Don’t Worry, The Sky Isn’t Falling
Okay, you may have heard the news this week/month that The Walt Disney Company is feuding with local Florida politicians.
That’s a problem in that Walt Disney himself chose Florida for the political concessions the state and city governments made during the mid-1960s.
Now, a vote just occurred that threatens the Reedy Creek Improvement District, at least theoretically.
I know that some of you worry about the possibility of rising costs due to this possibility.
Let’s talk things through, and I’m confident you’ll recognize that the sky isn’t falling for DVC members.
The Florida state senate just held a special meeting at an unusual time on the legislative calendar.
For various reasons, Florida’s governor and Disney had a falling out over HB 1557.
This occurred only weeks after the Mouse had donated $125,000 to his campaign as well as those of other GOP politicians in the state.
Once the situation turned acrimonious, Florida politicians threatened to revoke Disney’s special privileges from the Reedy Creek Improvement District.
That’s the vote I just mentioned. Theoretically, the state senate just voted 23-16 along party lines to eliminate the Reedy Creek benefits.
What does this mean? The honest answer, at least for now, is absolutely nothing. It’s just a vote, and you’d be shocked how many pointless ones happen throughout the country each day.
Several other votes must occur for the Reedy Creek Improvement District to dissolve. In fact, I’ll quote the Orlando Sentinel here:
“…only the members of a special district can abolish it. “The Legislature does not appear to have the authority to do this without the input and a vote from the Reedy Creek electors.”
These are the words of Richard Foglesong, the author of Married to the Mouse, a book about Reedy Creek’s inner workings.
Would Disney Foot the Bill?
We can discuss the financial ramifications of this possible move, but it’s remarkably cut and dried.
Disney would come out like bandits in the short term. It pays a LOT of money to keep the trains running, so to speak.
If the Reedy Creek Improvement District dissolves, Central Florida taxpayers are on the hook for $2 billion. At the same time, Disney drops those numbers from its books.
As far as anyone can tell thus far, all the responsibilities that Disney dutifully performs will shift to the Florida state government. So, naturally, the expenses go along with them.
I understand that’s not how you may be hearing the story right now. So, I’ll defer to the state senate’s staff analysis on the matter. It states:
“Unless otherwise provided by law or ordinance…” the dissolution means that the city or state government “shall also assume all indebtedness of the preexisting special district.”
Now, I stress that all this is unlikely anyway. The Miami Herald reports the following:
“According to state statute 189.072 a majority of the residents would have to vote in favor of dissolving the district. And since most Reedy Creek homeowners are Disney employees that would be unlikely.”
Florida’s governor and state senate could probably find some legal loopholes, but that’s where we’re at with the whole story.
Disney could lose some financial incentives as part of this change, but it’d come out ahead on its bottom line.
What This Means for Your Maintenance Fees
Really, all that you should care about is whether this will impact your maintenance fees. On this front, I have excellent news.
Since Disney comes out ahead financially, there’s no reason why your membership dues should increase.
Currently, Disney pays for the municipal infrastructure in Reedy Creek. All the expenses of running the fire department, preventing flooding, and wastewater pass back to the government.
At that point, if anything, the cost of operating DVC resorts would decrease in the short term.
I’m not saying Disney would definitely reduce those expenses, but the financial justification would be there.
Disney loses some control but saves a substantial amount of money by dissolving Reedy Creek.
So, there are no incurred expenses to pass along to you!