The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District has proposed a property tax rate decrease for its stakeholders, which includes Walt Disney World, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
This proposal is set to be discussed at CFTOD’s July 26 meeting, where the Board will vote to approve a new proposed millage rate, or tax rate, “levied on the taxable value of land that helps determine the property taxes paid by property owners” — in this case, the land owned by Disney.
The district’s proposed millage rate will drop to 12.95 mills —or 1/1,000 of a dollar levied on property assessments — for its fiscal year 2024, which begins on October 1, 2023. This new rate is down from this year’s rate of 13.9 mills.
This decision comes from stakeholder feedback, according to District Administrator Glenton Gilzean Jr. According to an interview with Orlando Business Journal, one of his and the Board’s overall goals was to be independent and fair.
Our responsibility is to the taxpayers in the district. I see showing the world — Disney included and other rate payers — that my administration will call the balls and strikes fairly.”Glenton Gilzean Jr. for Orlando Business Journal
Gilzean also shared that the Board is looking into other matters involving Walt Disney World, including law enforcement contracts with Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, in order to see what changes could be made to lower costs while maintaining safety.
This could lead to great news for local businesses who operate at locations like Disney Springs, and often deal with paying expensive property taxes.
More details are expected to be available after the meeting.
Central Florida Tourism Oversight District vs. Disney
This upcoming meeting will also include a meeting between the Board and their attorneys to “discuss strategy and negotiations” related to Disney’s lawsuit against them.
Disney Parks & Resorts filed their lawsuit against the Board and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in April. In the suit, Disney cites “A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.” They filed the suit immediately after the Board officially voided Disney’s final agreement with the Reedy Creek Improvement District Board.
The agenda for the Board’s July 26 meeting lists “Attorney/Client Executive Closed Session” under “Other Business” at the end of the meeting. This is the description of the agenda item:
As requested by the Acting General Counsel, pursuant to Section 286.011(8), Florida Statutes, the Board of Supervisors of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District will hold an Attorney/Client Executive Closed Session to discuss strategy and settlement negotiations related to litigation expenditures in the following cases: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc. v. DeSantis, et. al., N.D. Fla. Case No. 4:23-cv-00163-MW-MJF and Central Florida Tourism Oversight District v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., Orange County Circuit Court Case No. 2023-CA-011818-O. The persons in attendance at the closed-door meeting will be Board of Supervisor members, Chair – Martin Garcia, Vice-Chair – Charbel Barakat, Brian Aungst, Jr., Ron Peri, and Bridget Ziegler; District Administrator Glenton Gilzean; Acting General Counsel Daniel Langley and A. Kurt Ardaman; and litigation counsel Paul Huck.