Mayor Reacts to State Appointed GRU proposal

Mayor Reacts to the Alachua County Legislative Delegation moving forward with the proposal that would have GRU be led by a state-appointed authority board.
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 12:22 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Alachua County Legislative Delegation is moving forward with a proposal that would have GRU be led by a state-appointed authority board.

Representative Chuck Clemons’ proposal passed four to one with a single dissent from democrat Yvonne Hayes Hinson.

Five board members would be chosen by the governor, taking the utility out of the hands of the city.

Clemons’ believes city commissioners are not capable of helping GRU get out of its one billion-dollar debt.

“The biggest issue I have had is in the governance, after the referendum was overwhelmingly defeated in 20-18, the city commission acting as the boarding governors has transferred 68 million dollars more than the utility has actually earned, that’s unstable,” says Chuck Clemons.

Gainesville mayor Harvey Ward and opponents believe control of GRU should stay local.

“Before I was city commissioner before I was mayor I really liked the opportunity to be able to hire and fire those board members and I know most of our community feels that way as well and anything that takes that authority away is very concerning to me, not as a commissioner but as an owner of the utility as someone who is um supposed to be able to have direct access to the board,” says mayor Harvey Ward.

City leaders say they want to address the joint legislative audit committees’ financial report or make the proposal a voter referendum again.

Clemons says he is filing the proposal on April 10th.

It then needs to be passed by the house and senate before heading to the governor’s desk.

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