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Gainesville City Commission Makes Bid For Biomass Plant

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In a 4 to 3 decision Thursday night, the Gainesville City Commission voted to make a $400 million offer to buy the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center plant.

The controversial bid came as a surprise to some residents, who wish they could get rid of the plant entirely.

“I just want it to go away. I get up in the morning. I walk seven miles a day which takes two hours,” said Jeff Catallic, a Turkey Creek resident. “I leave the house at quarter to five and when I leave the house there is a loud roar. There’s usually a big cloud of smoke, and i do not know what is being put into the air.”

Others felt it was an uninformed decision.

“I’ve read so much. I’ve listened to so much pros and cons i don’t even know what the answer is any longer I wish that there would be more of a true analysis rather than opinions and compromises and all other kinds of nonsense”, said Carl Larson, Turkey Creek resident.

For one city commissioner, it just seemed too risky.

“I just think it’s time to stop gambling and betting and let’s accept the fate that we have, and move forward. I think that to continue under the contract there are still benefits in there that can help us in the future,” Todd Chase said.

But Chase understands how the other commissioners see an upside.

“I think that there’s there are analyses that show that there is a possibility of savings over the course of the thirty years if we were to own it. But again you got to for me you have to go back in time and if we had taken the time and scrutiny five years ago to decide to do this we wouldn’t even be having this discussion,” he said.

The commissioners believe GREC will counter the $400 million offer, but it’s unclear how high the city would be willing to go.

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