State to consider takeover of Disney’s soon-to-be-abolished Reedy Creek district

A public notice suggests the state wants to appoints its own governing board and impose reporting requirements.

A plan is in the making for the state to take over management of the special district governing Walt Disney World.

A notice on the Osceola County Property Appraiser website makes clear legislation will be filed in the Legislative Session to revise state oversight of the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

That comes less than a year after the Legislature in Special Session approved a bill supported by Gov. Ron DeSantis to dissolve the district, which was created in 1966. The district effectively allows Disney to self-govern on the land it owns in Central Florida within the district boundaries.

But the law signed by DeSantis only scheduled the district to be abolished in June this year, and did not discuss what would happen in the aftermath of Reedy Creek’s dissolution. The notice suggests those details will be worked out by the Legislature in the Regular Session, which starts on March 7.

Officials from the Governor’s Office support the coming legislation, DeSantis Communications Director Taryn Fenske told Fox News, which first reported on the notice.

“The corporate kingdom has come to an end,” Fenske said. “Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes.”

According to the notice, coming legislation will remove and revise district powers, provide state oversight and change the selection process for governing board members. It also says legislation will ensure debts and bond obligations held by the district now will not be transferred to other local governments.

That appears to address concerns raised about the law passed last year by local officials. While Disney is the only significant property owner, and thus taxpayer, in the district now, the abolishment of the district means an estimated $766 million in debt would shift to county governments.

DeSantis hinted last year that the state would not allow a transfer of that kind of debt to happen.

“Even though there are ways where you can potentially have local communities absorb jurisdiction over Disney, after seeing them threatening to raise taxes on their citizens, we are not going to be in a situation of giving them local control,” DeSantis said. “More likely, the state will simply assume control.”

The public notice also suggests new legislation will impose a regulatory framework on Disney, including reporting requirements. It will also revisit any remaining powers left to Disney by the law passed abruptly last year.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Good show

    January 7, 2023 at 8:34 pm

    Thst mouse is gonna kick ron harder then Cancer kicked his wife lol

Comments are closed.


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