General Information Concerning Osceola County
In the pages contained here, you will find more information about the government, including its history, demographic information, county maps, descriptions of our government and more.
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Cities and Geography
Osceola County was created in 1887. Osceola County is a 1,506 square mile area that serves as the south/central boundary of the Central Florida Region and the Greater Metropolitan Area. The City of Kissimmee, the County Seat, is 18 miles due south of Orlando. Osceola’s only other incorporated City, St. Cloud, is 9 miles east of Kissimmee, and approximately 45 miles west of the City of Melbourne on the Atlantic Coast.
Beyond this northwest quadrant and to the south and east with the exception of a few very small, rural towns, like Holopaw, Kenansville, and Yeehaw Junction, ranch lands and undeveloped prairie, woods and marsh dominate the County. These large regions include the Mormon Church owned Desert Ranches and a number of other large, privately operated ranch and agricultural lands. Also included are the State of Florida's wildlife management areas and preserves at Bull Creek, Prairie Lakes, and the Three Lakes. As the "headwaters" of the South Florida Water Management district and the Lake Okeechobee/Florida everglades ecosystem, Osceola County is bounded by the Kissimmee River, is crossed by a number of partially accessible creeks, and is home to the Kissimmee Chain-of-Lakes, that includes some of the State’s largest and finest fishing and recreational attractions.
An urban and urbanizing area in the northwest quadrant of the County dominates Osceola County's geography. This area is adjoining to Polk and Orange County and includes most of Osceola's population. It includes the incorporated areas of Kissimmee and St. Cloud, the unincorporated communities of Poinciana and Buenaventura Lakes, and unincorporated subdivisions ranging from Narcoossee in the northeast to Campbell City and Intercession City in the southwest to Deer Run and the St. Cloud Manor areas in the south.
Osceola's economic base is dominated by tourism, serving as a "gateway" to Disney World and other Central Florida attractions. The area's historical investments in ranching and citrus are still very strong, while light industry and service enterprises are growing due to Osceola's transportation advantages and proximity to the Greater Orlando area.
To learn more, please visit http://www.GreaterOsceola.com.
Osceola County Government is one level of government serving the residents of, and visitors to, Osceola County. Osceola County Government is unique and distinct from the Federal and State agencies and other local governments operating in the County. For instance, Osceola County Government is distinct from the two City Governments and School Board, each of which have its own elected officials and government staffs. Osceola County Government is unique because it is "different" from City or other local governments in several important ways. First, part of the County Government is run by an elected County Commission, while another part of it is run by five independently elected Constitutional Officers. Cities and the School Board each have only one elected council. Second, the mission of Cities and the School Board is "clearer". Cities are "multi-purpose" local governments providing "municipal" services only to the residents within the Cities' boundaries. The School Board is a "single-purpose" government serving all County residents with one overall program. Osceola County Government is a "multi-purpose" government providing different services at different levels. Osceola County provides "municipal" services to unincorporated County residents and "Countywide" services to all County residents, whether they live in the Cities or not.
Osceola County is a Charter County, and an administrative subdivision of the State of Florida. Voters approved the County Charter in March 1992, and it took effect on October 1, 1992. The structure of County government under the charter does not depart dramatically from the structure of a County government outlined in the Florida Statutes.
Osceola County Government is governed by three sets of elected officials, each of which independently directs separate branches of County Government. These include: the five-member County Commission, five separate Constitutional Officers, and a number of Judicial Officers. Under State law, the County Commission is responsible for funding the budgets of all Osceola County Government, including the independently elected Constitutional Officers and Judicial Officers, as well as the Commission's own departments. Each independent officer has discretion to administer his or her own programs. The County Commission exercises oversight only over its own departments.
The County Commission portion of Osceola County operates as a Commission/Manager Form of Government. In April 1986, the Osceola County Commission hired its first County Administrator. As of October 1, 1992, the position of County Administrator was re-titled County Manager and the County Commission formally hires a County Manager, County Attorney, and Commission Auditor. In February 2001, the Osceola County Commission authorized a reorganization of staff, thus creating an Assistant County Manager position, which was hired by the County Manager. The positions of Assistant County Managers cover five different groups of services throughout the county. Each division houses Department Directors that oversee several offices relative to the same service. With the exception of the Fire & EMS collective bargaining unit, there are no civil service or collective bargaining units in the County Commission's Departments.
Each independently elected Constitutional and Judicial Officer hires managers and staff to direct daily operations of their agencies. These employees are not governed by County Commission rules and serve at the pleasure of those elected officials, with the exception of the new State Career Service protection for certain Sheriff’s employees. Further, civil service or collective bargaining units.
Osceola County is a county rich in history and life. Click here to read the history of Osceola County.