Mayor Ward says cutting GRU rates is “not beneficial to anybody in the community”

Mayor Harvey Ward gives his thoughts on GRU bill relief


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – At the end of today’s Gainesville City Commission meeting, Mayor Harvey Ward asked staff to bring back ideas for utility bill relief for “folks who are most in crisis” but made it clear that he has no intention of doing anything to cut rates.

Ward said they all “want to find ways to help folks who are most in crisis” to pay their GRU bills. “Doing that through a ‘let’s cut the rates’ approach is something that is not beneficial, in my opinion, to anybody in the community and really doesn’t help as much as it sounds like it ought to help.”

Ward asked staff to “dig as deep as possible” and “all of us get our minds working in the same direction on how we might find money that could be used to help folks most in crisis get their utility bills paid… I don’t want anybody to think that we are not consistently trying to achieve that.”

The commission did not vote on the matter (Ward said, “I think it can be a ‘without exception’ sort of thing”), but Ward asked staff to bring back ideas at the next commission meeting. “We have to turn over every possible rock to find out what’s out there, what’s possible, and that includes going back to ARPA funds that may not have been spent… that we might be able to tweak, and any other funding source that is out there.”

Ward said that commissioners and staff are “having conversations constantly” and spending “hours of everybody’s day” on the issue and that he would put it on the agenda of the next city commission meeting on March 2.

  • That may be the first honest thing he’s uttered since having that fat arse of his sitting at the dais.
    Appreciate him telling all of us what’s good for us though. Isn’t that just what we expect from a progressive government based on $0ci@li$t’ ideologies.

    I know what’s good for him too. Heart attack, stroke are the first that come to mind seeing as how is in a high risk group. My mistake, that would be good for us. Maybe that’s why he doubled his salary…his health premiums have doubled.

    • They’re not “digging as deep as possible” in this “high utility bill crisis”…..they could dig deep into their pockets and undo that pay raise they voted themselves…they voted themselves a pay-raise after that Moody’s downgrade…it should be the other way around…
      The PSC needs to step in to approve utility rate hikes and the Governor needs to step in and mandate local politicians cannot vote to increase their pay more than 3%/yr without State Approval.
      A state agency needs to review that pay raise they gave themselves and take appropriate action to protect the taxpayers’ money.

  • I still would like someone to explain to me why i have to have GRU I don’t live in the city the last time I checked Hills of San Fe was in the county this is called taxation without representation i sure hope the Governor will follow though with doing something about it
    If they would get rid of some of their idiot left wing ideas like market place they could cut rates by the city taking less from GRU

  • Smoke screen! Smoke screen! Don’t look behind the curtain at what the GNV CC is really doing! Stealing you and I blind!

    A GRU rate cut wouldn’t help anyone? What math is this buffoon using? Why doesn’t he divvy up his and the rest of the CC 90% raise to pay GRU bills? Typical Democrat promises of help, but either none is coming for years, or they will “take” it from someone else! Their goal is to drag everyone in the city limits to poverty so they “gotta have their government checks monthly”! It’s called buying votes! Just like their hero in DC, Let’s Go Brandon!

    You want to pay their GRU bill with American Rescue Plan funds? Why? There is no pandemic, there is only the sickness called Xi O’Biden’s Inflation affecting ONLY HARD WORKING AMERICANS!

    Those Great Americans sitting on their a$$ at home collecting the nonstop Democrat voter payouts, aren’t worried about GRU! They feel “someone owes me”; kind of like many students/former students who think others should pay for their BS diploma in “Fine Arts or Foreign Language”!

    Oh wait, Gainesville CC need Spanish speakers for CC meetings as interpreters, so maybe there is a need for that Foreign Language degree! NOT!

  • Mayor Wards “tyranny of words”. A suggestion. Rescind your decision to give yourselves a bloated increase in pay. Yet another example of “the tail wagging the dog”.

  • Hey Harvey Ward, let’s not cut rates let’s prove the point that you want the poor out of the city! Let’s see where it gets you when you lose your utility! Let’s not forget what happened when vero beach was doing the same thing to its constituents… guess where that got them? Well FpL has their utility now! Oh and just remember y’all are being watched right now by the state and y’all are a super hot topic. So cutting rates won’t be beneficial to who? You and your raise? Yeah that’s what I thought… selfishness… greed, maybe I should ask you where you came from… maybe you forgot? Or did you come from money? Have you ever struggled? Maybe spending a week or two living the homeless life would give you an idea. Not allowed to have any money except if made through means like day labor or sitting on the side of the road. Because this is where your citizens are headed with rates not being cut!So this is going to be on the agenda of the next meeting?! They want ideas I can come up with ideas!!!! Why not make another special meeting? A special meeting to figure out how to help the community?! We need affordable rates more than anything! But if we can get some relief until affordable can come to us, that would be good.Harvey Ward a real solution for lowering our unaffordable GRU electric rates would be for the City Commission to consider strategic options up to and including a sale of the GRU electric systems to FPL that would result in 33-50% lower rates for GRU customers immediately while replacing City revenue via a franchise fee and property tax payments.
    I know this may be something that is truly hard to swallow but one GRU is on a downward spiral and headed toward bankruptcy. The solution has and will worked for other places and will for GNV. Make that a serious consideration! I mean we can’t have a bake sale to save anything at this point.

