For years, the Reedy Creek Improvement District (“RCID”) structure has allowed Disney to have a great amount of power and control over the land on which it operates in Florida. But all that could be changing soon.
Following Disney’s criticism of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, a law was passed that will dissolve the RCID in June of 2023. Just what will replace this district, and will Disney still have a large amount of control or will the state take over in a bigger way? We could be getting a BIG update soon.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis indicated that DeSantis is expecting the Florida legislature will hold a special session next week regarding the “proposed state takeover” of the RCID.
Governor DeSantis’ press secretary, Bryan Griffin, shared “the governor’s office anticipates a special session next week on Reedy Creek and other items.” The “other items” referred to have not been disclosed.
All of this comes after a notice was posted on the Osceola County’s website in early January regarding the RCID. That notice indicated that there was an “intent to seek legislation before the Florida Legislature, during a regular, extended, or special session, of an act relating to the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Orange and Osceola Counties.”
The notice indicated that the legislation would tackle various things, including:
- removing and revising powers of the District
- increasing state oversight, accountability, and transparency of the District
- revising the selection process, membership qualifications, and compensation for the governing body of the District
- ensuring debts and bond obligations held by the District remain with the District and are not transferred to other governments by retaining the District’s authority related to indebtedness and taxation
- revising the District’s authority over local permitting and regulation
- revising the District’s regulatory framework and structure
- and more.
Following this notice, Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director said, “The corporate kingdom has come to an end…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. Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.”
The key here really is the fact that Disney would not control its own government (as Disney already does pay taxes). Though some had indicated that the RCID could potentially be reinstated in a way that would still give Disney many of the key powers it’s used to having, it appears this proposed legislation may NOT do that. Instead, it could significantly increase state control and oversight over whatever replaces the RCID.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, as of Tuesday night (January 31st) no bill related to the RCID had been filed yet. And the legislature already has a “full calendar” of committee hearings scheduled for next week on bills related to various things, including construction lawsuits.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for updates on this situation and let you know what we find. But we could get some significant updates about the RCID very soon. Stay tuned!
Click here to hear what Reedy Creek leaders have said about the District’s dissolution
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What do you think will ultimately happen with the RCID? Tell us in the comments.
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