New GRU Authority sets first meeting Thursday

GRU sign
Photo by Suzette Cook

The new Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) Authority will convene for the first time Thursday, exactly one week after Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed its five new members.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the GRU Administration Building (301 SE Fourth Ave.). The agenda includes three items: An overview of Florida Sunshine Law, ethics and public records, swearing in of each member and election of officers.

The original GRU Authority was seated last October, but a lawsuit challenging residency and public notice requirements led to all four members submitting resignations in March.

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Last week, DeSantis appointed two of the former members back on the authority: Chair Craig Carter, a former Gainesville City Commissioner, and Eric Lawson, CEO of HCA Florida North Florida Hospital.

Three new members are also joining the authority, led by former GRU General Manager and mayoral candidate Ed Bielarski.

David Haslam, who owns Campus Scooters of Gainesville, and Robert “Chip” Skinner, president of Gainesville Area Lacrosse Inc., are also joining the board.

While the first authority made some controversial decisions, including a change to net metering for solar last month, the four previous members repeatedly deadlocked on votes related to GRU’s general services contribution to the city of Gainesville.

Gainesville has prepared two budget scenarios to prepare for what the GRU Authority may decide to do regarding the general services contribution.

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