    • And City management’s income is higher than federal congress members. Most of them make over 250,000 a year!

    • Angela: don’t keep adding stuff to property taxpayers because the parasite will kill the host. They need to cut costs and add a local sales tax.

  • His own pal Brandon in DC doesn’t think so, either. Dems learned the more regulatory chaos and extra costs they throw on the population, the more dependent voters become on gumment programs and political NGOs who volunteer and illegally fund campaigns. They will NOT solve a single problem, it’s against their own interests.

  • 950 cities in fl gru is in the top 3 highest electrical rates if bigger cities can do low rates so can we. More money for gas food and leisure how is that not beneficial.

  • Prejudice ,Lawless Commisioners Helping someone pay thier utility bill and not helping everyone by lowering rates is discrimintory. Hopefully all of FHarvey’s comments and rulings will prove to the State the COG has no business running and profiting from GRU. Buckle up Gainesville, the Goose that laid you a Golden Egg is no longer going to be your ATM when the State completes its audits and evaluation. Repriations to County GRU Customers that have been abused by COG will make your 2 Billion Dollar Pikes Peak debt chart look like an anthill. And you think you deserve a double salary?

  • I am sure the State is aware that “In the 2023 financial year, GRU will spend just over $104.4 million on debt service. That constitutes 22.57% of its annual budget. GRU’s total outstanding debt is $1.69 billion. ” If that type of financial management by the City of Gainesvillle does not warrant a change, nothing will. Mayor Poes regimes Legacy that Harvey Ward is fully suppotive of.

  • Mayor Ward says cutting GRU rates is “not beneficial to anybody in the community”-says the mayor who just doubled his own salary! Haha!!!

  • And still, these same voters will likely vote for his reelection in droves. Our “nonpartisan” elections for Gainesville City Commission are an embarrassing indication of the power that tyrannical Democrats have in this area, and the ignorance of voters in our university town.

      • I love how you can reduce an entire systemic issue with numerous bad and shady deals by multiple politicians to “people who want free stuff” as if to shift blame from where it belongs onto the ever growing population of people living under the poverty line who are looking for mutual aid.

      • Exactly! Ward says “GRU cuts would not be beneficial to our community” but he wants to help people in crisis and get their GRU bill paid. What happens to the other people receiving a GRU bill that has more than doubled a few times in the last year?! And we’re going to have another increase soon! Paying a bill or two for individuals will not pull them out of the financial despair MOST of us are in because of GRU raping us all. It has gotten out of control in Alachua County with so many issues. Lord help us!

  • He’s so full of hot air I wonder what keeps his big arse on the ground? My bad, answered my own question. Maybe a boost of He would help. Shove a hose up his rear and let nature take it’s course.

    NORAD could use their defense systems to shoot him down. Missiles are by their design, very phallic in nature and we know he claims to love nature.

    That would be enjoyable, for him & us.

  • Well folks there you have it. Vote for a liberal you get a liberal.
    And why yes we do have a lovely payment plan. $500 a month @ 39% interest.
    So crank those thermostats down and enjoy clean GRU electricity.
    Worse than a loan shark.

  • How do we start an election recall, on some others there too? Mail the ballots in GRU bills.

  • Fire Ward. He is not benefitting anybody besides himself in this community.. Voting himself a raise and Travel Junkets On OUR Dime !

  • Harvey’s little Socialist agenda is right inline with the Marxist credo…..bring back ideas for utility bill relief for “folks who are most in crisis”….translation: According to their needs, while the unfortunate few that actually have a decent income will bear the burden of the city commission’s cash cow.

    • The problem is that nobody (including many departments in the city/county) has enough competent employees because it costs too much to live here, not to mention the problems with the roads, vagrants everywhere, crime, etc. It’s not as if GRU bills are only a concern for the very poor. It’s all part of ‘affordable housing.’ Your total housing cost goes down if your utility cost is lower. When you call 911 and no one shows up for 20 or 25 minutes, that is due, in part, to high GRU bills. People are literally dying every week because we don’t have enough police. It’s all connected.

  • It is about time the city attempts to annex Haile, Mentone, Hickory Forest and other tax producing neighborhoods for additional income to blow. Wait for it… waaaiitt for iiiiiittt….

  • Not paying GRU $400 a month would most certainly benefit literally everyone I know.

  • Here’s an idea disband city control of GRU and no more general fund transfer. Our utility is not a piggy bank. Reform GRU as a co-op like clay with a board directly elected by customers with one mandate keep the utility fiscally solvent and in the interest of the shareholder/customers. If you make a profit customers get a rebate. Elections are easy send a ballot out with the utility bill. If that isn’t an incentive to keep prices down I don’t know what is.

  • Is that the Platform this SFB’s Mayor ran on? Not cutting GRU rates. I thought all the liars on the Commision ran on that?

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