Gainesville City Commission looks to UF for funds as City faces significant budget cuts


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gainesville City Commission held an emergency workshop today to address the concerns expressed last Thursday by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC). During the workshop, commissioners discussed areas in which they could cut expenses, but many also spoke about their hope that the University of Florida would agree to make some sort of payment in lieu of taxes to preserve services that might otherwise be eliminated.

Mayor Harvey Ward reminded attendees at the beginning that the commission does not take votes at a workshop, but “Staff will understand what we’re looking for when we’re done.”

State Rep. Mike Caruso attended the meeting by Zoom and said the quick scheduling of the workshop “certainly sends the right signal to Tallahassee.” He said the commission should be looking at ending the General Fund Transfer (GFT) from Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) to the General Government side, controlling utility rates, focusing on reliable power service, developing a long-term plan for reducing GRU’s debt, and reducing deferred maintenance in the utility system. He concluded by saying, “I hope that you’re sincere in your actions today. I hope you work on bold actions, bold modifications to what is transpiring now.” He said JLAC would reconvene in November and would consider the decisions the city commission has pledged to make by October 1.

“A way to create a better path”

Ward started off by saying that “things are a little different than anyone would like them to be, and we’re going to find a way to create a better path.”

Ward said that City leadership is “listening to our neighbors’ concerns. We hear you.” He said the City Manager and GRU General Manager will work with staff and coordinate with the mayor and commissioners individually to identify potential solutions. The leadership will return written answers to questions posed last week by JLAC members and will maintain open lines of communication with JLAC members. The mayor and city commission will hear regular updates and will report back to the public on a regular basis. 

Ward promised that the City “will continue to provide excellent service to our neighbors and support for our community builders (employees).”

City Manager Cynthia Curry promised that this year’s budget review will not build on the previous year’s budget, as has been done in recent years, but “will start from a zero-based approach.” 

Ward said that the City’s senior staff “did not let any grass grow” but worked all day Friday on the issues. 

GRU General Manager Tony Cunningham said GRU has been working for some time on the two main issues of GRU’s debt and the GFT, but “what we heard at JLAC… is that plan is not bold enough or not drastic enough,” so they will be re-evaluating their current plan. 

Cynthia Chestnut presents specific ideas

City Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut said she had been struck by comments from citizens at the JLAC hearing about “how they had been treated, how they felt when speaking before us. So I think it is clear we need a kinder, gentler commission in working with our neighbors, from both the commission and staff.”

She presented her ideas for reducing the City’s budget:

  • Have the attorney repeal the commissioner salary increase that was passed in December and hold salaries where they are now, which is roughly $40,000 for commissioners and $51,000 for the mayor. 
  • Ask all charter officers to make significant budget cuts and start working on that before the first scheduled budget workshop in May.
  • Direct all charter officers to implement a hiring freeze immediately.
  • Direct the attorney to hold execution of the Origis Solar Purchase Power Agreement contract and return it to the commission for review: “I am very, very afraid of a Biomass 2.”
  • Direct the managers of GRU and General Government to review duplications of services and consolidate where possible.
  • Look at a third party to assist in consolidating GRU and General Government.
  • Ask the legislature to “speak on our behalf” to induce UF to buy electric service from GRU. She said the City would “accept a payment in lieu of taxes if they’re not going to be our customer.”
  • End the GFT this year but look at bonding opportunities for those dollars.
  • Consider property tax increases.

Ward said he would add an item to the agenda of this Thursday’s city commission meeting to vote on a similar motion. He said it would be a “game-changer” to have a fee in lieu of taxes or a direct customer relationship with the university.

“I think it’s necessary. We provide a lot to the university, and we cherish the university, but they need to be a player with us, need to be at the table with us. It’s like asking your big brother to come in and help you.” – City Commissioner Cynthia Chestnut

Chestnut replied, “I think it’s necessary. We provide a lot to the university, and we cherish the university, but they need to be a player with us, need to be at the table with us. It’s like asking your big brother to come in and help you.”

