RCID Firefighters Support State Takeover of Reedy Creek Improvement District

Last week, Osceola County announced its plan for the future of Disney’s special Reedy Creek Improvement District, which will be dissolved on June 1. Now the district’s fire department has come out in support of the new plan backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

reedy creek fire department

Tim Stromsnes, communications director of the Reedy Creek Professional Firefighters Local 2117 union, told the Orlando Sentinel “Anything has got to be better than what we currently have. We really hope that this new board will bring the morale up for Reedy Creek [and] will make us an elite emergency services department again. We’ve got our faith in the governor that we’re going to be around and that it’s going to be a better place to work.”

Reedy Creek Fire District first responders expressed alarm last spring in the wake of Governor Ron DeSantis’ plan to dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, stating their lifetime Disney passes and lifelong health insurance were at risk as a result. Union leadership has been in regular dialogue with Gov. DeSantis since, with Stromsnes expressing he’s reassured by the governor’s track record with first responders.

The union has had a rather rocky relationship with Disney, who appoints all five seats on the district’s Board of Supervisors. Their focus is largely on the theme park business and union members allege the Board cares little for actual employees of the District, which includes first responders like firefighters. Fire trucks and rescue units have broken down on multiple occasions, forcing responders to arrive on the scene in SUVs. Staffing has also remained inadequately low. Disney and Reedy Creek have both aggressively denied these claims.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District was dissolved in an act of the Florida Legislature last spring following Disney going toe-to-toe with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly referred to by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The Governor vowed to dissolve the special district, which was granted to Disney in 1967 and allows the company to maintain its own public works projects and utilities, including roads and sewage, as well as issue tax-free bonds, levy taxes and oversee land use and environmental protections.

Gov. DeSantis and the state government are currently in the early stages of a lawsuit regarding the district from local taxpayers, which may move forward in spite of a motion filed in August to dismiss the lawsuit.

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Source: Orlando Sentinel

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