A Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) takeover bill introduced by Representative Chuck Clemons is now headed to the next stage after a Tallahassee committee signed off on the bill. READ MORE at CBS4:
The bill would remove power from the Gainesville City Commission and allow Governor DeSantis to appoint a board. Some citizens and those opposed to the bill were in Tallahassee today and fear that the state would take complete control of GRU.
Representative Yvonne Hinson proposed two amendments to the bill. Her first proposed amendment would allow the Supervisor of Elections to appoint the board. The second amendment specified that if the board is appointed, its authority should be limited.
The Florida House State Affairs Committee voted against both amendments. Rep. Hinson says that the state’s attempt to interfere with GRU has been an ongoing issue.
“I was a Gainesville City Commissioner in 2012 to 2015, and I have witnessed an aggressive pursuit of GRU by legislators since that time… Its genesis did not begin today,” Rep. Hinson said.
Rep. Clemens says the issue surrounds GRU’s financial crisis and says the new board would not be able to sell GRU without the approval of voters.
“This particular utility, Gainesville Regional Utilities has 800 wonderful employees that provided more than 100 years of service to our community has four times the level of debt… of comparable utilities of their size,” said Rep. Clemens.
The bill passed 14-5 through the committee and now heads to the chamber.