Clemons proposes governor-appointed governing board for GRU

File photo: Representative Chuck Clemons speaks at a local legislative delegation meeting


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Speaker Pro Tempore Chuck Clemons (R-Newberry) has proposed a meeting of the Alachua County legislative delegation to discuss a local bill that would allow the governor to appoint an independent governing board for Gainesville Regional Utilities. The meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 17, at 11 a.m.

The local bill is similar to a bill that was passed in 2017; however, that bill specified that the board would have to be approved by voters, and in 2018, voters rejected a referendum to implement an independent governing authority that would have been appointed by the Gainesville City Commission. Clemons’ bill would create an independent governing authority for GRU that would be appointed by the governor and would commence on October 1, 2023. Unlike the 2017 bill, the creation of this board will not require approval by voters.

In a statement sent to Alachua Chronicle, Clemons said, “I filed this bill to guarantee the customers of GRU that this mess will be cleaned up because someone is listening to their concerns. GRU has some long-time wonderful employees. They are not to blame for this mess. This rests squarely on the shoulders of past City Commissioners and poor fiscal management.”

  • Thank you Jennifer for running this story. some commissioners just do not know how to read nor pay attention…

    • Desantis is trash. He hates all things black and gay. We don’t need anyone else like him in power.

      • Based upon what? Please provide empirical evidence, and not just talking points you have heard from the news you listen to…..

      • Careful what you wish for. Property taxes will go even higher. Chestnut is already promising it.

  • The city lost the airport many years ago because they didn’t know what they were doing . The State came in and took it and created the Gainesville Alachua County Regional
    Airport Authority Act (GACRAA). The airport was taken from the city under Hanrahan’s leadership…Hanrahan is the same one who ruined GRU with trying to comply with Kyoto protocol to stop climate change…She lost the airport, she ruined our utility and saddled us with debt going biomass.
    Democrat leadership has been a disaster.

      • That’s the real problem! Try this: Don’t vote for ANY Democrat Executive Committee (DEC) recommended candidate for the next 15 years and see what happens. DEC gave you Queen Kyoto Protocol Hanrahan and Disastrous Spendaholic Poe! THE two worst of the worst! And now this nut Ward! We couldn’t have done worse.

  • Utilities should be run by apolitical experts, which is what the board would do.
    The GFT should be stopped and the city budget scaled back so only necessities required and mandated by law, are done instead. Merge with Clay and other co-ops if GRU just wants to buy and not produce anymore. Unless UF switches and gives a long term lifeline, ditches Duke.

    • City government needs to become smaller and they need to cut their budgets and do away with unneeded departments, & charter officers like DEI. Don’t be looking to raise property taxes to fund woke BS either. No more wasteful spending on rainbows in downtown intersections.

  • I’m glad to see some serious attention being paid to the GRU situation. Clemons proposal beats what we have right now, but victory to me in all of this would mean the tier1 electric usage cap get raised from the current 850kwh to 1200kwh per billing cycle. This would greatly mitigate the affect global warming is having on our pocketbooks on a monthly basis. It is almost impossible to remain under the tier1 cap now that we are reaching 90 degrees in February.
    If the commissioners truly believe in climate change like they profess, then this should have been a no-brainer years ago. I would like to here Clemons view on where he thinks the tier1 cap should be. A new board with the cap still at 850kwh doesn’t benefit the ratepayers in any way.

    • Quit worrying about saving the world from global warming/climate change while we spin out of control financially. That nonsense got us into this mess. If we are ever sitting pretty again, after clawing back up from near bankruptcy, then maybe a few measures could be considered. Before that, not in the conversation.

    • Global warming is BS. Stop trying to implement UN and great reset agenda here locally. You one world government fascist Marxists want to enslave mankind
      Using climate change to hide behind. No Vax passports. No mandatory vaccines.

