Curry recommends first actions to cover $1.4 million shortfall 

City Manager Cynthia Curry speaks to the commission at its March 23 policy meeting.
City Manager Cynthia Curry speaks at a City Commission meeting.
File photo by Seth Johnson

City Manager Cynthia Curry has recommended using contingency funds to rebalance the city budget after the Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority withdrew payments resulting in a $1.4 million shortfall for 2024.  

The recommendation came Tuesday during a meeting of the city’s Finance Committee, which approved the plan. The recommendation still needs approval by the full City Commission to go into effect.  

“The fiscal year 2024 budget includes contingency reserves and set-asides for other projects,” Curry said in a statement released by the city. “These funds can be tapped to compensate for the payments no longer being received from Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU). However, it is unfortunate we have to move into our reserves and use funds for programs and causes that are very important to our community.”   

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The Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority voted in January to stop monthly payments of nearly $181,000. The decision put a hole in Gainesville’s budget starting in February.  

The authority didn’t approve this year’s budget, and since taking control in October, the board members have looked for savings in all its contracts.  

GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham recommended cutting the $181,000 in payments from several different city departments—including the clerk’s office, the city auditor’s office, the office of equity & inclusion, the office of communications & marketing and the city commission.  

Cunningham said the utility no longer used all the services provided by the city since coming under the control of the GRU Authority.  

Curry’s recommendation to fill the mid-year shortfall includes pulling from four contingency and set-aside funds ($600,754 from the operational contingency fund, $250,000 from the set-aside for at-risk youth, $150,000 from the set-aside for gun violence prevention and $511,501 from the personnel contingency fund.  

The reductions completely eliminated the first three funds while removing 81% of the personnel contingency fund.  

The City Commission is expected to vote Feb. 15 on the recommendation. A release by the city said more hard decisions will come as the 2025 budget is prepared with lowered or eliminated shared funding coming from GRU.  

The GRU Authority has already discussed reducing or eliminating the general service contribution transfer. The transfer has totaled $38 million in the past, but the City Commission approved a 55% reduction to $15.3 million after pressure from the state Legislature.  

At Wednesday’s GRU Authority meeting, two of the items will deal with money transfers to general government.  

One, proposed by Board Member James Coats, suggests putting the transfer payments in escrow. The other includes further recommendations by Cunningham to reduce payments for service to city departments.  

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It’s about time the commissioners felt the pain from their irresponsible spending sprees.

Kim Popejoy

This GRUA Board was created as a Charter Amendment by the state legislature. The procedures used to create the board violate state law by not putting the charter amendment before the people for a vote. As such, every decision this board makes is illegitimate. This board has created chaos, expended hundreds of thousands of unnecessary dollars for whimsical wants, wasted hundreds of hours of GRU and city staff time and strives to choke the city of Gainesville’s commission and government. This board will not stand. I call on each of the remaining board members to protect their own reputations, stop hurting the most vulnerable of the citizens of our city and, resign.

Real Gainesville Citizen and Voter

Kim Popejoy’s comments make sense to me.
Actually, what the creation of the GRUA Board did was to remove any control of GRU from the citizens of Gainesville. Before creation of the Board, if we did not like what the City Commission did with GRU, we could vote ’em out of office. Now, with the Board being selected by the governor, they can do whatever they want and we can’t do a thing about it. That’s top-down decision making, similar to the old Soviet Union.

BILL Stengle

Perhaps the governor and our local state rep saw what many have failed to see for many years, to wit, GRU became the cash cow for inept liberal leadership in Gainesville. Thank God the piggy bank is going dry by reducing and eventually eliminating the payouts to Gainesville. Those of us who have endured GRU’s and the City of Gainesville’s incestuous realtionship can sleep better knowing that we’re on the upswing for a change. If you don’t like it – move!


You got that right. Best sleep I’ve had in 20 years. Will sleep even better when the Authority cancels the gru transfer from the cancel culture!!

Kim Popejoy

“What began as a $7.30 dispute between the City of Gainesville and a private utility gave way to the community-owned power system that has served Gainesville-area residents for the past 100 years.”
The current GRUA board is once again trying to turn GRU back into a private style utility company without regard to the role that this utility has and should play in our community. The mission of GRU as reflected in its mission statement is to “provide safe, reliable and competitively priced utility services in an environmentally responsible manner and will actively contribute to the enhancement of the quality of life in our community.” This mission has been honorably accomplished for many decades.
This new law mandates that this authority has one goal only; to make GRU cheap, to pinch every penny they can. That should be the new Mission Statement assigned by this Board, “Make GRU Cheap!” Well, you get what you pay for.

Real Gainesville Citizen and Voter



I am beginning to understand how the lawless and reckless Gainesville Commissioners that managed to drive GRU into insolvency and still take money from them, unlike no other municipality in State History , keep getting elected by Gainesville voters. They had to be fired, again like no other Municipalities . And the voters that fueled this financial disaster still don’t get it. Gainesville voters and leaders still in denial and impotence. Enjoy your tax hikes and budget cuts you have earned.


Thank you for properly stating the situation. Too many in Gainesville live in a world of delusional irresponsibility.