- DeSantis’ Disney board may cut $3 million for roadway repairs and maintenance from its 2024 budget.
- The tentative budget cuts come as the board expects millions in legal fees in its battle against Disney.
- The chairman of the board slammed the ousted Disney board, accusing it of “cronyism.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ hand-picked Disney World board wants to cut millions of dollars from roadway repairs and maintenance in its proposed 2024 budget — while also budgeting for millions in legal fees to keep fighting Disney in court.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District — the DeSantis-appointed governing body that oversees the special district surrounding Disney World in Florida — discussed proposed changes to its 2024 budget at its monthly board meeting on Wednesday.
The tentative 2024 budget — which will be finalized later this month — includes cutting over $3 million dollars from the district’s roadway repair and maintenance line, a 19% reduction from the $16.6 million projected actual expenditure for 2023.
The board included a note at the bottom of the budget explaining, “Repairs and maintenance services decreased due to option to due less paving rehab.”
That’s not the only section of the budget that’s shrinking; ’employee relations’ costs are dropping from over $2.5 million to just $2,500 since the board is cutting park perks and benefits for employees and retirees.
The board has faced an outcry from staff like firefighters who backed DeSantis’ takeover but are now furious about losing their benefits.
The district expects to spend over $2.6 million more in 2024 on legal fees — largely connected to DeSantis’ ongoing feud with Disney.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, which DeSantis appointed earlier this year in place of a previous Disney-backed board, has already spent at least $1.9 million in legal costs so far this year to keep up its battle with Disney for control of the park district, Politico reported.
The board’s chairman, Martin Garcia, took the opportunity at Wednesday’s meeting to defend DeSantis’ takeover, calling the ousted Disney board’s management of the district “one of the greatest examples of corporate cronyism in modern American history.”
“After the establishment of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District in April,” Garcia said at the meeting, “This board has acted swiftly and effectively to make sure that the operations of the district are promoting the public good.”
In a statement to Insider, Garcia said the board is “fully confident” that it’ll prevail in court against Disney.