Curry said staff wants to be “deliberate” in making budget decisions, but it would be “aggressive” to ask them to do that in a four-week time period. However, she said an immediate hiring freeze would “definitely” be in place. 

Desmon Duncan-Walker: “Everything should be on the table”

Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker said that “in a strange way” she is grateful for the legislature’s engagement with the City. She said she hoped the City would take Sen. Jason Pizzo up on his offer to look at some of their contracts. 

Duncan-Walker agreed with many of Chestnut’s proposals and said those items were also on her list. She said that if the City is able to engage the university as a partner “in the right way… I think we would be positioning ourselves and this city for something that is sustainable.”

Duncan-Walker has consistently voted against raising commissioner salaries, and she also agreed with eliminating the GFT, which would take about $33.5 million out of the General Government budget. She proposed a 10-20% reduction in budgets across the board, but Curry said that might not be “equitable” and “might not be the right approach at this time.” 

“We don’t want to be in this position, but here we are, having to make the hard decisions–that we didn’t cause, but that we have to try to fix.” – City Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker

Duncan-Walker said everything should be on the table: “We have to throw the things out on the table that we don’t want to throw out on the table. We don’t want to be in this position, but here we are, having to make the hard decisions–that we didn’t cause, but that we have to try to fix.”

She proposed selling Ironwood Golf Course but said she would like to keep the electric utility, although she said, “Our goal of being renewable by 2045 may put us in much greater debt. I’m curious about those numbers–and I want the community to hear me: I’m not saying that’s not a priority for me. I’m just suggesting that we assess everything that we have said we’re going to do because this is critical.” She also proposed ending catered meals for commissioners on meeting days and eliminating their travel budgets.

Commissioners: GRU should remain a public utility

Commissioner Ed Book generally agreed with Chestnut and Duncan-Walker’s ideas, particularly reducing or eliminating the GFT, freezing hiring for open positions, and beginning with essential functions of local government. He also supported taking another look at the Solar PPA. 

Commissioner Bryan Eastman said he wanted to ensure that GRU would “continue to be owned by the people it serves” and argued that the credit rating agencies’ evaluations of GRU did not match JLAC’s evaluation. He agreed, however, that the GFT needs to be addressed: “I think we can do it; I don’t think we need to overreact on how to do that.”

Commissioner Casey Willits said part of why he decided to run for office in 2022 was to protect the long-term sustainability of GRU: “The pride and joy of Gainesville is that we own a utility that has impact on all parts of our life… There’s a lot of support in the community for GRU as an idea.” He also said a payment in lieu of taxes from UF is “a real no-brainer” because the City provides services to UF. 

Commissioner Reina Saco also agreed that GRU should remain a public utility but that they need to take “bold and really creative actions,” including getting rid of the at-large seats on the city commission. She supported giving staff time to thoroughly research the options for adjusting the budget.

Ward: County and UF will need to pick up the slack

Ward said the commission and staff must continue to focus on the business of the City: “There’s always gonna be another fire to put out… but we are absolutely committed to making sure that the things that have to be handled on a day-to-day basis continue to be handled and this remains a wonderful place to live.” He supported consolidating functions between GRU and General Government, recalling that the commission had previously voted to do that. He also spoke about the Power District and said the commission could gain tax revenue from developing that area.

“I love love love the idea of a payment in lieu of taxes from the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, but let’s keep in mind, we don’t get to make that decision… But we do have some folks listening from the legislature who can make that happen.” – Mayor Harvey Ward

Ward said, “I love love love the idea of a payment in lieu of taxes from the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, but let’s keep in mind, we don’t get to make that decision… But we do have some folks listening from the legislature who can make that happen. I’m not saying that they must, but I’m glad that we’re having the conversation.”

