Osceola County, Florida

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Public records
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Transparency grading process

Osceola County is one of 67 counties in Florida. Kissimmee is the county seat.

Osceola County's population as of 2007 was 266,123. It is one of 20 charter counties in the state. It became a charter county in 1992.[1]

Evaluation of website

Main article: Evaluation of Florida county websites

This was last rated on Jan. 30, 2013.

The good

  • Budget
    • Budget is published.[2]
    • Budgets are archived for at least three years.
  • Meetings
    • Board meeting schedule, agendas, and videos are available.[3]
    • Meeting information archived for at least three years.
  • Elected Officials
    • County commissioners are listed with email addresses.[4]
  • Administration
    • Administrative officials are listed under their respective departments with individual contact information.[5]
  • Zoning
    • Building permits are available[6]
    • Zoning information is posted.[7]
  • Contracts
    • Contracts are available.[8]
  • Audits
    • Audits are posted.[9]
    • Audits are archived to 2005.
  • Taxes
    • Local tax information is available.[10]
    • Includes information on real estate taxes, business taxes and other fees.
  • Public Records Request

The bad


Main article: Florida government sector lobbying

Osceola County has reported $1,140,000 spent on lobbying the federal government since 2000 (see table). Osceola County pays for services of the lobbying firm Alcade & Fay.[12]

Reported lobbying expenditures, 2000-2009[13]
Year Amount spent on lobbying
2009 $50,000
2008 $120,000
2007 $120,000
2006 $120,000
2005 $120,000
2004 $140,000
2003 $130,000
2002 $90,000
2001 $120,000
2000 $130,000

Public Records

In late 2008 reporters organized by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors requested the most recent budget emails from central Florida county officials in order to audit the responses.

In Osceola County, three agencies were asked for e-mails, but none were able to produce them. A request over the phone to a school district was referred to the district's Web site, which contained the Superintendent's Update on the budget, but yielded no e-mail records.

Superintendent Michael A. Grego called the audit a "setup" and "unfair." He said all public records requests are to go though spokeswoman Dana Schafer's office. Schafer said the school district is training employees to deal with such requests, but stressed that with 6,000 to train, it would take time.

The Osceola County administrator's office said to obtain such records, a public-information request form had to be filed with the public-information office. Niki Whisler, spokeswoman for the county, said there is no such form and that instructions must have been misunderstood.

An employee at the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said a name would be necessary to meet the request, with other employee saying the sheriff does not use email in communications about the budget.[14]

See also public record requests meet with confusion in central Florida.


For Osceola County, the Commission Auditor reports to the Board of County Commissioners.[15]

See also

External links