Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill That Would Dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had signed the bill that dissolves certain “independent special districts,” such as Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District on Friday afternoon, according to WFTV.

  • The Florida Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, followed by the House yesterday — and now DeSantis has signed it as expected.
  • Assuming the bill is not repealed or fought in court, the Reedy Creek Improvement District along with other special districts approved before 1968 would be dissolved effective June 1st, 2023.
  • However, many questions involving the termination of Reedy Creek have yet to be answered. Additionally, some experts suggest that Orange and Osceola county taxpayers will likely have to carry a massive burden as a major tax increase for those counties is expected given Reedy Creek’s operating expenses and existing debt.
  • WFTV also reports that Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph raises the point that this decision could cause companies that plan to move jobs to Florida to reconsider and says the ramifications of this bill could be enormous.

What they’re saying:

  • Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph: “The moment that Reedy Creek doesn’t exist is the moment that those taxes don’t exist. You’re literally taking $163 million a year of taxes that Disney pays for Reedy Creek and wiping it down to zero. I don’t see that Orange County doesn’t raise property taxes by 20% to 25%. That’s what Orange County would probably have to do to cover this financial situation.”
  • Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings: “We will have to enter into negotiations. There are some complex issues here that are not yet defined. Based upon the proposed language that I’ve seen, the devils in the details, and we quite simply today do not have the details.”

Catch-up quick:

  • In a last minute announcement, DeSantis revealed that a special session of the Florida legislature would be expanded.
  • Initially being called to approve the governor’s prepared congressional district maps, he proclaimed that two bills impacting Disney would be added.
  • SB 4-C would dissolve any special districts that were created prior to November 5th, 1968.
  • The districts impacted would be:
    • Bradford County Development Authority (Bradford County)  
    • Sunshine Water Control District (Broward County)
    • 37  Eastpoint Water and Sewer District (Franklin County)  
    • Hamilton County Development Authority (Hamilton County)
    • Reedy Creek Improvement District (Orange and Osceola Counties)  
    • Marion County Law Library (Marion County)
  • The Reedy Creek Improvement District is home to Walt Disney World and provides basic services to the resort.
  • The bill would take effect June 1st, 2023.
  • The dissolvement may also need to be approved by the governing body of the special district.