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Letter: Show up to speak to the Gainesville City Commission on Thursday at 6 p.m. or don’t complain about your electric bill or property taxes

Mayoral Candidate Harvey Ward and the Gainesville City Commission will be voting to further INCREASE your Gainesville Regional Utilities electric rates and property taxes this Thursday night (while most people are on vacation and not paying attention).

PROPERTY TAX INCREASE:

1.  Despite a 20.57% increase in taxable property values (resulting in over $14 million in additional property tax revenue) over the past three years alone, the Mayor and Gainesville City Commission keep INCREASING our property taxes instead of adopting the “ROLLED BACK” rate due to their insatiable spending addiction with taxpayer money and the unnecessary expansion of City government.

2.  From the September 8 agenda: “The taxable valuation for the City of Gainesville for tax year 2022, for which the proposed Fiscal Year 2022-2023 budget is based on, is $8,994,835,635 and represents an 11.8% INCREASE over the tax year 2021 final valuation.”

3.  From the September 8 agenda: “The tentatively adopted total operating millage rate of 5.5000 for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 is 0.4649 mills, or 9.23% MORE than the “rolled-back” rate of 5.0351.” [emphasis added]

4.  From the September 8 agenda: “The Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Tentative Millage Rate of 5.5000, combined with an increase in property values, is estimated to generate an ADDITIONAL $4.5 million in property tax revenue in Fiscal Year 2022-2023.”

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5.  From the September 8 agenda: “As a result, the City is required to publish a NOTICE OF PROPOSED TAX INCREASE in accordance with the State of Florida’s Truth in Millage (TRIM) requirements.”

6.  From the September 8 agenda: “For the tenth year in a row, the City’s taxable assessed value has increased, driving an estimated ADDITIONAL $4.5 million in property tax revenue for the General Fund.” [emphasis added]

7.  Here’s the “quoted” proof from the City’s new, very difficult-to-navigate, website:

https://pub-cityofgainesville.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=4048

8.  Let’s do some basic math… $4.5 million in ADDITIONAL property tax revenue over last year alone versus a token $2 million reduction to the General Fund Transfer means that the City could choose to REDUCE your Gainesville Regional Utilities electric rates, but they are going to further INCREASE your electric rate and property taxes instead.


UTILITY RATE INCREASE:

1.  Mayoral Candidate Harvey Ward Gainesville and the Gainesville City Commission will be voting to further INCREASE your Gainesville Regional Utilities rates on Thursday night, although they will claim that their hands are tied because they voted for increases through 2027 last July.

2. Last year, Commissioner Harvey Ward (who is now running for Mayor) voted to raise your electric rates by 7% and approved a resolution to increase Gainesville Regional Utilities electric rates by 24% in conjunction with the largest, unjustified, multi-year utility rate increase in Gainesville Regional Utilities history.

3. Don’t believe the silly nonsensical excuses. No other prudently-managed utility has arbitrary, automatic utility rate increases. Electric rates are not set by inflation; they are set by the revenue requirement of the electric system.  No supporting justification was provided for these arbitrary increases. The Florida Public Service Commission would laugh a regulated utility out of the hearing room if they requested a rate increase without justification.

4.  Commissioner Harvey Ward and the Gainesville City Commission DO NOT CARE about low-income households, hard-working Gainesville families, and local businesses who cannot afford these utility rate increases.

5.  The Mayor and Gainesville City Commission need to be held accountable for their ongoing mismanagement of Gainesville Regional Utilities and our unaffordable electric rates.

6. Show up to speak on Thursday at 6 p.m. or don’t complain about your electric bill and property taxes.

Nathan Skop, Gainesville
Former Commissioner, Florida Public Service Commission

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • I want to know just how do the commissioners decide taxpayers should foot the bill for abortions, travel & lodging expenses???? I believe in FREEDOM OF CHOICE when it comes to what women do about their own bodies & related healthcare, but I can’t afford to take care of my own “75 year old” self!!!!

  • Neighbors, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Please educate yourself on the last state audit of the city or stay home on election day if you don’t want to know the truth. GPD has become an ever increasing monetary burden with ZERO results in their failed quest to be the best police force in the Nation, just ask Lonnie Scott or watch his lame and inaccurate reports on video to the fake police advisory board. Throw in the newly planned juvenile detention facility that Tony Jones has planned with $15 million annual operating budget and you might be able to understand why our fiscal accountability is non-existent. This city is out of control and they are still meeting and planning NEW city ordinances by the dozen at every meeting. Wake up Gainesville!

