Disney authorities in darkish about impact of regulation dissolving it

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — On the first assembly of Walt Disney World’s personal authorities since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into regulation a measure to dissolve it subsequent 12 months, officers stated Wednesday they had been nonetheless confused about what the brand new laws meant, whilst some ripple results had been beginning to be felt.

The administrator of the federal government, referred to as the Reedy Creek Enchancment District, stated the growth of a solar energy mission might be delayed due to financing challenges linked to the laws, and the union for the district’s firefighters expressed considerations about what the dissolution may imply for members’ lifetime advantages.

After the assembly, Donald Greer, who has been a member of Reedy Creek’s board of supervisors since 1975, stated the board couldn’t present clear solutions on these points as a result of “we don’t know the place we’re going.”

“The district could have a response as quickly as we all know what it means, however I don’t know if anyone is aware of what it means. I don’t suppose anybody has deciphered it,” Greer stated.

DeSantis signed the measure into regulation final week in a transfer many noticed as punishment for Disney’s opposition to a different new regulation barring gender identification and sexual orientation instruction in early grade college, which critics name “Don’t Say Gay.” It was the most recent entrance in a tradition warfare DeSantis has waged over insurance policies involving race, gender and the coronavirus, battles he has harnessed to make himself one of the vital common Republicans within the nation and a possible 2024 presidential candidate.

Final week, a day earlier than DeSantis signed the invoice into regulation, the Reedy Creek Enchancment District despatched an announcement to buyers that stated it might proceed its monetary operations as ordinary. The district wrote that its settlement with the state forbids Florida from limiting or altering the district’s potential to gather taxes or fulfill its bond obligations.

Critics of the dissolution invoice have warned that taxpayers in neighboring counties might find yourself shouldering about $1 billion in money owed from the district. DeSantis has dismissed these considerations and stated extra laws could be drafted to make clear the way forward for such particular districts within the state.

On the Reedy Creek assembly Wednesday, district administrator John Classe stated a developer has skilled challenges financing a deliberate growth of a solar energy program, which means it might be delayed.

Jon Shirey, the pinnacle of the union for Reedy Creek’s firefighters, who make up round half of the personal authorities’s 400 staff, requested supervisors to provide his members reassurances that their jobs and advantages could be preserved since they’ve been stored in the dead of night about what the impact goes to be. The firefighters, notably retirees, are frightened about dropping their assured lifetime medical insurance, he stated.

“Now we have been informed to remain quiet, don’t speak to the media, don’t have interaction with present occasions,” Shirey informed supervisors. “Now we have been informed the management of the district will inform the story. They would be the ones placing out the message. I ask you, ‘What’s that message?’”

The supervisors didn’t reply, and in reality spent little time dedicated to the laws which poses an existential risk to the 55-year-old Reedy Creek Enchancment District. Classe informed supervisors its staff would proceed to perform with the identical “excessive requirements and professionalism they at all times have completed as we be taught what this legally means.”

Backers of the dissolution of Reedy Creek have argued it removes an unfair benefit the leisure large has over different theme parks, together with permitting it to situation bonds and set its personal zoning requirements.

At an occasion Monday, the governor assured a cheering crowd that Disney’s bond money owed received’t be dumped on taxpayers.

“On no account will Disney have the ability to not pay its money owed, we’ll make sure that of that,” DeSantis stated.

Credit standing company Fitch Scores has put Reedy Creek on a “detrimental watch” record, indicating that the personal authorities’s scores might keep the identical or doubtlessly be downgraded. A downgrade would make borrowing tougher for Reedy Creek.

One other scores company, S&P International Scores, stated that among the many questions left unanswered by the brand new regulation was whether or not Reedy Creek would reconstitute after its dissolved subsequent 12 months, how utility operations and debt could be transferred to the neighboring governments if it got here to that and the way the neighboring governments would elevate taxes to safe Reedy Creek’s debt.

Below the regulation, Reedy Creek would expire by June 2023. The dearth of public solutions from Reedy Creek leaders in regards to the new regulation could come from concern “the governor will discover their statements unfriendly and that can complicate issues,” stated Shirey, who added he’s optimistic lawmakers will take care of the pursuits of the district’s first responders.

“Now we have 14 months, and rather a lot can change between every now and then,” Shirey stated.


Comply with Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP.


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