WUFT News

Gainesville City Commission moves to keep GRU under city control

By on November 16th, 2012

By Ben Bornstein — WUFT-FM

The Gainesville City Commission made it clear at its Thursday meeting that it doesn’t want the local utility to fall under state legislative control.

City commissioners voted in favor of keeping GRU under the current management, rather than have it controlled by an independent board of representatives.

They also voted, at the request of Mayor Craig Lowe, to put the GRU issue on the legislative agenda, partly based on criticism from residents of the new biomass plant at an October meeting.

Many residents have called for the new biomass plant to be placed under the authority of a board of representatives from the city and unincorporated county.

City Commissioner Todd Chase agrees and thinks that a city commission has other responsibilities that are more pressing.

“I think we have to be willing to take a step back and realize that running a utility the size of GRU is an incredibly complex task,” Chase said. “It’s very difficult to understand all the nuiances of the utility business, not to mention the high level financing that goes on.”

Chase also said he believes that Lowe added the issue to the legislative agenda last minute because of “chatter” he had been hearing.

“I think that the mayor stuck that in at the last minute without really any kind of knowledge of the issue. I don’t even think he knows specifically what he’s talking about,” he said.

Chase was the only city commissioner who thought GRU should be placed under a separate board of representatives.

Susan Bottcher, city commissioner for District 3, said she thought the city commission is running GRU well by leaving it in the hands of professionals.

“GRU has a highly professional and very competent staff, management staff that is structured very much like a private utility would be structured, where there’s a general manager and there’s a CFO and there’s an attorney and so on and so forth,” she said.

The city commission just helps to direct GRU and not completely run it, Bottcher explained.

“And these are the people who come from the utilities industry,” she said. “They know best how to run the utility. They just take direction from the elected official, i.e. the city commission, who sets policy.”

A decision has not been reached, but there are more meetings planned to help the city commission come to an agreement and decide how the new biomass plant should be run when it is completed next year.

Hana Engroff wrote this story online.


This entry was posted in Florida, Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Florida

Scott Richardson, 52, co-owner of Northwest Seafood Inc., fillets fresh-caught red grouper purchased from one of Northwest Seafood’s trusted fisherman in Yankeetown, Florida. “It pays to know your fish man,” said Lee Deaderick, Richardson’s business partner.

Florida Fishermen Face Fierce Competition

Florida fisherman are concerned with the growing taste for imported fish. As imports from other countries increase, questions of ethics and safety are floating to the surface.


BearHunt1

Protestors Voice Concern Over Proposed Bear Hunt

Protesters voiced their opposition to the proposed bear hunt on Monday outside of the Ocala office for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. The FWC is expected to vote on the issue Wednesday.


John King, recreational fisherman from Dunnellon, Fla., shows off a red snapper caught during the 2013 season. King said recreational fishermen should have longer than 10 days to catch and keep red snapper this year.

Amendment 40 Splits Red Snapper Season, Extending For Charters

Red snapper season was divided on June 1 into two recreational sectors: federal for-hire charter captains and private recreational fishermen. The season for recreational fisherman will be limited to 10 consecutive days, ending at 12:01 a.m. on June 11.


House, Senate Still Stuck in Health Debate

Florida legislators began a special session Monday to pass a budget for the year beginning July 1. But the House and Senate are still in a stalemate over whether to adopt a Senate proposal use Medicaid expansion money from the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income Floridians purchase private health insurance.


Court Limits Damages In UCF Player’s Death

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday the parents of University of Central Florida football player, Ereck Plancher, are limited to collecting $200,000 in a lawsuit they filed against UCF Athletics Association, Inc. Plancher collapsed and died in March 2008 after off-season football drills supervised by football coach George O’Leary.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments