GRU rates could increase as Gainesville commissioners vote to lower General Fund Transfer

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 12:08 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville City Commissioners voted on Thursday to decrease the GRU General Fund Transfer from about $38 million to roughly $36 million for the fiscal year 2022. However, utility rates may have to go up significantly to pay for it.

It appears to be a question of raising those rates, diminishing GRU’s services, or raising property taxes. An outside consultant was paid to come up with a plan to pay for the $36 million General Fund Transfer. In their plan, in fiscal year 2022, the rates would increase by 7% for electric, 5% for wastewater, and 3% for gas. The only area that wouldn’t have an increase is water. Other rate increases would follow in the coming years.

RELATED STORY: No decision on GRU General Transfer Fund as Gainesville commissioners ask for more information

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos explained they wouldn’t know for sure if they will raise the rates until later this year.

“Later summer, August portion we will probably have a good idea of rates and where millage rates are going to be as well,” said Hayes-Santos.

There is a possibility that rates will not go up. According to the consultant’s presentation, GRU services would have to be reduced. Hayes-Santos said the commission wants to avoid raising rates.

“We are always looking at ways that we can lower our utility rates and keep them level. We also have the highest level of renewable energy in the state of Florida. There is a cost to that,” explained Hayes-Santos.

According to the commissioner, they do hope to transition to 100% renewable energy.

The GRU transfer pays for anything that comes out of the city’s general fund. GRU already has some of the highest utility rates in the state.

RELATED STORY: Report ranks Gainesville as highest municipal utility rates in Florida

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