Ward also wanted “our partners at the County to know that as we move away from things that I think we’re probably going to have to move away from… we need you as partners. We need that slack to be picked up where we drop it. So I’m reaching out to all our institutional partners–I want you to hear me, that there are going to be things in our community that we need you on, that we have to have you pick up.” Ward said the City should develop a policy for accepting sponsorships for things that were previously paid for out of taxes. 

He concluded, “I agree with all my colleagues that everything is on the table…  but I don’t do the day-to-day management… We have amazing senior staff who does the day-to-day management… My promise to everyone… is that I will listen to you, I will listen particularly to our staff… Before I make the decisions, I want to hear from all kinds of folks… I’m not throwing ideas out there today. I want to hear what our professionals bring us… We need to figure out what happens when [the GFT] is not there.”

Public comment

During public comment, Robert Mounts advocated for consolidating the City and County governments. Don Fields said the city commission itself should have recognized the financial problems at the utility and at the City and that the commission should listen more to citizens, particularly those who have warned about these issues for many years.

Debbie Martinez thanked Chestnut and Duncan-Walker for the ideas they brought to the workshop. She reminded listeners that the city commission sits as the Board of Directors for GRU and added, “It was the city commissioners who drove our utility into the ground.”

Nathan Skop provided the recommendations that were previously published here, saying they’re the same recommendations the City would get from high-paid consultants.

Chuck Ross said he was shocked that City officials seemed unprepared for the questions asked at the JLAC meeting. He recommended looking at the salaries of commissioners and middle and upper management, along with cuts to employee positions. He said his rough calculations showed that it would take about $85 million per year for 30 years to pay off GRU’s $1.7 billion debt.

Jenn Powell, a union organizer for the Communications Workers of America 3170, said City workers might be receptive to measures like a 4-day work week and elimination of upper management positions. She said she would survey her members to get feedback.

Joe Little said GRU made a lot of money for the City up until “the fiasco of purchasing the biomass plant.” He said Gainesville would be Hogtown without the utility and that the number one job must be to deal with budget matters and protect the utility at all costs. He also recommended eliminating the at-large seats and having a five-member commission.

Tyler Foerst said he supported making hard decisions “as long as we protect the workers who keep this city running.” He said that keeping GRU public was a “red line” for him. Speaking to legislators in Tallahassee, he said, “You can have GRU when you pry it from our cold, dead hands.” 

Bobby Mermer, Coordinator of the Alachua County Labor Coalition, also said selling GRU should be off the table. He said, “I fear major impetus for the JLAC audit was a desire on the part of FP&L, or maybe Duke, to do here what they tried to do in Jacksonville.” He also said UF should stop “free-riding… It’s high time they become a good neighbor.”

Duncan-Walker asks UF to work with the City

City Attorney Daniel Nee said the City has no way to compel UF to make payments in lieu of taxes unless they want to use something like fire services as leverage. He said he’s seen no indication that the legislature would do that, “but there’s no reason we can’t hold out hope.”

Duncan-Walker said, “We partner a lot [with UF]… I hope they are hearing us today, seeing a need, that they may consider it being a good neighbor or good partner” and that maybe the legislature would get involved. “UF, you are one of the flagships of this community. We respect you. We love what you bring. We are the City of Gainesville. We represent the citizens of this great city. How can we work together to see to it that Gainesville be able to function in a way that the citizens are happy with, in such a way that the City can be sustained in the best possible way as we move forward?”

As the meeting closed, Rep. Caruso thanked everyone for “recognizing the severity of the issues here… I was concerned that we wouldn’t be looking at bold actions, and I think you’ve done that today. I heard a lot of things that were pleasing and could be a resolution of the issues facing Gainesville and GRU.” Caruso said he would also attend future workshops.

  • Already looking to devour their own. Looks like it’s only a matter of time before the students want taxpayers to pay their transportation costs just like they want their school loans forgiven.
    Always thought Two Face Harvey would sell his own family out if he thought it would save him. Hope his family is reading the Alachua Chronicle and figuring out how much he’s lied to the community and to them. He can’t hide behind their skirts forever.

