Rep. Chuck Clemons files bill to have governor-appointed board takeover GRU

Gainesville city commissioners supported a multi-faceted plan to address serious problems with...
Gainesville city commissioners supported a multi-faceted plan to address serious problems with the utility. Part of the plan is preparing to file suit if the go(wcjb)
Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 6:44 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Republican State Representative Chuck Clemons of Newberry filed a governor appointed bill he says will guarantee Gainesville Regional Utilities customers that the operations and decisions will be in their best interest on Monday.

If the bill passes, Governor Ron DeSantis will be given the responsibility of appointing a five-member board to run the utility for a 4-year term.

The five-member board will consist of a residential GRU customer, a private customer using more than 10,000 kWh per month and the other three members must have expertise about utilities, law, and accounting.

GRU has faced criticism from residents complaining of high prices and mismanagement as the utility services large debts. Despite the concerns about the state taking full control over GRU, Clemons said that won’t be the case.

“What I want to tell the people of Gainesville is help is on the way,” said Clemons. “The fear mongering and the propaganda that has been espouse by the city commissioners, that day is over. The state has stepped in and we are going to make sure that this utility is run properly and its run prudently.”

Gainesville City Commissioners have been working on plans to address the utility’s debt. However no plans have been finalized.

Clemons said 1 out of every 3 customers do not live in the city and are not represented but this legislation will change that. He said he has “No confidence” in the city’s ability to resolve those issues.

“They have borrowed money, they’ve transferred $68 million more than they’ve earned in the last 4 years. We had a referendum in 2018 and since the referendum, they have pulled out $68 million more than the net profit that the utility has earned, that’s malfeasance.”

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