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.
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.
"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.
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:
- 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.