    You progressive Democrats, not quite as “highly educated” as Poe and the others built you up to be are you?

  • I had a massive chuckle to myself as they brought up UF helping. Are they that dense?

    The commission (and County ) has spent the last 3 years giving Tallahassee the middle finger regarding Covid policies (masking, forced injections to keep a job, etc.) You think for one second they will help?? Get serious.
    Tally is laughing as the chickens coming home to roost.

    The Governor has to be thinking of making a Gville an example during his Presidential run (“see what woke policies can do to a former fine city? San Francisco, don’t come looking to me for help… go look at Gainesville.”).

    In the end, the utility is going to become insolvent and its replacement will be privately owned by Duke/FPL.

    • David: thanks for bringing up the masking. Why are those 2 commissioners wearing those ridiculous face diapers? The way they work is to scare people to stay away and that’s where the social distancing comes into play…
      That’s the message the 2 masked
      Marxists on the CC are sending.
      These 2 commissioners are still
      Practicing “never waste a good crisis”. Anyone still wearing a mask with this beautiful weather outside must be a nut job. If the city is still buying face masks, they need to cut that from the budget.

      • Honestly if I was as corrupt and terrible at my job as these commissioners, I’d hide my face, too!

      • Maybe they’re wearing the masks because they can use some of those American rescue funds to bail out GRU…maybe divert funds from free affordable housing to the GRU debt…maybe they should take the greyhound bus to DC and beg Biden and the Federal government for some cash because Hanrahan was so in love with B. Obama…the Obama administration was liking biomass and helped Hanrahan into this mess, Joe Biden wants to stop climate change, Biden can bail out GRU because it was politics and bad decisions that ruined GRU.

  • This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. The idea of asking the legislature to bail out the city via UF is a non-starter. Using a reduction in the GFT to fund more debt is a non-starter. Kill the solar ‘biomass 2’, you can’t afford it. Kill the renewable energy plan, you can’t afford it.

  • Hahahahahahahahaha now they look to the UF. The UF should NEVER have been given all the freebies. They don’t even by electric from GRU. City Commissioners have NEVER made good contracts.

      • UF would need to let a century old agreement expire between them and the city. The agreement stated that UF would never pay for fire/ambulance services as long as they are a school. The number of times GFR/ACFR come onto campus for fire alarms, people stuck in elevators, drunk puking college kids, gas leaks, bomb threats, car crashes, and general EMS calls for service has grown to several times per day. All for freeeeee!

  • It sounds like the city commissioners have FINALLY been humbled by the State coming here and giving them a wake up call. Let’s hope they listen to the citizens for now on. There are a lot intelligent people out there, more so than the city commissioners. They were getting extremely arrogant and not listening to the people they are suppose to represent.

    • It was only the threat of being removed from office that motivated them–imagine the terror they felt at realizing they would need to get a real job!

  • Maybe y’all didn’t catch that little sentence hidden in the end of Walnuts ideas , MAYBE INCREASE PROPERTY TAXES ! Well, I can guarantee you there ain’t no maybe about it, its as good as done that yall gainesvillians are about to pay , please consider relocating

  • Cynthia: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction….give me a property tax increase and then I will have to raise my affordable rents. Got that? Give me a property tax increase and I will have to raise the cost of services to customers at my business…got that?
    I have to get the money from somewhere….my property tax increase is going to really effect poor people and people of color.

    • My property taxes on 37 units of affordable went up 38.7% in the last 2 years. Guess what, I raised the rent by 38.7%! Not to affordable any longer.