  • Clemons is a proven traitor to Alachua County and this is just another example of it. A supposed “small government” Republicans, he has no problem advocating for over riding of local government and initiatives, and even punishing the county and it’s taxpayers – see his support for the state education bill that penalized schools that exercised their legal right to challenge state masking edicts, including Alachua County – if it fits his partisan goals. His previous driving of getting single member districts on the ballot was pure partisanship, or why wasn’t this a statewide initiative instead of aimed at Alachua? Approximately 75% of Florida counties do not have single member districts, yet Democratic majority Alachua County was singled out by this phony. Now he wants more local officials removed and replaced , a specialty of his leader, Florida’s own Napoleon. Thankfully he’s term limited, right? Whatever GRU’s problems, he is not to be trusted to find solutions fair to the majority will of Alachua County.

    • You’ve been listening to jazz at too high a decibel level.
      Obviously you were one of the many voters who elected the traitors in City Hall. The voters had the opportunity to vote for or against single member districts and they voted for. Now those you pledge fealty to want to have it overturned because they’re afraid of losing their power.

      • Alachua County voters have previously rejected the idea and it passed on a small margin this time primarily because the proponents misquoted and lied about certain individuals and organizations position, claiming they favored it when they didn’t. I can listen to arguments for both sides on this and am open minded, but I remind you this was just another cynical partisan effort Clemons with shady campaigning by the usual local GOP operatives. If not, why not get the state to put it on the ballot in all none-single member counties – most of them – instead of one with a Democratic majority?

        • Single member districts are one of the few levees protecting the budget of the county from being sucked down the maelstrom of city finances. If county commissioners had remained beholden only to the DEC, county voters could expect a much longer list of ‘burden sharing’ proposals from the city over the next few years, with many 5-0 votes at the county to send money to Gainesville because ‘its the right thing to do’. With the new configuration, there is just a bit of hope that commissioners will try to represent the interests of non-Gainesville voters beyond lip service.

          • Thanks for your exegesis on why you support single member districts, but don’t kid yourself into thinking this was a principled position by Clemons instead of another partisan attack by this traitor to the county.. Again, most counties in Florida are not single member, but Clemons got the legislature to go after Democratic majority Alachua County, and it barely passed based on a campaign of last minute lies by it’s GOP proponents. They have a habit of dirty tricks in campaigns, which of course is why Clemons and Perry have stayed in office this long.

        • Exactly! It passed.

          Most people in Gainesville wanted zoning changes for neighborhoods too didn’t they? NOT! Your fellow liberal lunatics didn’t listen then did they?

          The outlying communities finally had enough of the idiots like Saco deciding what was best for them. It’s the same premise as having 2 Senators from each state, it gives a voice to the less populated.

          Here’s news for you, as the county keeps buying property and/or people giving property so they don’t have to pay the taxes on it, someone has to foot the bill for lost revenue. That would be us, the residents. Time to stop being so gullible.

          • City voters chose commissioners in the last election that creates a majority for overturning the zoning changes. Try to keep up. County voters also rejected single member districts fairly recently, to have it passed this time by a thread due to last minute lies by it’s supporters.

            Saco is not a county commissioner.

            Thanks for your exegesis in support of single member districts, and there are pros and cons to the issue. But like DeSantis punishing the Disney CEO for exercising his 1st amendment right to criticize government, this was no more about single member districts than DeSantis’s attack was about the virtues and faults of special districts (The Villages is a special district). Both were about partisan political gain.

    • Clemons was lawfully elected by the voters, multiple times. He was also a good county commissioner back in his day, not like the circus-sideshow grifters we have now. Thank goodness he helped with not forcing little kids to wear masks due to a maniacal MSNBC-superstar-wannabe superintendent.

      • Thanks for your opinions about Clemons, but it doesn’t change the fact that he tries to rule Alachua County from Tallahassee and has voted against our interests. By the way, he barely won against Enneking by virtue of more GOP dirty tricks. Can he and Perry win a fair election against a quality candidate? No one knows because they’ve never tried to.

        His district is carved up to his advantage and some more of Alachua County was cut out of it recently. I know because he is no longer my representative, some guy from Macclenny is.

    • If he’s a traitor what do you call the current city government? Using the utility like it’s own personal piggy bank, while squandering citizens tax dollars constantly on their pet projects.

      As for single member districts, you are just made the “hicks” finally get a say in their county and the city doesn’t get to strong arm everyone. Sounds like a win in my book. Besides, we voters, voted for it. Now you sound like an election denier. Is that what you are?

