ORLANDO, FLA. -- Walt Disney World officials hope a plan to help Orange County borrow about $80 million for low-cost housing mortgages will foster some goodwill with its neighbors.
Under the agreement, Walt Disney Co. would back Orange County's refinancing of a 1980 housing loan with New York bankers.
Disney would benefit by ending a conflict that erupted after it won a drawing that gave it the right to issue all the tax-exempt bonds allocated for six counties in central Florida.
"We're interested partly because we've got a responsibility to this community and a good image in this community that we want to protect," Peter Rummell, president of Disney's development company, said after the tentative agreement was reached this week.
Disney plans to spend $1.8 million to buy up the residual -- the profit a bank stands to earn over the life of a bond issue -- from the institution that holds the county's 1980 loan.
A new loan for $80 million can then be negotiated.
Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District, which functions as an autonomous governmental unit, will use its tax-exempt bond power to build a sewage treatment plant on the theme park's 27,400-acre property, which straddles Orange and Osceola counties.
The bonds are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis by the Florida Division of Bond Finance.
The application from Orange County, which originally had asked for $19 million, arrived Jan. 4, two days after applications from Reedy Creek and Volusia and Brevard counties.
The three Jan. 2 applications were put into a box, and Reedy Creek won the drawing.