  • Good luck trying to get UF to give you money😂 i don’t see it happening you may want to start at deeper cuts

  • The city & GRU needs to stop everything they are doing to stop climate change. Didn’t they just appoint a Chinese lady to be some kind of climate czar? Boom! That position needs to be eliminated. “Net 0” & “100% renewable by 2045”? It gets the AX….anything that has the word sustainable in it? It gets the AX.
    Anything that enumerated in the “great reset” gets the AX. We need to save our utility and the city, not some turtle with a plastic straw in his nose on the other side of the world. The US constitution guarantees that we are all equal…DEI charter officers, departments, and policies are redundant…they get the Ax. Trying to
    Comply with any new world order, one World government policy gets the ax. It was Hanrahan trying to comply with Kyoto Protocol foreign climate policy that ruined our utility and put us into debt.
    Complying with “net 0” by 2045” would more than triple our debt….
    Just worry about holding the line here and the rest of the planet will take care of itself.

    • P. Floyd’s above comment should be forwarded to the GNV CC….send it to Desantis too. Maybe Desantis should appoint P. Floyd to the CC and Skop as mayor with his 7 point plan to reduce debt. We can keep Ed Book and can the rest.

      • This leftist local government should be prohibited from raising property taxes to get GRU out of the mess it’s in. They need to fix this by eliminating unnecessary woke things in its organization…they need to focus on basic essential services. police, fire, roads, parks. Everything else should be on the chopping block.

  • If Harvey “Large Arse” was really concerned/interested in cutting costs he and the rest of the commissioners would start with those salaries that have now become an albatross to the budget. Follow that up with cutting all the new salaries of Charter Officers back to their old salaries at a minimum. None were truly unhappy with those wages or they would have left during the great resignation.

    Democrats and their hypocrisy, gotta love it.

  • How about a bake sale? Hahahahahaha

    It’s a shame that Pegeen and Poe and their arrogant minions aren’t here to fix this mess THEY created.

    • Yeah…where’s Pegeen & Poe now? we know where Lowe is…they destroyed our utility and that’s their legacy.

    • Sane, that’s insane. We’ve all seen the latest images of Harvey and other commissioners, the baked goods wouldn’t bake it, I mean make it, out of the kitchen.
      If the state doesn’t remove them, any who were in office prior to this term should be required, for the remainder of their terms, to ride a bike to City Hall. No excuses – if they decide to take a Saco type “leave of absence,” – THEY’RE FIRED.

  • I don’t see UF contributing more than a token offering. The city has reached out many times in the past just to sell electricity, while the city made a fool of itself on the national stage. UF doesn’t want the publicity of being partners with Gangsville crime, the homeless mess attractor on our east side, requiring restaurants to keep old food separate, etc.

  • Sell GRU. What the hell are we doing in the utility business? Former Mayor
    Hanrahan ruined our utility and stuck us with a billion dollars in debt. Should never have tried to comply with Kyoto Protocol Hanrahan. Hanrahan & those biomass companies should be dragged into court to try and get some of our money back…That Boston company should give us some money back for ripping us off. All those that got Rich off of sticking us with biomass should have law suits filed against them to repay us. This was a broad daylight robbery by Hanrahan and those biomass companies to line their pockets. Some of them belong in jail…

    • Yeah ID10T. Put thousands out of work. Great job. Oh wait I know just like Google said…learn to code, right?

  • “Ward said that City leadership is “listening to our neighbors’ concerns. We hear you.”

    Funny, it took the State coming down on them for them to start listening to concerns. Trust that if nothing had happened, it would be business as usual while ignoring the pleas of the people.

  • UF doesn’t use GRU, they’re not dummies. Neither would the rest of us without Ward and his cronies holding us hostage

  • Yeah, I’m SURE the Board of Reagents (i.e., essentially the state of Florida) would approve of UF giving the corrupt woke city cronies some more money, LMAO🤣 💰 🤑

  • That remedy should have been pursued before Sasse arrived. Now, you can just see DeSantis wringing his hands waiting to pounce on our little Woke Blue island, a gnat in our Florida ointment of freedom.

  • Most professional people must carry some form of business liability, malpractice or errors and omissions coverage to protect all parties from liability resulting in damages by their actions.
    Why then can a former City leader create such an egregious situation, that results in a disaster, and simply walk away unscathed.
    If the State would not have taken this action, then this would certainly have continued at a reckless pace.
    These prior leaders should be called on the carpet and held accountable.

