Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority Split Vote on Government Services Contribution

Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority Split Vote on Government Services Contribution
GRU General Manager, Tony Cunningham, & Board Members Eric Lawson, Robert Karow, Craig Carter, and James Coats. (Left to Right)

The Government Services Contribution (GSC) is still in place, as the Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) Authority voted 2-2 yesterday on its proposed elimination.  

Before the decision was made, some attendees expressed surprise at the board for once again proposing the complete elimination of the GSC. Armando Grundy Gomez said that he did not expect the board to go the route they did. 

“Somebody developed a spine... I am fine with a very aggressive approach, but you take the cake... I don’t know how to feel about this. I was going to encourage you to do $10 [million], hell, maybe $5 [million], but you went with zero. I don’t think it’ll pass, but who am I? I don’t get a vote. I’m just a regular person that pays.”

Angela Casteel discouraged the board for their deliberation, saying they needed to focus on debt reduction. 

“It is your responsibility to write this shit. If that means taking the $15.3 million away from the city and putting it towards paying down the debt, then so be it.”

Rivera Gazmire brought up charts that were presented at a previous meeting that showed GRU ratepayers would save a maximum of $15.15 per month if the GSC was eliminated.  

“That’s not going to really help a person who has a $500 electricity bill. I understand that might be a lot of money for people, but we are not just ratepayers; we are also taxpayers; we are people who partake in city services. By reducing the GSC to zero, we're going to be paying somewhere else, and it's going to be property taxes. If you think that’s not going to be passed along, as you said before, it will be passed along to people in low-income housing.”

During deliberation, Chair Craig Carter agreed with Gazmire’s statements, saying it would be a bad business decision that would burden Gainesville residents.

“They already made up the $19 million [February 2023 GSC reduction] on the taxpayers. That is the people in the apartment complexes... I am not going to support it for the reasons I stated last time and the reasons I’m stating now. I want to go forward and see what we come up with. Is there an opportunity to fall back? Yes… But let’s do it in a very deliberate, business-like move. Let’s not do it because we’re prodded to do it. Let’s not do it because it sounds sexy. Let's do it because it’s a business move. That I’ll support."

Member Robert Karow disagreed.

“The business reason is to save money. We need money.”

Karow made the motion to eliminate the GSC in its entirety, despite there being a motion at the previous meeting to meet with the city commission before making a decision. 

Vice-Chair James Coats seconded Karow’s motion; however, Carter and member Eric Lawson voted in dissent, causing the motion to die. 

The GRU Authority meetings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of every month at GRU headquarters on 301 Southeast 4th Avenue. 

Jack Walden

Jack Walden

Jack Walden is the creator of G.P.I.S and a 2nd year journalism major at Santa Fe College. From general information, to exposing falsehoods and corruption, Jack seeks to deliver the truth.
Gainesville, FL