Gainesville acts on unsolicited proposal policy, gun violence 

Gainesville City Hall front
Seth Johnson

The Gainesville City Commission approved an unsolicited proposal policy and a memorandum of understanding for gun violence at its General Policy Committee meeting on Thursday.  

The commission also discussed a potential ballot referendum and its possible language.  

The City Commission opened an unsolicited proposal pilot program in 2022 and received three submissions. In 2023, the commission decided to move forward with one of the proposals from The Knot, a climbing gym in downtown Gainesville.  

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Now, city staff recommended establishing a permanent unsolicited proposal policy. The policy would include fees for submittals—unless it is from a nonprofit targeting economic development, affordable housing or the Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area.  

The policy received unanimous approval.  

Another unanimous vote came on the gun violence memorandum. Gainesville, Alachua County and Santa Fe College staff have worked on the memorandum for months, and it sets up an alliance to address gun violence.  

The alliance will have a main board along with subcommittees of different stakeholders.  

The Gun Violence Prevention Alliance has a goal of identifying strategies and solutions to reduce and prevent gun violence. The alliance plans to monitor gun violence data, strengthen current programs and create new ones.  

The memorandum outlines the responsibilities of the city, county and Santa Fe College. Commissioners also hoped that other community organizations would join.  

The city has set aside $150,000 for the alliance, and the staffs are working to create a budget.  

The City Commission approved the memorandum with some text changes to the draft.  

Commissioners discussed moving forward with a ballot measure for the fall that would revert Gainesville Regional Utilities to City Commission management. No action was taken.  

City Attorney Daniel Nee said he hopes to quickly return with a timeline once he hears from the Supervisor of Elections office. Nee said a draft of the ordinance should be ready by the April 18 meeting.  

Nee said the City Commission could word the ballot measure in different ways depending on the goal. It could strike all of Section 7 of the city charter that created the GRU Authority or add language to change the structure from before.  

“I’m not aware of any impediment to the commission under Chapter 166 going forward with a proposed ballot referendum that would simply amend its charter, even to the extent that it amends the governing structure set forth in the charter,” Nee said.   

Commissioners discussed placing GRU under the city manager’s office instead of having the GRU general manager as a separate charter officer.  

Mayor Harvey Ward clarified that the manager wouldn’t run GRU but appoint a department head over the utility just like the police department or public works.  

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Why is $150,000 needed to creat an “alliance”? This was just busywork for the “stakeholders” appear concerned. Try this – aggressively enforce existing gun laws by arresting offenders and incarcerating them (and their guardians if they are minors). Get back to the basics and cut the optics.


1) the gun violence resolution should address stealing. Since the vast majority of gun related violence is using stolen guns. Theft in general is the leading cause of urban blight, “food deserts” and a sign of broken families.
2) the GRU referendum should include an option to sell GRU to pay off the city’s $billions in debt caused via GRU “climate” global not local politics, at a time when city elections were in Springtime (and only 3% elected they ”winners” who made our community insolvent).


Yes, selling GRU is in the interest of all citizens served by GRU. The political establishment in Gainesville is driven by factors other than competency and ability. Local management will never be good for those who are customers of GRU Too much ideology out of control in Gainesville


I have a few recommendations about reducing ‘gun violence’. Prosecute the laws already on the books. Keep violent criminals in jail for their full sentence. Hold people responsible for enabling and aiding criminals to commit crimes – especially public officials. CLOSE THE REVOLVING DOORS OF THE “JUSTICE” SYSTEM.


Start with electing commissioners who care about safety and law and order and value it higher than “equity” and “dei” ideology.

Interested Party

No one is questioning City Attorney as to the appropriateness and legality of the City Commission initiating the ballot referendum. This appears to be in contrast to Chapter VII Section 7.01 regarding the City Commission not having control of the utility. While home rule allows for the City Commission to initiate the process, Section 7.01 appears to override that as it applies to GRU. The citizens (by gathering 10% of signatures) should initiate the ballot measure.