GNV establishes formula for GRU money transfer 

Gainesville historical marker in front of City Hall
Photo by Seth Johnson

The Gainesville City Commission set a resolution on Thursday to use a set formula that will yield the general services contribution from Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) to the general government side.  

At the city’s regular meeting, the commission also received a quarterly update from the police department and rezoned a 21.7-acre parcel in the southeast.  

A 2021 state audit produced 18 findings within Gainesville, and GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham said one of those findings involved the city not having a set formula for how much money it transfers from GRU each year.  

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GRU and general government staff created the formula and explained the factors at a general policy meeting in April. On Thursday, Commissioner Bryan Eastman reiterated concerns he expressed before, saying the formula leaves more money on the table that the city could include.  

He added that a resolution is an unusual structure for franchise fees and transfers, pointing to the contract GRU had with the city of Alachua. He said he would like a more formal structure that would stand if Gov. Ron DeSantis signs the Legislature’s GRU bill. 

Bryan Eastman
Courtesy of City of Gainesville Bryan Eastman

“We’ll be working with this new authority board, but that means much more solid and clear lines between when payments have to come [and] how we interact with one another,” Eastman said.  

The formula will reduce the government services contribution, previously called the general fund transfer, by 55%. The commission approved the formula unanimously. 

GPD update 

Chief Inspector Jaime Kurnick gave the city commission an update on the first three months of 2023. She said Gainesville faces the same two issues that departments across the country are discussing: staffing and gun violence.  

For staffing, the department brought on eight sworn officers but still has more than 40 open spots for sworn officers—a consistent vacancy percentage over the past year and a half.  

On the gun side, Kurnick reported fewer stolen firearms, verified shots fired calls and persons shot than the previous quarter. The homicide rate remained even.  

Mayor Harvey Ward asked that GPD include comparisons with other cities in future presentations to gauge the city’s efforts.  

Based on community calls about speeding, GPD patrolled near Lincoln Middle School for five straight days in March, issuing 20 citations and 4 warnings. Kurnick also reported 949 calls for service for the co-responders team, resulting in 55 Baker Act diversions and 28 jail diversions.  

GPD gun statistics: 

Stolen firearms 

  • Current quarter: 42 
  • Last quarter: 46 

Verified shots fired calls 

  • Current quarter: 28 
  • Last quarter: 46 

Persons shot and injured 

  • Current quarter: 9 with one self-inflicted 
  • Last quarter: 17 with three self-inflicted  

Southeast land rezoning 

The commission approved on second reading the rezoning of 21.7 acres off SE 27th Street. The property will switch from primarily single-family to multi-family zoning.  

The owner is looking at developing the property at some point but lacks a definite timeline. The entire property is 60 acres, but the western portion will be placed into a managed conservation zoning instead of development.  

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Newsflash. Newsflash. Not so fast , Comrades. This lead from behind Commission needs to be brought up to speed. They will not determine if and when the Kickback from GRU will continue. It appears that fund is starting up $68 Million Dollars in the Hole. Their have been reports that the City of Gainesville continually maintained a withdrawal from GRU’s Bank regardless of whether this was from profits or not . It was suggested the percentages used for the with the kickback were not in line with the numerous other Utilities throughout the State. This as well as 2 decades of Biomass , Wokeness, terrible management and cluelessness appears to have caused the predicament GRU and the City of Gainesville is in with 4 times the debt of any comparable utility in the State. All the while with the highest utility rates in the State. The New Board will be focusing on stabilizing GRU ,if that is possible . Lowering the obscene rates currently being charged. One question many GRU Customers and Auditors have is why GRU sells power to other entities such as Alachua at a 30% lower rate than what GRU County Customers are charged . I would suggest that until all GRU Customers rates are brought down to Alachua’s rate , their should be no transfer to the City . The City should be required to reimburse and transfer back the $68 Million they have taken without any justification. That money should go back to the ratepayers. So buckle up Commissioners and Gainesville . You were notified it’s going to require a substantial money diet to stay solvent , if in fact GRU and the City is solvent.

Jeff Gehmann

Yep, the idea that the city can dictate their transfer is simply another case of: If we ignore reality, we can live in our own ideal radical woke world. Ain’t happening Jack! What you should have done is pass a motion to meet with the soon to be appointed board and work something out. Your dreamworld days and reckless decisions caused you to lose control of GRU. You took a City rated #1 in the US by a major news magazine as the best place to live in the entire US, and brought it down to a woke, broke, criminal corrupt fiasco! Go look in the mirror and at past commission pictures after the big deal swearing in ceremonies. You’re looking at utter failure. That’s your legacy!