    • Dan: Hanrahan’s professional insurance policy prolly only goes to $1 million, not over a billion dollars. Where is Hanrahan touting the benefits of biomass now? Where’s Poe? All I hear are crickets. They need to change their names and move to Ukraine.

  • So all of a sudden Ward & Co are seeing the light? Why would Ward now claim that he wants to listen to the people, who he refused to listen to for years? Is he still keeping lists of how many times citizens address the Commission during meetings? The fact that they think UF will just start giving us money or start buying electric from GRU for their campus shows how delusional they are. The only thing that surprises me is that Ward didn’t suggest eliminating GPD as a way to save money. When he abolishes their phony mandate to be using 100% renewable energy by 2045, then I might start taking them seriously. BTW: renewable does not mean carbon neutral. The Biomass plant emits more CO2 than any of the other plants in GRU’s fleet.

    • Fred: right on…and zero cO2 emissions is not feasible and very costly. Ratepayers want utilities at
      An affordable cost.

    • Well someone has done their homework. Can I share something? For the cost of the “net 0″🤣🤣🤣 biomass plant which makes about 100MW of power, the city could have built a combined cycle plant (like JR Kelly plant NatGas and steam) with a smaller footprint that produced 500MW for LESS MONEY and actually MADE the city money.

  • UF made a rationale decision when they bypassed GRU. Too bad that Gvl citizens don’t have a similar right to make their own choice. Threatening UF with forced “payment in lieu of taxes” for not contracting with GRU seems to be a form of extortion.

    • Yeah put about 7k people out of job in the city. Nice job. You going to take care of them?

      • Come on now, use your common sense. GRU and local government exist for the benefit of the public. The people who work there have no birthright to the jobs. When a business (or government) fails, people get laid off. It’s unfortunate, but it’s called the free market. We are not at a point where we can be held hostage (via our tax dollars) by the fact that people will lose jobs.

        Have you given any consideration to why we “must” have multiple levels of government? I’ll give you the answer- there is no such requirement. If basic services can be negotiated with the state and run at the local level (maybe even by some of the very people you lament), that could save the citizens a ton of money. Money that is currently wasted by our city commissioners.

        Just to be clear, I don’t like the fact that anyone would lose their job. BUT we’re not in a place where we can worry about that. We’re in a place where quick and tough decisions must be made. And that’s just common sense.

        • There’s been waste alright – of sperm. Every time I read something about what city leadership has done, it’s a reminder.

          • Reina? Hey everyone- it’s Reina Saco! Right here on the good ol’ AC. Thanks for stopping in Reina. But shouldn’t you be spending taxpayer time on who can walk around with their shirt off? Or crying in the corner because CC is bullying you?

  • Ward started off by saying that “things are a little different than anyone would like them to be, and we’re going to find a way to create a better path.”

    Ward also said that City leadership is “listening to our neighbors’ concerns. We hear you.”

    Two statements from Ward, two lies.

    He needs to be pushed off the path & out of the way to enact real positive change. He never listened to the concerns of residents, he and Poe both never attempted to hide that. Now, when facing removal by the state he thinks he can change. Here’s news for you, a leopard can’t change it’s spots.

    You liberals, don’t let him keep fooling you. Some of us are tired of suffering because of your voting habits.

  • HA HA HA HA! OMG! THESE are the funniest things and proposals I have EVER heard. Man! Whew! How naïve! I’m bringing popcorn to the next meetings! How can so many items be so screwed up? This takes talent. You reap what you sow and a fish rots from the head down!

