ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Over the shouts and protests of Democratic lawmakers, Florida’s Republican-dominated House approved a bill Thursday to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

The special taxing district takes in all of the property at Walt Disney World. It was put into place by the Florida legislature in the late 60s.

Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph says, despite what some people believe, Disney does pay taxes.

“I think this is important. There is some misconception out there that Disney doesn’t pay taxes otherwise, that this is some special taxing district and that Disney is getting out of paying taxes and that if we get rid of Reedy Creek then Orange County just gets all of that tax money – and that’s just wrong,” Randolph said.

Now he believes Orange County taxpayers may have to foot the bill to pay off Disney debt and to maintain the property.

“Reedy Creek collects about $105 million in general revenue each year and then its debt obligation that it collects, also through property tax, is about $58 million a year,” Randolph explained.

The tax collector says without the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the taxes that pay for the debt service and the operating expenses will have to come from the average property owner in Orange and Osceola counties.

“So Orange County gets at least $58 million a year in debt obligations and probably $105 million a year in maintenance and operation,” he said. “They get all those costs with absolutely zero in revenue coming in from that area and the only way that Orange County could cover that, quite frankly, is to raise property taxes.”

Randolph adds that the increase in property taxes may be substantial.

“Based upon what they raise right now, my guess would be that Orange County would have to raise property taxes anywhere from 15 to 20 percent to cover that amount,” he said.



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