Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says the state of the City of Orlando is strong, but changes will have to come in order for the city to keep up with the need for services.
In the 20 minute speech, the mayor announced he plans to hold public workshops on the best way to raise taxes in the city. Dyer says growth in the city is straining the need for services, and called what is happening now a "structural imbalance."
"As the housing market rebounds and housing values increase by 20 30 percent, we're only allowed to grow by 5 percent."
Among the changes coming to downtown Orlando is parking. Mayor Dyer says the city will replace 1,100 parking meters at a cost of $670,000 with "smart" parking meters. People will be able to now pay with debit and credit cards, plus use their smart phones to either pay or figure out where to go.
"Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pull up an app and it tells you where the nearest several open parking spaces are? So that would be a great benefit."
Mayor Dyer is also calling for social change. He asked the Florida Legislature to get rid of the ban on same sex marriage.
"One day, I hope we are the city that hosts the state's first same-sex wedding."
The line drew a big round of applause, especially from City Commissioner Patty Sheehan.
"Why not encourage gay weddings? It's actually an economic boom. It's actually something that would make sense, but for some reason our Legislators are stuck in the 17th century with religious views that frankly most people don't even hold anymore."
The mayor also announced plans to find permanent shelter for a third of the city chronic homeless population in the next three years, but had no specifics on how the city would pay for it.
Dyer gave his state of the city speech right on Church Street with a SunRail train parked behind him. With SunRail service starting in May, and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opening in November, Dyer believes this will be the biggest year for the city yet.