  • Hey guys and gals. Check out the newest city ordinances to be forced on the neighbors of Gainesville by Santos and the boys plus Saco. I guess he decided to fix something that isn’t broken and God only knows why. He has introduced an ordinance to tell homeowners what their fence needs to look like, how tall it is (removing the 8′ already in place) and installing different heights for different “ascetic values” to conform to his desires. Watch the August 4th City Commission Meeting for the new bills and more. Why can’t they just stop the nonsense and step down and let the next Commission help decide on our future? EGOS!

    • The communists are against property ownership. That’s why they don’t like you having a yard, or a fence that separates your yard from other yards. And they probably think (erroneously) that fences are racist if they help keep out criminals and undesirables. In some whacked-out leftist places, you can’t do anything if people decide to start living in your yard; you have to leave them alone or you’ll be arrested. I’m surprised they haven’t proposed that for us here. Making fences shorter or making some people take down their fences is one step closer to that.

      • What are they doing to address the panhandlers in street medians
        and the criminals attracted to GNV & Alachua county from other counties & states because of the benefits handed out at GRACE Marketplace? That should be a priority! —-Hey Santos, forget about the fences that keep criminals from trespassing into our yards and breaking into our homes and get the panhandlers off the streets! I am in support of the CC using my tax money to give felons
        A one way ticket outta here.

        • I’ve never heard one complaint about someone’s fence on their private property but tons of complaints about residents of Grace committing crime & panhandlers in street medians….Grace marketplace has become a public safety issue
          And that needs to be addressed at the dais. Comprende Santos & Saco?

          • Ironically, Grace Marketplace has a fence that will pass muster as it is a chain link and thereby the police will not be obstructed when viewing and ignoring the mayhem.

          • Although the fence may be too tall and have to be lowered to accommodate the impaired coming and going about their exploits in the community at large.

    • We need tall fences around our homes and a tall fence along our southern border and a fence around GNV. Trump was right, build that wall!

      • I wouldn’t need a fence if we didn’t have a crime problem. I have a right to be safe in my home. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety.

    • The shorter fence falls in line with Santos’ past suggestions. Don’t forget, he was in favor of allowing co-eds to jog through neighborhoods topless. My guess is his reasoning for the shorter fence is he won’t have to carry a step ladder around to peek into backyards.

    • Lyn…your intro to Harvey Ward already provided the answer. The idiot has idiots who he has fooled into believing him.

  • There has never been a politician who didn’t like a tax increase. After 28 years of service to the city of Gainesville, I have seen some wasteful spending.
    Wise up people or you will be the next West Palm Beach without the ocean.

  • Nathan: I will not give up my right to complain about high property taxes and high utility bills because I can’t be at their meeting…if I did show up, they wouldn’t listen anyway.—- While you’re there, mention the public safety hazzard of panhandlers in the median and find out what they’re gonna do about it, will ya? Mention they need to do background checks at Grace and send people with warrants back to where they came from, etc.

  • Why? Why show up? They have proven time and time again that they do NOT listen to their constituents and go rogue. Look at the zoning issue with the town hall meeting, people lined up to speak, letters sent and yet it falls on deaf ears. No matter who shows up Thursday, how many show up Thursday or how completely logical their arguments will be – it will not matter nor be taken to heart by these people. They have ruined the identity of Gainesville and put us on the map of places people do not live to raise families. The governor needs to audit the commission and GRU and start removing folks ASAP. And if those folks are already gone in November then apply punitive damages. Why show up when we feel defeated and held hostage and that our voice does not matter. Citizens should not feel that way towards their local government. We didn’t use to feel that way. Something has to be done. And it’s not just at the polls. There are egregious acts that have taken place and it’s beyond ridiculous.

  • I apologize for not being able to be there. I have a commitment that I cannot get out of BUT I will be praying for those that voice their concerns. Remember: you are standing in the gap for us. I don’t understand how these people get elected but I imagine it is by the people that walk around outside wearing a mask. We have quite a few of those walking around.

  • Has GRU Closed? It’s 9/7 and no electric bill in the mail and online.
    Is this an act of God on the Godless Souls running the COG and GRU?

  • Electric bills cannot keep rising. Household budgets are in shambles. Please act responsibly.

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