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DeSantis Victory Lap: New Special District Board Members Expected to be Chosen in Disney’s Backyard

This morning, Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to announce the new state-appointed board of directors for the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, no longer under Disney control.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis will hold a news conference in Lake Buena Vista at Fire Station Number 4, inside the former Reedy Creek special district and minutes from the Walt Disney World Resort area.


The Florida Standard expects the governor to announce new board members for the special district, now called the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, tasked with taxing Disney and ensuring the entertainment conglomerate pays its more than 1.2 billion in debt.

The legislature recently passed HB 9B in a special session that removes the Disney-selected board and imposes a state-controlled, term-limited board – with members appointed by the governor – rather than Disney.

“These actions ensure a state-controlled district accountable to the people instead of a corporate-controlled kingdom,” DeSantis Press Secretary Bryan Griffin told The Florida Standard. “Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new era of accountability and transparency.”

The Florida Standard expects to receive board member information later this morning as the governor introduces them to the public.


Why would DeSantis make this announcement at a fire station? One of the governor’s priorities has been to take care of the state’s first responders by setting the tone that Florida supports men and women who risk their lives daily to keep Floridians safe. One of the first orders of new business for the new board members could be giving raises to firefighters and paramedics serving in the district.

Since April, when Florida’s legislature voted to address Disney’s special district, firefighters have asked for raises. The governor was made aware of a firefighter who said they are grossly underpaid in Reedy Creek, according to a source familiar with the situation.

“He has been the most pro-first responder governor that I have seen in my entire 37 years in Florida,” Jon Shirey, president of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Association, told FireRescue 1. “We’re pretty confident that no matter how this thing shakes out with Reedy Creek that we’re going to be fine.”