An Explanation of Celebration’s Alphabet Soup
By Charlie Eldredge
There are a variety of organizations that have a hand in the governance of Celebrations. Most of them are commonly referred to by their initals and as a result have gained the collective nickname of “Alphabet Soup.” This information is based upon my years of experience living in Celebration, interacting with these organizations and even serving on some of them. Please send me an email if you have any specific questions about any of the information contained here.
This is all pretty solid information, but I’ve made a point of mentioning when I’m not entirely sure about something. (Watch for “I believe” or “I think.”) If anyone finds an error here please contact me so that I can correct it.
CROA: Celebration Residential Owners Association
CROA is a private corporation comprised of and run by the home owners.
It is governed by a 7-member Board of directors elected by the residential property owners. (Each separate property is entitled to 1 vote. A single person can vote once for each property that they own. It is analogous to holding shares in a corporation. Each home equals one share.)
Elections are held each Winter and the 2-year terms are staggered so that half of the Board Members are up for re-election in any given year.
CROA owns all of the community pools and the recreation-oriented parks in town.
Its primary duties:
Maintain pools, parks and common facilities for community.
Enforce covenants for homeowners.
Maintain service areas (town homes and luxury villas.)
CROA operates the Parks and Recreation department and participates in town Special Events. CROA also contracts the trash-removal service for the single-family homes and the service areas. The various condominiums in town have their own trash services.
CNOA: Celebration Nonresidential Owners Association
It is a private corporation comprised of and run by commercial propety owners (not necessarily the business owners that rent from the property owners.) It owns the streets in Down Town Celebration: Market Street, Bloom Street, and Front Street (between Sycamore and Campus streets). This arrangement allows the community to close those streets for special events without having to get special permission form the county.
CNOA has covenant-enforcement powers over its member property owners including Water Tower Place, the Hospital, Celebration Place Office Buildings and Celebration Blvd commercial areas. (Note that this power goes beyond the borders of the residential areas of the CCDD into the commercial areas of the ECDD.) CNOA is still controled by The Celebration Company.
CJC: Celebration Joint Committee
This yet another private corporation. It combines CROA and CNOA together. This organization operates town Hall and employs all of the staff via CCMC (see below). CJC is comprised of 5 members, 2 appointed by CROA, 2 appointed by CNOA and 1 held by TCC. TCC’s seat will ultimately go to CROA, but not until CNOA converts to owner control from Developer control. This will still take several more years to occur.
(Note that this could give the residents some small amount of control over the commercial parts of the ECDD that will be outside the borders of the CCDD that would be controlled by the town government if we ever incorporate.)
The CJC also owns and maintains the iconic Water Tower located at the entrance to Celebration at US 192.
CCMC: Capital Consultants Management Corporation
CCMC is a management company hired by the joint committee to Manage Town Hall. Almost all Town Hall employees work for CCMC. They are one of the largest nation-wide community-management companies in the United States.
Town Hall is the public face of the CJC, CROA and CNOA. The staff there does the actual work of these organizations.
CCDD: Celebration Community Development District
This is a taxing district with some governmental powers. It is governed by a Board of Supervisors. These are public officials that must live inside the CCDD and be registered to vote here. Unlike CROA, the CCDD is elected by registered voters (one vote per person) not by landowners (one vote per property).
The CCDD owns all of the lakes & ponds plus several feet of the shore line, all of the sidewalks, alleys, and nature trail/boardwalks. This includes the downtown sidewalk on the lake side of the street including the Lakefront Steps and the Interactive fountain.
The CCDD owns all of the preserve areas that are inside and in between the various villages of Celebration. It also owns a buffer area (approx. 15 feet) surrounding the outside edge of the residential villages where they border on the large area of nature preserve to the east and south of the residential villages. This remaining nature-preserve area is within the CCDD, but is owned by the Reedy Creek Improvement District (which is controlled by Disney). The CCDD also owns the sidewalks and the land between the sidewalks and streets, but individual home owners are responsible for maintaining grass and ground cover on the land. The CCDD also owns the smaller park areas in town that are not owned by CROA.
CCDD also owns the trees located between the sidewalk and streets. The CCDD trims, maintains and replaces most of them when necessary. The CCDD does this in all of the single-family home areas. There are a few condominiums that maintain the trees surrounding them on CCDD land.
The CCDD originally paved the roads, designed the storm-water drainage system. Over time, the ownership of the roads will be turned over to Osceola County. I believe that the storm-water drainage systems will stay with the CCDD.
The CCDD currently collects property taxes. There are 2 parts to this tax. Roughly half pays for the bonds issued to create the initial roads and other infrastructure. This portion of the payment is set and does not change during the life of the bonds. The other portion of the tax is for maintenance and on-going expenses like fixing worn sidewalks and alleys, and maintaining the park areas owned by the CCDD. The maintenance-portion of the tax can vary form year to year. This tax is not tied directly to the cost of houses, but rather the size of the lot that the house was built on. (This is a “non-advalorem” tax and is generally not deductible on your Federal income tax return.)
Under state law the CCDD will automatically hold a referendum on incorporation once Celebration reaches a certain legally-mandated population density. How this density is determined is in question and will be addressed elsewhere.
ECDD: Enterprise Community Development District
The ECDD is a similar governmental entity like the CCDD. It includes the land north of 417 and west of I-4. It is also the water and sewer authority for Celebration. The ECDD is governed by a board of supervisors who are elected by land owners until it is turned over to supervisors elected by the residents. This puts certain developmental controls in the hands of Disney and the commercial land owners for the foreseeable future. The ECDD is eventually required to turn political control over to the residents just as the CCDD has. However there are no residents currently living in the ECDD. Until residential areas of the ECDD are developed and inhabited it will stay in the control of the land-owners.
TCC: The Celebration Company
TCC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Disney Company. TCC designed and developed all of Celebration. They are currently focusing on developing the remaining commercial land along Celebration Blvd. south and across from the high school. TCC has stated that they plan to develop an area south of the high school as a residential neighborhood, but I don't know when that will happen. TCC also owns a large tract of land west of I-4 and south of 192 that is commonly called Celebration West. It was originally intended to be commercial space and rental apartments. TCC’s has not released their final development plans for this area.
TCF: The Celebration Foundation
The Foundation was initially created and funded by TCC as a community-building entity. It either started of helped start a great many of the community organizations in Celebration. Now that Celebration has matured The Foundation has become a granting organization that aids many community and regional charitable organizations. The Internal Revenue Service recognizes The Foundation as a 501c3 charitable organization. TCF has a large endowment that it manages, and is also funded by a fee that is charged on the sale and resale of each Celebration Home.
(There is one exception. The WaterStreet condos are not subject to this transfer fee.)