Central Florida has been hit hard by the economic recession with an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent in December and 72,000 homes in foreclosure in 2009.  The city of Orlando and Osceola and Seminole counties have designated themselves as federal recovery zones- economically distressed areas with high unemployment or home foreclosure rates-allowing them to issue up to $50 million worth of federally subsidized stimulus bonds this year.

The U.S. Treasury announced last June that it was creating a $25 billion recovery zone bond program, including $1.3 billion for counties and large cities in Florida as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  At that time, all local municipalities chose to pass on the program for one main reason:  It's not free money.  They would have to repay the principal and a portion of the interest.