Disney Responds To Florida’s New Reedy Creek Bill
Following the news that the Reedy Creek Improvement District would be renamed and subject to additional regulations, Jeff Vahle, President of Walt Disney World made the company’s point of view clear.
“We are monitoring the progression of the draft legislation, which is complex given the long history of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world. And regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit the each year.”
Disney seems to be taking the high road in their latest statement. The bill drafted by the Florida legislator today will largely mean its business as usual for Walt Disney World.
What Is In The New Bill
While some Florida lawmakers had spoke of abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District outright, the bill drafted today is more measured.
The name Reedy Creek will in fact be going away. The district will then be reestablished under a new name however,- the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
The big change in the new bill revolves around who appoints the Board of Supervisors that govern the district.
Under the current agreement the landowners within the district appoint board members. Since Disney owns the land that makes up Reedy Creek, the company has the ability to appoint who they chose.
The new legislation, states that the reestablished district will retain its five member Board of Supervisors. The members however, will now be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
The law would also bar anyone who has worked for Disney, or any other theme park operators, within the past three years from being appointed to the board. Interestingly, no Disney relatives are allowed to serve on the board.
The Transfer of Debt
Opponents of the new legislation warned that local taxpayers in Orange and Osceola county would be saddled with Disney’s 1 billion dollar debt if Reedy Creek was dissolved.
Under the new bill however, the Reedy Creek Improvement District debt would be transferred to the new entity. Surly the central Florida counties will be relived.
Will Disney Challenge the Bill?
If the newly drafted bill were to become law, it will almost surly face a legal challenge from Disney. The new bill could strip Disney of the operational autonomy that Reedy Creek provided. Right now, the district handles 911, fire protection, power grid, land usage, road maintenance and more.
The next chapter in the battle of Reedy Creek will be the passage of the bill drafted today. As always, we will continue to provide updates.
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