According to County Commissioner Bryan Nelson, “The Orange County Public Works Department does an amazing job with the infrastructure that most of us take for granted.”
The Public Works Department of Orange County is responsible for an array of services including, building and maintaining the county’s roads, drainage, and stormwater networks. The work the Department does on a daily basis is crucial due to a growing population and the increased number of vehicles on the roads. More specifically, the department makes sure that roads and pedestrian walkways are efficient, effective, and safe for travel of all Orange County residents. In addition, the department works with the community, industry groups, and agencies to determine infrastructure needs. Public Works plays a major role in the mitigation of flooding due to storms by overseeing the county’s stormwater infrastructure and controlling stormwater runoff. The Public Works Department is made up of seven divisions all with a specific mission. These include the Development Engineering, Fiscal & Operational Support, Highway Construction, Public Works Engineering, Roads & Drainage, Stormwater Management, and Traffic Engineering divisions.
In the past fiscal year Public Works has been successful in maintaining 2,835 miles of roadways, 1,772 retention ponds, 593 traffic signals, and 25, 616 traffic signs. It has also successfully installed 6.2 miles of new sidewalks, and resurfaced 175 miles of arterial, collector, and subdivision roads.
There are nearly $99 million included in the proposed operating budget for Public Works as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2016-2017 budget. This funding will ensure all roads, traffic signals, and drainage systems are successfully maintained for all county residents. The major source of revenue for the Public Works comes from sales tax revenue. Traditionally a majority of revenue for the department came from the fuel tax, but with fuel efficiency technology advancing revenue from this funding source has decreased. Orange County has filled in this funding gap with $82 million from sales tax revenue.
Public Works expenditures can be categorized into two categories, operating and non-operating expenditures. Personnel services are a major subcategory of operating expenditures. This includes employee salaries, and benefits including health care, stormwater structures, and facilities. Total personnel expenditure is $99 Million. Non-personnel expenditures include capital improvements. This includes funding for new and expanded roadways, repaving, pedestrian safety, strormwater, drainage, and traffic improvements. Total non-operating expenditures are $187 Million. Part of the budget also includes funding from the INVEST In Our Home for Life initiative.
The INVEST in Our Home for Life initiative is a $300 million initiative aimed at providing quality infrastructure, vibrant neighborhoods and quality housing, enhanced recreational opportunities, and new public safety facilities among others. As part of this initiative $200 million will be provided to complete funding of new roadways, improvement of current roadways, and current traffic congestion in several areas through the county. Ten projects have been approved by the Board of County Commissioners. There are also district specific projects including the pavement of Memorial Cemetery Road located in District 2. This project is budgeted at $45,000 and is pending construction approval.
For more information regarding the INVEST in Our Home for Life initiative and the Public Works budget visit the initiative’s webpage found at http://orangecountyfl.net/. If you would like a more in-depth explanation of any of Orange County Government’s Financial Policies you can contact the Office of Management and Budget at (407) 836-7390 or see Orange County’s Administrative Regulations.
You may also visit: http://www.ocfl.net/OpenGovernment/Budgets.aspx