      • Plenty of criticism to go around for politicians, but as a county and state resident, I’m more concerned with the legislature acting as the personal political prop for the governor as he seeks to rule localities from Tallahassee. “Party of small government”, my butt.

  • Been saying for years the city commission is fiscally incompetent. It’s about time someone with the ability to implement change recognized it.

  • It is an ongoing conundrum in which an accepted political ideology supports some of the highest utility rates in Florida yet resists efforts for an independent board to hold GRU’s rates down.

    Sometimes the best surgeon in the room may be of a different race, religion, sex, or political party. ‘Different’ in identity, yet, ‘best’ in performance are distinctions Gainesville’s liberal community once embraced for the common good.

    And, sometimes, leadership positions need to be filled by people who are not like us and can make decisions based on actionable information rather than being a barker for partisan politics.

  • Oh my! Libs are are about to lose their ratepayor subsidized slush fund. Who’s money will they waste then?

  • This is really fantastic news. Without being able to use GRU as their personal piggybank, local city government won’t be able to fund all their extravagant, unnecessary, and virtue-signaling programs simply to impress social media and the local governments of Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.

  • I agree with Rep. Clemons premise but I really think the citizens need to rise up and fix this mess and not rely on the Governor to do so. A sub 15% voter turnout is not going to cut it. All the GRU customers and those outside the City should be raising holy hell at the City and at GRU. Frankly I’m not sure it hurts enough and those citizens need to act before it does. Stop complaining and do something about it.

    **sorry not trying to be harsh but….

    • I wholeheartedly agree with your points. At the same time, I think we could go further. As I have said in comments here before, I would like to see the abolishment of Gainesville city government. I would like to see basic services provided via negotiation with the state- police/fire services, utilities, parks, etc. It’s time to re-think our historical presumption of multiple levels of government. I’m not saying there aren’t certain issues which should be decided at the local level, but I am saying we don’t need a whole government system to make them happen. There are more democratic and efficient ways to accomplish the same things. And let’s just be honest- more conservatives should vote here but they won’t. Because that’s what history tells us. So, it’s time to do it differently while we have the support in Tallahassee. This is a great start by Rep. Clemons.

    • Be harsh…people get their panties in a wad and don’t do what’s necessary to enact change. They point fingers at whomever they want – as long as they’re looking in the mirror.

    • Tim, the politically agenda motivated Commissioner’s, going all way back to Kyoto Queen Hanrahan , Censorship Mayor Lowe and every since ignore and smirk at the vast majority of citizen input and the results are more than obvious. They are stilI in denial GRU as we knew it is gone along with it’s golden egg. I welcome true new Governance from a higher ,more responsible entity. I will be harsh and have no pity on Gainesville voters, GRU , and the soon to be replaced City Commission, GRU, City overpaid ,non qualified ,overstaffed departments.

  • It doesn’t make a difference if GRU is going to be controlled by the state or local officials … property taxes are going to go up in either scenario.

    GRU is a failing enterprise that will become insolvent. It’s too far down a path with no return. Keep living a fantasy if you disagree.

    Instead of bickering about this – start thinking about what services are going to have to go given no GFT. Any other effort is wasted energy. Gainesville is getting ready to change !!

    By the way – good luck to those commissioners who will do/ vote on the cuts. I’m sure their constituents will be happy ! Even though I’ll be paying more – I’m looking forward to seeing the reorganization of local government and the drama that will go along with it.

    • Ending the failed GRACE Marketplace experiment would have the added benefit of increasing property values and making Gainesville more business-friendly. That would lead to more revenue, including property tax revenue. Not to mention the savings at the police department and jail. It’s too bad we can’t just shut the biomass plant down and stop paying for it. We should do that with GRACE since we are able to. Take part of the savings and hire more police.

      • Speaking of Grace, I’m sure investors visiting town driving out of the airport are really impressed with the homeless/bums on the medians at 39th and Waldo Rd. They are soooo representative of Gainesville! It just screams invest in our city!!

    • And most importantly, we don’t want any more Danny Rollings coming here because we invited them.

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