Orange County would see financial burden if Reedy Creek dissolves, tax collector says

ORANGE COUNTY, Florida. –Dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District would be a financial burden on the county, according to Orange County tax collector Scott Randolph.

He added that there would be no tax gain for the county.

“If this district goes away, it’s no longer income, but they take on all the debt and all the obligations,” Randolph said.

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Randolph said the financial obligation is approximately $105 million per year to operate services at Reedy Creek. For example, the district runs its own fire department, sewage services, and handles all road maintenance.

Additionally, Randolph said the county would also potentially take on $1 billion to $2 billion in bond debt.

If the county absorbs the additional costs of Reedy Creek, Randolph said the money will have to come from somewhere.

“If Reedy Creek is dissolved, I guess Orange County would have to raise property taxes 15-20%; now that’s not your whole tax bill, is it, because your tax bill is for school and stuff, but your Orange County government’s share of your tax bill will probably have to go up 15-20% to meet that cost,” he said.

The Florida Senate voted on Wednesday to eliminate Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, backing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ efforts to punish the theme park and entertainment giant.

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A companion bill, HB 3C, was introduced in the House by state Rep. Randy Fine of Brevard County after Disney “chosen to kick the hornet’s nest” and condemned DeSantis’ parental rights in the education law, more colloquially known as the “Don’t Say Gay Law”.

The House State Affairs Committee voted Tuesday night along party lines to forward HB 3C to the full house vote, which is expected to take place on Thursday.

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Esther L. Steinbach