The Children’s Trust of Orange County has been aggressively advocating for the question of a Children’s Services Council (CSC) to be put on the ballot for a vote. Such a vote would pose the question as to whether or not voters would support a l/2 mil property tax increase to exclusively fund children’s programs in Orange County. If such a vote should pass, it could potentially raise $58 million annually for such programs.
With a great deal of pressure from the child advocacy community, the current Mayor and county commission decided to add a one-time addition of $20 million new dollars to the current budget for children’s services.
While this action is laudable, it only gets us part-way to our goal of $58 million annually in appropriations to help the needy children of Orange County.
The Children’s Trust of Orange County is now developing another option which is based on an ordinance that was successfully passed and executed in Manatee County.
As an alternative option to a tax increase, once sworn in to office, Mayor Jerry Demings and the county commission would pass an ordinance that would dedicate l/3 of a mil of existing collected tax revenues, on a recurring basis, for children’s programs. Fortunately, l/3 of a mil would make $38 million. Coupled with the new $20 million added by the current county commission, that would get us to our goal of $58 million. (This assumes that the mayor and county commission hold harmless those new dollars and not allow any new monies to supplant existing program funds.)