  • As a County taxpayer and having to deal with GRU, I would love for the City to end the GFT and sell this thing. I have no say as do about 33% of the rate payers to GRU. In the past it was always told to us by the City, annex if you want a say so. Well I would NEVER want to be in the City limits, an I would LOVE to not have to be held to the ground by GRU. Anyone that lives in the City that wants out, should look to de-annex as Florida Statutes allow. Let me be clear, the employees of GRU, the field guys and gals are the best. They work hard and deserve to be taken care of. The problem is the dysfunctional 7 in the City that have raped GRU for years. This isn’t a problem the current City Commissioners created, but one that they all have created. It goes to show how clueless they are and how much of an embarrassment they are to be so unprepared for the meeting in Tallahassee. Unfortunately for all the rate payers and especially the rate payers in the County, nothing will change. The City will do what they always do, smoke and mirrors with little change to anything.

  • Petitioning the Lord UF for help?

    This would not believable fiction!

    So, yes, let’s call that crisis in the bunker a ‘workshop’ to send the ‘right signal’ to Tallahassee.

    The state should confiscate all commission members’ passports since there is still Bobby Mermer (Labor) refusing to accept the sale of GRU as numbers prove FPL and Duke are better deals for all.

    Again, another informative, comprehensive report by JENNIFER CABRERA! Great Job.

  • I see a LOT of Gainesvillians have figured out the city is corrupt. Good for Gainesville but I’m still ever so glad I live in the County and not Gainesville and have Clay Electric rather than GRU.

  • Been down town lately? The place looks old and dirty. The needs of running a city have been replaced with the wants.

    They need to own up to their problems and focus on basic needs rather than attempt to build their version of a utopia.

    We need good solid basic affordable services. We do not need a trolley system or a biomass plant or any number of other questionable projects and expenses.

    Most of all they certainly don’t need another dime from my wallet for any service they can’t actually say I used.

  • There is a case here – philosophically – for reparations due to all GRU customers since 2009 since Mermer doesn’t want selling GRU to be ‘on the table.’

  • So ChestNUT wants UF’s Republican hit man president and the Republican legislature in Tallahassee and Republican Desantis to come bring a pile of money to bail out the Democrat Gainesville city? Just wondering Is there any requirement for city commissioners to have routine drug or mental facility tests? Are the results public? Did any of them pass? I ask because no sober or sane person would ask the Republicans to bail them out.

    • Pretty soon the commission is going to realize they are on an island all by themselves – to solve a problem of their own making. No help is coming.

      It’s going to be fascinating tv (potential reality show? Maybe to make some side $$ to pay some debt) when they realize their are no solutions other than bankruptcy!

      The next 6 to 12 months are going to be FASCINATING.

    • Especially since UF wasn’t even buying electricity produced by the biome$$ plant and had no plans to at any point. They had literally nothing to do with it. (Aside from some professors speaking out against it and trying to warn them.)

  • If GRU was not high on its electricity UF would buy from instead of Duke energy i have a home in branford with Duke it’s 1/3 less than GRU

    • James, I’m confident City Hall is having to restock supplies for Harvey since the Tallahassee meeting.

  • GRU was at the very least break even, if not slightly profitable BEFORE the criminally negligent biomass debacle. Now they want us to LET THEM agree to ‘Biomass II, The Sequel’ with the solar partnership with ZERO true cost analysis??!! The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. Here we go again….Why did it take the state legislature threatening them with their jobs before they took action?? This alone should trigger special elections to remove every single commissioner! The City Manager, GRU General Manager, City Attorney, and DEI Director combined salaries are over ONE MILLION!!! For FOUR positions!!! Are you kidding me?!?! This is Gainesville, NOT Atlanta or New York. That’s criminal! We should hold a special election and throw all of these criminally inept people out of office.

    • What about ditching all equity and diversity “officers?” We have civil rights laws and equal opportunity laws as well as affirmative action guidelines, so who needs a $300,000 equity czar? Equity is very simple. If you are qualified for a job you get it. If not, take a hike, especially if you think your race will get you preference over somebody more qualified. We have white applicants getting passed over for promotions in favor of “people of color” who score lower on relevant tests. This must stop. Everything should be based on merit, not racial preference. We don’t need to pay anybody $300,000 a year to ram through racial preferences to advance the woke agenda. All of this left wing rot happens at the tax payers’ expense. Baltimore. Leftist rot. Philadelphia. Leftist rot. Portland. Leftist rot. Detroit. Leftist rot. San Francisco. Leftist rot. Atlanta. Leftist rot. Chicago. Leftist rot. These degenerate leftist psychos have spread gangrene throughout the country, and Gainesville is going down too from all this rot.

