather ironically that some members of the Orange County Commission are indeed running for elected offices in November, and as such, will ask the people of Orange County for their vote. And yet, these very same candidates for public office would not trust the people of Orange County to vote on such a critical matter as our children’s needs?
Even more disappointing, there are the reports of county staff reaching out to several non-profit organizations, many with smaller budgets and deeply dependent on county funding, suggesting that they not testify on behalf of the Children’s Trust at the 4/24 workshop. They have encouraged these non-profits to appear and testify to all the good that the county is doing.
What’s worse? Orange County staffers are also suggesting to these small non-profits if the Children’s Trust issue passes, they will lose their funding and be forced lay off all their staff.
That is shameful behavior by taxpayers funded county staff. And it is a blatant lie.
In every single county in Florida that has a Children’s Trust, the funding exponentially increases for available children’s services.
While we anticipated an open and fair discussion on April 24th, such actions as these above are uncalled for and certainly feel like abuse of governmental powers.
What to expect at the April 24th Workshop
We anticipate the county staff will present an exaggerated version of what all is done in Orange County for children. While the county deserves credit for funding some children’s programs, expect to hear an inflated number which is likely to include state and federal program dollars, Medicaid monies, as well as the monies spent by non-profits and philanthropy organizations.
It goes without saying that those monies should not be used to demonstrate or calculate the true level of funding specific to the county’s budget.
The Mayor is likely to announce a $20,000,000 appropriation for children’s services. Additionally, she is likely to propose an “alternative funding mechanism”, which is essentially the status quo– an in-house county entity that will rely solely on an annual vote by the county commission for its funding. (Versus a $58,000.000 10-year recurring dedicated funding from the Children’s Trust that cannot be cut).
Such “alternative” money begs these questions: Is it really net? net new monies? Where did these monies come from within the current county budget? Are these recurring monies? How will this money be protected from budget cuts? Would such funding require a super-majority by the commission to cut such monies? Is that option even available to the county commission under state law?
I hope this helps to explain a rather complicated set of events as they are unfolding. We are looking forward to the opportunity to present our case on behalf of all the children in Orange county waiting for help. We need your support now more than ever.
Thank you again for your interest.