    • Your statement isn’t even close to accurate. GRU before the biomass plant was very profitable. The city just used it as its piggy bank with the GFT.

  • Here’s how it is going down:
    1. The State Legislature and Gov scold them and then give GRU and the City ONE LAST CHANCE.
    2. The folks like Clemons and Perry will sit back and laugh as the ultra liberal Gainesvillian City Commissioners struggle, make people angry and generally look dumb.
    3. The task they have been given is impossible and they WILL fail. This gives perfect political fodder for Republicans like DeSantis (who loves publicity stunts) and others to laugh and point at the fools in Gainesville, showing how Woke, Democrats have destroyed a once great utility. Gainesville is being set up to be a laughing stock on a national stage.
    The dye has already been cast. Now we can just sit back and watch the political theater. The only thing that has changed is now, it will be a national story amplified in a presidential election, not a quiet local/ state level embarrassment.

    • If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get our own South Park episode, complete with DeSantis, Poe, and Hanrahan.

    • Very well stated I am sure the Governor has not forgotten the couple laws suits the city has joined in😂😂😂

  • How about the guaranteed income for felons being released from jail? That should be cut. The Spanish translation hotline, the City IDs, etc.

  • surrender the free bull gator seats for commisioners and city higher ups no more free box seats at home basketball games

  • Some of the Commissioners’ get it . The ones in mask don’t nor Junior. The mayor is still totally disconnected thinking anyone on the planet want’s to be annexed and inherit Gainesville’s Pike Peak Debt in what that State Officials have determined Non Sustainable Debt. Anyone on 5th grade math level can determine that too. The GRU Loudspeakers still gloating and smiling thinking GRU will not be sold are blissfully clueless. The commission and staff need to be mindful that everyday and every decision is in the spotlight now and critical ,swift cost cutting action needs to occur. The Chickens have come home to roost and the henhouse is full. Start shoveling and make sure you haul it off, not just scoot it around.

  • Maybe a new start to every meeting would be to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and repeat 3 times.
    “Go Woke, Go Broke “

    • Captain, great idea. I think Ward should say before every meeting, “Just because I’ve always been a progressive liberal idiot, doesn’t mean I have to be one today.”

    • Yes, CC (minus Book) and Mayor, after the Pledge, and the “Go Woke, Go Broke”, put the heels of your shoes together and click them three times saying, “There’s no place to hide, there’s no place to hide, there’s no place to hide”

  • Yes, Mayor and CC, start begging!

    Minus Book, you DID cause this mess! Willits and Eastman are just different faces for the two douche bags who couldn’t run again! Spend, spend, spend!

    Hopefully Tallahassee looks at the terrible AC BOCC and how they spend taxpayers’ money on everything but what benefits taxpayers next!

    Ask UF to help you out? Raise property taxes? Ask the Governor and State Politicians you have vilified to “help you out?” Screw all of you! Cut all the BS projects and “equity” hirings now. Hiring freeze? You must fill ONLY essential vacancies, otherwise GNV citizens suffer and they have suffered enough under you! You want to raise property taxes on the firemen, police, nurses, and other “paying” citizens that you didn’t want to build an affordable house in your “Historically Black Neighborhood?”

    You should all resign, that would truly be a breath of fresh air in GNV!

  • Don’t ask UF or SF to bail you out because of your BAD decisions. Gainesville city commission created this problem and did NOTHING about it until the State got involved. All the new apartments, buildings, etc. going up in Gainesville which means increased revenue for the city, yet city is still broke? Bring in State auditors for the entire city and lets find out what is really going on.

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